Even though Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has said that the impeachment inquiry is only focused on Donald Trump’s Ukraine whistleblower scandal for now, the rapidly expanding nature of that scandal – and the ongoing clumsy coverup – make clear that there will likely be multiple articles of impeachment by the time they’re formally introduced. Now it’s become clear that House Democrats are angling for an article of impeachment that just might get Trump convicted.
We all know that Senate Republicans will try their best to avoid convicting Donald Trump on the more serious articles of impeachment, such as conspiring to rig the election and obstructing justice. But as so often ends up happening in prosecutions, it looks like House Democrats are looking to tack on a perjury charge against Trump. So what’s the point of this?
Politico says that Democratic House lawyers have determined that Donald Trump committed perjury in the written testimony he provided to Robert Mueller. For now this is being used in court to try to convince a judge to hand over the redacted portions of the Mueller Report. But it’s not difficult to see where this is headed.
If House Democrats have proof that Donald Trump lied under oath to Robert Mueller, they can craft an additional article of impeachment for perjury. Even if Senate Republicans see fit to acquit Trump on all the other articles, they may ultimately conclude that if they acquit Trump for perjury when he’s obviously guilty, it can be used against them in their own reelection campaigns.
It also sets up a situation where Senate Republicans might be tempted to convict Donald Trump on the perjury article, while dismissing all the other articles, as a way of playing both sides. Senate Republicans could oust Trump over the one conviction, but then try to convince Trump’s base not to punish them in their reelection campaigns on the basis that they acquitted Trump on as many charges as they could. That wouldn’t exactly be a good strategy for the Republicans, but at this rate they’re not going to be left with good options by the time they’re done having to deal with the fallout from Trump’s downfall.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report