10 reasons the Democrats are winning on impeachment

CNN reported on Friday, “The opening statement of Bill Taylor, the top US diplomat in Ukraine, is ‘reverberating’ on Capitol Hill among Republicans, according to GOP Hill sources, who told CNN that Taylor’s testimony is a game changer in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.”

Republicans, it seems, understand that “Taylor’s statement was so detailed, so specific and that he is so respected that it is having an impact.” Insisting that mere solicitation of a foreign power was not sufficient to impeach, Republicans demanded proof of a quid pro quo. Now, one of CNN’s sources concedes that Taylor’s testimony “points to quid pro quo.”

In contrast to the House Judiciary Committee hearings that bogged down in court fights, the impeachment inquiry is moving quickly and is producing a mound of evidence. Even without a public hearing, Democrats have moved public opinion in favor of impeachment more swiftly than even the strongest supporters of impeachment expected. How is it that Democrats are, for all intents and purposes, “winning” the impeachment inquiry?

First, they have a narrow set of facts and are sticking with the Ukraine scandal (and obstruction thereof). The story has an expanding cast of characters, but the high crime and/or misdemeanor — extorting Ukraine to help President Donald Trump’s re-election — is easy to understand.

Second, they have cooperating witnesses willing to defy the White House’s demands that they not testify. The permanent civil servants have proved to be far more courageous and patriotic than, say, former White House counsel Donald McGahn, who declined to testify under subpoena.

Third, because Trump and his minions — including the hapless acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney — fail to understand what they have done wrong, we’ve seen serial confessions. The confessions don’t add to witnesses’ credibility, but they unnerve Republicans who, again and again, get the rug pulled out from under their feet.

Fourth, there really is no “other side.” The White House has not really taken issue with the facts and we have yet to hear about any exculpatory evidence. (At worst, Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, claims “not to remember” threatening Ukraine — an improbable claim but, noticeably, not a denial.) The president simply cannot comprehend that using taxpayer money (in the form of foreign aid) to shake down the Ukrainians for his own political purposes is wrong. They might as well stick to the facts in the Senate trial.

Fifth, House and Senate Republicans do not seem to think there is a substantive defense, either. They concoct specious complaints about process because they have nothing else to say.

Sixth, the media has stopped playing the moral equivalence game. A clear, consistent account of the facts is coming through to the public, no matter how many newspaper subscriptions Trump cancels. (By the way, the president is simply forcing employees to pay for subscriptions out of their own pockets since, particularly in this administration, that is how they often find out what is going on.)

Seventh, again and again, the federal courts are doing their jobs, swatting down ludicrous arguments offered by Trump’s lawyers and the White House counsel. Trump is on quite a legal losing streak — suffering defeats on production of his Mazars USA financial record, losing the denial of grand jury testimony to Congress, and receiving judicial confirmation that no floor vote to officially commence an impeachment inquiry is needed.

Eighth, word that former national security adviser John Bolton may testify should scare the living daylights out of Trump and the president’s supporters. Bolton’s eyewitness testimony won’t be able to be written off as “hearsay,” nor can he be personally dismissed as some agent of the deep state.

Ninth, there are more and more witnesses yet to come. This coming week, Tim Morrison, a National Security Council official, is slated to appear. And the House has issued subpoenas for acting Office of Management and Budget director Russell Vought; Michael Duffey, OMB’s associate director of National Security Programs; and T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, a counselor at the State Department. This conspiracy surely was the worst kept secret in the administration.

Tenth, it matters that a huge majority of Americans think Trump is dishonest and has handled the inquiry poorly. Trump has no reservoir of good will, and it is easy to see that a credibility contest between Trump on one side and, well just about anyone on the other, will not go well for Trump.

None of this is to say Republicans are on the verge of a mass defection, or that there are 20 votes among the GOP members of the Senate for removal. Nevertheless, in waiting for just the right moment to launch a formal impeachment inquest and putting House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., in charge, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., once more has outmaneuvered and out-messaged Trump. This time, his presidency hangs in the balance.

Jennifer Rubin writes for the Washington Post.

WPBloom

Tags

Recommended for you

(23) comments

hermit thrush

Your refusal to believe that anybody, Left or Right, has benefited from the economy over the last four years is what will get Trump re-elected.

jackie, this is not as ridiculous as that time you were all "racism is racism and racism" about ilhan omar and then immediate went ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ when i pointed out that trump has said stuff which is much worse ... but it is still a totally ridiculous and shameful thing to say.

sometimes i think the biggest divide in our politics is between people who think we should say true things and people who don't care about that.

Jackie

Shameful? How so? As shameful as believing Omar isn't a racist?

hermit thrush

shameful as in you're making absurd lies about what i think.

like i said, a big divide in our politics is that a lot of people don't care about trying to say accurate things.

Jackie

I agree, like when people say Ilan Omar isn't a racist, a dangerous inaccuracy.

hermit thrush

jackie, it really says something about you that, given where we started, you are insisting on wrapping the conversation around to ilhan omar. i am not going to deny that she has said some problematic stuff. i am also not going to deny that she has done some real work to better herself and make amends. it continues to be quite a reflection of who you are as a person that you have had far worse things to say about her than about trump, despite trump having said far worse things.

hermit thrush

jackie, let's take a time machine back to 2016. back then you could have written:

But that's all they're running on... that and xenophobia/islamophobia/racism. You're correct, Obama won in 2016 and Democrats are probably going to win again because the Right still doesn't get it. People who hadn't worked in several years are now working, so those people don't care whether or not Hillary is corrupt because now they can feed their families. The Right doesn't seem to care about them. They all have jobs already.

hermit thrush

*2012

Jackie

I could have but I would have been wrong. Those on the Right who voted for Trump in 2016 aren't the ones who had jobs. The elitists on the Left had jobs, still do, and don't care about those who had been struggling all those years. I don't like Trump, but I have a job and have had one for many years, but I can't look away from those who don't, and in order to win in 2020, which I hope they do, I think the democrats need to speak to those people, not continue to preach to the choir because that will only bring them another defeat.

hermit thrush

in november 2016 the unemployment rate was 4.7% (all the way down from a high of 10.0% at the peak of the great recession). that is pretty low by historical standards. that is not very many people without jobs. under trump the unemployment rate has fallen further to 3.6%. it is good that trump didn't mess up the economy he inherited from obama, but your economic analysis here is nuts. the claim that only jobless people on the right voted for trump is nuts. in fact trump voters tended to have higher incomes than clinton voters.

what is elitist is pushing this kind of grand narrative about what everyone on the right thinks and everyone on the left thinks, when your narrative crumbles at the first contact with empirical reality.

Jackie

Your refusal to believe that anybody, Left or Right, has benefited from the economy over the last four years is what will get Trump re-elected. But you just go on with your narrative for the next five years and then maybe after that the democrats will get it together.

Nice_Commenter

Your demographic analysis is completely wrong. Trump voters make more money than non-Trump voters. It wasn't 'economic anxiety" it was racism, pure and simple.

hermit thrush

to be fair there was a good deal of xenophobia, islamophobia, and misogyny in the mix too.

Airball55

Jennifer rubin, Washington post lol. We shall see. I find it amusing to watch all this strangely. Each side calling the other names, nothing getting done. True workers we have in DC lol. Thank goodness we all go to work, pay taxes and plod along daily outside of DC.

hermit thrush

Each side calling the other names

this is so bizarrely attached from reality. democrats have laid out a very, very substantive case of the president's wrongdoing. one way to know this is by actually reading rubin's column, which is full of substance. yet you don't engage with any of it. you simply pretend it doesn't exist.

Airball55

"first they have a narrow set of facts"...yup started to fall apart right there. Let's see the whistlblower. Let's hear all the "interviews." No more basement meetings please. This is winning? Ouch. Yes, both sides calling each other names. Every day they call the opposition corrupt. It is you sir that pretend to not see/read it. Sigh...

When is Mueller coming back?

hermit thrush

"first they have a narrow set of facts"

yes they do -- as pertains to the ukraine story, which is of course what rubin is referring to.

Let's see the whistlblower.

why? virtually every claim made in the whistleblower's complaint has turned out to be true. that's what's important. the whistleblower him/herself is a distraction at this point.

Let's hear all the "interviews." this is a perfectly reasonable call to make. fortunately for you democrats have started releasing transcripts of the private hearings. that tells you this has been a good-faith process.

Yes, both sides calling each other names.

to reduce what has been going on on the democratic side to "name calling" is beyond absurd.

i can't read your mind, but you have some deep seated animus towards democrats which is massively clouding your vision.

hermit thrush

*detached

Jackie

It's all obfuscation because the democrats know they have nothing for 2020. They can't talk about the economy, which is what most people care about, because it's doing fine. All they can talk about is Medicare for All, blah, blah, blah, just like 2016.

hermit thrush

what an incoherent point. the economy was doing just as fine (maybe a touch better) going into 2016, yet trump won. no reason to think it's going to save him now.

also, trump is the most corrupt president we've ever had, and that is, you know, something of an issue to campaign on.

Jackie

But that's all they're running on... that and Medicare for All. You're correct, Trump won in 2016 and he's probably going to win again because the Left still doesn't get it. People who hadn't worked in several years are now working, so those people don't care whether or not Trump is corrupt because now they can feed their families. The Left doesn't seem to care about them. They all have jobs already.

rdsouth

The campaign season is still young, and how the Democrats will run the general election campaign is yet to be seen.

Nice_Commenter

I would rather have "nothing" than Trump.

rdsouth

I think you'll be surprised. The general election will be completely different from the primaries or the pre-primary maneuvering. I think the left wing has pretty much maxed out at 35 percent or so, divided between Sanders and Warren. Once the primaries start everybody else will coalesce around somebody pretty quickly. I'm guessing Biden is a placeholder and it will probably be Buttigeig. It will be all about style, Kennedy vs Wrestling Promoter.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.