Following the conviction of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and guilty pleas from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen on various federal charges on Tuesday, all three network morning shows on Wednesday declared the president’s impeachment to now be the main focus of the upcoming midterm elections.
On NBC’s Today show, co-host Savannah Guthrie asked Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd if impeachment was going to be the “only issue” in the campaign: “If the Democrats retake the House, then they can attempt to impeach the president. So is this gonna, in some way, be like the only issue in the midterms going forward?” Todd agreed: “I think it’s possible.”
He then implored House Speaker Paul Ryan to begin impeachment proceedings:
But I have to tell you this, I do think Paul Ryan needs to think long and hard about the future of the Republican Party. This is your last chance off this train. And it looks like Manafort and Cohen only have more to say, only may cooperate more, this could get worse. Ryan’s retiring, I think he actually could do the party a favor. And if you just start the procedure in the House Judiciary Committee, you give some home, you have some place for Republicans getting nervous to say, “Hey, you know what? Let’s start an investigation and we'll go from there.”
Earlier in the discussion, Todd complained that the current GOP-controlled Congress would not take such action:
The way a functional Washington would work is that Congress – there is a process here – the sitting president is accused of a crime, the Judiciary Committee in the House of Representatives would begin to look to see if there’s enough evidence to start investigating and drawing up articles of impeachment. But this is not a functional Congress. This is a Congress controlled by Republicans...
Following a lengthy discussion about the legal and political implications of the Manfort and Cohen convictions on ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos concluded: “And all of this puts impeachment front and center in the midterms.”
On CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O’Donnell joined several of her media colleagues in comparing President Trump to Richard Nixon in the midst of the Watergate scandal, and then asked correspondent Major Garrett: “What is the sort of buzz around there, what are you picking up from your sources, both on Capitol Hill and the White House, about concerns about impeachment?”
Garrett observed that any action on impeachment would be on hold “until the midterm elections,” but predicted that if Democrats were to win control of the House “it becomes a very real, live, and politically dangerous and potentially legal danger – legally dangerous, rather – threat for the president.”
With months to go until election day, the media have already adopted the exact talking points that the left-wing base of the Democratic Party wants.