The rules have been established, objections have been lodged and today, Wednesday, Dec. 18, with most of the US preparing for next week’s holiday break, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is angling to finish the job, and finally impeach President Trump.
Though it means nothing to most of his supporters, as well as many Americans who simply haven’t been convinced by The Democrats’ arguments about how Trump supposedly violated the constitution, President Trump will almost certainly become the third American president to be impeached (and first since Bill Clinton) when lawmakers gather in the Well of the House for Wednesday’s historic proceedings, according to Bloomberg.
Here’s what to expect: After the House is gaveled in at about 9 am, lawmakers will debate for six hours before two votes are held: One on each article of impeachment. Trump is facing two charges: one is abuse of power, stemming from President Trump’s alleged attempted “quid pro quo” with Ukraine involving the Bidens.
The other is obstruction of Congress, based on the administration’s policy of advising White House employees and members of Trump’s circle to ignore Congressional subpoenas by invoking executive privilege.
According to the Associated Press, Pelosi has the votes to impeach Trump on a purely party line basis. Many centrist Democrats, including several lawmakers from districts that supported Trump in 2016, have come out publicly in support of impeachment. However, neither the AP or the NYT were able to publish affirmative totals, suggesting that the numbers are still being firmed up, and that there might still be room for Republicans to fight back.
In a last-ditch effort to peel off as many Democratic votes as possible, Republicans are encouraging voters in districts that flipped to Democratic control in 2018 but voted for Trump in 2016 to flood their representatives’ offices with calls demanding that they take a stand against impeachment.
As NBC News claims, it’s these swing-district Democrats who made this whole thing possible.
And they might have a shot: As Congressional Republicans have repeatedly pointed out in recent weeks, the public is evenly split on whether Trump deserves to be impeached.
That means fully one half of Americans believe the president is innocent, and that the impeachment push is merely a politically calculated smear job.
Let’s take a look at the latest polls, courtesy of aggregator RealClearPolitics…
Those numbers are even worse for Republicans: Roughly nine in ten believe the president shouldn’t be impeached. Once it’s been made official, Trump is expected to deliver a public rebuttal during a campaign rally in Battle Creek, Michigan, a formerly Democratic stronghold in a critical swing state that helped deliver Trump to the White House in 2016.
If we know Trump, we suspect that this rebuttal will be full of fire and brimstone – that is, if Trump’s letter to Pelosi & Co. is any guide.
Interestingly enough, the last US president to be impeached, Bill Clinton, was formally accused of perjury by the House on Dec. 19, 1998, almost exactly 21 years earlier to the day.
After Wednesday’s votes, a Democratic delegation will formally deliver the articles of impeachment to the secretary of the Senate, the first step toward a trial in that chamber to determine whether Trump will be removed from office.
Then early in the new year, a trial will begin in the Senate, at which Trump is almost guaranteed to be acquitted, thanks to the Republicans’ control of the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he hopes to carry out a swift trial in the Senate, limiting the number of witnesses.
As we mentioned earlier, the vote may not take place until late Wednesday – 6:30pm or 7:30pm – or even early Thursday.