But this is not the same thing as actually desiring the impeachment process to advance as far as the drawing up of articles, much less to an up-or-down vote on the issue. “We aren’t finished, the day is not over,” she told reporters Thursday. Many people, especially among her party’s activist base and even within her own House caucus will interpret this as a commitment to seeing impeachment through to the end. I am not so sure. When she adds that the “testimony of one person may lead to the need for testimony of another,” what I take away from it is that she would prefer to see impeachment-related hearings go on for a few more months until suddenly she is able to declare, without losing any face among her more enthusiastic members, that the White House’s continued obstruction has simply dragged on the process for too long and that the whole thing is, alas, no longer viable. Time to win at the ballot box!
Her party’s fate in next year’s elections — and not just in the presidential column — is clearly a subject with which she remains more occupied than she is with whatever Rudy Giuliani was whispering in the ears of Eurasian diplomats over the summer. While the country turned its eyes to the fourth and (so far) final day of impeachment hearings, Pelosi was meeting with Robert Lighthizer, Trump’s point man on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the new trade deal negotiated by the White House to replace NAFTA. The day before that, she quietly passed a bill that would impose economic sanctions on China for its actions in Hong Kong. This was a political masterstroke. If Trump refuses to sign the bill out of concern for ongoing trade negotiations it proves that he has a dictator fetish and is too cowardly to defend human rights; if he does sign it and trade talks go south, well, look at what a mess he has made of things!