Tuesday, February 16, 2021


UPDATE: I'm leaving this post up, but it's one of my more embarrassing failures. Nancy Pelosi was on committees before she became the Democratic leader in the House, but she isn't on committees anymore.

Mark Leibovich of The New York Times says that in the future impeachments might become routine.
The second season of impeachment had ended less than a day earlier, but Republicans were already talking about next season. It sounded ominous.

“I don’t know how Kamala Harris doesn’t get impeached if the Republicans take over the House,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said Sunday morning on Fox News.

... officials of both parties have suggested that regular impeachments may just become one of several regular features of a new and bitter normal in our politics.

... Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, suggested on Friday that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton might start looking around for a good impeachment lawyer (because, really, what would partisan Armageddon be without the Clintons?).
I'm not worried about impeachment. It takes a two-thirds vote to convict. If you impeach, you're criticized for focusing on distractions from "the people's business." Republicans can try to impeach Harris (or Joe Biden), but there's no real basis for it and the public won't buy it. And an impeachment of Hillary Clinton would just seem like the dredging up of ancient news.

But Republicans could punish Nancy Pelosi without the lengthy ritual of an impeachment -- and if they win the House in 2022, they just might do it, all based on the notion that she was single-handedly responsible for security in the House in the days leading up to the January 6 riot, a notion I'm sure few of them actually believe.

But it makes for good demagoguery:
House Administration Committee Ranking Member Rodney Davis, R-Ill., House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, House Oversight Committee Ranking Member James Comer, R-Ky., and House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., sent a letter to Pelosi, D-Calif., on Monday, saying that "many important questions" about her "responsibility for the security" of the Capitol on Jan. 6 "remain unanswered." ...

Davis, Jordan, Comer and Nunes pointed to claims made by former Capitol Police Chief Steve Sund, that he, on Jan. 4, approached the sergeant-at-arms to request the assistance of the National Guard. Sund, in a letter to Pelosi last month, said Irving replied that he was concerned about "the optics" and didn’t feel the "intelligence supported it."

"As you are aware, the speaker of the House is not only the leader of the majority party, but also has enormous institutional responsibilities," they wrote. "The speaker is responsible for all operational decisions made within the House."
This story appears at FoxNews.com, which also published an opinion piece by Jason Chaffetz, a former GOP member of the House and now a Fox contributor, under the headline "Speaker Pelosi, When Will You Answer These 13 Security Questions?" Chaffetz's first two questions overlap with what Jordan et al. are asking:
1. What was your role in authorizing or denying National Guard support before and after Jan. 6?

2. Reps. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and James Comer R-Ky., on Feb. 15 asked you five pointed questions about your role in Jan. 6 and your preservation and compliance with document requests. Will you answer them?
But then we move on to questions like this:
3. After the 2011 shooting of now former Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., what changed with regard to security?
Gabby Giffords was shot on January 8, 2011. Pelosi had handed over her Speaker's gavel to John Boehner on three days earlier. And Giffords, of course, was not shot at the Capitol -- she was shot in Tucson, Arizona.
4. After the shooting of Republican House Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., were any changes made to security?
Scalise was shot in Alexandria, Virginia, on June 4, 2017. Pelosi had stepped down as Speaker more than six years earlier. Paul Ryan had been Speaker for nearly two years.

So this is in bad faith, as is always the case with Republicans. But it's all the rage on the right.

Nearly every Republican runs against Nancy Pelosi, but this time I expect Republican candidates to run on a specific pledge to vote for Pelosi's expulsion from the House.

They can't do it -- expulsion requires a two-thirds vote. But as we learned regarding Marjorie Taylor Greene, it takes only a simple majority to strip a member of committee assignments. I think Republicans might really go for that in Pelosi's case if they take the House back. I assume they'll run on it.

Will they succeed? Some House Republicans might decide to be "institutionalists" and protect Pelosi. But if they do, they'll be risking their careers.

Maybe they won't really do this to Pelosi. Maybe they'll just do it to Ilhan Omar and AOC. Or we can beat them in the midterms and not have to think about it, at least for another two years.

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