Anyone paying attention knew that the House impeachment process wasn’t finished just because the House Intelligence Committee didn’t have any more hearings listed on its public schedule. Earlier today we all learned that the House Judiciary Committee is about to start holding its own televised impeachment hearings against Donald Trump. Notably, they’re throwing bait at Trump to see if he takes it.
The House Judiciary Committee hasn’t just scheduled a public hearing for next Wednesday on the definition of high crimes and misdemeanors. It’s invited Donald Trump to send his own lawyers to ask questions of the witnesses, who will apparently all be legal scholars, as opposed to being witnesses to Trump’s crimes. This leaves Trump in something of a no-win situation.
If Donald Trump sends his lawyers to this hearing, they won’t be able to make any more of a dent in the proceedings than the Republicans on the committee would have. Trump can’t really gain anything here. In fact he’d risk giving away what his legal strategy for impeachment is going to be. He’d also have to reveal who his legal representation actually is at this point, because he’d have to choose whom to send.
On the other hand, if Donald Trump fails to send anyone to represent him, he’ll be handing House Democrats a major talking point about how they bent over backward to give Trump a voice in the House impeachment hearings, and how he thumbed his nose at the process. We don’t know what Trump will do, but it’s unlikely to play out well for him either way.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report