Saying that the impeachment effort by House Democrats was half-baked is an understatement. It was mostly just batter. Anyone who has ever made a cake or brownies knows the batter is quite tasty and might actually be better than the end product. The Democrats sure fought over the batter. Heck, they fundraised off it.
But the impeachment itself never quite set up in the oven. The Democrats failed to call Mick Mulvaney. They failed to call John Bolton. They failed to build an evidentiary case against the President. I talked to multiple Republican senators who were willing to consider impeachment, but were not willing to do the Democrats’ work for them.
The Democrat response has been that it would have taken too long. They claim courts would have dragged it out. This is first an admission they rushed it and second an admission they did not do all they could. It also casts blame on the courts for their own laziness. In fact, courts were willing to expedite hearings, but Democrats waited seven months to expedite one and abandoned a second effort.
John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney were critical witnesses. The House Democrats moved impeachment to the Senate, which is a body where precedent matters. In the two hundred thirty-one year history of the United States Senate, many things have changed, but precedent has always mattered. In the sixty-eight impeachments leading up to the impeachment of Donald John Trump, the Senate has only once sought a witness the House of Representatives did not first hear from. That was in the case of then Judge Alcee Hastings. The Senate only called that witness because the House had called the witness and the witness dodged the subpoenas. The Senate has never, in its entire history, called witnesses for an impeachment trial not first considered by the House.
The Democrats knew this and chose to proceed anyway. Their impeachment, as a result, was destined to fail. There was a chance they could have persuaded more Senate Republicans than Mitt Romney, but they did not even want to try. On top of that, it is very notable that the Democrats could not even get a single Republican in the House of Representatives to go along with them.
There are twenty-one retiring Republicans who are no longer fearful of the President’s base. They never have to stand for re-election again. About half of them deeply despise President Trump and blame him for their leaving office. But Democrats not only did not get a single Republican, they even lost one of their own members who became a Republican.
Now, found not guilty by a majority of the Senate, President Trump is emboldened and looking to settle scores. He pushed one of the House’s star witnesses out of the White House. He demanded a lighter sentence for Roger Stone. More will follow. This was entirely predictable. I wrote as much before the articles of impeachment were even voted on in the House.
House Democrats did not do their job. They failed institutionally, but have relied on an anti-Trump American press corps to carry water for them on the issues of witnesses and thoroughness of the evidence. They might never have gotten a two-thirds vote in the Senate. But they could have gotten a majority had they tried.
The President, any President, has the right to be surrounded by people who will advise him, not sabotage him. This President has, from the moment of his election, time and time again seen the administrative state leak to embarrass, leak to damage, and leak to undermine. The President will be on the ballot in November and in the meantime he will vengefully purge the executive branch of all dissent. It was foreseeable, logical, and I do not blame him.