Now that impeachment is all but assured, the question facing House Democrats is who gets to pursue a conviction in the Senate trial. The role of impeachment manager can make a career for the Democrats selected for the honor, Politico notes today. Nancy Pelosi’s choices have become the prize in a caucus battle:
As the House barrels toward a vote next week to impeach President Donald Trump, behind-the-scenes jockeying has intensified to secure a coveted, high-profile job: impeachment manager.
These Democratic lawmakers, handpicked by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, will effectively serve as prosecutors making the case to the Senate that Trump deserves to be removed from office over his alleged misconduct centering on the Ukraine scandal.
The topic has come up during recent Democratic leadership meetings, according to lawmakers and aides. And several members have been seeking out Pelosi — even making a beeline for her on the House floor during votes — to deliver their in-person pitch.
One person making the pitch lays it on a little too thick. Sean Patrick Maloney has nothing but praise for Pelosi, and her choice to have Adam Schiff conduct the impeachment inquiry:
“If you look at the way it has been handled to date, the fact that this was productive and efficient and fair is a function of some of the decisions she made to put people like [House Intelligence Chairman] Adam Schiff and others in important positions,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), an Intelligence Committee member likely under consideration to be a manager.
“She’s making all the right decisions. She doesn’t need any help from me.”
Uhhhh … sure, pal:
The peak support for impeachment came before Schiff began the public hearings that supposedly made the case for removing Donald Trump. On October 14th, the aggregate average support for impeachment and/or removal hit 50.3%, with 43.8% opposed. In the two months that followed, with one brief and small burst around Thanksgiving, the aggregate average now stands at 47.7%/46.4%, a virtual tie. As Allahpundit noted earlier, the polling is even worse in the RCP aggregate, with opposition edging out support 47.3/46.7 for the first time since the hearings began. If there ever was momentum for impeachment, Schiff and Jerrold Nadler squandered it.
Anyway, not everyone agrees that Pelosi and House Democrats don’t need help from the outside. The Washington Post reports that first-term House Democrats want former Republican Justin Amash to take one of those coveted slots in order to “diversify” the impeachment demand:
A group of 30 freshman Democrats, led by Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), has asked House leaders to consider the libertarian, who left the Republican Party earlier this year, for the small group tasked with arguing its case for removing Trump in the upper chamber, according to several Democratic officials.
The thinking, according to these people, is that Amash would reach conservative voters in a way Democrats can’t, potentially bolstering their case to the public. He also would provide Democrats cover from GOP accusations that they’re pursuing a partisan impeachment; Amash is one of the most conservative members of the House and a vocal Trump critic.
“To the extent that this can be bipartisan, it should, and I think including Representative Amash amongst the impeachment managers is a smart move both for the country, for the substance and for the optics,” Phillips said, adding that Amash brings an array of qualifications: He’s an attorney, a constitutionalist and “the first and only member of the Republican conference, when he was a Republican, to show courage,” Phillips added.
There’s a reason why first-term House Democrats like Phillips want Amash to be a front man for impeachment, and it’s not just because of his status as a “constitutionalist.” It’s because the frosh class in the Democratic caucus need a human shield on impeachment when they run for re-election. Those districts will likely a lot of angry voters challenging them over their participation in the Democratic obsession with reversing the 2016 election. Hey, it wasn’t partisan, they will claim, we had Amash leading the effort! Without Amash or another Republican tied to the impeachment effort, these thirty Democrats know they will be roasted over this, especially those in swing districts and states where impeachment polls much worse than these national aggregates suggest.
The only question is whether Amash is foolish enough to volunteer for human-shield duty. It’s one thing to vote for impeachment, but it’s another entirely to take ownership of the effort in that manner. Why would Amash want to wrap himself up in what is shaping up to be an unpopular impeachment that will not just fail but fail spectacularly in the Senate? Amash would be better advised to tell House Democrats that this is their mess, not his, and best of luck in trying to clean it up.