The impeachment of Donald Trump was a success, in that the House hearings educated voters on Trump’s crimes. The sham acquittal of Trump ended up being irrelevant, in that it didn’t cause Trump’s approval rating or 2020 poll numbers to magically go up. Now that the House knows it can pursue impeachment for righteous reasons and not have it backfire, it’s raised the question of whether the House might impeach Trump for his next crimes, or impeach Trump’s criminal henchmen like Bill Barr.
After today’s events, it’s clear that the odds have shifted strongly in favor of Bill Barr getting impeached. He created a huge scandal by corruptly changing the Roger Stone sentencing recommendation, after it had already been announced. To be as clear as possible, this will have literally zero impact on Stone’s sentence. The judge in the case has sole discretion on sentencing. Whatever sentence she was planning to give Stone before any of this, she’ll end up giving him that exact same sentence.
But this has nonetheless quickly turned into one of the bigger criminal scandals in Attorney General history. The four prosecutors in charge of the Stone case have all abruptly quit the case in protest, underscoring how ugly this is going to get. The scandal is about to get much more visible once Stone’s sentencing actually takes place. The judge will give Stone the exact same sentence that she was always planning to give him, meaning Trump and Barr will have gained nothing. But the media coverage of the sentencing will make this a mainstream scandal.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi isn’t a fan of impeachment. But we all saw her impeach Donald Trump, because it was the right and necessary thing to do. And she pulled it off in a manner which didn’t harm the Democrats politically. Now Bill Barr is committing a crime that’s roughly as egregious as Trump’s Ukraine extortion scandal. The House will hold quasi-impeachment hearings against Barr at the least – and it’s hard to imagine how that won’t evolve into articles of impeachment. Again, Barr’s inevitable Senate acquittal won’t matter. It’s all about the House doing the right thing, and doing it in a way that doesn’t unwittingly hand Trump or Barr any new power.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report