A look back at the impeachment and conviction of Barack Obama

As President Trump’s legal team wrapped up its impeachment defense on Tuesday, all eyes turned to the issue of witnesses. But whether or not the mounting revelations surrounding former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s upcoming book are sufficient to spur Republican defections in the Senate, there is little doubt Donald Trump will be acquitted by the GOP majority.

The contrast with the impeachment and conviction of Barack Obama could not be more stark. After all, today’s developments came exactly 8 years after the Senate firmly under the control of Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) voted to remove President Obama by an overwhelming 89-11 margin. As it turned out, Obama’s obvious abuse of power in the “ChutzpahGate” affair—seeking foreign intervention from Israel against his likely opponent in the 2012 election—was unacceptable in the eyes of the media, his Democratic allies and Obama’s devoted base.

As you’ll recall, what came to be known as ChutzpahGate had its origins in the voting machines of the 2008 election and in the offices of a little-known startup in Tel Aviv.  While Obama had easily defeated Republican John McCain in the general election that November, the 44th President was increasingly worried about former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in 2012. Despite the successes of Obama’s 2009 stimulus program, polling showed that the painfully slow recovery and stubbornly high unemployment made him vulnerable to a proven business leader like Romney.

Worse still in Obama’s eyes were the implications of a largely overlooked conspiracy theory floating around in some of the most fevered swamps of the internet.  During and after the 2008 GOP primaries, a far-right blogger declared that Governor Romney’s surprising margins of victory in the Michigan, Minnesota and Colorado primaries were suspiciously high. (The same blogger alleged that a pedophile ring met regularly in the basement of Barack Obama’s favorite vegan café in Washington, DC. Those rumors were debunked when it turned out that “Arugula Heaven” was actually a food truck which made regular stops in Georgetown, Adams Morgan and Capitol Hill.)  All three states, it turned out, used the same electronic voting machines produced by the small Israeli company, Chutzpah Election Systems (CES). And Chutzpah had been largely funded by none other than Bain Capital, the venture capital firm Mitt Romney once led and from which the 2012 White House hopeful still profited handsomely.