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Why is Trump so nervous about impeachment?

He only needs to maintain support from 17 senators

December 19, 2019

6:19 PM

19 December 2019

6:19 PM

President Trump paraded his latest acquisition, Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a defector from the Democratic to the Republican party, at a meeting in the Oval Office this afternoon. Van Drew, who wore a dark blue three-button suit, crimson red tie and white shirt with gold cufflinks, not only dressed in Trump regalia but pretty much sat by mutely — other than to proclaim his ‘undying loyalty’ — as his new master bragged about poll numbers that he claimed showed him clobbering his Democratic rivals. Kellyanne Conway and Vice President Mike Pence were on hand as witnesses for the induction ceremony.

Though he may be simmering about impeachment, Trump continues to make an outward show of bravado. All he needs, if a Washington Post report is accurate, is a 7 percent solution. Not the kind that Sherlock Holmes indulged in at the outset of the tale ‘The Sign of The Four’, when Dr Watson asks if him if it will be cocaine or morphine that day. Rather, Trump can rely on a sliver of support to ensure that he isn’t convicted in the Senate: ‘Even if he were deeply unpopular, if Trump maintained support from senators in 17 states, he could keep his job. Meaning, in the most extreme scenario, that he could be impeached but not removed from office if senators from the 17 least-populous states — representing about 7 percent of the population — decided to stand by him.’ It could become a talismanic number for Trump.

With Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell intent on ensuring that the Senate merely makes a show of a trial, though, Trump is more than likely to be acquitted. It’s the mere fact of impeachment that distresses Trump who is moving to try and leverage it for electoral advantage. Last night in Battle Creek, Michigan, Trump expanded upon his incendiary six-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In a speech that clocked in at two hours and one minute, the second longest of his presidency, Trump, who shows no sign of losing his game, explained that the Democrats are on a ‘political suicide march’. He also lauded Republican loyalty to him, and him alone: ‘We didn’t lose one Republican vote, and three Democrats voted for us!’

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A Senate vote might not look dissimilar. McConnell is intent on a two-week trial, claiming that this is in the loftiest traditions of the Senate, which is supposed to act as a cooling saucer for the passions of the intemperate House. He’s presenting himself, in other words, as a solemn Solon. Meanwhile, Pelosi is musing about withholding the two impeachment articles in order to try and up the pressure on the Republicans to assent to the appearance of former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney as witnesses.

What’s a girl to do? The longer Pelosi waits, the more Republicans will accuse her of being a fraidy-cat. In remarks on the Senate floor, McConnell dissed her ‘shoddy work product’. And Trump tweeted, ‘Pelosi feels her phony impeachment HOAX is so pathetic she is afraid to present it to the Senate, which can set a date and put this whole SCAM into default if they refuse to show up! The Do Nothings are so bad for our Country!’

With a Democratic debate scheduled in Los Angeles between seven contenders vying to replace Trump, maybe the candidates can hash it all out tonight. Or not. For all the furore surrounding impeachment, it might be over before it could really began.


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