First, the House of Representatives is going to impeach President Donald Trump. The vote will be on a straight party line vote. People shouldn’t make more of this than it deserves. James Madison, in The Federalist, argued that the bad behavior of one group would be held in check by the bad behavior of the opposing group. In short, this is how the Founders expected things to shake out.
Second, the Senate will try President Trump.
Third, they will acquit him him of all charges. This will happen on a straight party line vote. See above for an explanation.
There could be significant political fall-out from this trial.
On the one hand, the Republicans will have “gone loud” on Trump. What if some new disaster of the president’s own making comes to light midstream? What if the majority of American voters in November 2020 then decide that they’ve had enough? Not only will Trump be defeated, but so will Republicans in swing districts.
On the other hand, Democrats will have “gone loud” in impeachment when it was fated to lead to nothing. Democrats and their media dog-whistlers will have made this the central issue in American politics during the Democratic primaries. Whoever wins the nomination could be dragged down by this issue. Or, perhaps, if enough Americans are persuaded by the trial testimony rather than by their established positions, then it will work against Trump and hos republican supporters.
On yet a third hand, former VP Joe Biden may be called to explain his “don’t ask, don’t tell” relationship with his son and his son’s choice of employment.
Hunter Biden may be called to explain his work on behalf of a Ukrainian energy company when his business partner–Chris Heinz–wouldn’t go near it. “What has four wheels and flies” A garbage truck.”–My Dad.
Ambassadors Marie Yovanovich and William Taylor may be asked–as they should have been if the House Republicans had any brains–if there was any discussion within the Embassy or between the Embassy and the State Department of Hunter Biden’s position with Burisma. Were government officials concerned about his role and about any actions of the VPOTUS?
Then, what if Mitch McConnell decides to use the hearings to investigate the possible role of individual Ukrainians–rather than the Ukrainian government as a whole–in the 2016 election? After all, Candidate Trump said many pro-Russian things during the campaign. President Obama had denied “lethal” aid to Ukraine in the early stages of the Russo-Ukraine war. Would a Trump victory lead to a cut-off of all aid? (In the event, just the opposite happened, but there was no way for Ukrainians to know this before the fact.) Might some of them have considered opposing Trump by transmitting secret information to the Americans? Do politicians play be different rules in Ukraine than in the United States?
Then, the Republican are sure to cite the example of Iran-Contra: a president accused of crimes, but never subjected to impeachment. Peggy Noonan already raised this question in today’s Wall Street Journal. Sometimes a scandal is only a scandal, rather than grounds for impeachment.
Then, , a prolonged trial might “dirty up” Joe Biden, while trapping Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in Washington during important elements of the Democratic primary season. For that matter, it might give free rein to Senator Kamala Harris’s cross-examination “skills.” Meanwhile, Michael Bloomberg will stand above the fray.
Where will we be when this ends? I’m just trying to see this from the opposing points of view here.
Democrats may be further enraged. First the Trump-Russia “collusion” (John Podesta’s term I think, rather than Donald Trump’s) goes into the ground. Then the Biden-Ukraine corruption thing goes into the ground.
Republicans may be further enraged. First, there was the Democratic and media “with-hunt” in anticipation of the findings of the Mueller Report. Second, there was the impeachment-looking-for-a-cause movement that fastened on the imperfect telephone call.
Another election is looming.
“I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”–Thomas Jefferson.