CNNers Celebrate Impeachment as ‘Great Day’ for ‘Democracy’: Trump ‘Deserved It’

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Whether it was repeatedly boasting of how impeachment will be a “stain” on Donald Trump’s legacy or expressing fear about what Trump will do in the future or heralding the exercise as a “great day” for “our constitutional democracy,” CNN couldn’t have been giddier about Wednesday night’s impeachment of President Donald Trump. 

Inside Politics host John King fretted that there’s “almost two Americas, two parties, two views” while “Democrats have the facts on their side about what the President did, what the conduct was” and Republicans have refused to join them.

 

 

“However this ends up to the point being, this is history. This is an indelible stain on the record, the legacy of Donald Trump....[W]hat is the first sentence when people talk about Clinton? He was impeached. That will be the case for Donald Trump no matter how this turns out,” he added.

The Situation Room host Wolf Blitzer replied that “[i]t certainly will be a tremendous stain.”

Chief political analyst Gloria Borger agreed that “[i]t’s an indelible mark on Donald Trump’s legacy” so “that's why he has been so crazed about what is going on.”

Senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson reveled in the fact that Trump is finally facing “consequences” and stated that she’d borrow from someone else, who argued that Trump will now have “a tin can that’s going to be tied around his leg for the rest of his life and trail him.”

The Lead and State of the Union host Jake Tapper then expressed concern about America’s future as long as Trump is President (click “expand”):

One of the things that’s so interesting about what's going to happen now is, you talked, Nia-Malika, about how President Trump until now in a way has been consequence free. Throughout his life, throughout his business and...[o]ne of the things that has gone on in his White House recently is that people who were the ones who could tell him no have basically been exiled, whether it is former chief of staff John Kelly, former Defense Secretary Mattis, etc. The guardrails — the so-called guardrails, have gone. This is something of a guardrail. Congress saying no and even though president trump right now in front of — basking in the adulation of a crowd in Battle Creek, Michigan, one — and that's probably wise, by the way. 

Because he can't be fuming on Twitter if he’s feeling all the love from his many supporters in Michigan. But one of the things that I'm worried about and concerned about what's going to happen now is, what's the effect on this going to be on President Trump? When he realizes, when this starts to — when this starts to soak in.

Chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin didn’t miss a beat, gushing:

The President was impeached for one reason: Because he deserved it. Because no president has ever done what he did. No president has betrayed his oath the way this President has by taking taxpayer dollars and using it as a bribe, as an extortion, as a lure to get dirt on his political opponents and no president has ever issued a complete blanket refusal to talk, to produce any documents or any witnesses to a legitimate congressional investigation. That's why he was impeached. 

CNN presidential historian Tim Naftali similarly couldn’t wait for this day, hailing it as “a very important moment for the country” even if it’s “solemn” because “[i]t’s a reminder of how our system was supposed to work.”

After CNN political commentator Charlie Dent bemoaned how he doesn’t recognize the GOP and that it lacks principles, liberal legal analyst Laura Coates took her turn and predictably basked in the occasion.

Coates bragged that the GOP had failed “to convince the American public this is a political vendetta” and thus it was “a great day for constitutional democracy” that the Articles of Impeachment passed and kept the country alive (click “expand”):

COATES: Well, the Republicans today tried to convince the American public this is a political vendetta and an impeachment in search of a crime or in search of a high crime and misdemeanor. What you see today essentially is breaking down what it really means —

ANDERSON COOPER: And four votes away right now. 

COATES: — yea — to reject the notion you aren’t above the law. What that means is no one is immune from the constitutional oversight that our founding fathers contemplated. They predicted you would need impeachment. That was a forgone conclusion to everyone, that you would have to have a check and balance. What today's vote has been about is whether or not the separation of powers still stands, whether or not you can simply — you can be co-equal branches of government and whether you can certainly be the republican if you can actually keep it. You see this vote right now. It's unfolding. You are a few away from actually capturing this and this is the essence of what democracy is. As one representative said today, it’s a sad day for America, but it's a great day for constitutional democracy.

For a network that, at the end of the day, so desperately hates both the President and his supporters, people were bursting at the seams. We’d expect nothing less from the Jeffrey Zucker-led network.

To see the relevant transcript from CNN’s impeachment vote coverage on December 18, click “expand.”

CNN House Impeachment Vote
December 18, 2019
8:11 p.m. Eastern

JOHN KING: And as Jake noted, almost two Americas, two parties, two views. The Democrats have the facts on their side about what the President did, what the conduct was. The Republicans didn't really try to rebut that. A few of them did try to make the case it wasn't impeachable. Very few. Most of it was just complaining about the process, but this is -- this will go on to the senate. Then it will go to the voters, assuming the votes stay in the Senate like we think. However this ends up to the point being, this is history. This is an indelible stain on the record, the legacy of Donald Trump. We covered the Clinton White House when this happened. Bill Clinton was president at the time, this country had an operating surplus. The last time the United States government ran an operating surplus, a booming economy like we have a great economy what is the first sentence when people talk about Clinton? He was impeached. That will be the case for Donald Trump no matter how this turns out. 

WOLF BLITZER: It certainly will be a tremendous stain, irrespective of what happens in the U.S. Senate. 

GLORIA BORGER: Sure. It’s an indelible mark on Donald Trump’s legacy and he knows it and that's why he has been so crazed about what is going on and tweeting so much and writing that six-page letter yesterday and also, he knows as we all do that this is one act of Congress that you can't undo with another president or take it back or I'm going to — I’m going to revise this piece of legislation. This is here for history now. This is part of history and it doesn't go away. Not only by the way for Donald Trump but those Republicans. And you can see by the votes, but for the Republicans who are with him and the Democrats who are against, they will be judged by the voters for their votes today.

(....)

8:21 p.m. Eastern

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON: Consequences for Donald Trump, right? He has been a President even in private business, somebody who hadn't faced consequences. We’ve seen people in and around his orbit face consequences. He has been Teflon Don. That ends today with this impeachment, with this stain on his legacy. Someone who described it as a tin can that’s going to be tied around his leg for the rest of his life and trail him. That is what's going to happen. He is in Michigan tonight trying to rally his supporters, apparently telling his supporters that it doesn't feel like he is being impeached. He is going to be impeached and I think the question going forward for him is where do the majority of Americans fall on this? Do the majority see him as a victim, somebody who was a victim of a partisan process? Or do they see him as somebody who’s finally gone too far, who actually isn't worthy of being re-elected president? 

BORGER: These Republicans have linked themselves and their political futures to Donald J. Trump. 

HENDERSON: Yes. 

BORGER: With these votes.

JAKE TAPPER: One of the things that’s so interesting about what's going to happen now is, you talked, Nia-Malika, about how President Trump until now in a way has been consequence free. Throughout his life, throughout his business and also —

BLITZER: Only two votes away. 

TAPPER:  — only two votes away. One of the things that has gone on in his White House recently is that people who were the ones who could tell him no have basically been exiled, whether it is former chief of staff John Kelly, former Defense Secretary Mattis, etc. The guardrails — the so-called guardrails, have gone. This is something of a guardrail. Congress saying no and even though president trump right now in front of — basking in the adulation of a crowd in Battle Creek, Michigan, one — and that's probably wise, by the way because he can't be fuming on Twitter if he’s feeling all the love from his many supporters in Michigan. But one of the things that I'm worried about and concerned about what's going to happen now is, what's the effect on this going to be on President Trump? When he realizes, when this starts to — when this starts to soak in.

(....)

8:33 p.m. Eastern

JEFFREY TOOBIN: The President was impeached for one reason: Because he deserved it. Because no president has ever done what he did. No president has betrayed his oath the way this President has by taking taxpayer dollars and using it as a bribe, as an extortion, as a lure to get dirt on his political opponents and no president has ever issued a complete blanket refusal to talk, to produce any documents or any witnesses to a legitimate congressional investigation. That's why he was impeached. 

ANDERSON COOPER: Tim Naftali, you’re a historian. 

TIM NAFTALI: The founders were not sure whether they wanted a strong executive. In fact, George Mason and Benjamin Franklin wanted a collective executive and James Madison wanted a weak executive. But Alexander Hamilton and others convinced them to have a strong executive. They all knew they wanted George Washington and they designed the position of president of the United States for one man. They also knew however that we're mere mortals and not everyone would be like Washington. There might be a time when you would need a sanction.

(....)

8:39 p.m. Eastern

NAFTALI: The founders didn't want us to do it all the time and let's hope it's not normalized, but the founders did want it to happen when the constitutional order needed to be rebalanced. Lest the president misuse his power. This has been decided today. It's a very important moment for the country. It's a very solemn moment. It's a reminder of how our system was supposed to work. You put a lot of power in the hands of one person, there has to be a counterbalancing available if that person misuses it. Today, the House said, he misused it. 

COOPER: We are nine votes away from this article two passing. Charlie, you used to, until recently, be a Republican on the floor in that party. Is that still the party that you belong to? 

CHARLIE DENT: No. It's hard at times to recognize this Republican Party, which used to be about ideals and certain values. Now it's about loyalty to a man and that is what has changed so dramatically in recent years. It's amazing how the President has been able to take over the party in such a whole manner. I'm stunned. This is certainly a solemn and weighty moment. I also get a sense right now that this impeachment was almost necessary. The President was in the clear after the Mueller investigation. There was never going to be an impeachment but for Ukraine and because of the President's misconduct and his misuse and abuse of his office, that's why we are where we are today. 

COOPER: Laura Coates, it is remarkable — to Charlie's point about how quickly this has escalated from — I mean, it seems like it was, I don’t know, just several weeks ago, it was probably — I have to look at the date, but it was not long ago that there was word there was a whistle-blower and then it just snowballed. 

LAURA COATES: Well, the Republicans today tried to convince the American public this is a political vendetta and an impeachment in search of a crime or in search of a high crime and misdemeanor. What you see today essentially is breaking down what it really means —

COOPER: And four votes away right now. 

COATES: — yea — to reject the notion you aren’t above the law. What that means is no one is immune from the constitutional oversight that our Founding Fathers contemplated. They predicted you would need impeachment. That was a forgone conclusion to everyone, that you would have to have a check and balance. What today's vote has been about is whether or not the separation of powers still stands, whether or not you can simply — you can be co-equal branches of government and whether you can certainly be the republican if you can actually keep it. You see this vote right now. It's unfolding. You are a few away from actually capturing this and this is the essence of what democracy is. As one representative said today, it’s a sad day for America, but it's a great day for constitutional democracy.

NB Daily Jake Tapper John King Gloria Borger Jeffrey Toobin Nia-Malika Henderson Donald Trump
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