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Pelosi just took Impeachment off the table!


I would guess millions of Americans were as surprised as I was today when Nancy Pelosi took Impeachment off the table.

She left herself an out: “…unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan,” she’s against Impeachment now. Well, we don’t know what the evidence is. We don’t know what Mueller is going to say. We don’t know what the Southern District of New York is going to say. They may well find evidence that Trump has committed “compelling and overwhelming” crimes.

Certainly most Democrats believe he has. Less than a month ago, a respectable poll found that 53% of Dems think Congress should Impeach Trump, a percentage that grew 14 points just since the start of the new year. The Catch-22 in Pelosi’s phrasing, however, is that pesky word, “bipartisan.” She’s insisting she won’t put Impeachment into play unless her reading of House Republicans is that at least a good portion of them would support it. But the same poll showed that support for Impeachment among Republicans is actually falling, with only 8% on favor. In other words, there ain’t gonna be any “bipartisanship” in the House of Representatives, which means there ain’t gonna be any Impeachment. Unless the Moon falls into the sea, Democrats can give up that dream right now.

Which, frankly, is pissing a lot of us off. We’ve put our hearts, minds and energies into resisting this disastrous president for more than two years. We’ve heard the evidence of what looks like rampant collusion: the Trump Tower meeting, the Wikileaks connections, the perjury and lies, the Moscow Hotel deal, Jared Kushner’s suspicious maneuverings, Trump’s firing of Comey—on and on and on. In fact, I’m stunned that only 53% of Democrats want to move forward aggressively on Impeachment. Why not 100%? What the hell more do they need? Maybe when Trump pardons Manafort, they’ll grow some spine.

My tendency is to trust Pelosi. After all, we’ve celebrated her as the smartest politician in Washington, especially after she engineered the Blue Wave in the 2016 elections. She’s old, but canny as an alley cat; she knows how to get things done in the Congress better than anyone else. So maybe there’s something she knows that we don’t. Republicans, naturally, will take Pelosi’s words to boast, “See? We told you all along there was no Russia collusion. Even Pelosi knows it, which is why she made that statement.” Trump hadn’t tweeted anything like that at the time I wrote this, which is odd; I had thought he’d be all over it like fleas on a mangy dog. Maybe Huckabee Sanders or Kellyanne is out there, peddling that line, and I just happened to miss it. Maybe Trump will tweet something about it tonight. We’ll see.

Still, that will be the interpretation at Fox “News” and on the rightwing talk radio shows and conservative papers like the Wall Street Journal. Which makes it all the more unfortunate that Pelosi made her statement at this particular time. Why now? One possible interpretation is that she knows Mueller is about to release his Report imminently, and that it will not, repeat not contain impeachable charges. So she’s trying to inoculate Congressional Democrats from the fallout. If the Report comes out sans impeachable charges, Republicans will demand that Democrats denounce Impeachment immediately—to which they can reply, “But we already did. See Speaker Pelosi’s statement.” Admittedly, that’s a pretty lame response—but the truth is, Pelosi just handed Trump a great, big, fat, juicy cheeseburger—and his birthday isn’t until June 14.

So I’m in some bewilderment. The news cycle over the next few days may shed some light on the situation. Or it may not. Either way—and it pains me to say this—Trump has been having a good week. And Pelosi just made it better. He can run with the “No collusion!” mantra right through the 2020 election, and a lot of Americans will think to themselves, “You know what? He’s right. He may be a really bad man, but he hasn’t done such a bad job as president, and those Democrats really persecuted him.” That kind of thinking may just get Trump re-elected.

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