Does she or doesn’t she? Only the Senate Judiciary Committee knows for sure.
On Meet the Press this morning, ranking Democratic member Senator Dianne Feinstein (D – California) appeared to rip off the bandage when it comes to how they plan to deal with President Trump in the era of Comey and Mueller. Talking to Chuck Todd, she finally spoke the words which so many liberal supporters have fervently prayed for, but had previously only been uttered by some of their more fringe elements. There may not be any need to wait around for Mueller to finish his work because the committee has their own investigation going and it’s adding up to obstruction of justice by the President of the United States. (NBC News)
A Senate investigation into President Donald Trump’s possible connections to Russia has revealed a possible obstruction of justice case against the president, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said on “Meet The Press” Sunday.
“The [Senate] Judiciary Committee has an investigation going as well and it involves obstruction of justice and I think what we’re beginning to see is the putting together of a case of obstruction of justice,” Feinstein, the panel’s top Democrat, said…
“I see it in the hyper-frenetic attitude of the White House, the comments every day, the continual tweets. And I see it most importantly in what happened with the firing of Director [James] Comey, and it is my belief that that is directly because he did not agree to ‘lift the cloud’ of the Russia investigation. That’s obstruction of justice.”
A picture is worth a thousand words, so a video must be several orders of magnitude above that. Here’s the Senator herself, seeming amazingly calm in describing what could only lead to… the I word.
I think we all know what the first question here is. Do Feinstein and her fellow committee members have something in their pocket from the FBI which hasn’t been released to the public yet? That would be an NBA player sized shoe to drop, but it’s also difficult to imagine what it could possibly be. Proving obstruction of justice requires proving intent pretty much by definition. The fight between Comey and Trump has been so public that we have to ask what could possibly be left to expose? Trump has tweeted out his version of events endlessly and Comey’s private memos and testimony have been leaked to the newspapers in an equally vigorous fashion.
Of course, getting enough members of the committee to go along with such a conclusion may prove to be a bit more of a trick. Or would it? As the minority, the Democrats hold nine seats on the Judiciary Committee where the GOP has eleven. But among that majority are Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Ben Sasse and… (gulp) Jeff Flake. Not exactly a gang of Trump’s most ardent cheerleaders and two of them are retiring soon and haven’t really got all that much to lose.
With the background covered, let’s get to the elephant in the room. If the Senate can somehow stick an obstruction of justice charge on the President (remembering that it would still be a massive lift, so we’re still in the realm of hypotheticals here) that would, in theory, fill the bill for High Crimes and Misdemeanors if the House wanted to entertain the idea. So let’s just get it out in the open. Feinstein is talking about impeaching the president without actually invoking the word yet. Keep in mind that Feinstein has been consistently on the record as saying that “the I word should be off the table” for the time being every time somebody like Maxine Waters brings it up. Right up until a few weeks ago, her House colleague from California, Nancy Pelosi, had been singing the same tune.
Has there been a change? Are the Democrats ready to try to pull the trigger? Of course, they can’t actually do anything about it unless the House is willing to go along and that would take a lot of GOP support which probably still doesn’t exist. But if the campaign of 2018 is going to feature the leadership in the Democratic Party openly demanding impeachment proceedings, this could be paving the way for that sideshow. Feinstein has been playing this game a long time. That remark didn’t just slip out because of a curveball question from Chuck Todd. That was scripted.
Something has changed. Not sure exactly what yet, but the Democrats may think they’ve got a winning hand and are getting ready to push in all their chips.