Within the only impeachment resolution put forth by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to open an “impeachment inquiry” the resolution outlined a process. With only eight legislative days left in 2019; and considering the resolution as adopted; the calendar doesn’t match the democrat talking points. Here is a walk through of the timeline:
Democrats have said they anticipate an impeachment vote in mid-December, but a review of the House impeachment resolution calls for a transfer from HPSCI “inquiry” (Schiff) to HJC “investigation” (Nadler) as an outcome of a report from Adam Schiff’s intelligence committee.
Even if we assume the HPSCI report is being written during the Thanksgiving break by HPSCI/Lawfare staff there would still need to be a period where the report is reviewed by the congress members on the committee. Normally there would be a minority section to the report; and under all committee processes there would be a vote to advance the report.
Again, there’s only eight days in December and presumably HPSCI committee members would need to review the report prior to advancing it to the House Judiciary Committee (HJC). Once the report lands in the HJC, again – according to the prior resolution, that’s when President Trump would be able to call rebuttal witnesses and have White House counsel challenge and cross-examine HJC witnesses.
As noted above, in previous comments by Democrat leadership they have said they are targeting an impeachment vote for mid-December.
There is absolutely no-way the HPSCI can generate a report, have members authorize the report, transfer the report to HJC, schedule witnesses in coordination with the White House, organize opposing counsel, complete a HJC inquiry, assemble articles of impeachment and hold a House vote on those articles in eight days, mid-December.
Even with the partisan railroading on overdrive that schedule is an impossibility. Remember, they still have to pass a budget because they punted a continuing resolution into December.
The best the House could hope for would be a HPSCI report completed and a House vote to send the report to HJC in December; changing the process from an official “inquiry” into an official “investigation”. If accurate (more sensible) that puts the HJC impeachment process into January 2020.
Given the need for Chairman Nadler and the HJC to coordinate schedules with White House lawyers and rules, etc. etc. HJC hearings would be mid to late January under the best of circumstances; and article assembly with a House Impeachment Vote in late January to early February 2020.
[Keep in mind throughout this Dec/Jan process the Democrats will be getting pummeled by President Trump and the GOP in media and that will show in polling.]
So now we’re into February, and here comes the Senate…. and things will get even slower.
Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar would now be removed from the campaign trail until further notice (likely six to eight weeks). That leaves the “three B’s” (Biden, Buttigieg and Bloomberg) with complete free reign on the campaign trail, while the Democrat Senators are stuck in DC.
[Über-cynically, perhaps that scenario is by design. Perhaps the DNC Club wants to eliminate the far-left wing-nuts through a process of cooperation with Pelosi on the schedule. Biden, Buttigieg and Bloomberg are definitely the DNC donor class favs.]
However, a Feb/March/April impeachment effort is just plain silly from an electoral perspective. The presidential election is only six months away. The effort would look like abject stupidity, it just doesn’t make sense.
Walk it through on paper, the legal impeachment process just doesn’t match with the House Speaker’s talking points. Yet, if they don’t complete the impeachment process in the House it’s arguably worse. By the end of the year they will have spent four months on this fiasco…. How can they not have a vote?…. and yet what would they be voting on?
…..This schedule just doesn’t add up.
And then consider the legal challenges on a parallel track:
Nancy Pelosi and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler need a full House authorization vote to gain the authority for the HJC to penetrate the constitutional firewall that protects the separation of power in the “official” impeachment investigation.
Any loss in three currently pending cases will undermine the validity of the prior impeachment inquiry…. that’s obviously an issue. There are three cases, each of them appears heading to the Supreme Court; one is already there.
♦The first case is the House Oversight Committee effort to gain President Trumps’ tax returns as part of their impeachment ‘inquiry’ and oversight. That case is currently on-hold (10-day stay) in the Supreme Court. Written briefs soon, arguments perhaps in early December? Outcome pending. There is a very strong probability Pelosi will lose this case because Oversight doesn’t have jurisdiction and the case began back in February.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. granted the administration’s request to stay the federal appeals court ruling against Mr. Trump until “further order” — for now — as the high court decides whether or not to hear the president’s challenge.
[…] Douglas Letter, general counsel for the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, had sent a letter to the court, agreeing to a brief 10-day stay while the parties filed their court papers debating the need for an injunction while the case is being considered. (link)
Probability of loss to Pelosi 90%.
♦The second case is the House Judiciary Committee (HJC) effort to gain the grand jury information from the Mueller investigation. The decision by DC Judge Beryl Howell was stayed by a three member DC Appellate court. Oral arguments were November 12th, the decision is pending. [Depending on outcome, the case
could will also go to SCOTUS]
[…] the appeals court in a brief order said it would not immediately release the documents “pending further order of the court.” The court also asked the House and the Justice Department for more briefings and set a Jan. 3 date for another hearing. (link)
Probability of SCOTUS 100%
♦The third case is the HJC effort to force the testimony of former White House legal counsel Don McGahn. Issue: subpoena validity. The HJC has asked for an expedited ruling. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has announced she will deliver her ruling on Monday November 25th.
The House’s letter to federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson in Washington points out that it is considering impeaching Trump for obstruction of justice, for which McGahn would be a key witness since he spoke to special counsel Robert Mueller for the obstruction investigation, and for lying to Mueller, after testimony at Roger Stone’s criminal trial raised questions about Trump’s written answers to investigators about Russian interference in the 2016 election. (link)
Probability Appeal 100% – Probability SCOTUS 90%
Pelosi, Schiff, Nadler and Lawfare are hoping a full House vote to authorize impeachment will help them retroactively in any judicial decision (court, appeals or SCOTUS). The only case where that seems possible is the last one; and that has a long way to reach SCOTUS.
Remember, the Supreme Court has not yet ruled on any ancillary case that touches upon the validity of the unilaterally declared House impeachment process. The Supreme Court has not ruled on any case that touches the impeachment “inquiry”.
The issue at stake is whether the legislative branch can penetrate the constitutional firewall which exists within the separation of powers.
If the House loses the Tax case in SCOTUS (likely), and/or either HJC case in appeals or SCOTUS it will mean there was no constitutional foundation for the “impeachment inquiry” upon which they have built their legal arguments.
Without the constitutional recognition of the judicial branch Pelosi and Schiff’s HPSCI status as a constitutional impeachment process would be fatally flawed. The product from all of that effort could be considered invalid; and possibly the Senate could ignore any House impeachment vote that uses invalid evidence gathered in the fatally flawed process.
Pelosi and Schiff are racing the court for their legal foundation; and simultaneously facing the IG FISA report release which will likely challenge the foundation of their narrative.