By now it’s become clear, as a number of other commentators have noted, that President Trumpelstiltskin appears to believe that an impeachment inquiry will help him. That belief seems to be predicated on the experience of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who led the charge in the impeachment of Bill Clinton and then lost the House majority in the 1988 mid-term elections.
But there is a big difference between the impeachment of Bill Clinton and the likely impeachment of President Trumpelstiltskin. Clinton was essentially impeached for lying about a blow job (or more properly, for lying about an affair). He was impeached because, when under oath, he didn’t want to admit the affair publicly, given that he had not yet told his powerful wife (Hillary) about it.
Lots of Americans could sympathize with his dilemma. They also saw the Ken Starr Independent Counsel investigation as vindictive, given that it had started with the Whitewater land deal and ended with the blue dress.
In his latest outrage, President Trumpelstiltskin has been accused of pressuring the incoming Ukranian government to open an investigation against Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden, to look into his involvement with Burisma Holdings. (This issue has already been investigated, and nothing was found.) Trumpelstiltskin first withheld about $391 million in military aid to Ukraine, which was not released until September 12, all in an effort to get the Ukranian’s to comply with his wishes.
This isn’t the kind of thing like lying about a blow job.
Remarkably enough, Trump actually released the transcript of his phone call with incoming Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky — the transcript of which can be read here — but he has not yet released the whistleblower complaint that brought this whole issue to light (and which his administration is legally required to release). Trumpelstiltskin seems to believe that because there is no explicit quid pro quo in the transcript, that there will be no problem.
He is likely to be sadly mistaken.
I think the Democrats will find that there is no big blowback about opening an impeachment inquiry after all the ways that Trump has been brazenly defiant of Presidential norms, and after the documented incidents of obstruction of justice that are enumerated in the Mueller report.