By Colleen O'Connor
The Mueller report’s conclusion on obstruction of justice against President Trump constituted fighting words over impeachment.
“… while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
The fallout is predictable—along party lines.
Sen, Elizabeth Warren was the first Democratic presidential candidate to call for the impeachment of President Trump. It’s a safe bet that a number of others will follow.
Democratic House member Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is already “all in” on the impeachment push.
Not so much the Republicans.
Sen. Mitt Romney is “sickened” by the Trump administration’s “dishonesty,” as outlined in the Mueller report, but wants to “move on.”
Sen. Susan Collins calls the report “an unflattering portrayal of the President,” but that’s as far as she goes.
The impeachment fight now begins in the House.
News outlets, left and right are pushing for Speaker Nancy Pelosi to make the decision. Impeach “yes or no,” they demand.
Thus far, the Congresswoman from San Francisco has repeatedly stated that impeachment is “too divisive for the country,” that President Trump is “just not worth it” and that the House must proceed “one step at a time.”
Get the facts. Get the unredacted report. Get the people on our side. Pelosi is in no rush to impeach.
She is the one with the constitutional power here—despite the strains from the “AOC” progressive wing of her caucus—which she estimates at “about five members.”
And Pelosi is correct.
Regardless of the granular evidence in the Mueller report about obstruction of justice — which everyone can download and read for themselves — the votes are not there and the public isn’t on board.
While two-thirds of the people want to see the full, unredacted Mueller report, that same two-thirds are not up for an impeachment saga that will drone on for months, if not years.
The President and his Attorney General have made it clear that they will not obey subpoenas from the House Judiciary—or any other committee—to deliver the unredacted Special Counsel report.
It is “premature and unnecessary,” according to the official Justice Department response.
Any court fight will take months, if not years to litigate, unless there is an expedited hearing, and that’s doubtful.
“Delay, deflect, deny” is the preferred legal and political tactic of this White House. Keep it in judicial quicksand until after the 2020 election. All the while maintaining “no collusion, no obstruction,” “bullsh*t” and “presidential harassment.”
Most voters have already chosen sides. And are experiencing fatigue.
More to the point, impeachment proceedings are a long slog.
Even if the House Judiciary Committee did get the unredacted Mueller report—and then voted to impeach—the U.S. Senate must convict in order to remove the President from office.
And to convict, a two-thirds vote is necessary.
That, the shortened election calendar, and the makeup of the Senate present the most definitive of math problems.
The Democrats do not control the Senate. The Republicans do.
Twenty Republican Senators would have to join the Democrats to vote to convict and usher Trump out of office. That is highly unlikely.
As of now, not one Republican Senator has expressed any sentiment other than “sadness,” or “sickness” about the Mueller findings.
So it’s far better to concentrate on the “kitchen table” issues that Pelosi tries to highlight over the din of divisions in her own caucus and the country.
She is right. It isn’t “the economy, stupid” this election cycle, “it’s the math, stupid.”
And as of yet, that math does not add up.
Colleen O’Connor is a native San Diegan and a retired college professor.
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