With poll numbers headed south on impeachment and even worse numbers showing up about the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, House Democrats may be looking for “an off-ramp” on the process, according to House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) during a Friday night appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity.”
Democrats, he said, are “feeling some heat, some discomfort about pursuing the impeachment, and especially in light of what came out in the last two weeks of … the open hearings,” said Biggs.
That exit could be an official censure, a negative vote out of the House Judiciary committee, or a failure to bring the impeachment bill in front of the full House.
Dems know that if the soon-to-begin Judiciary Committee hearings sit as badly with the voting public as the earlier impeachment inquiry hearings did out of the House Intelligence Committee, then their once-thought advantage against Trump will continue to turn against them.
See this tweet about the possibility of censure instead of impeachment.
"We need an alternative to impeachment. And luckily we have one," writes Charlie Firestone, who argues that the House could introduce a resolution for censure of the President. https://t.co/WVY36zW0CA
— CNN Opinion (@CNNOpinion) November 28, 2019
If a trial begins in the Senate, where the GOP has the majority, and the Republicans play hardball as the Dems have in the House, then the current Democrat problem could turn into a catastrophe for them and a boon for Trump.
In the Senate, the GOP lawmakers could call any witness they choose, including Hunter Biden, Dem primary leader and former Vice President Joe Biden, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), members of Schiff’s staff — and yes, the CIA “informer” whose complaint to an inspector general about Trump’s July 25 phone call with the president of Ukraine began this latest phase of the continuing Democratic hoax against the president.
If that were to happen, one could see the unprecedented spectacle of the presumptive presidential nominee of a major American political party on a witness stand in the United States Senate.
The drama would be great — but so would the cost to the nation.
If revelations come to light by aggressive GOP cross-examination and witness testimony that the entire trial was based on false claims and vague hearsay, the Dems would suffer badly for it in the general election.
Actually, they’re beginning to suffer already.
See this recent tweet from White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.
#polls show Democrat impeachment gambit is losing steam among Independents and imperiling Members in swing districts.
Voters are not swallowing what Schiff is selling. https://t.co/ors5MMHaJB
— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) November 24, 2019
To this point, Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) recently faced angry constituents at a town hall in Whippany, New Jersey, as Politico reported.
“We sent you to Washington, to get work done, for us and for our country,” one member of the audience told her bluntly, “and it appears that for the last couple years all that has been going on is investigations.”
“We honestly can’t trust Adam Schiff,” the woman continued.
The woman “was drowned out by a wall of noise,” as Politico also noted. “The space rippled with a mixture of boos and cheers and uncorked angst.”
There may be more of the same ahead — especially in vulnerable swing districts currently occupied by the Dems — if the impeachment push continues on course.
Far from being a net plus for their effort to push Trump out of office, the backlash and the anger it would engender from the president’s base could end up aiding in his re-election in November 2020.