The WashPo staffers had barely finished toasting “merry impeachmas” — and then quickly deleting the incriminating tweet + photo that signaled their self-owned chagrin — when the implications of the day’s solemn work started sifting through those quarters of the alt-news media where the chronically self-owned don’t dare to go, or even look: Nancy Pelosi and her too-clever-by-half Lawfare grunts had engineered a Hanging Chad Impeachment.
Apparently, Mrs. Pelosi wants to play Hide the Salami with the impeachment bill. She invoked some slippery procedure to stash it where the sun don’t shine in the hope that the senate won’t be able to follow through with its duty to try the very charges set out in the bill. How’s that gonna go over when the details are actually sorted out?
So far, there are just opinions a’plenty. One was offered by Noah Feldman of Harvard, the very fellow who testified last week fervidly in favor of impeachment before Mr. Nadler’s Judiciary Committee. He wrote, in a Bloomberg op-ed, that the action would signify that the president had not, in fact, been impeached, that it would only be so if the bill were conveyed to the senate. The issue of conveyance looms large in the present kerfuffle.
The constitution says nothing about such conveyance, whether by errand boy, postcard, mounted messenger, dog-sled, palanquin, trumpet blast, Morse code, hog-call, smoke signal, telephone, FedEx, DM, or skywriting. It just states that it’s the sole power of the house to draft the charges and the sole power of the senate to conduct a trial of the charges. Of course, the charges have been published in the Congressional Record, which one might think is sufficient “conveyance” of the house’s action and intent — though other voices claim not even that is required for the senate to act.
The matter of conveyance derives strictly from precedent, tradition, and rules accrued over the centuries in legislative practice. But these, of course, are not stipulated in the supreme law of the land, the founding document. Since the house made up its own rather unsportsmanlike rules for assembling the charges, first in Adam Schiff’s Intel Committee and then in Mr. Nadler’s HJC — deviously disadvantaging the defense with star chamber subterfuges — the senate can follow its own rules, too, including the option of dismissing the bill summarily as devoid of merit. After all, “abuse of power” has no criminal specificity, high or low, and “obstruction of the house” refers fallaciously to the president’s right to seek relief from the supreme court in a procedural disagreement with another branch of government.
Mr. Trump appears eager and avid to go to trial, where his side could call witnesses to his heart’s delight while denying the opposition any witnesses, just as the Dems did in the house. His managers could call in the Bidens, Joe and Hunter, to explain their 2014 hijinks in Ukraine, and the impressive payments tendered to them — for what? The defense could compel the testimony of the rogue CIA agent, Eric Ciaramella, to explain his pretensions of whistleblowing, and also his enabler, Intel IG Michael Atkinson, who left a procedural slime-trail in his handling of the “whistleblower” ruse. They could call in the fact-witness to all that, Rep. Adam Schiff, who would excite the wonder and loathing of the nation in being forced reveal his part in that charade and to recount the myriad falsehoods he has spawned in three years of RussiaGate chicanery — which, in a truly just world, would prompt his expulsion from the house. They could haul in Messers Obama, Brennan, Clapper, Comey, Mueller, Wiessman, Rosenstein, McCabe, Ohr, Lynch, Strzok, Ms. Page., Mrs. Lynch, Mr. Halper — though I suspect it would be better to leave that bunch to the ministrations of John Durham, just as the Democratic primaries roll out.
A trial like that would be a rich spectacle for sure after subjecting the nation to three years of perfidious sedition. But other gusts of rumor intimate that senators on the Republican side would prefer to not open any cans of Ukrainian worms in a trial, since money laundered through the Ukrainian oligarch mills may have found its way into their pockets as well. Who knows…?
The simplest explanation for this hot mess is that Mrs. Pelosi’s team wanted desperately to just distract the country’s attention from the Horowitz report — which it pretty much failed to do — and now that she’s shot her wad with that gambit, she’s left holding a bag of meritless impeachment bullshit that will disappoint and embarrass the Resistance just as much as the Mueller investigation managed to do.
Which leads to the question: when does this faction finally lose its appetite for self-degradation and dishonor?