LOS ANGELES — Many people went to bed Wednesday night thinking that Donald Trump had just become the third President of the United States to be impeached in the latest act of the ongoing Pelosi House Carnival. While this could turn out to be true in the near future, however, it is currently not the case. For that reason, anyone saying that President Trump has already been impeached is making a factually false statement. This is not a matter of politics or semantics, but of basic civics. The technicality matters for the history books.
Trump impeachment now official?
Impeachment does not become official until Speaker Nancy Pelosi or one of her designated colleagues walks across the hall and hands the impeachment articles to the Senate. Henry Hyde did this in 1998 immediately after the House passed the impeachment articles against President Bill Clinton.
A breakdown of possibilities
This exercise is usually a mere formality. So why the delay announced Wednesday night by Nancy Pelosi? There are two plausible explanations:
1) Pelosi is choreographing the “walk” across the street as she did with Obamacare. Her aim: To make this stunt look like a civil rights march. In the television era, getting the optics right is critical. And in this case, the media will help.
2) Democrats are terrified because anything can happen in a trial, Senate or otherwise. Judges often tell disputing litigants to try to reach an agreement, since the litigants have no idea how the judge or jury will eventually rule. This often scares one or both sides into dropping the matter. A trial is always a high risk roll of the dice, and judges frequently surprise people with their rulings or conclusions. Lest we forget, think Justice John Roberts actually voting to uphold Obamacare.
Both these explanations seem plausible. Democrats running the Pelosi House Carnival have been able to control every part of the narrative, at least until now. That narrative has been tightly scripted. That is about to change, and Pelosi’s Democrats may have no idea what to do should this occur. They only have one shot to get their story right. If they blow it, they are finished and they know it.
Court of Public Opinion vs. a Court of Law
The court of public opinion is not a court of law. In a court of law, the accused have rights. This is why so many accusers of politicians (and others for that matter) make their accusations in the court of public opinion and then disappear. They do not want to face discovery, depositions, or cross-examinations by the opposing side. Lying in the court of public opinion is not a crime. Lying in a court of law is a criminal act. Bill Clinton lied under oath in a deposition and lost his law license.
Normally Democrats do well in the court of public opinion. Hence, the ongoing Pelosi House Carnival. Yet this time, the House Democrats have not succeeded in that arena. Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler are are simply not made for television. Most politicians are serious but not glamorous. Schiff and Nadler are neither.
Judges will not tolerate lying in their courtroom. Democrats seem terrified at what could happen to their ongoing public relations game since a FISA court this week slapped down the FBI. Lying in a court has consequences. Anything Democrats and Republicans say during an impeachment trial in the Senate can and likely will be used against them in any real trial led by U.S. Attorney John Durham. Appointed by Trump’s Attorney General William Barr, Durham is currently trying to get to the bottom of the Russia hoax that lies at the root of all the anti-Trump government chaos that followed.
Pelosi’s political tap dance begins anew
So right now Pelosi is either scripting the procession march or trying to bury this latest insanity altogether. The longer the Pelosi House Carnival impeachment charade drags out, the more likely it is the latter.
This could lead to another bizarre but possible explanation for Pelosi’s delay of game, possibly based on an astonishing ploy that may have been initially recommended to Democrat insiders by Harvard’s radical left-wing law professor Laurence Tribe.
“Lawfare’s legal svengali Lawrence Tribe recently penned an op-ed with this type of recommendation; and it appears the community that worships Tribe, including the House lawyers writ large, are following his advice.”
According to a CDN article on the topic,
“[W]e also have some cautionary words [on another possible maneuver] via Summit News, which relies on some inside dope from the ever-reliable Sundance over at Conservative Treehouse.
“‘Nancy Pelosi has suggested she will delay sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate in order for Democrats to build up more evidence against Trump and delay a swift acquittal… The Conservative Tree house blog describes this as “a cunning Lawfare ploy” that was a ‘pre-planned procedural process by design.’”
So what’s next for the fools on the Hill?
That said, as it stands at the moment, until the Senate officially receives the House impeachment articles, President Donald Trump has not been impeached. Given Pelosi’s unpredictable House, it remains somewhat unclear who gets to make the next move in the Pelosi House Carnival.
— Headline image: Cartooon by Branco. Reproduced with permission and by arrangement with Comically Incorrect.