Could impeachment politics play a role in the midterm elections? Democrats are riding high and appear well-positioned to win a wave election, despite GOP policies fueling a strong economy. One of the key dynamics at play is an intensity gap that favors the opposition party. We've discussed one rumored development that might jumpstart Republican enthusiasm, but could the prospect of a new Democratic majority impeaching the president also light a fire under right-leaning voters? Liberal commentator Bill Press fanned those flames by predicting that a Democrat-held House would move swiftly in that direction -- flattering and cheering on left-wing billionaire and impeachment crusader Tom Steyer in the same segment:
“I really admire what Tom [Steyer] is doing. I [take] a more pragmatic approach to this, which is with Susan. I do think there’s zero chance that this group of Republicans that now control the House will initiate an impeachment hearing,” Press said. Press then discussed the Supreme Court decision regarding Congressional Districts in Pennsylvania, which Press called, “extremely important,” to the makeup of Congress...Press then said that states should put redistricting in the hands of retired judges, who he claims would draw nonpartisan lines. “That’s extremely important, and that’s sort of, I think, a first step and necessary step to getting too down the road impeachment. And Susan, it will be day one of the new Congress, I think, if Democrats take control,” Press said.
Click through for video of the MSNBC exchange. Meanwhile, amid the latest round of buzz and conjecture about whether the president is considering firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, nationally-syndicated radio host Hugh Hewitt asked two Senators whether such an action -- which we addressed here -- would constitute an impeachable offense. South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, an emerging Trump ally, answered 'probably:'
Hewitt: Okay, now let me ask you, back in the day, a long time, ago, 1998, you were one of the 13 impeachment managers named by the House to press the case against Bill Clinton. So this is going way back. So I have a very simple question. If the President fired Robert Mueller, do you think that would be an impeachable offense?
Graham: Probably so, if he did it without cause, yeah...I think what the President will have done is stopped an investigation in whether or not his campaign colluded with the Russians, what effect the Russians had on the 2016 campaign. I can’t see it being anything other than a corrupt purpose.
HH: You see, I am in agreement with you that an impeachable offense is anything that the Congress says it is, regardless of what scholars might say. And I believe the Congress would say that if it were run by Democrats. Do you think a Republican-led House would impeach the President?
LG: Well, that’s a good point. Let’s say that Obama fired somebody. I think we’d all have a different view on the Republican side. A high crime and misdemeanor in the Constitution is a fairly vague term. But what is at the essence of impeachment is a check and balance on a President, right?
LG: …who’s gotten out of their lane, who changed the rule of law and basically turns it upside down. I can’t think of a more upsetting moment in the rule of law to have an investigator looking at a president’s campaign as to whether or not they colluded with a foreign government, what kind of crimes may have been committed. I’ve seen no evidence of collusion, but to stop investigation without cause, I think, would be a Constitutional crisis.
HH: Have you told him that specifically, Senator Graham, so that he hears it from Republicans, do not fire Bob Mueller?
LG: I think I just, I think I just did.
Intriguingly, when Hewitt put the same question to Maine Independent Angus King, a liberal who caucuses with the Democrats, his answer was similar in some respects -- but strikingly different on the core issue:
Hewitt: Let me talk to you now about the Special Counsel investigation. And I’m going to ask this of Lindsey Graham next hour. If Mr. Mueller was fired, would you consider that to be an impeachable offense?
King: No. I would consider it a crisis. I would want to think about it in terms of all the other material that we’ve seen. High crimes and misdemeanors is the standard for impeachment, and I have a high standard for impeachment. I don’t think impeachment should be used to change a government you don’t like. I think going back to Andrew Johnson in, you know, 1867, this is something we’ve got to be really careful with. We don’t want to change our form of government. But the problem is that if the President does this, I think it is a huge mistake. It adds weight to the argument that there’s been an ongoing obstruction of justice of trying to basically quash in investigation. I think it’s, I wouldn’t say it rises to the level of an impeachable offense, but I certainly think it’s going to create a real problem. And I think, I went down the list yesterday. There are 8 or 9 senators, including people like Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley and John Cornyn who have said this would be a huge mistake. Newt Gingrich said it would be a disaster. Lindsey said he thought it would be the beginning of the end of his presidency. So I think everybody’s concerned about this, and I think it would be a huge mistake from his point of view. If he’s really, if he’s innocent, which he keeps saying that he is, he ought to want this thing to go forward and be as thorough as possible so the American people can get the results, can be, have confidence and say yeah, look, this Mueller guy did a tough job and a thorough job, and there’s no evidence. That’s the result the President should want. If he cuts it off, half the country’s going to think hey, he’s trying to hide something.
I'll leave you with video of Steyer on "Need to Impeach" tour in Ohio just last week: