Various Democrats are beginning to state the obvious: the hold on the submission of the impeachment by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not worked and will not work. From the very start, some of us stated that this was a ridiculous ploy that would not result in any concessions. What it has done is eviscerate the rationale for the rushed impeachment. Various Senate Democrats have broken with Pelosi over the ill-conceived strategy. The most stinging was Sen. Diane Feinstein who stated “The longer it goes on the less urgent it becomes. So if it’s serious and urgent, send them over. If it isn’t, don’t send it over.”
In the House, there has been an effort to declare success by the fact that there is a debate over witnesses, but the same debate occurred during the Clinton trial when the House acted appropriately in submitting the impeachment. Now, ranking Democrat has learned that stating the obvious is blasphemy. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash. declared that the hold had not worked and would not work. He said it was time to turn over the impeachment and not try to control another house. He was quickly given word that he was a blasphemer and declared that he had “misspoken” and then said the exact opposite. There is nothing more moving than a redemptive sinner.
The House now appears to be looking for a way to save face for the Speaker. She has demanded a copy of the rules, which McConnell has mocked and said that they are proceeding without the House. Pelosi may trigger the nuclear option in the Senate and the rewriting of the rules to remove the courtesy of waiting for the list of house managers.
Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., stated “I understand what the speaker is trying to do, basically trying to use the leverage of that to work with Democratic and Republican senators to try to get a reasonable trial—a trial that would actually show evidence and bring out witnesses. But at the end of the day, just like we control it in the House, Mitch McConnell controls it in the Senate.” That could not have been clearer on CNN’s “New Day” on Thursday. He added “at this point, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. I think it is time to send the impeachment to the Senate and let Mitch McConnell be responsible for the fairness of the trial. He ultimately is.”
Smith did not even make it to the afternoon before he was dragged out for a public self-condemnation. He tweeted that he “misspoke” and then spoke the exact opposite: “If the Speaker believes that holding on to the articles for a longer time will help force a fair trial in the Senate, then I wholeheartedly support that decision.”
Of course, none of this reflects partisan pressure to force members to stay in line on impeachment over any independent or opposing views. That is only a Republican issue.