Speaker Pelosi: when the Impeachment Resolution is passed, do not send it immediately to the Senate. Withhold it instead until the court cases are settled, until Don McGahn and others are forced to respond to their subpoenas, until the President is forced to submit his tax returns, until all the evidence has come to the surface and makes an airtight case to remove him from office.
Take a page from Mitch McConnell’s playbook and game the system. Remember what he did to Merrick Garland? The hundreds of passed House bills he refuses to bring to the Senate floor? Use your power the way he does.
Remember what he did to Merrick Garland? The hundreds of passed House bills he refuses to bring to the Senate floor? Use your power the way he does.
Sending the Resolution to the Senate right away hands the initiative to McConnell, and he will game the system, beyond doubt. He’s already disclosed how he’ll do it, boasting he’ll align Senate procedure with the wishes of the White House. If he could, he’d refuse to act on the Resolution at all, but by law he can’t do that. So he’ll orchestrate a short trial with no witnesses and call for a quick up-or-down vote and he’ll win as he always does—with foul means or fouler. If you let McConnell proceed the President will not be removed from office in January, when the Senate is scheduled to undertake the trial.
So finesse the Majority Leader. Withhold the Resolution. The court cases should all be resolved by June, say (not incidentally when Bill Weld’s primary challenge will be blazing full tilt).
Then hold some more hearings. Answer the Republicans’ demand for “fact witnesses” by calling McGahn, Pompeo, Bolton, Pence, Giuliani, and Mulvaney to testify. Make the Trump tax returns public. The lurid truth of his misconduct will dominate the nightly news for weeks.
When all the bombshells have exploded, then hand off the Impeachment Resolution to Mitch McConnell. Now you have set the stage, not the Majority Leader—and what could be more politically damaging to Trump than standing trial during the heat of his reelection campaign?
The case against Trump is not at the moment open-and-shut. Committee chairs Schiff and Nadler may claim the evidence is “overwhelming,” but Republican Senators hotly deny that, and so do half of the American people. When the damning evidence now blocked by lawsuits is a matter of record, the case will be unassailable: it will be impossible for Republican Senators to deny, and McConnell’s capacity to game the system will vanish. The Senate will have no choice but to vote removal.
Speaker Pelosi, wait until you have an airtight case and then spring.
Richard W. Behan