For some time now, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has been punting whenever she’s been asked about impeaching Donald Trump. This has been widely (mis)interpreted as a sign that Pelosi isn’t going to impeach Trump. We’ve always thought it was obvious that Pelosi has merely been refusing to call it “impeachment,” even as she and House leaders have moved steadily forward with the impeachment process. Now Pelosi just made it fairly clear that impeachment is coming.
Before Donald Trump’s Attorney General William Barr went on television and gave an embarrassing performance that made Trump look incredibly guilty, a CNN poll showed that 37% of Americans were pro-impeachment. After the Barr fiasco, an NBC News poll showed that 49% of Americans are now pro-impeachment. Pelosi is allowing public momentum for impeaching Trump to build on its own before she throws her weight behind it, because that’ll make it much harder for Trump to convince anyone that the Democrats are merely doing it out of political spite.
Meanwhile, the House is taking all the first steps that the impeachment process would require anyway: scheduling cooperative witnesses like Robert Mueller. Hold non-cooperative witnesses in contempt, in order to make any other potentially non-cooperative witnesses think twice. We see this process playing out every day. It is the impeachment process; Pelosi and the Democrats just aren’t using that word. Except today, Pelosi started using it.
This morning Nancy Pelosi conducted an interview in public and stated that Donald Trump is “becoming self-impeachable in terms of some of the things he’s doing.” She added that “Every single day, the president is making a case” for impeachment. This surely isn’t a coincidence.
On the day that Pelosi’s House is holding William Barr in contempt for illegally trying to protect Trump, Pelosi is now finally making the case for impeachment – she’s just not going to outright call for impeachment until after key witnesses like Mueller have gone on television and convinced the American public that impeachment is necessary. Mueller is tentatively set to testify one week from today. Don McGahn, despite a brewing battle over documents, is still set to publicly testify six days after Mueller.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report