The House Democrats’ position on impeachment remains intentionally murky. Ask any member of Congress where they stand, and their position is uniquely their own.
Keep in mind: The House of Representatives have not even voted to approve an impeachment inquiry. Why not? The most likely explanation is that the majority Democrats do not yet have 218 votes.
Impeachment has never before been pursued without the House of Representatives formally approving an inquiry, and that is not the only way that this impeachment effort is unusual. As talk radio host Rush Limbaugh pointed out this week, impeachment inquiries have historically been conducted by the House Judiciary Committee.
But Speaker Nancy Pelosi has given primary jurisdiction for the impeachment fight to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence instead.
This may just be a turf battle between California Rep. Adam Schiff, who chairs the intelligence panel, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat. Or, as Mr. Limbaugh surmises, it may be because the Intelligence Committee’s activities are mostly classified to prevent leaks. Closed hearings will help Democrats set the narrative and control the flow of information.
It was only in recent days that the true purpose of the Democratic drive to impeachment has been revealed. Democrats want the public to believe this is about a July phone call that President Trump had with the new Ukrainian president, but that’s clearly not so.
Instead, the real motivation is to get ahead of damaging revelations about to break about election interference in 2016 involving Democratic operatives and the Obama administration.
Attorney General William Barr was recently in Italy to listen to a “secret tape” from a foreign operative named Joseph Mifsud. U.S. Attorney John Durham has been leading an investigation into how the Trump-Russian collusion investigation got started, and whether any laws were broken.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is completing an investigation into the handling of classified emails on a private server owned and operated by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This probe began at the end of the Obama administration and is still ongoing. Dozens of State Department officials have been interviewed or asked to provide documents.
Clearly, Democrats fear what these investigations will reveal.
Was the federal court overseeing intelligence matters misled about the nature of the sketchy Steele dossier? Were foreign governments working with the Obama administration to spy on or entrap the Trump campaign? Did the Steele Dossier rely on information provided by Russian intelligence? Did Mrs. Clinton’s private server break any laws or jeopardize national security?
These are all serious questions that deserve answers, and it is increasingly clear that Democrats do not want these answers made public.
They are feverishly moving an impeachment process with a goal of finishing in less than two months. The Clinton impeachment process took five months. The Nixon impeachment took eight months, and Nixon resigned before the House even voted.
In an attempt to silence or sideline Mr. Barr and Mr. Pompeo, Democrats are trying to attack them through this ridiculous Ukraine impeachment inquiry. But the secretary of state and the attorney general appear committed to seeing this work through.
For impeachment to prove politically advantageous, the effort must be bipartisan and supported by a majority of the country. Democrats are failing on both counts so far, and they just began a two-week recess where they are losing even more momentum.
It will be quite rich if it comes to light that the same Democrats who have been screaming about foreign intervention in a U.S. election are themselves guilty of the same charge.
I hope no one interfered in the 2016 U.S. election. I hope these questions are proven to be just unfounded accusations.
But the urgency of Democratic efforts to impugn the president, and especially Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Barr, makes me highly suspicious of their true motives.
• Matt Mackowiak is president of Austin, Texas, and Washington, D.C.-based Potomac Strategy Group. He’s a Republican consultant, a Bush administration and Bush-Cheney reelection campaign veteran and former press secretary to two U.S. senators.
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