‘I don’t see the value of taking him out of office…’
After the public hearings against President Donald Trump did little to move the dial on impeachment—and with the election fast approaching—Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., backpedaled Sunday on her unequivocal past support while speaking with a local radio broadcast, the “No BS News Hour.”
“I will tell you, sitting here knowing how divided this country is, I don’t see the value of taking him out of office,” she said. “But I do see the value of putting down a marker saying his behavior is not acceptable.”
Lawrence said she prefered other options that would send a rebuke to Trump without the risk of splashing back on Democrats.
“I want him censured,” she said. “I want it on the record that the House of Representatives did their job and they told this president and any president coming behind him that this is unacceptable behavior and, under our Constitution, we will not allow it.”
But even though Lawrence crowed about her independent-mindedness, all indications are that many vulnerable Democrats are now getting cold feet, fearing a repeat of the Russian collusion hoax that found them as abusing their investigative powers for partisan gain.
An Overplayed Hand
Lawrence’s seat in Michigan’s 14th district sits just north of Rashida Tlaib’s 13th district seat.
Like Tlaib’s, her district is safely Democrat, with a nearly 60 percent black demographic having supported blue presidential candidates for at least the past three decades by margins of around 80 percent or more.
That Tlaib—a progressive, freshman “Squad” member—has been one of the staunchest impeachment advocates, campaigning and fundraising on the issue as a central part of her platform, makes Lawrence’s recent about-face all the more stunning.
While leftist radicals have exerted an outsize influence on the current House session by making the most noise, their fortunes remain tied to at least 31 so-called moderate Democrats hailing from districts that Trump won in 2016, noted Fox News.
Losing only 16 votes would put them outside the majority needed to pass articles of impeachment—which would be a devastating blow to their 2020 prospects and another validation for those who have long criticized the Left’s divisive maneuverings as nothing more than a partisan ploy.
Democrats expressed confidence prior to the hearings that they had the votes not only to investigate but to impeach Trump.
But even in their vote to formalize the proceedings they failed to get a consensus, with two Democratic congressmen crossing the aisle to vote with all of their Republican colleagues against the hearings.
Only two months ago, Lawrence was among those who cast impeachment as a turning point in the annals of U.S. history and a sacred obligation to fulfill her oath, reported the Washington Examiner.
“I feel strongly that for my legacy, for my time in history, sitting here at this table with an oath of office to protect this country, to protect the democracy of the United States of America, I cannot sit silent, that I must move forward with [impeachment] because this is egregious,” she said in an Oct. 4 radio interview.
Yet, Fox noted that voters and media in Detroit had recently expressed diffidence about the impeachment process.
On Saturday, an editorial in The Detroit News came out against it. “The evidence is too much based on hearsay and too conflicting to support impeachment,” it said. “… Unless more damning evidence is ahead, the Democrats don’t have a case that will stand up in the Senate…”
Recent polls increasingly have shown Democrats and independent voters souring on the impeachment proceedings, which were notably dry and dull.
Much of the complex, nuanced testimony that Democrats needed to press their case hinged on the manner in which career bureaucrats in the State Department had interpreted Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
But Republicans maintain that even if the interpretations of these civil servants rang true and were not tainted by partisan motives, no wrongdoing that was revealed came close to rising to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors” needed to charge or remove the president.
Indeed, in both the Russia and Ukraine probes, the revelations that surfaced about the Left’s own conduct cast them in an even worse light, ethically speaking, than the alleged misconduct they were investigating would have cast Trump.
If impeachment were to go to trial next year, Republicans would hold many of the same levers that House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, both California Democrats, have held during the recent investigative phase.
Already, Senate leaders such as Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham, R-SC, have promised that a trial there would entail calling several witnesses who could show Trump was justified in seeking investigations into Democrats’ corruption in Ukraine during the Obama administration.
That includes the unfolding saga involving former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter—with mounting evidence that the two used their influence and connections to scuttle major probes of the Burisma energy company, where Hunter was receiving a lucrative monthly “consulting” fee until earlier this year.
Graham also vowed recently to subpoena the whistleblower whose complaint to the intelligence community inspector general ostensibly triggered the recent impeachment hearings.
The still-unidentified informant—presumed to be CIA analyst Eric Ciaramella—was revealed to have coordinated his complaint with Schiff’s office prior to filing it. He then sought to change the documentation when his partisan wranglings were exposed.
Democratic leaders have continued to hedge, with Schiff hinting—contrary to past declarations—that he may seek to draw out the process by compelling further testimony from uncooperative witnesses.
The party, thus, now faces a dilemma: A focus on anything but impeachment not only would be the latest in a long line of capricious reversals on earlier pledges—such as those to have the whistleblower testify and to move forward only with bipartisan support.
It also is likely to increase the growing rift with leftist radicals like Tlaib, for whom compromise is not an option.
Meanwhile, moving forward on a shaky foundation poses its own risks of failure, backlash, and even Republican retaliation with several counter-investigations pending in the Senate.
Trump, for his part, has said he would welcome a trial. But on Monday, amid a flurry of retweets about the waning support, he called on Democrats to put it behind them and focus on passing a bipartisan trade agreement.
Support for Impeachment is dropping like a rock, down into the 20’s in some Polls. Dems should now get down to work and finally approve USMCA, and much more!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 25, 2019