The lack of an obvious quid pro quo in the phone call transcript was the first blow to Pelosi’s plan. Trump never mentioned withholding military aide, and reports say Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wasn’t even aware of a delay.
Moreover, Zelensky said publicly he did not feel pressured to open an investigation into the Bidens. That puts both the quid and the quo on shaky ground.
Even the expected holy grail of text messages and testimony show that some American officials had different interpretations of the president’s intent, which muddles any possible sense of certainty. Impeachment based on mere opinion, often just a reflection of partisanship, cannot possibly win broad public support in a country so polarized.
The impeachers also blundered on the Joe Biden issue in Ukraine. By denouncing Trump for requesting an investigation, they make it appear they don’t want to know whether Biden corrupted his vice presidency to enrich his son. In effect, they inadvertently exposed the former veep’s soft underbelly while telling the public to ignore it.