A lot of digital ink has been spilled here over Speaker Pelosi’s approach to impeachment. I have generally sided with her, but I’ve also had my doubts. But her latest actions have shown me how she’s playing the long game and playing it well.
Put simply, Pelosi has two strategy points: Let the pressure for impeachment build, and save the threat of impeachment for when it will do the most good.
The pressure for impeachment has been building, but slowly. There aren’t enough votes in the House for impeachment yet, something we tend to forget when harping on the Senate. It would be self-defeating to bring articles of impeachment to the floor when it won’t pass there.
The other point is that the Speaker can threaten impeachment, but she can’t do it too often or it loses its bite.
Both of these tactics now appear to be paying off, after this weekend’s firestorm over Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to manufacture fake dirt on his potential 2020 opponent.
If the Administration persists in blocking this whistleblower from disclosing to Congress a serious possible breach of constitutional duties by the President, they will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness which will take us into a whole new stage of investigation. www.speaker.gov/…
This is the sort of threat that has power because she’s been saving it for when it would do the most good. (And yes, I do believe the Speaker expected something like this to happen. Trump is, on this front, incredibly predictable.)
With the whistleblower scandal, more conservative Democrats, the ones Pelosi worries about, are starting to come forward on their own to talk about impeachment. And even a couple of Republicans in the Senate are mumbling in public that Trump might finally have gone too far even for them. Yes, it’s barely a start, but it IS a start.
I’ve said all along impeachment is a stew, not a stir-fry. You have to let all the ingredients meld properly and simmer until they’re ready.
PS: Bill Weld is wrong in calling Trump’s actions treason. Treason is the only crime defined in the Constitution, and it is specifically limited to waging war on the United States or in joining our enemies. Extorting a foreign country for personal political gain is felonious and impeachable, but it is not treason.