Republican Senator Cory Gardner is what you would expect in a swing state like Colorado: affable, supportive of his party when it benefits his state, unafraid of independence, and not angry about any of it. Like Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Reps. Peter Welch, Elise Stefanik, and Will Hurd, Gardner has a different kind of personality than what is typically rewarded in the modern political environment. His uniqueness allowed him to successfully unseat a purple state Democratic incumbent to become Colorado’s junior senator in 2014. It also makes him the real target of impeachment. The impeachment of President Donald Trump is not about Trump’s removal from office. Of the more than one dozen Republican senators whose conviction votes would be necessary to remove the president from office, no one can identify more than 3 Republican senators who might even conceivably vote to do so. And there are Democratic senators, like Doug Jones from Alabama and Joe Manchin from West Virginia, who are just as likely to vote for an acquittal, as any Republican senators are to vote to convict. Even the practicality of the math could not sway the likes of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who lectured us that impeachment was his “responsibility.” Public hearings did not change public opinion. Changing prosecutorial theories did not change public opinion. A gale-force media tailwind pushing impeachment has not changed public opinion. But Schiff knows what is best for you — even if you do not — so he must press on. So why would otherwise savvy politicians like Speaker Nancy Pelosi continue to push a case for which there is zero likelihood of a conviction? Why would these same politicians rush to advance impeachment articles, pass those articles with no Republican votes, declare President Trump an existential threat to the Republic, and then place those articles in legislative purgatory and refuse to transmit those articles for trial? The impeachment inquiry, investigation, votes, and ultimate refusal to transmit articles are not about removing Trump from office. Rather, it is a tacit acknowledgment he will be re-elected in November of 2020. The plan now is to use impeachment to neuter that second term with a Democrat-controlled Senate. This impeachment exercise is most assuredly about removing someone from office. It’s just not about removing Trump from office. It’s about removing Cory Gardner, Martha McSally, Thom Tillis, Susan Collins and Joni Ernst from their senate offices. A Democratic Senate would make the assemblage of a Cabinet next to impossible, end the filling of judicial vacancies, paralyze the country should there be a U.S. Supreme Court opening and ensure that both the House and Senate spend their time investigating the executive branch. If you think the country made little to no legislative progress with a Democrat-controlled House and a Republican president, just wait until there is a Democrat-controlled House and Senate and a Republican president. There are currently 53 Republican Senators with 45 Democrats and 2 independents. The 2 independents caucus and vote with the Democrats for a practical split of 53-47. Democrats need to flip four Republican seats (and more likely 5) if Republicans nominate an electable candidate in Alabama. There is no real path to victory for Senate Democrats without taking out Cory Gardner. These Articles of Impeachment, so significant they had to be passed without witness testimony Democrats now contend is indispensable, are somewhere in the Capitol penumbra because whatever existential threat Trump posed to the country was apparently nothing 25 days of inaction couldn’t bear. Almost all Americans believe it is not fair to charge someone and then deny him or her a trial. Almost all Americans believe this is true whether the person charged is a political friend or foe. Most Americans believe the Articles of Impeachment should be transmitted to the Senate so the Senate can exercise its constitutional prerogative, as the House did. Democrat leaders in the House and Senate are apparently not in step with most Americans, fear few repercussions from the media and are counting on short memories from the voters. Recently, Schiff, in an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, unwittingly played his hand. He acknowledged the obvious: that the House could have subpoenaed the witnesses they now wish for others to subpoena. But he complained that would mean having to go to court. Imagine that, having to go to court to resolve issues of privilege, motions to quash, relevance, materiality, and admissibility. You mean going to court like everyone else does, Adam? You mean going to court like Americans do every day to resolve differences? You mean going to court like House Republicans did to get gain access to information needed for our own investigations? You mean going to court to gain access to information Schiff himself tried to keep from being discovered? That court? Schiff said it would take too long to go to court. And then waited three weeks and counting to transmit what was too time-sensitive to wait on. House Democrats had whatever time they deemed necessary and warranted, complete control over the subpoena pen, and full access to any court of competent jurisdiction. It was their job to fully investigate matters related to their self-styled impeachment inquiry. It is not the Senate’s job to both investigate and litigate. It is the Senate’s job to deliberate. If the Senate both investigates and deliberates, why do you need a House? The House could have subpoenaed former National Security Adviser John Bolton, Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani or anyone else they deemed essential to their investigation. House Democrats had time to hear from former Trump associate Michael Cohen, former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean, and a panel of constitutional law professors devoid of any access to salient facts. Yet they complain they did not have time to compel the appearance and testimony of witnesses they now contend are indispensable. In the interview with Mitchell, Schiff slipped up and did something unusual — he told the truth. This “pause” as he calls it, in transmitting the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate, is really calculated to place moderate Republican Senators in a bind. He deemed it “fleshing” out where they stand. That is California-speak for making Republican senators in tough re-elections cast as many votes as possible on impeachment so their Democrat opponents can run as many 30 second ads against them as possible. In other words, Schiff did not vote to compel the appearance and testimony of Mulvaney because he wants Gardner to vote on it. The House did not vote to compel the attendance and testimony of Pompeo because Pelosi and Schiff want Gardner to vote on it. The House did not vote to compel the attendance and testimony of Giuliani because Pelosi and Schiff want Gardner to vote on it. Remember the tears of anguish and prayers for virtue offered at the notion Senate Republicans might coordinate with the White House Counsel’s office? What about House Democrats coordinating with Senate Democrats to force as many votes as possible to enhance their electoral prospects in the fall? Senate Republicans should move to acquire jurisdiction and release those Articles of Impeachment from wherever they are currently imprisoned. And Senate Republicans should set a day certain for the trial to begin. If Schiff and the other House impeachment managers believe they failed to interview witnesses that are now indispensable, let them explain why going to court is too steep a price to pay when it comes to removing a president from office. Whatever Senate Republicans ultimately do, they should be ever mindful this “trial” is not about removing Trump from the presidency. It is about removing at least 5 incumbent Republican senators from the U.S. Senate.
Agreed… And well said, Trey. Former Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) is the author of that eye-opening op-ed. For those of us here in Colorado, we need to keep this in mind come November, and make sure we re-elect Cory Gardner. How delicious would that be?