Symptoms of impeachment addiction include a strong desire to impeach somebody, increased tolerance of convoluted impeachment theories, failure to fulfill obligations to family members who don’t share your addiction, difficulty reducing one’s obsession with impeachment news, and withdrawal symptoms when impeachment-related news take a rare breather. Addiction withdrawal symptoms may include trouble sleeping and depression. Complications can include marriage problems and unemployment.
1. Even if—like Pelosi—you believe that no amount of evidence, no shift in public opinion, could possibly move sufficient votes in the Senate to remove the president, the process of impeachment still delivers five discrete constitutional benefits: https://t.co/s9Y6UMQVCn https://t.co/hEs6N2J24Y
— Yoni Appelbaum (@YAppelbaum) May 23, 2019
Democrats nationwide desperately want to impeach—preferably President Trump, but impeaching anyone would also be good, although not as cathartic. Impeaching Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh would be wonderful. Impeaching Justice Clarence Thomas and Attorney General Bill Barr would also work. Impeaching Trump and Mike Pence in a single package would send Democrats into orbit.
Serious talk of impeaching Trump began seven months before his election—no, that’s not a typo. According to a Politico about Trump in April 2016: “‘Impeachment’ is already on the lips of pundits, newspaper editorials, constitutional scholars, and even a few members of Congress. From the right, Washington attorney Bruce Fein puts the odds at 50/50 that a President Trump commits impeachable offenses as president.”
Somebody should remember these predictions, the next time they advertise these pundits, editorialists, and constitutional scholars as political experts.
Professional Predicters = Emotional Drug Dealers
On the morning of November 9, 2016, when Trump wasn’t even awake yet after his 2 a.m. victory speech, and Hillary had yet to make large-scale Chardonnay purchases, Democrats were already angrily demanding impeachment. The Associated Press reported: “postelection scenes of protests …. Demonstrators from New England to the heartland and the West Coast vented against the election winner on Wednesday, … carrying signs that said ‘Impeach Trump.’”
That Trump literally hadn’t done anything at that point mattered not at all. Addiction is not about reason. The Washington Post, where democracy died in darkness, was even more emphatic. On November 11, 2016, it quoted a “prediction professor” who (surprise!) predicted Trump’s impending impeachment. Allan Lichtman claimed that “if elected, Trump would eventually be impeached by a Republican Congress that would prefer a President Mike Pence — someone whom establishment Republicans know and trust.”
If Lichtman ever made a public mea culpa about being spectacularly wrong, I have not found it. Instead, Lichtman is now peddling books about impeaching Trump.
That same day, David Brooks at The New York Times (now known for anti-Semitism and “reporters” who exchange bodily fluids for information) proclaimed that Trump’s impeachment was not only forthcoming, but inevitable.
Like a junkie who started with an occasional hit and kept telling himself he could quit anytime he wanted, Democrats started “building the case” for impeachment. What did Trump actually do to deserve impeachment months before inauguration? Emoluments! Even most lawyers did not know this word, and Trump was still two months away from taking office, but The New Yorker was already thoughtfully analyzing the emoluments impeachment case:
Before Donald Trump got elected, few Americans had heard of … the Emoluments Clause, a previously obscure-to-most-of-us provision in … the Constitution …. In the wake of his election, though, a growing chorus of voices, many of them legal experts, began debating about whether the wording of the clause could render Trump impeachable, more or less from the moment he is sworn in.
Emoluments weren’t explicitly mentioned in a Vanity Fair impeachment story five days earlier, but “five Democratic senators announced a bill they plan to release next month that would require Trump to divest assets …. The legislation would symbolically make violations of federal conflict-of-interest rules “a high crime or misdemeanor under the impeachment clause of the U.S. Constitution.”
Impeachment Theories Based on Garbage Dossier
Then came January 2017, and the Christopher Steele dossier. This was the next big hit the impeachment junkies had been craving. Reading left-wing rags, like The Guardian, from that time frame is like entering a time warp: “The allegations are wholly unsubstantiated, but were deemed serious enough for US intelligence agencies…”
We now know the names of the people at those intelligence agencies: James Clapper, John Brennan, James Comey, Sally Yates, Bruce Ohr.
The provenance of the dossier lies with a Washington-based opposition research firm, Fusion GPS…. The company was employed in September 2015 by one of Trump’s Republican detractors to look into his dealings.
We now know that Fusion GPS was bought and paid for by Hillary Clinton.
Fusion GPS in turn contracted a former British counter-intelligence officer with strong Russia contacts to delve into Trump.
We now know that he hasn’t been to Russia in a quarter of a century, and all his “contacts” were worthless.
… none of the news organizations … were able to verify its most salacious details and nor have the intelligence agencies been able to ascertain whether it is at all reliable.
Two years later, neither the “news organizations” nor the intelligence agencies have been able ascertain any of it. Get ready for the pièce de résistance of the article. Impeachment junkies, here it is:
We are currently a very long way from this point, but not so far to prevent speculation about whether Trump could be impeached. Were Trump’s team to be found to have conspired with the Kremlin …, that would certainly fall into the impeachable category.
Of course they weren’t prevented from speculating! They’d been speculating for months about impeachment. And now, like a junkie who got his hands on some smack, they were feeling the best high they’ve had in weeks!
Impeach Trump — Or Anyone, Really
The Washington Post reassured its impeachment-addicted readers on inauguration day: “The campaign to impeach President Trump has begun!” Impeachment-addicted Twitter luminaries immediately began sketching out scenarios for Clinton becoming president. Such as: impeach both Trump and Pence, then immediately impeach everyone else in line (Cabinet secretaries, the speaker of the House, the president pro tem of the Senate, etc.). Then Nancy Pelosi becomes president, then Pelosi selects Hillary as VP, then resigns and Hillary ascends to the throne.
The sheer absurdity of these scenarios didn’t stop their proponents from passionately promoting them. There was still the small matter of impeachment alone being insufficient to remove even one person from office. They’d still need convictions of all those people in the Republican-controlled Senate. But this mattered little to the addicts. Skeptics were met with scorn, just as a heroin addict would reject the notion that the “heroin chic” look is not a sign of health or fashion.
The daily drumbeat went on. Here is a typical sample from February 2017:
For those who see his impeachment as America’s best hope to survive this dangerous moment, it is time to inch up to the edge of your seats and get ready to protest. … it’s time to get back to the streets in force, and to plan a campaign of civil disobedience.
Democratic “Congresspersons” such as Maxine Waters began “serious” discussions of impeachment in early February 2017. The tireless Lichtman was back in April 2017 with “To impeach or not to impeach, that is the question.” Addiction is, indeed, difficult to break.
But, their hands shaking, Democrats were already previewing their talking points: It’s not just Trump! “Next ‘nuclear option’ could be impeachment of justices.” And why stop with Supreme Court justices? “If Jeff Sessions Will Not Resign, He Should Be Impeached!” The Nation screamed on March 2, 2017. Democratic cities passed “strongly worded” resolutions demanding Trump’s impeachment. Firing Comey in May 2017 immediately led to more calls for impeachment. How could Democrats in Congress resist?
Democratic Senators were not far behind. Their customers had a need, and they had the dope. “Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s decision to fire his FBI director could lead to possible impeachment proceedings in Congress.” When Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, under a dubious pretext, appointed Robert Mueller to “investigate” something, firing Mueller naturally became an impeachable offense.
Temporary Switch From Trump to Kavanaugh
The days turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months, and the months turned into a year, and virtually any day, an impeachment junkie could find a fresh discussion of impeachment somewhere. And then the addicts got an additional target: Kavanaugh.
Even before Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court, the addicts could not contain themselves. “Brett Kavanaugh Should Be Impeached!” thundered The Nation on September 10, 2018. Perjury! He lied about this! And he lied about that! What the “this” or “that” was, was incidental.
Nor did it matter that only a few Democratic pols could actually discern any alleged perjury. Impeachment was the subtext for the entire run-up to the final confirmation vote. If Kavanaugh didn’t perjure himself saying this, then he perjured himself saying that other thing, or maybe something else. Kavanaugh should be impeached just on general principles.
Withdrawal symptoms typically begin a few hours after the drug was last taken. Common Cause screamed a day after the confirmation: “Kavanaugh Confirmation Followed Immediately by This Call: ‘Impeach Kavanaugh’!”
I Need Another Hit, This One’s Getting Weak
Democrats were on a roller-coaster of drug-fueled ups and downs, and quitting narcotics without professional help, especially after long-term use, can be hard. So it was back to trying to score some H—that is, impeaching Trump in 2019.
The Mueller report was like a bucket of cold water poured onto a twitching addict, but only for a moment. If Trump can’t be impeached for collusion, why not impeach him for obstruction? Or “attempted obstruction”!
Many Americans have difficulty wrapping their heads around the notion of “obstructing an investigation” into a crime that never happened, and which wasn’t actually obstructed in any way, but not Democrats. In their less lucid moments, they even admit that they want to impeach Trump solely for the sake of impeachment.
The ever-quotable Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had so many reasons to impeach Trump, she couldn’t even remember them all. For her, it was all about the emoluments. In AOC’s confused mind, Russian election meddling was about emoluments as well. Emoluments, shmemoluments, who cares? Let’s just impeach Trump!
One-time Labor Secretary Robert Reich even admitted it would be an utterly pointless exercise, but paradoxically demanded that it be done anyway. A heroin addict never says “no” to more H. An impeachment addict never refuses more impeachment. So if Democrats can’t impeach Trump, then, how about impeaching Barr!
This nutty idea bubbled up and out of the addiction abyss as soon as the Mueller report became public. Leading journalistic lights of the left, like Jonathan Chait (who was seriously peddling theories of Trump having been a Russian agent since 1987), were begging congressional Democrats to impeach Barr in April 2019. Pelosi may not be quite on board with this, but it’s a close call. Impeaching Trump is still the subject of daily media speculation.
So here we are, in May 2019. Impeachment has been the subject of “national conversation” for three years now. It isn’t going away. There is no escaping the impeachment talk. It probably won’t go away even after Trump gets reelected. For the next six years, it is our destiny to live in a permanent hell of impeachment headlines, all because we share our national home with addicts who refuse all help.