Chuck Todd Surprisingly Skeptical About Impeachment, Citing Proximity to Election

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Don't get Chuck Todd wrong: his heart is definitely in the right [i.e., left], liberal place about President Trump and has repeatedly (including recently) shamed conservatives and Republicans for not backing impeachment. On the Friday edition of MSNBC's MTP Daily, Todd made clear that he believes there is "damning" evidence against the President that supports his impeachment.

But on a pragmatic political level, Todd expressed surprising skepticism about the wisdom of proceeding with impeachment, instead of letting voters decide at the ballot box in little more than a year.

 


 

Todd made a multi-pronged argument against impeachment, including the following points. First, he was forced to concede that it would be a "tall task" to convince Americans, in a presidential election year, that it's better to remove the president than to let the voters decide (click "expand," emphasis mine):

But after another big week of testimony in the House’s impeachment inquiry, the evidence may be tilting in the Democrats’s favor but the calendar is arguably not. It’s already November. 2020 is fast approaching. We’ve had a parade of private depositions, but we are seemingly still weeks away from public hearings. Speaker Pelosi told Bloomberg News today that she assumes public hearings will begin this month but we're likely at least a month away from a key court ruling which could determine if other high profile witnesses, say like John Bolton, will be compelled to testify or not. And after the public hearings are done, a Senate trial could take weeks, meaning Democrats are going to have to start thinking about convincing the public that somehow Congress is in a better position to determine the President’s fate than the voters are, and they are going to have that make that case in an election year and that could be a tall task. Perhaps even taller by the fact that some Democrats like Pete Buttigieg are arguing that maybe it's best for them if voters decide, not Congress.

Todd also cited some prominent Democrats, citing Pete Buttigieg, publicly favor letting voters decide.

Third, Nancy Pelosi opposed impeachment unless there was bipartisan support, and there is no such bipartisan support. And finally, Todd agreed with New York Times columnist and faux Republican David Brooks that if you go outside the Beltway, voters, including Democrats, just aren't very interested in impeachment.

While speaking with his panel, he read from Brooks's latest column (click "expand," emphasis mine):

David Brooks today sort of — he noted and I thought he was right. He's like, you walk around Washington, and you think, oh my God. I don’t know if the president’s going to survive. The second you step outside of it, you’re like, oh, what the hell are they doing? Let me put up: He says, for most, impeachment—he's talking about voters outside of Washington: "For most, impeachment is not a priority. It’s dull background noise---people in Washington, the national media, doing the nonsense they always do. A pollster can ask Americans if they support impeachment, and some yes or no answer will be given, but the fundamental reality is that many Americans are indifferent." I think you see evidence of that even on the campaign trail on the Democratic side of the aisle. We see it in Iowa!

After the Mueller investigation blew up in the Democrats' face, imagine the political fiasco if the Dems, after months of fevered rhetoric, now have to limp away from impeachment, tail between legs! But as Todd pointed out, a failed impeachment, one that does not result in the removal of President Trump, could make matters even worse for them.

>>Help us fight back against the media’s impeachment crusade.<<

Here's the relevant transcript (emphasis mine):

MSNBC's MTP Daily
11/01/19
5:00 pm Eastern

CHUCK TODD: But after another big week of testimony in the House’s impeachment inquiry, the evidence may be tilting in the Democrats’s favor but the calendar is arguably not. It’s already November. 2020 is fast approaching. We’ve had a parade of private depositions, but we are seemingly still weeks away from public hearings. Speaker Pelosi told Bloomberg News today that she assumes public hearings will begin this month but we're likely at least a month away from a key court ruling which could determine if other high profile witnesses, say like John Bolton, will be compelled to testify or not. And after the public hearings are done, a Senate trial could take weeks, meaning Democrats are going to have to start thinking about convincing the public that somehow Congress is in a better position to determine the President’s fate than the voters are, and they are going to have that make that case in an election year and that could be a tall task. Perhaps even taller by the fact that some Democrats like Pete Buttigieg are arguing that maybe it's best for them if voters decide, not Congress. Here’s what Buttigieg told the Boston Globe’s James Pindell yesterday

PETE BUTTIGIEG: I think that, you know, impeachment process is based on a constitutional standard and needs to run its course accordingly. I will say that there would be a lot of benefit to Trump and Trumpism getting a resounding, thumping defeat at the ballot box because I think that's what will be required for congressional Republicans to be reunited with their conscience. 

TODD: Now, this isn't the first time Buttigieg has made an argument like that since the impeachment inquiry began. He's also not the only Democrat running for president who wants to see voters determine whether this current president stays in office. And yesterday’s near-party line House vote, combined with new polling on impeachment only heightens the dilemma facing Democrats because the country is divided on impeaching and removing Mr. Trump. And his right flank is once again largely holding despite all the damning evidence and testimony against him.  Democrats have said they are proceeding with impeachment to save the republic. But they’ve also warned that a failed impeachment could make things worse. Bottom line, the facts in the impeachment inquiry are daunting for Republicans. But right now, the politics and the calendar are just as, if not more, daunting for the Democrats. 

(....)

TODD: I think on one hand, Democrats can make the quid pro quo case. But can they make the case so well that they can convince the public that he shouldn’t be on the ballot, right? Do they have to prove, like, not just beyond doubt but a much higher bar?

(....)

TODD: Speaker Pelosi foresaw this. It’s why she tried to stop — it’s very divisive. It’s probably not going to work unless you have bipartisan buy-in. They don’t have bipartisan buy-in.

(....)

TODD: I’m pretty convinced that at some point, the Senate Republicans who are the more uncomfortable defending the President are simply not going to defend him anymore but simply say let’s let the voters decide. It’s an easy thing for voters to agree to. Right? How do Democrats overcome that message?

(....)

TODD: David Brooks today sort of — he noted and I thought he was right. He's like, you walk around Washington, and you think, oh my God. I don’t know if the president’s going to survive. The second you step outside of it, you’re like, oh, what the hell are they doing? Let me put up: He says, for most, impeachment—he's talking about voters outside of Washington: "For most, impeachment is not a priority. It’s dull background noise---people in Washington, the national media, doing the nonsense they always do. A pollster can ask Americans if they support impeachment, and some yes or no answer will be given, but the fundamental reality is that many Americans are indifferent." I think you see evidence of that even on the campaign trail on the Democratic side of the aisle. We see it in Iowa!

Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Events Trump Impeachment Political Groups Liberals & Democrats MSNBC MTP Daily Chuck Todd Donald Trump Nancy Pelosi Pete Buttigieg

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