When this idea first started percolating on Twitter among the Very Online Left, I dismissed it as silliness. Nancy Pelosi wants impeachment over and done with, and she's made a grand show of carrying this 'duty' out with supposed 'prayerful solemnity.' It seemed obvious that she would instantly dismiss any harebrained scheme that would needlessly and pointlessly drag out the process, accomplish nothing, and fuel the Trump narrative that the whole enterprise is a petty partisan sham. And yet...
In a remarkable press conference, Pelosi refused to say repeatedly if the House would send over the articles to the Senate. She would not guarantee sending over the articles to the Senate until they are assured a fair trial. She wouldn’t describe what a fair trial was— Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 19, 2019
Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to commit Wednesday to delivering articles of impeachment to the Senate, citing concerns about an unfair trial on removing President Donald Trump from office. Senior Democratic aides said the House was “very unlikely” to take the steps necessary to send the articles to the Senate until at least early January, a delay of at least two weeks and perhaps longer. “So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us,” Pelosi told reporters at a news conference just moments after the House charged Trump with abuse of power and obstructing congressional investigations. “That would’ve been our intention, but we’ll see what happens over there.” ... By delaying passage of that resolution, Pelosi and top Democrats retain control of the articles and hope to put pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to adopt trial procedures they consider bipartisan.
I fail to see the "pressure" or "leverage" this plan allegedly places on Senate Republicans. Mitch McConnell will happily ignore the House's dumb games, keep confirming judges day after day, and hammer House Democrats for their unseriousness -- which would likely further erode support for impeachment. Remember, Democrats argued that they had to rush through the process at warp speed because time was of the essence and our very "democracy was at stake," or whatever. But now they're going to sit on the articles of impeachment they've passed, for an indefinite period of time, until...Senate Republicans adopt minority-demanded rules that are less favorable to President Trump than the 1999 trial rules were for President Clinton? C'mon. This is especially rich, given Team Pelosi's dominance of the process in the lower chamber, eschewing the bipartisan template set out during the previous two modern impeachments.
Democrats say the evidence they've collected is open-and-shut. Clear as day. Indisputable. They should be eager to allow the 'jury' to weigh it and render a verdict. They now claim that the trial won't be "fair" because some of the jurors aren't impartial, citing comments from McConnell and Graham. Wait until they hear some of the things Chuck Schumer said in the late 1990s about the Clinton impeachment trial. Or what Democratic jurors are saying this very week. Recuse:
Non-impartial juror, in plain sight. Recuse! That’s the rule right? https://t.co/JGKe6uiD1q— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) December 18, 2019
Let's face it, very few of them are impartial in any true sense. With the exception of maybe half a dozen Senators, everybody knows exactly how they'll all vote. That's how partisan impeachments go. Pelosi knows this, which is why she was opposed to partisan impeachments. Until she wasn't. And she was all about a somber, no-nonsense vote. Until she wasn't. And she started playing footsie with this preposterous, unprecedented 'impeach and withhold' nonsense. McConnell ridiculed Pelosi's foolish misstep during a lengthy floor speech on impeachment this morning:
In March, Speaker Pelosi said this: “Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country.” End quote. By the Speaker’s own standards, she has failed the country. This case is not compelling, not overwhelming, and as a result, not bipartisan. This failure was made clear to everyone earlier this week, when Senator Schumer began searching for ways the Senate could step out of our proper role and try to fix House Democrats’ failures for them. And it was made even more clear last night, when Speaker Pelosi suggested that House Democrats may be too afraid to even transmit their shoddy work product to the Senate. The prosecutors are getting cold feet in front of the entire country and second-guessing whether they even want to go to trial. They said impeachment was so urgent that it could not even wait for due process but now they’re content to sit on their hands. It is comical.
And now they're talking about needing to collect more evidence? Post-impeachment? Why, it's almost as if they're partisan clowns, making things up as they go along. It's the opposite of the image Pelosi has tried to cultivate and project. And it undermines her accelerated timeline to get this whole enterprise in the rearview mirror as soon as possible, especially given the direction of public opinion. This maneuver is a gift to the GOP, and she's a sharp enough tactician to know it. It'll be the most potent process complaint the president's defenders will have lodged to date, and it will resonate, while her moderates twist in the wind. Like Allahpundit, I'm totally mystified by this. I'll be surprised, and top Republicans will be delighted, if this self-inflicted wound is allowed to bleed out much longer. Yup:
McConnell: “It’s beyond me how the Speaker and [Schumer] think withholding the articles of impeachment gives them leverage … Frankly, I’m not anxious to have the trial … If she thinks her case is so weak she doesn’t want to send it over, throw me into that briar patch.”— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) December 19, 2019
As for misstep number two, I'll leave you with this -- which is far less serious and damaging, but further exposes Pelosi's unseriousness. You want to confirm that a partisan impeachment is a 'sham,' as some have argued all along? Play insane constitutional games and say things like this:
It’s a very prayerful and solemn spring, though. The saddest spring. https://t.co/EAuHh2LyaJ— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) December 19, 2019
Bravo, Madame Speaker. Presidential misconduct aside, you've got yourself a ShamWow impeachment.
UPDATE - Are you serious? You literally impeached the President of the United States last night, for only the third time in the republic's history, and you're absurdly declining to promptly send the articles to the Senate for trial -- and you can't be bothered to answer annoying questions about it?
"I’m not going to go there anymore." — Speaker Pelosi, refusing to talk impeachment any further— Phil Elliott (@Philip_Elliott) December 19, 2019