Thursday, October 10, 2019


Axios's David Nather and Margaret Talev say that Democrats probably can't impeach again if Trump survives the process now and goes on to win reelection:
If Trump survives politically and is re-elected to serve another four years, Congress likely would have nowhere left to go in the event of another scandal, legal and political experts say — not because the House couldn’t impeach him again, but because it might be politically impossible to do so....

“There is almost certainly NOT a barrier to a second impeachment, even for the exact same conduct,” much less “a second impeachment for a different offense,” Paul Rosenzweig, a former senior counsel to Kenneth Starr in the Whitewater investigation of Clinton, wrote in an email.

Politically, though, no one believes House Democrats would want to go through it again.

A second impeachment would risk “a political blowback in the midterm elections if Democrats are seen as nothing but a political party that wants to railroad, witch hunt, whatever you want to call it, this president,” said Jim Robenalt, an Ohio-based lawyer who created a continuing legal education program with former White House counsel John Dean about Watergate....

“The cold, hard political reality is that it would be very hard for the House ever to try to take another bite at the apple,” said Jim Manley, a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

... By using the ultimate congressional power against Trump now, Democrats could be out of options if they have to face Trump for another four years.
I disagree. I said this a couple of weeks ago and I'm standing by it: If Democrats hold the House, there will be a second impeachment, because Trump, like a recalcitrant adolescent, will keep testing the limits of what he can get away with until he's stopped. His self-dealing will become even more flagrant. He'll be more obvious about structuring U.S. foreign policy around his own interests and the interests of his family.

Meanwhile, the long post-2008 recovery will almost certainly run out of gas on his watch. He'll continue to make appalling foreign policy decisions. There'll be assaults on Obamacare and Roe v. Wade (I don't believe Roe will be effectively overturned in the next Supreme Court term, but if Trump wins again, it's doomed), and possibly on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Second-term presidents struggle to maintain their popularity, and Trump is already terrible at his job. Also, we'll be facing the prospect of an entire Trump term in which there are no "grown-ups" keeping his worst impulses in check.

Which means that in all likelihood he'll do something new that's clearly impeachable, and an electorate that found him tolerable enough to return to office will finally be fed up with him, for many reasons, not all of which will have to do with the impeachable offense. (I think a similar general disgust helps explain impeachment's popularity right now.)

So yes, we'll have another shot at impeachment if the Electoral College returns Trump to office. He'll push us until we don't really have a choice.

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