‘I am really concerned about our country if this does not stop…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) A vote in the House on Thursday to formalize impeachment—though long called upon by Republicans—proved to be even more divisive as Democrats offered few cross-the-aisle concessions, likely setting back hopes of a swift and decisive conclusion on both sides of the polarized process.
GOP supporters of President Donald Trump widely criticized the resolution for providing none of the transparency and due process demanded in the secretive probe into the president’s Ukraine dealings.
The investigation stems from a whistleblower complaint that seems to have been largely engineered by House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and deep-state partisan activists.
Schiff, who is now overseeing the probe, has justified its secrecy by claiming the informant’s anonymity was paramount for protection.
Conservative media outlets, however, have begun to name the likely source as left-wing activist Eric Ciaramella.
While, predictably, no Republicans supported Thursday’s vote to formalize the impeachment inquisition, two Democrats—freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and 15-term veteran Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota—voted against the resolution, citing its overly partisan nature.
Fatigue Sets In?
This coincided with an apparent shift in tone for the Democrats, who have sought to control the public narrative with unsubstantiated claims that support is steadily gaining momentum.
Instead, there are signals that impeachment fatigue may already be setting in—with the greater risk for Democrats that failing to make their case with the public may carry severe political repercussions in next year’s election.
“I am really concerned about our country if this does not stop,” Sandra Shrewsbury, a 70-year-old Indiana resident, told the Associated Press.
Shrewsbury said she wholeheartedly supported Democrats’ impeachment crusade but had grown worried by the sluggish information drip from the closed-door sessions, which has seen no headline-grabbing, major breakthroughs emerge since the process began in September.
“I was getting very frustrated with Congress and those investigating because I felt like they were just dragging their heels,” she said. “I wish they’d stop worrying about getting reelected themselves and get down to the business they’re supposed to be doing.”
According to a new Associated Press poll, only about a third of respondents consider impeachment to be a top priority, as Democrats have made it.
“More people say House members are motivated mainly by politics rather than by duty as they investigate the Republican president’s dealings with Ukraine,” the left-leaning news syndicate sheepishly admitted.
The AP insisted that “many” supported the inquiry—citing a plurality of 47 percent—but recognized also that the number fell short of the groundswell impeachment advocates had hoped for—and needed—to make it a successful endeavor.
Removal from office would require the defection of 20 Senate Republicans, assuming all of the Democrats and two left-wing independents were on board.
Only three GOP senators, thus far, have given any indication that they considered the investigation to be legitimate, without indicating how they might ultimately vote.
Trump’s support has, at best, held steady—but in what could be a nightmarish scenario for the leftist ‘resistance,’ the support that the media had declared weeks ago to have surpassed the 50 percent threshold now appears to be receding.
Seriousness vs. Determination
Schiff and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, despite a sometimes tone-deaf approach, have claimed they are “deadly serious” about the process.
Following the largely party-line vote on Thursday, Schiff said, “We take no joy in having to move down this road … but neither do we shrink from it.”
However, some left-wing media outlets, in the wake of the rebuke by members of the Democrats’ own party, instead characterized it as a game—and warned that Republicans were winning.
“[T]he lack of any Republican defections showed the degree to which the GOP has closed ranks around the president,” bemoaned Yahoo News, “despite increasing evidence emerging from impeachment witness depositions that he sought to pressure Ukrainian authorities to investigate a political rival.”
Thus far, little evidence has been presented outside leaks from Democrats within the committee hearings and publicly released opening statements that the media have used to craft their story lines.
Most of the witnesses called by the House have been career civil-servants with partisan allegiances and an axe to grind against Trump for disrupting the old bureaucratic order. Republicans have complained previously that Schiff was preventing them from a complete cross-examination.
Conservative Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan said the Democrats seemed to be approaching the process now with more civility, trying with little success to court pro-Trump defectors.
Nonetheless, accepting the high-stakes gamble, they remained unwavering in their purpose.
“They feel the great question is clear,” Noonan wrote in a column Thursday. “That question is: Can we prove, through elicited testimony, that the president made clear to the leader of another nation, an ally in uncertain circumstances, that the U.S. would release congressionally authorized foreign aid only if the foreign leader publicly committed to launch an internal investigation that would benefit the president in his 2020 re-election effort?”
But the crux is in the framing of the question itself and the suggestion that it is a serious offense.
Trump’s supporters maintain that even though the president has, from the outset, openly acknowledged some of the accusations Democrats have claimed to be at the heart of the inquiry, they did not constitute a crime—much less an impeachable offense.
Skeptics point to a multitude of examples in which hypocritical Democrats have boasted about their own efforts to leverage and threaten financial support in Ukraine and other countries for political objectives or personal advantage.
Trump’s allies also note that the Democrats’ impeachment push has little to do with the Ukraine matter, and that the president’s opponents have made clear their intentions to undermine and remove the president since he was first elected—including a catastrophic attempt to link him with Russian collusion.
Thus, Democrats have not only to prove that there was misconduct that rose to such a serious level, the greater political challenge is convincing the public of their sincerity and that the so-called cure for this political malady isn’t, in fact, far worse than the symptoms.