The Corner

White House

Wait, We Haven’t Even Gotten to the Ugly Part of the Impeachment Fight Yet!

President Donald Trump gestures as he arrives at Ocala International Airport in Ocala, Fla., October 3, 2019. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

What do you do when the country is about evenly split on whether to remove a president? Today’s new poll from Quinnipiac shows 45 percent of registered voters saying President Trump should be impeached and removed and 49 percent opposing the idea. The new Washington Post poll shows 49 percent support removing Trump from office.

What happens — or what is likely to happen — is that the Democratic-controlled House votes to impeach and the GOP-controlled Senate votes to acquit, and the country moves on to the 2020 presidential election. After a lengthy, angry debate about whether Donald Trump should continue being president, Americans would move on to a different lengthy, angry debate about whether Donald Trump should continue being president. (“First American president to be impeached and then reelected” would be a really unusual distinction. And Grover Cleveland thought he was so special, just because he was the 22nd and 24th president! )

The current impeachment inquiry is not running quickly or smoothly. House Democrats called Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, to testify and he responded he had been ordered not to testify, declaring that as an employee of the State Department, he “is required to follow the department’s direction.” House Democrats now plan a subpoena. Rudy Giuliani similarly stated that he will not comply with any requests for testimony and that he can’t imagine anyone else in the administration will, either.

The coming weeks will probably include a lot of fights about who’s testifying and who gets access to emails, documents, text messages, and other records. House Democrats will issue subpoenas and probably declare those who refuse to comply to be in contempt of Congress; many Trump administration officials will heartily concur that they feel contemptuous towards Adam Schiff and the rest. It will be ugly and messy, and the impeachment in the House may well end up moving forward without any testimony from key officials because they refuse to cooperate.

If the general mood of the public is that opponents of President Trump never granted him the the full respect for the office that he was due, and set out to destroy his presidency from day one, they will quickly tire of the spectacle of members of Congress in even higher dudgeon than usual. But the public could also conclude that the Trump administration simply ignores laws they find inconvenient, and defies lawful requests for documents and testimony from elected officials they don’t like. This might be exactly the sort of contrast that the Democratic nominee wants as a backdrop to the 2020 election.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Elizabeth Warren Is Not Honest

If you want to run for office, political consultants will hammer away at one point: Tell stories. People respond to stories. We’ve been a story-telling species since our fur-clad ancestors gathered around campfires. Don’t cite statistics. No one can remember statistics. Make it human. Make it relatable. ... Read More
White House

More Evidence the Guardrails Are Gone

At the end of last month, just as the news of the Ukraine scandal started dominating the news cycle, I argued that we're seeing evidence that the guardrails that staff had placed around Donald Trump's worst instincts were in the process of breaking down. When Trump's staff was at its best, it was possible to draw ... Read More
National Review

Farewell

Today is my last day at National Review. It's an incredibly bittersweet moment. While I've only worked full-time since May, 2015, I've contributed posts and pieces for over fifteen years. NR was the first national platform to publish my work, and now -- thousands of posts and more than a million words later -- I ... Read More
Economy & Business

Andrew Yang, Snake Oil Salesman

Andrew Yang, the tech entrepreneur and gadfly, has definitely cleared the bar for a successful cause candidate. Not only has he exceeded expectations for his polling and fundraising, not only has he developed a cult following, not only has he got people talking about his signature idea, the universal basic ... Read More
Culture

Feminists Have Turned on Pornography

Since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the feminist movement has sought to condemn traditional sexual ethics as repressive, misogynistic, and intolerant. As the 2010s come to a close, it might be fair to say that mainstream culture has reached the logical endpoint of this philosophy. Whereas older Americans ... Read More
White House

The Impeachment Defense That Doesn’t Work

If we’ve learned anything from the last couple of weeks, it’s that the “perfect phone call” defense of Trump and Ukraine doesn’t work. As Andy and I discussed on his podcast this week, the “perfect” defense allows the Democrats to score easy points by establishing that people in the administration ... Read More