The idea of impeaching Donald John Trump with next to zero hope of obtaining a conviction is to my mind the classic recipe for a non-starter.
That appears to be the calculation that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made in her reluctance to launch impeachment proceedings against the president of the United States.
I happen to agree with the notion that an impeachment by itself will do nothing constructive for those who believe as many of us do: that they want Donald Trump removed from office. Impeachment is the easy part. Democrats need a simple majority to impeach the president. Conviction is different. Republicans control the Senate, which would need 67 votes to convict the president. Will that happen? Hardly.
The daylong testimony by former special counsel Robert Mueller this week was seen as the “aha” moment for congressional Democrats. It wasn’t. Mueller stuck to his script. He said he wouldn’t speak beyond what his lengthy report concluded about Trump and he was generally faithful to that pledge.
Mueller’s report concluded that his 22-month probe produced insufficient evidence to charge Trump with conspiring to collude with Russian election hackers; nor was he able to indict the president on obstruction of justice, following Office of Legal Counsel rules and guidelines.
Despite all that, Mueller laid it out there: Trump likely committed a crime. That has gotten Democrats slathering over the prospect of impeaching him.
Hold on! What is the point of impeaching the president if the Senate won’t convict him of high crimes and misdemeanors and thus, remove him from office?
I am now believing more strongly than ever — and it pains me to say this — that impeachment is off the table. The only path left is for Trump’s opponents to focus solely on the crimes he committed as a candidate for the office and as president and use the knowledge they have obtained to pound Trump senseless on the 2020 presidential campaign trail.
I wish there was a way to remove the president before the election. I don’t see it developing. The man sickens me at a deeply visceral level. I want him gone. I had hoped that Robert Mueller would have changed minds, that he could have gotten those obsequious Republicans to move off their fawning fealty for Donald Trump.
It ain’t gonna happen.
The time is coming for Democrats to prepare instead for a presidential campaign for the ages.