In a strictly partisan vote on Thursday, Democrats approved a resolution in favor of the ongoing anti-Trump investigation masquerading as an impeachment inquiry. Not a single Republican voted for the measure, and two Democrats joined GOP lawmakers in voting against it.
Many Democrats used the occasion to declare how seriously they take their constitutional duty to hold President Trump accountable. Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said, “This is a solemn day in the history of our country.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the impeachment inquiry was a “sad” and “prayerful” process. Ahead of the vote, she declared the resolution was “about the truth, and what is at stake in all of this is nothing less than our democracy.”
Listening to this mawkish stuff, you’d think the Democrats, against their better instincts and in sorrowful duty to their sacred oaths, have finally been pushed to act for the sake of the republic. “Nobody comes to Congress to impeach a president of the United State,” said Pelosi. “No one.”
Well, except for the dozens of Democrats who clearly did come to Congress for that purpose. Thursday’s vote actually marks the fourth time House Democrats have voted on impeachment in the past two years. Trump’s previous “high crimes and misdemeanors,” according to not a few House Democrats, were as follows: insulting NFL players, saying “shithole countries,” and tweeting mean things about the Squad.
A Brief History Of Trump’s Many ‘Impeachable Offenses’
On Twitter, Phil Kerpen posted a helpful list of all the Democrats who supported these impeachment votes. Let’s review them.
IMPEACHMENT HOUSE FLOOR VOTE RECAP
December 6, 2017
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) October 10, 2019
Back in December 2017, 58 Democrats voted to advance articles of impeachment for criticizing NFL players who knelt in protest during the national anthem. Rep. Al Green, who drafted the articles, said at the time that Trump, “by causing such harm to the society of the United States is unfit to be president and warrants impeachment, trial and removal from office.”
Rep. Jim McGovern, who managed the floor debate for Thursday’s impeachment vote, said the Ukraine allegations “are as serious as it gets.” But are they? McGovern was among those who voted to impeach Trump for complaining about NFL players.
A month later, in January 2018, Green again brought forward articles of impeachment, this time because Trump described some nations as “sh-thole countries.” This time around, 66 Democrats voted for impeachment, including McGovern (again) and Rep. Maxine Waters, now chair of the House Financial Services Committee.
On Thursday, Waters, who has previously called on her supporters to harass Trump officials in public, said, “I look forward to Democrats and Republicans alike prioritizing country over party.”
The third impeachment vote was even more successful than the first two: 95 Democrats voted for it in July 2019—more than 40 percent of the caucus. Trump’s “high crime” this time around was that he tweeted some mean things about the Squad. He’d said Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna S. Pressley and Rashida Tlaib should “go back” to their home countries if they don’t like America (all the congresswomen except Omar were born in the United States).
All four of them were among the 95 Democrats who voted for impeachment in July, as was House Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Jerry Nadler. On Thursday, Nadler said it’s the “solemn duty of the Congress to investigate serious allegations against the president.” Okay.
Impeachment Is Political But Doesn’t Have to Be Ridiculous
Some might look at all this and say, hey, impeachment is a political process, so if Democrats want to impeach Trump for, say, tweeting a photoshopped picture of a dog, so be it. They have every right. And that’s correct, as far as it goes. Impeachment is an inherently political, as opposed to legal, process. The House defines what count as “high crimes and misdemeanors,” not the Constitution.
But things get embarrassing for Democrats when it becomes obvious, as it has over the past two years, that they consider almost anything Trump says or does grounds for impeachment. The idea that Democrats have only now been forced to push ahead with an impeachment inquiry because of the grave allegations about Ukraine is laughable.
Everyone knows the real reason Democrats are pursuing impeachment is because the Robert Mueller probe, which was supposed to be the vehicle for impeachment, turned out to be a dud. Everyone also knows that Democrats have been trying to impeach Trump since the 2016 election results came in. Some of them have at least been honest about it. Just hours after she was sworn in back in January, Tlaib told her supporters, “We’re going to go in and impeach the motherf-cker!” Immediately after the 2018 midterms, Nadler was heard discussing impeachment plans on the Acela train from New York to Washington, saying House Democrats would be going “all-in.”
In the coming weeks and months leading up to what now looks to be an inevitable vote to impeach Trump, we’re going to hear a lot of solemn statements from stern-faced Democrats about how sad this is for the country, how they’ve been pushed to this by Trump’s flagrant violations of the Constitution, how they’d hoped it would never come to this.
Don’t believe a word of it. Trump’s real impeachable offense, the only one Democrats really care about, is winning the 2016 election.
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