The sitzkrieg over the Trump impeachment, occasioned by House Speaker Pelosi’s delay in referring the impeachment to the Senate, is about to return to the headlines after the congressional recess for the holidays. What is her calculus? To my mind, it isn’t difficult to read.
Pelosi and her top lieutenants have been clear about why they pushed briskly ahead to pass impeachment articles in the House. Namely, because of the urgency of the threat to the integrity of the 2020 elections posed by the President’s unchastened impulse to wangle further foreign interference. There is no need to look for a different explanation for Pelosi’s approach to handing the case to the Senate.
McConnell plans to cloak the President’s subversion of the Constitution by preventing any of the key witnesses from appearing, and to stage a sprint to acquittal. Under those circumstances, the best deterrent to new election tampering is the delaying tactic Pelosi has chosen. She is signaling that, barring a change of heart by McConnell or an unexpected rash of defections from inside the GOP caucus, she may leave the impeachment right where it is, with its harsh beam indefinitely shining on the President and his criminal quest for foreign meddling. With the 2020 election looming, Trump is itching to get back to his overseas “drug deals” in the shadow world. Trump’s got game, but it only works when the lights are off and the outline of the Kremlin’s intelligence services are a little hard to make out in the background. No wonder he is bawling out in frustration.
George Angell, Baltimore, 31 December 2019