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Douglas Andrews / Jan. 28, 2021

The Impeachment Sham Is Also a Chess Match

With an unconstitutional Senate trial on the horizon, both parties believe they can benefit.

Let’s start with the obvious: The impeachment trial being orchestrated by Democrats for former President Donald Trump is an unconstitutional farce.

Less obvious, though, is why the Democrats are committed to wasting gobs of time and taxpayer money to press forward with this farce, especially now that Republicans have made it clear that the 67 votes needed to convict the former president simply aren’t there — and aren’t even close to being there.

Indeed, the only persuadables here appear to be the handful of anti-Trump Republicans — Senators Collins, Murkowski, Romney, Sasse, and Toomey — who at this point seem weirdly interested in trying a former president from their own party for a high crime he never committed.

As Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and others have noted, the Constitution doesn’t allow for the impeachment of a private citizen. Even Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts understands this, which is why he isn’t presiding over the proceedings.

On Tuesday evening, Paul declared that impeachment is “dead on arrival” in the Senate. “There will be a show,” he said. “There will be a parade of partisanship. But the Democrats really will not be able to win. They will be able to play a partisan game that they wish to play. But it’s all over.”

Earlier in the day, Paul had taken to the Senate floor to denounce the phony exercise. His speech was a tour de force — a total takedown of the Democrats, their disingenuous calls for unity, and their utter hypocrisy in blaming Donald Trump for incitement to violence when they themselves have been far more guilty of doing so. “It’s almost as if [the Democrats] have no ability to exist except in opposition to Donald Trump,” Paul said. “Without him as their boogeyman, they might have to legislate, and to actually convince Americans that their policy prescriptions are the right ones.”

That, in a nutshell, is the Democrats’ game plan: Let’s keep the people focused on the Bad Orange Guy and the Capitol riot for as long as possible so they don’t notice when we open the borders, and cripple our energy sector, and hamstring our economy, and inflame racial divisions, and obliterate the distinction between men and women, and disavow our country’s glorious history.

Paul’s entire nine-minute speech is well worth watching:

Earlier this week, a bipartisan group of senators floated the idea of censure as a means of avoiding a trial. It’s not going anywhere. As Kerry Picket of the Washington Examiner reports, “Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, made it clear on the Senate floor on Wednesday that censure is not an option. ‘I would simply say to all of my colleagues: Make no mistake. There will be a trial, and the evidence against the former president will be presented in living color for the nation and for every one of us to see,’ Schumer said.”

So it looks like we’re in for impeachment. And since that’s the case, we might consider which party will benefit from it. Impeachment, after all, is a political act.

National Review’s Andy McCarthy says the Democrats are laying a trap for the Republicans. He says impeachment will “unite the Left while intensifying the Right’s internecine conflict,” as well as distracting folks from the hard-left start to the Biden administration. “Democrats do not want to disqualify Trump,” he says. “They want to keep him radioactive.”

Paul Mirengoff from Power Line, though, thinks otherwise. As we noted above, the GOP is united against impeachment but for a handful of outliers. “This will help the party, in my view,” he writes. “It may demonstrate to Trump’s base that the GOP mainstream isn’t looking to throw Trump under the bus. The trial gives mainstream Republicans another chance to stand up for a man who still commands strong support within the party, and do so at no real cost. The worst thing that could happen … would be for … ardent Trump supporters to drift away from the party as the Trump presidency recedes.”

Time will tell who’s right.

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