Nadler: How does late fall look for impeachment?


Let it be known that the flogging of dead horses will remain in season until, oh … Christmas. Earlier this morning, House Judiciary chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) told MSNBC’s Morning Joe panel that impeachment is still very much on the table. By “late in the fall,” Nadler promises, House Democrats will have enough information to vote yes or no for starting a full impeachment inquiry:

“If we decide to report articles of impeachment, we could get to that late in the fall, in the latter part of the year,” Nadler said on MSNBC.

Nadler is petitioning a federal judge to get lawmakers access to grand jury evidence collected by former special counsel Robert Mueller, and his committee is preparing to sue former White House counsel Don McGahn to compel his testimony in the committee’s ongoing investigation into potential abuses of power by Trump.

“I think that we will probably get court decisions by the end of October, maybe shortly thereafter. We’ll have hearings in September and October with people we don’t — witnesses who are not dependent on the court proceedings,” Nadler said.

But that’s an ambitious timeframe for a committee that has so far been nearly totally stymied in its effort to force Mueller’s central witnesses to provide information to Congress. McGahn, his deputy Annie Donaldson and former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks have all refused to testify about the events that they freely discussed with Mueller, forming the basis of Mueller’s damaging evidence of Trump’s efforts to thwart the investigation of his campaign’s numerous contacts with Russians.

That’s not the only way this is “ambitious.” Mike Barnicle points out that the Senate will be “where impeachment goes to die,” and asks Nadler why he’s bothering at this point. There is no way that a Republican Senate will remove Trump even assuming Nadler can win an impeachment vote.

Assuming that public opinion swings to impeachment as a result of their hearings, Nadler tells Barnicle that it’ll work out great for Democrats in 2020. “If we show that this president ought to be impeached and the people support it,” Nadler replies, “if the Senate doesn’t [vote to remove], then we’ll defeat a lot of Republican senators next year.”

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Er, sure. Democrats have been flogging this same horse for well over two years, and public opinion has sunk on impeachment. Mueller was supposed to stoke a new demand for impeachment, but instead the hearing blew up in Nadler’s face. Nadler’s hearings will produce nothing but the same arguments which have been in play since Mueller’s report got released and which have failed to move the needle on impeachment except to make it even fringier than ever.

In fact, one has to wonder why Nadler’s putting it off as long as the late fall, when an impeachment will be seen as even more nakedly political due to its proximity to the 2020 primaries. Maybe Nadler wants to run out the clock on impeachment and just focus on developing oppo research for the party’s eventual nominee, a strategy that would actually pay off rather than backfire. So far, though, nothing Nadler has done thus far has had much connection to reality, so this really does look like an exercise in beating dead horses into utter non-existence.

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