Trump's Partisan Problems Will Save His Presidency

W. James Antle III

There is a certain dark humor in impeaching President Donald Trump over delaying the transmission of aid to Ukraine pending an investigation that could influence the 2020 presidential election and then delaying the transmission of the articles of impeachment pending a trial better suited to influence the 2020 presidential election. At least the Ukranian government desired the aid.

Unless House Speaker Nancy Pelosi merely wants to mollify the most rabidly pro-impeachment parts of the Democratic base while blaming Senate Republicans for the subsequent inaction, there is nothing in the Laurence Tribe op-ed on which her current strategy appears to be based that approaches the logic of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s dry rejoinder: "I admit, I’m not sure what leverage there is in refraining from sending us something we do not want."

While Democrats insist that these latest machinations are necessary to avoid a “Potemkin impeachment trial,” implicit in some of their arguments is a concession that the Trump-Ukraine case isn’t the slam dunk they imagine. A delay would let them wait for developments in the Southern District of New York case against Trump, perhaps more stories about Russian money flowing to Ukraine player Lev Parnas’ wife, and for various other shoes to potentially drop.

Except this is precisely the strategy that failed in the Trump-Russia investigation. Democrats could have argued that Trump’s behavior in the face of Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential elections—he was silent or even publicly skeptical about Moscow meddling while clearly hopeful that Wikileaks’ revelations would prove damaging to Hillary Clinton—and federal investigations thereof were not what Americans should want from a president. Some Democrats have made that argument and, when push comes to shove, still do.

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