House Democrats have to walk and chew gum at the same time to take Donald Trump down


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To hear some of the pundits tell it today, House Democrats are facing a series of difficult choices. They can either try to take down William Barr, or they can move on to other witnesses. They can either focus on a legislative agenda, or they can impeach Donald Trump. The thing is, these aren’t choices.

Having a choice between two things implies that you have to pick one or the other. You can spend the next two hours watching a movie or attending a concert, but you can’t do both at the same time. House Democrats are facing something very different, and far less limiting. For instance, the legal process of taking down William Barr, whether it be through contempt or impeachment, is one that takes time (sorry, there are no magic wands in politics).

But the House Judiciary Committee can move forward with ripping Barr apart while also moving forward with bringing in cooperative Mueller report witnesses like Robert Mueller and Don McGahn. In fact those two processes more or less go hand in hand, and make each other stronger. When you bring in Mueller to testify about Donald Trump’s crimes, you also have him testify about Barr’s obstruction, and so on.

The same thing goes for impeachment. This week House Democrats met with a crippled Donald Trump and got him to agree to a multi trillion dollar infrastructure package – even as they also destroyed Trump’s Attorney General, a crucial first step in impeaching Trump. Maybe Trump will bail on the infrastructure deal, but they got him to publicly commit to it, and now they can campaign in 2020 on the fact that they tried to legislate and negotiate in good faith – even as they also move forward with de facto impeachment.

For that matter, the Democrats are not facing the dilemma of impeaching Donald Trump right now vs never impeaching him. That’s yet another false choice that only exists in certain pundit circles. Even if they announced today that they’re impeaching Trump, this next month would consist of witnesses like Mueller and McGahn. The choice isn’t whether to formally impeach him now; the choice is whether to make impeachment official a month from now, after all the initial necessary legwork has been done, and has helped build public demand for impeachment.

House Democrats can walk and chew gum at the same time, in the same way that everyone can walk and chew gum at the same time. They don’t have to choose between more Barr hearings or moving on to Mueller hearings. They don’t have to choose between promoting a liberal agenda and impeaching Trump. These aren’t either-or choices. They never were.

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