Weak-kneed Democrats on verge of blowing it again

One thing we’ve learned in the last four years:  Democrats don’t know how to play, or have the guts to play, political hardball.

The House Democrats’ Failure to Pursue a Broad Impeachment Inquiry in 2019

In 2019, House Democrats were afraid to go for a broad impeachment inquiry that would have encompassed the wide range of Trump’s crimes, including the obstruction of justice examples laid out in prosecutorial detail in the Mueller Report.

Nancy Pelosi didn’t want to pursue impeachment, and never understood that the process could serve an important educational function, helping to pierce Trump’s propaganda balloon and disenchant his delusional cult followers.

So she kept advocates of a broad impeachment inquiry in line, on the crazy assumption that such an inquiry were hurt Democratic candidates for the House in so-called “moderate” or Trump-friendly districts.

In a word, she was afraid to take Trump on, head-on.

Finally, she acceded to impeachment demands within her caucus by skillfully defecting demands for a broad impeachment inquiry to a narrowly-focused inquiry limited to the Ukraine affair.  Proceeding with two articles of impeachment led to a trial in the Senate which acquitted Trump, and greatly emboldened the President in his lawlessness.

This approach was not successful in helping Democratic candidate win seats in the House.  Instead, it led to a loss of seats, against candidates from this Republican Party.

In a word, her approach was an abysmal failure.

The Second Impeachment of Trump

Now, after President Trump and his enablers attempted for two months to carry out a coup d’état, the House has sent a since article of impeachment to the Senate.  The great benefit of this action is that it will require each Republican Senator to go on the record on the issue of whether inciting an insurrection and attempting to overthrow the election and the Constitution nerits conviction in an impeachment trial.

The outcome is unpredictable, and will turn ultimately on how much Republican Senators want to remove Donald Trump from Republican politics by barring him from running for office in the future.

We are far past the point where we might harbor any illusions about Republican Senators honoring the oaths to uphold the Constitution.

Pro-Trump Senators will seek to cloak their votes to acquit Trump in a constitutional argument to the effect that trial of a former president or other Executive officer is outside the scope of the impeachment power in the Constitution.

Their cynicism will fool no one. Democrats will be able to run against them on their vote to acquit Trump.






About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.