The Impeachment End-Game — Coming Into Focus
Author: Greg Valliere
October 24, 2019
THE KEY TO DONALD TRUMP’S FATE is in the Senate and the polls, which is why Republicans launched a public relations drive yesterday to portray the process as unfair. And, frankly, they have a point. The process — in secret, followed by selective leaks — has to change soon, as many Democrats agree, in private.
THE EVIDENCE, IRONICALLY, IS NOT THE ISSUE: It seems that there was a quid pro quo — no arms sales to Ukraine unless there was a probe of Joe Biden’s son. But the Republicans are focusing on the impeachment process, which has largely excluded them.
DEMOCRATS RESPOND THAT their closed-door hearings are similar to secret grand jury proceedings, and they’re convinced the Republicans want to muddy the narrative, dragging out the process, perhaps well into spring. And, importantly, a trial would compel all Senators to participate, keeping several Democrats (Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, etc.) off the campaign trail.
IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS, this will come down to whether 20 Senate Republicans could defect and vote to convict Trump. That still looks unlikely, as most GOP Senators tend to agree with their House colleagues that the transgressions don’t justify Trump’s removal, and the process is unfair. Accordingly, Democrats may open up the hearings by mid-November, the Washington Post reports this morning.
THIS WON’T SATISFY MOST REPUBLICANS, who want the opportunity to directly interrogate witnesses, a process that could last for many weeks (the Democrats prefer to have legal experts, many of them former prosecutors, conduct most of the interrogation).
AS A TRIAL DRAGS WELL INTO THE WINTER, leading to a likely acquittal, there will be at least two major wild cards — the first is whether Mitch McConnell might conclude that the GOP could lose the Senate in the general election, which can’t be ruled out if there’s a tidal wave. McConnell knows the Senate is the firewall that blocks liberal legislation, and he wants the Senate to continue confirming young conservative judges. He has been more outspoken in his criticism of Trump, but McConnell won’t waiver unless his Senate majority is in real jeopardy.
THE OTHER WILD CARD is whether there will be explosive new developments that could alter the impeachment narrative — testimony from John Bolton, for example. And Trump himself could roil the process, as he did this week when he compared his treatment to a “lynching.” He can’t help himself; he can’t resist self-inflicted wounds.
AS THIS DRAMA UNFOLDS, we will carefully watch the polls. We’re suspicious of individual polls because the methodology is far from perfect, but an aggregate of polls on the Real Clear Politics web site is important. For now, the public narrowly supports the impeachment probe, but a persistent argument by Republicans that the process is unfair could take hold, which is why Democrats have to open up the hearings — soon.
The views expressed in this blog are provided as a general source of information based on information available as of the date of publication and should not be considered as personal investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy and/or sell securities. Speculation or stated believes about future events, such as market or economic conditions, company or security performance, or other projections represent the beliefs of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of AGF, its subsidiaries or any of its affiliated companies, funds or investment strategies. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy in these commentaries at the time of publication; however, accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Market conditions may change and AGF accepts no responsibility for individual investment decisions arising from the use of or reliance on the information contained herein. Any financial projections are based on the opinions of the author and should not be considered as a forecast. The forward looking statements and opinions may be affected by changing economic circumstances and are subject to a number of uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in the forward looking statements. The information contained in this commentary is designed to provide you with general information related to the political and economic environment in the United States. It is not intended to be comprehensive investment advice applicable to the circumstances of the individual.
AGF Investments is a group of wholly owned subsidiaries of AGF Management Limited, a Canadian reporting issuer. The subsidiaries included in AGF Investments are AGF Investments Inc. (AGFI), AGF Investments America Inc. (AGFA), AGF Asset Management (Asia) Limited (AGF AM Asia) and AGF International Advisors Company Limited (AGFIA). AGFA is a registered advisor in the U.S. AGFI is registered as a portfolio managers across Canadian securities commissions. AGFIA is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and registered with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission. AGF AM Asia is registered as a portfolio manager in Singapore. The subsidiaries that form AGF Investments manage a variety of mandates comprised of equity, fixed income and balanced assets.
About AGF Management Limited
Founded in 1957, AGF Management Limited (AGF) is an independent and globally diverse asset management firm. AGF brings a disciplined approach to delivering excellence in investment management through its fundamental, quantitative, alternative and high-net-worth businesses focused on providing an exceptional client experience. AGF’s suite of investment solutions extends globally to a wide range of clients, from financial advisors and individual investors to institutional investors including pension plans, corporate plans, sovereign wealth funds and endowments and foundations.
For further information, please visit AGF.com.
© 2020 AGF Management Limited. All rights reserved.