Amid Pelosi’s Impeachment Reluctance, Trump Overreached

Speaker Nancy Pelosi displayed a public reluctance to impeach President Trump. Feeling emboldened, Trump committed the very same crime he got away with.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump (AP)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump (AP)

President Trump thought he got away with it. It was July 25th, the day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s hearings on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. The hearings highlighted the Trump Campaign’s receptiveness to Russia’s election help and President Trump’s subsequent effort to obstruct the investigation into that conduct. Because Mueller didn’t find a criminal conspiracy between Russia and the Trump Campaign, Trump felt vindicated. What Trump did next was the most brazenly corrupt act of his presidency.

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As we now know, President Trump used his July 25th phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky to do the very thing he was accused of over the previous 2 years, sparking a renewed coverup. Trump’s effort to pressure Zelensky to interfere in the 2020 election was not only unlawful, it undermined America’s democratic system. Trump’s call came amid suspended military aid that was apparently being held over Ukraine’s head (quid pro quo). Trump’s own transcript notes of their call confirmed this wrongdoing, as did Trump’s public meeting with Zelensky at the UN.  As I wrote in The Independent on Thursday, the whistleblower complaint that was released before Acting DNI Joseph Maguire’s hearing put the icing on the corruption cake:

Minutes before Thursday’s hearing was set to begin, the whistleblower complaint and the Intelligence Community Inspector General’s (IGIC) letter to Maguire were released. It implicates President Trump, multiple US officials, and Rudy Giuliani, in the illegal, months-long, pursuit of foreign election interference and a subsequent coverup.

In summary, the whistleblower’s August 12th complaint alleges that approximately a dozen White House officials listened to Trump’s July 25th call with Zelensky. After the call, there was an effort to “lock down” the transcript. Officials were allegedly directed by White House lawyers to move the digital transcript of the call to a classified electronic system in an effort to hide it. The complaint alleges that this was “not the first time” a Trump transcript was placed in that system.

While these corrupt acts were going on in secret, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was publicly expressing reluctance when it came to impeaching President Trump. After the Mueller report was released in April, and after the hearings on July 24th, calls for impeachment hit a fever pitch. Nevertheless, Pelosi felt that the best way forward was for House Democrats to rack up court wins as they combatted the Trump Administration’s stonewalling. Pelosi’s unwillingness to impeach Trump likely led him to believe he would never be held accountable. It appears that misplaced belief led Trump down a path that would could prove to be his undoing.

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On Tuesday, Speaker Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Given the simplicity of Trump’s corrupt Ukraine act, and the digestible nature of the coverup allegations, this is doing serious political damage to President Trump as the White House panics, Republicans privately express concerns, and support for impeachment rises.

Those polls were before the whistleblower complaint was released. Of course, it’s still a far-fetched idea to believe Senate Republicans will turn on President Trump at this time, but keep an eye on Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) who have expressed concerns. At the very least, Trump’s crimes have thoroughly damaged his 2020 re-election odds. This scandal continues to get worse as Trump officials continue to backstab each other in an effort to shield themselves from legal liability.

In May, Pelosi said Trump was “almost self-impeaching” himself. Perhaps this is what she meant.

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Rundown // Donald Trump / Impeachment / Nancy Pelosi / Ukraine