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Listen, President Trump drives me crazy. His policy instincts often strike me as dangerous: trade protectionist, inflationist, and cronyist. I’m still suspicious that he might play ball with statists left and right on critical issues, when and if he perceives a political advantage in doing so. And Trump is hopelessly inarticulate and belligerent. Nevertheless, I will almost certainly vote for him in 2020 for several reasons, not least because the feasible alternatives are completely unacceptable. That view is reinforced by the behavior of the Democrat party in their effort to fabricate “high crimes and misdemeanors” on Trump’s part. That effort is not just dishonest, it is foolish, and they have a lot to lose. Their machinations are likely to blow up in their faces.

For one thing, the Democrats don’t seem to have much of a case. This time they are focused on a May 2019 phone conversation that took place between Trump and the recently-elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. The Democrats contend that Trump held up military aid in order to pressure Zelenskiy to investigate the Biden family’s activities in the Ukraine, a charge flatly denied by Zelenskiy. In fact, at the time of the call, the Ukrainians has no idea that military aid had been suspended, a fact first reported by The New York Times.

The Trump Administration released a transcript of the Zelenskiy call, which offers no evidence that a quid pro quo was offered by Trump. Even the text messages released this morning fail to support the claim. Joe Biden’s name came up during the call in connection with potential interference by the Ukraine in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. That’s reasonable in light of the events reported to have taken place, and it is certainly within the scope of presidential powers, as were Trump’s efforts to discuss election interference with Australia, the U.K., and other countries.

If you don’t know it already, a successful impeachment in the House of Representatives will not remove Trump from office. It will constitute a referral of charges to the Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, and a conviction requires a two-thirds majority. Ain’t gonna happen.

In the meantime, there really is no formal “impeachment” underway, despite what you think you’ve heard. This is a “proceeding” that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi really had no authority to initiate, and there is no set of rules or procedures guiding the spectacle. An impeachment investigation requires a House vote, but Democrats voted to table a resolution calling for such a vote because they really don’t want one, not yet anyway. Why? Because it would force them to go on record before they’re quite sure they want to, but more importantly it would demand due process for the accused. A House vote for an impeachment investigation would give House Republicans subpoena powers, something Democrats don’t want to take a chance on.

Again, the whole effort by the Democrats will ultimately be futile, and the trial proceedings in the Senate might be very ugly for them as well. It is likely to shed light on several matters that offer unflattering context for the impeachment effort and might well lead to criminal charges against prominent Democrats and their operatives:

These are all troubling questions that should be investigated. We may or may not get to the bottom of it before the impeachment vote in the House, if it ever occurs. Senate Republicans will undoubtedly be interested in pursuing many of these areas of inquiry, and Joe Biden will not come out of this unscathed. There is likely considerable evidence to support claims that he used political influence to gain his son Hunter favor in the Ukraine and China. 

This month, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz is expected to release his report on the origins and conduct of the Russia investigation into Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. including potential corruption of the FISA process. His report will reflect the findings of two U.S. attorneys conducting separate inquiries into various aspects of the matter. These reports are a potential disaster for Democrats. Perhaps the distraction of impeachment theatre seems desirable to them, but the longer they continue the fruitless effort to “get Trump”, which began well before he was elected, the more incompetent they look. They don’t seem to have noticed that the whole spectacle is strengthening Trump’s base of support.

Which brings me back to Trump’s belligerence, which I briefly decried above. And it’s true, I often wince, but then I often laugh out loud as well. His political opponents and the media are constantly aghast at his every unapologetic response to their attacks. I will readily admit that it’s deeply satisfying to witness him hurling the crap right back at them, right on the schnoz. In the case of the impeachment drama, his base of support and many others in the middle know the Dems richly deserve it.