Why Does the Trump Impeachment Inquiry Continue? One Answer: Follow the Money
Does anybody think this will succeed? They’re spending millions in this impeachment attempt although nobody seems to know exactly how much. It’s claimed the $40 million memed around the internet is not a correct figure. But who knows how much it really is? “‘I can’t think of anyone who’s tried to calculate this cost,’ said Matt Gardner, a senior fellow at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, in an email.” (1). The money is being spent on, to use Hillary Clinton’s ugly phrase, “the biggest nothing burger ever.”
Apparently, the House Intelligence Committee is legally allowed to make up its own rules for these hearings, which apparently they have done, even going so far as to dismiss due process and to suggest, as Rep. Mike Quigley did, that hearsay can be much better evidence than direct evidence. Knock yourself out kids.
We’ve seen accusations and presumptions but no real evidence supporting quid pro quo, bribery, or extortion. And anyone with an ounce of common sense wants a government who allocates money to any foreign entity to apply oversight restrictions and conditions, even if these are about spending the money in the way the foreign entity promises to spend it.
Viewers of the impeachment see this and they are aware this televised event is a flim-flam show, even if they wish Trump were no longer in office.
Nielsen reported that on Friday November 15 that 12.7 million watched, a number down 33% from the earlier new and shiny Comey testimony. But now they’ve tired of such hearings. According to the Joe Concha for Clarion News, Democrats are “almost out of runway on impeachment.” (2). Even some Democrats evidently admit the show trial is not working. (3) Other headlines, expectedly mainly from conservative news sources, talk about how Democrats, heartlanders, and the public are either bored, tired and bored, or bored to tears, take your pick. One commentator I saw said he turned on the television in the morning to see the inquiry, and then turned it on later and the channel had replaced it for a soap opera. Worse for Democratic 2020 presidential runnders, a plurality of of independents, 36%, are tuning out according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll. That can’t be good news.
Does anybody think this impeachment strategy will work? Two Democrats previously voted against the impeachment going forward. Others probably fear backlash so we might see the secret ballot pulled out in a House impeahment vote to protect vulnerable representatives in reelection campaigns. If the vote is strictly along partisan lines it will pass. But even if it passes in the House, as soon as it arrivers in the Senate I suspect that formal rules of evidence will be called for, and if passed all of this “better” hearsay evidence will be disallowed, basically ending the process. Or, as Thomas Fitton of Judicial Watch pointed out, Mitch McConnell can use the “nuclear option” and ignore the rule that calls for a 67 supermajority vote to change the rules that were inherited from the Democrats and just deny Senate follow up. Or finally, if somehow the impeachment goes to a Senate vote, the Republican majority would be predicted to vote it down.
So, given that everyone knows impeachment won’t pass in the Senate, why exactly do these impeachment hearings continue? The members of the House Intelligence Committee are smart people and they presumably see the long game loss. Reasons abound. Some suggest this is their only strategy left, a last ditch effort, a view that impeachment even in the House alone could help elections and reelection chances. Some suggest that Democrats secretly want Trump reelected. Some suggest Democrats really want to sabotage Biden’s presidential run without actually looking responsible for doing so.
But here’s another idea. Money. Quid Pro Donatio.
The thinking may be, I’ll please you, my constituency, by going forward with this impeachment inquiry and in return I ask that you donate to my campaign.
Patricia Murphy says it’s looking like this in her article, “Shut down campaign fundraising until impeachment’s over.” (4). She writes, “The RNC, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise have all joined in, too, flooding potential donors with appeals to help fight against — or for — impeachment.” An example she lists is found on President Trump’s reelection website where a popup says, “These Impeachment Hearings are a POLITICAL HIT JOB!” With a red button that says “DONATE NOW >>”
According to OpenSecrets.org, who state they are a non partisan, independent and nonprofit center for tracking money in U.S. politics, money is pouring in to House Intelligence Committee members. In an article titled, Top House Intelligence Committee members rake in cash as impeachment inquiry unfolds, Yue Stella Yu writes, “the two most powerful lawmakers piloting the inquiry are racking up campaign cash.” (5) According to the article, these lawmakers are David Nunes with the most money on hand — nearly $7 million, and Adam Schiff with the second most — again nearly $7 million.
Jon Levine in the New York Post wrote, Impeachment unites Trump and Dems on one thing: collecting campaign cash. (6) In this article, Brad Parscale said the Trump 2020 campaign netted more than $5 million in donations in the first 24 hours after a formal impeachment inquiry was announced. The same article ran Adam Schiff’s tweet, “President Trump just demanded I resign from Congress. But I won’t listen. There’s nothing he or his right-wing allies can do to stop me from holding him accountable and seeking the truth. Pitch in to my campaign if you’re with me.”
Shane Goldmacher in the New York Times article titled, Trump and 2020 Democrats Agree: Impeachment Fight Is a Chance to Rake In Cash, described how Nancy Pelosi announced the impeachment inquiry and followed with “I need you on my Impeachment Defense Team.” He wrote, “The impeachment fight between the Democratic-led House of Representatives and the Trump White House may have initiated a constitutional clash, but for the political operatives involved in the 2020 campaign it also represents a potentially galvanizing moment to pry loose wallets.” (7). I can’t find information as to whether or how much her campaign coffers benefited but as of September 30, 2019 her campaign committee and and leadership PAC combined had raised a tad over $5 million. (8)
Oh yes, as for the man who might stop any impeachment movement once it reaches the Senate, Mitch McConnell ran ads that said, “Nancy Pelosi’s in the clutches of a left wing mob. They finally convinced her to impeach the president. All of you know your Constitution, the way that impeachment stops is a Senate majority with me as majority leader….But I need your help. Please contribute before the deadline.” (9)
So it appears there is in fact real evidence, based upon the publicly funded impeachment process, showing one thing: Moneymaking. The monetization of partisanship. A cynical opinion might suggest our representatives have found a nifty way to funnel money into their reelection campaigns, but who would be that cynical? This is an impeachment process that to use “heartbroken” Nancy Pelosi’s words is “somber,” and “prayerful,” to which I would add financially rewarding.
(1.) Funke, D. (November 15, 2019). Viral post says Democrats spent $40 million on impeachment. That’s False. PolitiFact.
(2.) Concha, J. (November 18, 2019). 3 reasons why impeachment fatigue has already set in. The Hill.
(3.) Hoft, J. (November 14, 2019). Report: Top Democrats Secretly Admit Impeachment Show Trial Is Not Working. Gateway Pundit.
(4.) Murphy, P. (November 23, 2019). Shut down campaign fundraising until impeachment’s over. The Independent.
(5.) Yu, Y.S. (November 12, 2019). Top House Intelligence Committee members rake in cash as impeachment inquiry unfolds. OpenSecrets.org.
(6.) Levine, J. (September 28, 2019). Impeachment unites Trump and Dems on one thing: collecting campaign cash. New York Post.
(7.) Goldmacher, S. (September 25, 2019). Trump and 2020 Democrats Agree: Impeachment Fight Is a Chance to Rake In Cash. The New York Times.
(8.) Rep. Nancy Pelosi — California, District 12. Summary. OpenSecrets.org
(9.) Carney, J. (November 14, 2019). McConnell vows to block Trump impeachment in fundraising pitch. The Hill.