Seth Abramson @SethAbramson @Newsweek columnist. Analyses @BBC. NYT bestselling author of Proof of Conspiracy (bit.ly/2kP6FkZ). Next: Citizen Journalist (Macmillan). Professor. Attorney. Sep. 25, 2019 2 min read

Boy, I really wouldn't listen too closely to what Democrats are saying—it'll upset you. Reps. Spanberger (VA) and Craig (MN) emphasized on MSNBC that their assent for impeachment was based on the "isolated" Ukraine incident. Nothing else. In other words, screw the Mueller Report.

1/ Either moderate Democrats are being disingenuous in public TV appearances, or the Democrats have a highly fragile impeachment caucus that will fall apart the moment anyone suggests that Trump has done *anything* impeachable besides a single phone call with Ukraine's president.

2/ I sounded this alarm earlier tonight—after hearing interview after interview in which Democratic members of Congress said they were focused, as to impeachment, "not on the 2016 election" and "not on the Mueller Report"—and heard skepticism in return. Folks better stay *alert*.

3/ I agree that the Ukraine incident is particularly ripe for impeachment because (a) it involves national security, (b) Trump and Giuliani have already confessed to all the particulars, and (c) it wouldn't require much more investigating, but you don't throw out everything else.

4/ Here's what I suspect happened: Pelosi thinks there's almost no time left to impeach—as she wants it done before voting starts in February of 2020—so she sold moderates on the idea this would be an insanely tightly focused impeachment that requires almost no new investigation.

5/ If you look at all the *non-Ukraine* grounds for impeachment, almost *all* of them (excepting *maybe* the ten counts of obstruction detailed in the Mueller Report) would require *more* investigation by Congress to fully substantiate than Congress appears to have time for now.

6/ So Speaker Pelosi can say that six committees are going to work on impeachment, but at least one of those committees' chairs, Maxine Waters, said tonight she doesn't have the information she needs—and may *not* in a short timeframe—to give Articles of Impeachment to Judiciary.

7/ I'm not hearing *anything* in the media pointing out that there's simply no time to conduct any impeachment process pre-voting *other* than to bring Articles of Impeachment regarding Ukraine and *maybe* obstruction. I don't know if the Democrats will be ready on anything else.

8/ The upshot: if Democrats and media don't keep on members of Congress as to the question of *what* they're actually able to *logistically* bring up in a fast-tracked impeachment process, we'll end up with Articles of Impeachment reflecting only 10% of what this man really did.

9/ While a quick, focused impeachment may currently seem enticing to Democrats, particularly moderate Democrats who don't (apparently) consider obstruction of justice impeachable, their thinking—that such Articles would garner GOP support—is laughable. It's Lucy and the football.

10/ Nearly all media attention on Pelosi in the coming days should emphasize this question: is she plotting a narrow impeachment that (a) still garners no GOP votes for conviction in the Senate, and (b) lets Trump off the hook for 90% of what he actually did that was impeachable?


You can follow @SethAbramson.



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