These are arguments that Democrats and their media supporters will dispute, but they are anchored in the recent past and the impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton and Richard M. Nixon. That Democrats are abandoning these precedents — and the deeply embedded ideals of due process for the accused — is a terrible strategic mistake by Pelosi and her party.
Cipollone’s arguments are powerful because they are indisputably true. Repetition will drive these stakes deep into the American consciousness. And after the failed attempt to “get Trump” via the Mueller inquiry (and a laugh at people who don’t believe the special counsel’s probe is understood that way), fair-minded Americans will indeed note and refuse to forget that Democrats cheated when they could not persuade.
Secret hearings, witness tampering, refusal of basic and long-standing rights such as the minority party’s right to summon witnesses add up to a rush job, a con job and a collapse of the Democrats’ faith in their own assertions. U.S. Attorney John Durham and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s investigations into the origins of the Russia probe may further deepen suspicion of the Democrats’ pretend impeachment. Trump could hardly ask for more incompetent opponents than Pelosi, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). They have time to correct their ill-conceived rush to judgment, but not much.