Could Republicans Acquit Trump — And Lose the Impeachment Battle?
Author: Greg Valliere
January 21, 2020
THERE ARE TWO DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT FIGHTS over impeachment. The first is the effort to find Donald Trump guilty and oust him; chances are extremely slim. But the Democrats think they have a chance to win in the court of public opinion.
MAKE NO MISTAKE, Mitch McConnell has all the fallback options covered —
First, there’s little chance the Senate could agree in the next few days on calling witnesses;
Democrats will fail on procedural votes starting today.
Second, if there are four Republican defectors later next week, approving witnesses,
McConnell will keep the testimony out of the limelight — at night, and perhaps behind
Third, even if witnesses such as John Bolton produce bombshell testimony (far from
certain, in our opinion), McConnell and most Republicans have the ultimate fallback — they will proclaim that even if Trump acted improperly, his action did not rise to
the level of high crimes and misdemeanors, leading to his conviction and ouster.
THE DEMOCRATS WILL HAVE THEIR OWN FALLBACK: They will claim that the
trial wasn’t fair, that crucial evidence was suppressed. And a CNN poll yesterday
showed that 51% of respondents said Trump should be found guilty and removed from office; 69% said there should be witnesses.
REPUBLICANS ARE COUNTING ON THIS TRIAL being in the rear view mirror by early February, with with the public focused on new issues by spring. But the Republicans could lose the public relations battle, which won’t help them in November (Trump is still the early favorite).
FOR THE FINANCIAL MARKETS, this will continue to be a non-event. There will always be something to worry about (the coronavirus is next) but there are enough fall-backs for McConnell and the Republicans to make the final outcome on impeachment anti-climatic.
BUT THE GOP RUNS THE RISK of winning a Pyrrhic victory, alienating a majority of Americans, which is about all the Democrats can hope for. As for Trump, he will find new issues to exploit and controversies to stoke, perhaps starting today in Davos.
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