Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi introduced two tightly focused articles of impeachment against Donald Trump on Tuesday, when she could have brought as little as one, or as many as a dozen. She was going to take heat for it from the media pundits, who never seem to understand (or purposely misinterpret for the sake of ratings) her most shrewd of moves. She was also going to take heat for it from those within the Resistance who are more interested in kicking Trump in the face than they are in winning. But her reason for doing it this way is just so plainly obvious.
After Nancy Pelosi became Speaker of the House, the pundits (and the fatalists within the Resistance) spent several months working themselves into a pretzel to try to make the argument that because Pelosi hadn’t yet announced impeachment, she was never going to announce it. They completely cast aside the obvious scenario in which Pelosi was keeping her options open, seeing how things shifted, and waiting for the precise right time with the best odds of damaging Trump. Sure enough, that’s what she was doing all along, because of course that’s what she was doing. But it caught most people by surprise, because they’d had it drummed into them that impeachment was never going to happen because it hadn’t already happened.
Now the pundits are presenting us with a new false dichotomy: if Nancy Pelosi didn’t bring a certain article of impeachment against Donald Trump today, she’ll never bring it. Once again, this is missing the obvious. Pelosi inked the two articles of impeachment on Tuesday because she wants to keep impeachment momentum moving forward. These two will be voted on soon, and before Congress heads into holiday recess, Trump will have been officially impeached. Mission accomplished.
But Pelosi and the House Democrats are still fighting fierce battles over Donald Trump’s tax returns, the redacted portions of the Mueller report, and the testimony of people like Don McGahn and John Bolton. Do you think they’re fighting those battles just for kicks? Pelosi knows she’ll win all of these battles. But because the courts move at a slow and unpredictable pace, she doesn’t yet know which if any of them she’ll win soon enough to effectively use against Trump during this election cycle. By January, she should start to get some answers on this.
So Nancy Pelosi has committed herself to the two articles of impeachment that she knows she wants to move forward with no matter what, while holding back on other potential articles such as Mueller obstruction and financial bribery. If she starts to get her hands on the additional evidence and testimony she wants after the holidays, she can hold more hearings and tack on more articles at that time. If the court rulings don’t go her way, she’s got these two articles of impeachment in the bank. This isn’t that difficult to figure out.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report