Trump is off his Twitter game. The vote finished about five minutes ago as I write this and he still isn’t gloating about it on social media.
Another day, another reminder that Pelosi’s struggling to control her caucus. And for nothing, really: It sounds like Al Green wasn’t even trying to make the sale to wary Dems with his impeachment resolution. If you’re going to force a vote, at least pack it full of lefty grievances about POTUS — obstruction of justice, emoluments, sexual assault allegations, and so on. Instead Green went all-in on racism.
A country that’s had actual slaveholders as president — whom it reveres to this day — isn’t impeaching Trump over racist tweets.
But 95 Democrats signaled their support for impeachment, while 137 opposed it — a dramatic split signaling trouble ahead for a divided party.
The 332-95 vote to table the impeachment article drafted by Representative Al Green, Democrat of Texas, constituted the first action by the House since Democrats took control in January on a measure to impeach Mr. Trump, a significant move that Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and other party leaders have toiled to avoid. By agreeing to table the article, Ms. Pelosi and the Democrats put off — at least for now — a prolonged and divisive debate over whether Mr. Trump’s conduct warrants his expulsion…
Mr. Green’s resolution makes no mention of Robert S. Mueller III’s report or other instances of possible abuses of power by the president that are being studied by the House Judiciary Committee as possible grounds for impeachment. Instead, it contains a single article that refers to the vote on Tuesday to condemn Mr. Trump’s tweets as racist, and concludes: “Donald John Trump has, by his statements, brought the high office of the president of the United States in contempt, ridicule, disgrace, and disrepute, has sown seeds of discord among the people of the United States, has demonstrated that he is unfit to be president, and has betrayed his trust as president of the United States to the manifest injury of the people of the United States, and has committed a high misdemeanor in office.”
“With all the respect in the world for Mr. Green,” Pelosi said earlier, “we have six committees who are working on following the facts in terms of any abuse of power, obstruction of justice and the rest that the president may have engaged in. That is the serious path that we are on — not that Mr. Green is not serious.” Mr. Green was not, in fact, serious. Unless the thing he was serious about was a bit of virtue-signaling for lefties.
There was chatter this morning that Republicans might try to screw the Democrats by backing Green’s motion to take up impeachment, knowing that a unified GOP plus dozens of lefty votes would be enough to pass the motion and prolong Pelosi’s agony on this topic. They decided against it in the end, which was smart since it was too cute by half. Imagine America’s many casual voters reading headlines tomorrow like “IMPEACHMENT ADVANCES IN THE HOUSE WITH REPUBLICAN HELP.” Some would have assumed that Trump’s own party was turning against him, which may have backfired by convincing people that Trump had said or done something so terrible — or many things, cumulatively — that America was coming together to oust him. That might have inadvertently nudged support for impeachment upwards. Better to just kill the resolution quickly and be done with it.
Silver lining for the Resistance: With 95 votes in favor, Green’s resolution drew several dozen more supporters than his attempt at impeachment last year did. They’re getting closer, a little. One of the Dems voting with him today, in fact, was none other than Jerry Nadler. Nadler apparently tried to persuade Pelosi to solve the problem of today’s vote by referring the matter to his committee, with no luck. She didn’t want any headlines after this about how Dems are “moving forward” with impeachment or whatever. Remember, Pelosi believes the only way to oust Trump is to beat him next year and the surest way to do that is to make no sudden moves that might spook the electorate and get Republicans more excited to vote. The duller Dems are, the more the election becomes a referendum on four more years of daily Trump antics. She’ll give the left a bunch of committee investigations but nothing more than that.
And just as I’m writing that, here’s the Trump tweet now:
I’m looking for the roll call vote but it’s still not up yet on the House website. Assume that all of the progressives in the House voted to proceed, though, including of course the Squad. Here’s Al Green making his case earlier today followed by several colleagues looking not altogether comfortable.
Al Green defends his push — not supported by leadership — to impeach Trump over racism, but the move put Dems in an awkward spot, including Dems who want to open an impeachment inquiry over obstruction of justice but think this is wrong tactic and time. pic.twitter.com/R7rvhJ6Vlq
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) July 17, 2019