The Corner

Politics & Policy

After Winning the House, Democrats Might Pick an Impeachment Fight

(Leah Millis/Reuters)

As of this moment, the best estimates for Democratic control of the House indicate a 23-seat majority, 229-206. That’s not huge, but it’s comfortable enough — especially when combined with Democratic exuberance over this new thing called the “House popular vote” — that Democrats will likely feel triumphant. They may even feel as if the “arc of history” is reasserting itself, and they’re building a new governing majority.

As much as they emphasize policy tonight, in the real world that means two things that bear directly on potential impeachment — an aggressive effort to (among other things) investigate President Trump’s finances and an aggressive response to Robert Mueller’s findings (whatever they may be.)

It is difficult to imagine a Democratic House resisting progressive demands for impeachment if Mueller’s report is anything other than an exoneration of Donald Trump. If Mueller comes forward with evidence of obstruction of justice, will Democrats stand down? Will they stand down if there’s any evidence of collusion? But that’s only one factor. As my esteemed colleague Andy McCarthy notes, the Democrats will now possess the subpoena power in the House, and they’ll no doubt use it aggressively to pursue a number of inquiries, including into Trump’s finances. The administration will resist, aggressively, and the ensuing legal battles are going to create their own political dynamics. It could well be that Trump defiance triggers greater Democratic fury — and thus triggers greater appetite for the ultimate confrontation between the legislative and executive branches.

While conservatives have much reason to be encouraged by the Senate results, the bottom line is that the balance of power has shifted tonight, and now the Democrats decisively control one half of one branch of government, a part of the government with considerable power. Don’t be surprised if they use it as aggressively as they can against Donald Trump. Impeachment may not be probable, but it is quite possible. Prepare yourself for partisan confrontations that exceed anything we’ve seen during the first two years of the Trump presidency. The battle of Trump versus the media will pale in comparison to the battle of Trump versus an energized, confident Democratic House.

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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