For the past several weeks, Palmer Report has been pointing out that Donald Trump’s impeachment was coming. The signs were in plain sight and were indisputable. We’ve also been pointing out that impeachment is not a magic wand, and that an impeachment inquiry was a complex process that would not cause Trump to simply fall through a trap door.
Last night House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler appeared on the Rachel Maddow show and confirmed in exact words what was already apparent: the committee’s earlier court filing regarding impeachment did in fact constitute the start of an official impeachment inquiry. In other words, Trump’s impeachment is already underway. But again, no magic wand. So what does it really mean?
As we’ve tried to make clear all along, formal televised impeachment hearings – which is what most people picture in their heads when they hear the word “impeachment” – can’t start until House Democrats have won at least most of their court battles over testimony and evidence. Institutions like Deutsche Bank will turn over Trump’s financial records, and people like Don McGahn will publicly testify against Trump, but only once they have the legal cover of the courts having ordered them to do so.
In the meantime, what we’re seeing is what impeachment really looks like. It’s an investigation, an inquiry, a process. Around the time House Democrats begin winning their court battles, they’ll move forward with the television phase of impeachment. They’ll need that testimony and evidence if they want any hope of using those hearings to make Donald Trump so toxically unpopular, he stands no chance of reelection, and even the Republican Senate will be afraid to stand with him as impeachment advances. In any case, welcome to Donald Trump’s impeachment.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report