White House

Pelosi’s Impeachment Express

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, October 17, 2019. (Erin Scott/Reuters)
At a minimum, the whole House should vote on whether or not to shove America down this rocky path.

Nancy Pelosi is right.

“This is deadly serious,” the House speaker said Tuesday, regarding impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. Too bad Pelosi is handling this solemn matter with staggering unseriousness.

As the Impeachment Express accelerates, the Democrat-controlled House is hell-bent on removing America’s duly elected president of the United States. This is among the gravest contingencies in this constitutional republic.

On something so momentous, the House should operate once again on a bipartisan basis:

  • Before President Bill Clinton was impeached, the House voted on October 8, 1998. The tally was 258–176 to advance an impeachment probe, with 31 Democrats resisting their party leaders.
  • At the depths of Watergate, on February 4, 1974, the House voted 410–4 — on a nearly unanimous, bipartisan basis — to launch the impeachment of President Richard Milhous Nixon. He resigned that August 9, before the House adopted articles of impeachment, but after the emergence of severely incriminating evidence of his illegality. (What a concept!)
  • The House also voted 126–47 to commence the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson on February 24, 1868.

Pelosi, a San Francisco Democrat, hurled these precedents off the Golden Gate Bridge.

“There’s no requirement that we have a vote,” she declared Tuesday. “So, at this time, we will not be having a vote.”

True, despite these three powerful precedents, the Constitution does not compel a full-House vote to start the impeachment ball rolling. Regardless, Pelosi avoids this opening move because she might lose such a vote or, ultimately, her majority if she forced certain members to support a formal impeachment inquiry.

Pelosi is speaker thanks to 31 Democrats who won districts in 2018 that Trump secured in 2016. These Trump-district Democrats fear, as does Nervous Nancy, that if they back an impeachment probe, some will face furious constituents, lose their seats, and hand the House back to Republicans.

So, as she clutches to political control like a life preserver, Pelosi preserves the political lives of these 31 Democrats.

Beyond this non-vote strategy, Pelosi and her far-Left colleagues have little interest in due process or first-grade-level fairness. These Democrats — the sorest losers in the history of human competition — lust to oust a president whose guts they hate, largely for the warm rush of doing so. Unlike the widely watched Nixon and Clinton impeachment hearings, Pelosi’s persecution happens behind closed doors, with all the transparency of a casket. Trump’s attorneys cannot cross-examine witnesses, present counter-evidence, or simply sit quietly and watch. Even worse, scheming Democrats have barred the American people from this star chamber.

Democrats often whine that Trump flattens political norms. In fact, the norm-crushing steamroller finds Pelosi at the wheel, with House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam “Four Pinocchios” Schiff riding shotgun. Schiff, another California Democrat, is grilling impeachment witnesses in secret. If the House Judiciary Committee were in charge — as it was in the Clinton, Nixon, and Johnson impeachments — these perilous developments surely would unfold in public.

“We’re going forward in the most secret room in the Capital. And all Adam Schiff is doing right now is building a secret record in his SCIF, in a one-sided process to move forward towards impeachment,” Representative Michael McCaul of Texas, ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Fox News Channel’s Bill Hemmer this morning. (A SCIF is a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility. Such a high-tech space is designed to foil eavesdroppers, foreign and domestic.) “I think it’s a very unfair process,” McCaul added. “I think it’s a bit of a fishing expedition at this time.”

Schiff’s opening statement at a September 26 hearing included these comments, supposedly from Trump to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky:

“I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand. Lots of dirt, on this and that,” Schiff read aloud. “And don’t call me again. I’ll call you when you’ve done what I asked.”

Schiff fabricated these words. Caught red-handed, he claimed he spoke “at least part in parody.”

Hilarious.

Zelensky repeatedly insists that he felt no such pressure to investigate alleged Biden-family corruption in Ukraine. At a joint September 25 news conference with President Trump at the United Nations, Zelensky said, “nobody pushed me.” Zelensky said on October 10, “There was no pressure or blackmail from the U.S.” He spoke during a 14-hour “press marathon” in Kiev, in which he answered unscripted questions from some 300 journalists who interviewed him in 20- to 30-minute sessions, in seven- to ten-member squads. “This call influenced only one thing. We needed to secure a meeting, that it was necessary to meet with the president,” Zelensky added, referring to Trump. “I wanted to show him our team, our young team. I wanted to get him into Ukraine.”

Likewise, Trump did not threaten to withhold U.S. military aid, absent a Ukrainian probe of the Bidens. Though such assets were being withheld at the time, Ukrainian officials were reportedly unaware of this during the July 25 Trump/Zelensky phone call. Zelensky told journalists in Kiev on October 10: “I had no idea the military aid was held up.” These weapons — which Obama never even offered — arrived not long after Trump and Zelensky conversed. Specifically, Zelensky and Vice President Mike Pence spoke in Warsaw on September 1. Zelensky explained: “And after this meeting, the U.S. unlocked the aid and added $140 million. That’s why there was no blackmail.” As Reuters reported, the Trump administration freed the military assistance to Kiev on September 11, thus bolstering Ukraine’s defenses against Russia and refuting the lie that Trump is a Kremlin stooge.

“President Obama was sending you pillows and sheets,” Trump told Zelensky at the U.N. “I gave you anti-tank busters.”

These facts should compel the House to abandon this self-indulgent nonsense and — radical idea — return to governing this republic, starting with a vote on the USMCA trade agreement among America, Mexico, and Canada. At a minimum, the whole House should vote on whether or not to shove America down this rocky path, adjudicate this matter in public, and stop basing these decisions on how best to insulate 31 Trump-district Democrats from the righteous rage of their own voters.

Michael Malarkey contributed research to this opinion piece.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.

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