Reagan touched upon this earlier this morning, but you cannot make this up. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi got her idea to play hardball with Senate Republicans by watching CNN. Some are mocking her since she’s been designated a master strategist. This might not be Pelosi’s best moment, but she does have the ability to thrust the knife deep in the back of those who might be a problem. Just ask Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), chair of the House Armed Services Committee, who quickly backtracked his position that Pelosi should transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate. She’s also mostly neutralized the brewing feud with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and her squad. She came out on top. On this, this was bungled—and thank God for that. The whole playbook was a disaster. For months, Democrats were saying that President Trump was a threat to the country. It required the constitutional urgency where one could imagine seeing members of Congress working through Christmas on this, right?
No, they decided to flee D.C. and refuse to transmit the articles to the Republican Senate because it faces certain death. In the process, Pelosi has created another constitutional issue of her own by withholding the articles and torpedoed the Democratic narrative that this issue was of the highest priority. Now, it plain looks like you’re refusing to budge because you’ll lose. That was already assured after the 2018 midterms when the Republicans increased their majority in the Senate. There was no way this upper chamber would have 67 Senators who would agree to remove Trump on anything related to Russian collusion or this shoddy quid pro quo allegation stemming from a July phone call Trump had with the Ukrainians.
And the whistleblower who filed this report is some CIA agent who is a registered Democrat and had worked with a 2020 candidate. This person also reached out to Rep. Adam Schiff’s staff (D-CA), who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, prior to filing the report; Schiff knew the contents and prepared to weaponize them because this has been the Democrats’ primary action item for the past four years. This whole circus was rigged from the beginning. No matter what impeachment was coming. Democrats promised the base. They had to deliver. To keep this circus going, Pelosi thought that the quarterback of the Watergate cover-up, John Dean, was the go-to person (via Time):
Powerful political leader takes controversial action based on cable news commentary ?? https://t.co/Q06ih6nD9O— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) January 9, 2020
Always good to get strategic advice from the mastermind of the Watergate coverup. https://t.co/oviMkfMddp— Brit Hume (@brithume) January 9, 2020
Oh man this is too good.— Matt Wolking (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@MattWolking) January 9, 2020
“Master strategist” Nancy Pelosi got her disastrous idea to withhold the articles of impeachment from the Senate from ... WATCHING CABLE NEWS. pic.twitter.com/X8pJK6wwRW
On Dec. 17, the night before the full House would debate and vote on Trump’s impeachment, Pelosi met behind closed doors with top caucus members on the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. She hinted, for the first time, that she was contemplating a curveball: declining to immediately transmit the impeachment articles to the Senate after the House passed them. “The rule empowers the Speaker to be able to decide how to send the articles and when to send the articles over to the Senate,” she said, according to an aide who was in the room. “My view is we don’t know enough about what they are going to do. We want to see what [is] their level of fairness and openness and the rest.”
Pelosi, according to an aide, had been mulling the tactic since she heard former Nixon White House counsel John Dean float the idea on CNN on Dec. 5. In the committee meeting, she added that she believed McConnell would be motivated to move. “Somebody said to me today that he may not even take up what we send. [But] then [Trump] will never be vindicated,” she said, according to the aide in the room. “He will be impeached forever. Forever. No matter what the Senate does.”
The following day, Pelosi presided over the floor vote on impeachment, wearing a striking black suit to project solemnity, accessorized with a large gold brooch of the Mace of the Republic, a symbol of the House. When scattered cheers broke out inside the chamber after the first article was approved, she sternly and silently shushed them with a glare and a sharp gesture. After the vote, she announced that she did not plan to transmit the articles right away, saying she could not determine how to appoint House impeachment managers until the Senate decides on its rules for the trial.
McConnell has mocked the idea that Pelosi or Schumer can shape the Senate trial to their liking. But he’s also said he won’t start it until Pelosi sends the articles, and it’s clear from Trump’s tweets and statements that the unresolved situation bothers him.
The gambit is reminiscent of another Pelosi maneuver designed to exploit Trump’s insecurities. Pelosi retook the speakership a year ago amid a government shutdown triggered by Trump’s demand for border-wall funding. She refused to negotiate on the matter until the government reopened. As the stalemate dragged on, Pelosi seized on an unexpected source of leverage: she postponed Trump’s State of the Union address to Congress, knowing that he prized it as a televised set piece showcasing his power.
But the gambit failed. First, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Pentagon can allocate $3.6 billion for the border wall. Second, Trump’s approval ratings have gone up, he’s claimed victory over Iran (Iran had a fireworks show, we killed Maj Gen. Qasam Soleimani), and the economy is still booming. Swing state voters are not supportive of this impeachment push, and Democrats in both chambers are now pressuring Pelosi to just give up. The game is over (via Politico):
CNN’s Camerota calls out Dem Sen: whatever Pelosi’s “ploy was,” McConnell “won this one” pic.twitter.com/JRQFn86H3V— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) January 9, 2020
Democrats are finally acknowledging that their efforts to extract concessions from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial are coming to an end.
“The longer it goes on the less urgent it becomes,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). “So if it’s serious and urgent, send them over. If it isn’t, don’t send it over.”
Several other Senate Democrats also showed their impatience with the Democratic leaders’ strategy. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Wednesday morning that Democrats “should move on” and send the articles to the Senate, and Sen. Jon Tester of Montana said he’s “ready” for the trial to start.
“We need to get folks to testify and we need more information ... but nonetheless, I’m ready,” Tester said. “I don’t know what leverage we have. It looks like the cake is already baked.”
“I respect the fact that she is concerned about the fact about whether or not there will be a fair trial. But I do think it is time to get on with it,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.).
Democrats think they got Trump on the verge of defeat. How many times have we heard that the walls are closing in on Trump? Trump is scoring win after win. Even with impeachment engulfing D.C., he managed to reestablish redlines and deterrence against Iran. He’s not falling apart, which is what Pelosi thinks. She’s the one who has to wear a night guard; her hatred of Trump runs so deep it has caused her to grind her teeth:
Pelosi has told colleagues she’s had to wear a night guard because the White House makes her grind her teeth in her sleep. But her frustration is born of determination, not unease. In our interview, I asked her if the President’s nickname for her, Nervous Nancy, is accurate. “Pfft,” she says, waving a hand. “He’s nervous. Everything he says, he’s always projecting. He knows the case that can be made against him. That’s why he’s falling apart.”
From the start, you knew how this story was going to end. Then again, that was probably made a foregone conclusion since she used CNN as her playbook.
Remember this? Someone is falling apart--and it's not Trump: