If one intends to review this post, but has not yet read Part I (which is immediately below), I would start there 😉
A number of commentators have opined that the reason that Ms. Pelosi has delayed in forwarding the House’s Articles of Impeachment to the Senate for adjudication is that she believes it places pressure on Sen. McConnell and his Senate Republican Leadership to hold a meaningful impeachment trial; others have suggested that the delay is strengthening the case for the President’s removal by allowing time for the unearthing of additional evidence by House investigators and the occurrence of events such as former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s recent indication that he will testify if subpoenaed by the Senate. I would suggest that for reasons practical, political, and – to me the most important — Constitutional, she should forward the Articles to the Senate without further delay.
The practical first: everyone in this country that cares to know already understands the essential – and undisputed – aspects of the Trump Administration’s efforts to put pressure on the Ukrainian government to secure domestic political advantage for Mr. Trump. Everyone in this country – undoubtedly down to the junior member of the Senate maintenance crew – likewise knows that Mr. Trump is going to be acquitted in the Senate. I am confident that Ms. Pelosi is not so naïve as to believe that any additional testimony is going to change the outcome. Will sworn testimony by Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney be any more incriminating to the President than Mr. Mulvaney’s blurted admission of the quid pro quo from the White House podium? Will sworn testimony by Mr. Bolton, confirming Fiona Hill’s testimony that he referred to the Administration’s Ukrainian-related efforts as a “drug deal” and credible media accounts that he urged Mr. Trump to release the Ukrainian aid, have any probative impact upon a decisive number of Republican Senators judging the Articles? To ask the questions is to answer them.
As the Lord said in a more celestial context: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 11:15.
Ms. Pelosi must recognize that everyone who has ears to hear … has already heard. She should move ahead.
As to the political: if the Articles are going to fail in the Senate, how best to paint the outcome for the November election? It would arguably seem that the more rigorous the Senate trial appears, the more credibly the President and his supporters will be able to claim, following his inevitable acquittal, that the Democrats’ entire initiative was a “Witch Hunt.” If they are going to lose anyway, I would suggest that the more the Senate proceedings seem a kangaroo court, the easier it will be for Democrats to label the President’s inevitable acquittal a whitewash and vulnerable swing state Republican Senators as mere party lackeys. Delay can be as politically dangerous to the Democrats as to the Republicans; I note that since the recent strike on Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, Sen. McConnell has sought to invoke Americans’ patriotic spirit by calling Mr. Trump “the Commander in Chief” while discussing the upcoming impeachment proceedings.
I am confident that Ms. Pelosi and her Leadership team, along with the rest of us of a certain vintage, well recall the legendary advice of Kenny Rogers’ Gambler:
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run…
It’s time for Ms. Pelosi to fold ‘em … and walk away.
Finally, the Constitutional: Anyone who reads these pages is well aware of the extremely low regard I have for Sen. McConnell. Of all the patently partisan things that the Senate Majority Leader has perpetrated, to me his failure to schedule confirmation hearings on President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court was a despicable dereliction of his duty. The Constitution’s drafters obviously believed that the Senate would act in good faith in performing its various responsibilities, and didn’t consider it necessary to prescribe a time limit for the Senate to commence deliberations on a President’s nominees. Mr. McConnell should have promptly scheduled confirmation hearings on Judge Garland even if it was preordained that the Republican-controlled Senate would ultimately reject the nomination. He didn’t because he wished to enable Republican Senators to avoid embarrassing, blatantly-partisan votes. He failed in his constitutional duty. I would suggest that by the same token, now that the House has approved two Articles of Impeachment against a President – the weightiest of the House’s Constitutional responsibilities – it is incumbent upon Ms. Pelosi to promptly forward the Articles to the Senate. Whether or not the President is acquitted in the Senate, by commencing impeachment proceedings, House Democrats did what they (and I) felt they were constitutionally obligated to do. Even if there is some gap in the Constitution’s provisions that arguably enables House Leadership to delay in forwarding the Articles to the Senate, they should nonetheless do what Senate Republicans failed to do with regard to Judge Garland’s nomination: respect the spirit, as well as the letter, of the process that the drafters created.
A postscript to an earlier post: not long ago in a note related to impeachment, I quoted one of the founding fathers of modern conservative thought, Edmund Burke, referring to him as an “Englishman.” Only after it was published did I recall that although Mr. Burke represented the English city of Bristol while in Parliament, he was in fact born in Dublin, and should thus should have been described as Anglo-Irish. I can but offer a sheepish apology to the sons and daughters of the Emerald Isle that follow these pages who, given the warm and forgiving hearts for which our people are known, kindly chose not to take me to task ;). I also apologize to any reviewer of this note who finds the lyrics of The Gambler embedded in his/her mind for the rest of the day …