The impeachment train seems to be moving down the tracks, and it does appear the U.S. House will move forward with impeachment of President Trump. This weekend, there were several new developments.
On Friday, a deadline for turning over documents to the House by the State department passed. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his office will “obviously do all the things we are required to do by law.” Also on Friday, Speaker Pelosi subpoenaed the White House for documents regarding the phone call Trump had with Ukraine President Zelensky. On Saturday, President Trump tweeted that Senator Mitt Romney, R-Utah, should be "impeached" after Romney criticized the president. Members of Congress are not impeached, but removed and it is done by the body in which they serve. Removal requires a two-thirds majority of the body.
On Sunday, the lawyer for the "whistleblower" who first came forward regarding the Trump/Zelensky phone call said he was also representing a second whistleblower. No details on what that whistleblower claims Trump did. Also on Sunday, a former Trump company employee said she thought he might resign rather than face impeachment. “He does a lot of things to save face. My gut instinct is he’ll leave office, he’ll resign or make some kind of a deal to avoid impeachment,” Barbara Res said. Res is a former vice president of the Trump Organization and has been critical of the president since his election.
First, impeachment that doesn’t result in removal from office is risky for the Democrats. It will obviously further polarize the country. It will energize Trump’s base. It runs the risk of damaging one of their frontrunner candidates (Biden) in a Senate trial. It puts the people’s business on hold for a year. When House Republicans impeached Bill Clinton in 1998, knowing there was no chance of his being removed from office, they failed to see the backlash from citizens who saw the process as a waste of time.
Second, Trump might resign rather than have impeachment on his resume. He takes great pride in his ‘brand’ and impeachment is a stain on his legacy. Only two presidents have been impeached- Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. That is not something presidents want to be remembered for. Res, a disgruntled former employee who worked for Trump a decade and does have some insight into his personality, could be right. At some point, "the juice may not be worth the squeeze," and he may let Vice President Pence finish his term.
Third, the most likely scenario is Trump will fight to the death. Backing down is not his style. Negotiation and compromise are part of what he does, but he prides himself on winning the haggling. He is a risk taker, seldom proceeds with caution, is spontaneous and decisive. He doesn’t second guess his judgment or decisions. He doesn’t tolerate fools. He doesn’t start fights, but he doesn’t back down when attacked. Folks like that don’t go "gentle into that good night."
Impeachment is all the media has covered the past two weeks. A trade agreement with Japan, Trump’s individual meetings with a dozen world leaders at the UN (unprecedented), and good economic news for the U.S. went unreported. A decade ago, the media attempted to hide their bias, but no more. They have become nothing more than echo chambers pushing their political values.
Time will reveal how this will turn out, but the polarization of America continues.
Steve Fair is the District 4 Oklahoma Republican Party chair.