Leon Panetta is a Democratic Party wise man and elder whose wisdom needs to be heeded.
The former U.S. representative, CIA director, defense secretary, White House chief of staff — I think that covers it — says Democrats need to cool it with the “impeachment” talk regarding Donald J. Trump.
The 2018 midterm election is shaping up as a good year for Democrats. They well might take control of the House of Representatives when the ballots are counted. I am not going to say it’s a done deal, though; I am out of the political predictin’ business, as you might remember.
Suppose the Democrats take the House. They’ll chair committees. They’ll have subpoena power. They’ll have the numbers to impeach the president if they’re so moved to take that action.
Panetta’s advice is for Democrats to keep a lid on impeachment talk as they campaign district by district for control of the lower chamber of Congress.
As Politico reported: “I think the most important thing that the Democrats could do is allow Bob Mueller to complete his work,” Panetta said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” referencing Mueller’s work as special counsel for the Justice Department and his role in the ongoing investigation into Russia’s part in the 2016 presidential election.
He is right. Impeachment seems a good bet to follow if Democrats manage to wrest control from their GOP “friends.”
However, impeachment is one thing; conviction and removal from office is quite another.
If the House impeaches Trump, the Senate will need a two-thirds vote to convict him of whatever “high crime and misdemeanor” the House chooses to level against the president. President Clinton got impeached in 1998, but the Senate never came close to the two-thirds threshold during the trial it conducted.
Republicans are likely to make impeachment a campaign issue as they fight to fend off the Democratic assault on GOP control of Congress. If I hear Leon Panetta correctly, Democrats need to turn away from any impeachment discussion until — or if — they win control of the House in the midterm election.
I think I’ll root for a House flip.