Our nation’s founders had plenty of flaws. They were damn smart, though, when crafting a governing document that sought to create a “more perfect Union.”
One of their nearly perfect notions was to set the bar for impeaching and removing a president quite high. It’s a two-step process.
The U.S. House of Representatives can impeach a president with a simple majority. Then it gets a lot harder.
The U.S. Senate would put the president on trial, but to convict a president the Senate needs 67 out of 100 votes.
That’s a high bar . . . by design.
Thus, I respect the presumed next House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to argue against impeachment. Why? Because the Senate seems to lack the votes to convict Donald Trump of anything the House would argue. Therefore, Pelosi — as shrewd a vote counter as anyone — isn’t going to put her reputation on the line by stampeding an impeachment proceeding through the House without some assurance that the Senate would follow up with a conviction.
Trump reportedly is telling aides he believes the next House — to be controlled by Democrats — will launch a bum’s rush toward impeachment in 2019. I am not so sure about that.
Pelosi is not going to follow the exhibit shown by another former speaker who whipsawed the House into impeaching a president. Newt Gingrich was speaker in 1998 when the House impeached President Clinton. The Senate acquitted Clinton on all the charges. Gingrich was left looking like a fool.
Nancy Pelosi does not want history to repeat itself.