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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

November 8: The Perfect Xmas Present For Democrats: Impeaching Trump

As the timetable for the impeachment process becomes clearer, I’m trying to keep a close eye on it at New York:

[I]mpeaching a president is a job with a lot of moving parts and vast elements of uncertainty. It’s even more complicated when it could overlap with an extremely intense election in which the president being impeached is seeking another term. But there’s a new sense of purpose among House Democrats about getting their part of the process done by Christmas, as CNN reports:

“[I]n a series of moves this week, Democrats have shown they are rapidly moving to complete the proceedings by Christmas, something that could result in Trump being just the third president to be impeached in history.

“The schedule became apparent in recent days after House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, announced that public hearings would begin next week and also suggested Thursday there’s a limit to the witnesses they would call for the public hearings.

“Plus Democrats also withdrew a subpoena of a former White House official to ensure their proceedings were not delayed by a court battle. Schiff also decided Thursday not to subpoena someone who could have been a star witness – former national security adviser John Bolton, who privately raised concerns about the Ukraine scandal at the heart of the impeachment probe. Schiff’s decision came after the former Trump aide’s counsel warned they would sue over any subpoena.”

In other words, House leaders, convinced they have enough to impeach Trump already, will take what they can get within the next few weeks but aren’t going to slow things down to cross any t’s or dot any i’s.

“Schiff has announced that three witnesses would testify next week, and Democratic lawmakers expect at least one more week of public hearings before his panel likely to follow on the week of November 18.

“The House is then scheduled to take a recess for Thanksgiving week, giving time for Schiff’s committee — along with House Oversight and House Foreign Affairs — to finish a report detailing their findings and recommendations of their investigation.

“At that point, the House Judiciary Committee would take the lead on the impeachment push — potentially in the first week of December. Democratic sources expect that committee to have a public hearing, possibly in that week, before it votes on articles of impeachment. That vote could occur in committee in the first or second week of December, the sources said.”

Presumably this timetable would accommodate a non-Ukraine-related article of impeachment or two if House Democrats decide it’s wise to include one. After all, other committees were instructed by Pelosi back in September to consider such possible articles. If, say, the obstruction of justice suggested in the Mueller Report seems actionable, most of the evidentiary work has already been done. One possible complication involves unresolved differences over federal spending that could in theory lead to another holiday partial government shutdown like the one that occurred last year just before Christmas. But it’s now looking like a stopgap spending bill will likely extend through December.

Clearly House members in both parties would like to get the impeachment monkey off their backs by year’s end, and onto the agenda of the Senate, which is contemplating a January trial of the president. Beyond that, Nancy Pelosi and her troops would love to give the vast majority of Democrats who want to see Trump removed from office the Christmas gift of getting halfway there via articles of impeachment.

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