Impeachment Has Started, Softly But Surely

Becky O'Malley
Monday August 12, 2019 - 12:46:00 PM

When the toney restaurants I seldom frequent are in puberty, conceived and birthed but not yet debuted, they often have what the full-gush foodie press calls a “soft opening”. There’s no publicity, perhaps not even a sign, but those in the know are aware that they can get a pretty darn good meal if they stop by during the soft opening period, which may last days, weeks, or even months.

That’s where we are now with the pending impeachment of the country’s scandalous president which has progressives already salivating. It’s a soft start to a major conclusion.

House Judiciary Committee head Jerry Nadler is admitting as much, as quoted on CNN, MSNBC and in the Washington Post, to name a few. The phrase he’s used is “formal impeachment proceedings.” Not, yet, exactly, “articles of impeachment”, but mighty close. 

The story, for those who know where to look, can be found in the pleadings for House Judiciary Committee v. Donald F. McGahn II, a lawsuit filed on Wednesday: 

“The Judiciary Committee is now determining whether to recommend articles of impeachment against the President based on the obstructive conduct described by the Special Counsel.” 


“The Judiciary Committee is conducting an investigation to understand the scope and extent of misconduct by President Trump, and that investigation includes consideration of whether the Judiciary Committee should exercise its Article I powers to recommend articles of impeachment. Articles of impeachment already have been introduced and referred to the Judiciary Committee in this Congress. 

“To fulfill its duties, the Judiciary Committee must obtain testimony and evidence from witnesses to the President’s actions to determine whether to recommend such articles against the President, or whether to recommend additional or alternative articles that the Judiciary Committee may prepare.” 

Pundits eager to stir the pot have been hypothesizing a split within the Democratic Party over when impeachment should officially open, but this language could hardly be clearer: it already has. This is the soft opening, the appetizer which precedes the main course. 

The first serving of red meat for the impeachment hawks has been provided by the subpoena Issued to McGahn. He has been asked to tell the Judiciary Committee whatever he knows about Donald Trump’s repeated crimes and misdemeanors in his attempts to obstruct justice. 

But that stuff happened way back last year, part of Trump’s flirtation with Russia and its magnetic overlord. El Presidente has since Ddone so many more appalling things since then that conspiring with Putin to steal the election seems trivial. 

Is there such a thing as a traitorous tweet? As a lifelong First Amendment absolutist, I’d have to say no. No matter what malodorous verbal rotten tomatoesTrump has hurled at The Squad in the wee small hours of the morning, it’s protected speech, not an impeachable offense. 

How about seizing hundreds of parents at work and leaving their kids with no one to take care of them? Again, horrendous, but not impeachable. 

How about hanging out with a notorious accused sex criminal? Disgusting, but oops, it seems that one will never come to trial now that Jeffrey Epstein is dead. 

(I’m seriously allergic to conspiracy theories, but even I have my suspicions. It seems unlikely that some external assassin was brought in to off Epstein, but surely someone with his financial resources could pay off the guards to turn their backs and even to give him enough rope to hang himself. Trump’s super-sleazy Attorney General Barr says he’s appalled (=shocked, shocked) by what happened, but the average 12 year old could have predicted this one.) 

It looks like the only way to stop all these major affronts to public morality will be to utilize the relatively minor offenses which are already in the pipeline. The House of Representatives can use this soft opening of the formal impeachment proceedings, a slow but steady accumulation of evidence by the ponderous Congressman Nadler and his judicious Judiciary colleagues, to take down Trump. 

It’s a process which could easily take months to build up a good head of steam, and then more months to be turned into precise articles of impeachment which would be guaranteed to stick. But that’s all right. It’s important to make sure that the House has all of its ducks in a row, so to speak. It would be a big mistake to rush the process only to have the Senate acquit just in time to influence the 2020 election in the wrong direction. 

We can still hope for the grand opening, the actual evidence-rich articles of impeachment which are the real indictment, but not until least a year from now. Meanwhile, the collection of evidence by the various congressional committees can move forward to an inexorable conclusion. 

No need to rush the process. Revenge is a dish best served cold. 


Presumably there will be no impeachment or indictment for the next week. We hope to take this weekend off, so the next issue will be dated August 23. There may be new postings between now and then, or not.