ABC Panel Frets Over Pelosi’s Impeachment Delay, Lack of Public Interest

Listen to the Article!

During the “Powerhouse Roundtable” portion of Sunday’s This Week on ABC, some on the panel of left-wing journalists shared concerns about Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) tactic of refusing to hand over the Articles of Impeachment against President Trump to the Senate. On top of that, there were worries about the public’s minimal interest in the proceedings.

Speaking on how he saw the Senate trial being conducted, ABC senior national correspondent Terry Moran declared: “Mitch McConnell calls the shots. At the end of the day, the Senate has the sole power to try impeachments. He’s in control of the Senate. I think he will, because he is an institutionalist so some degree, he'll try to work with Democrats. But at the end of the day, the rules of this trial will be laid down by Mitch McConnell.”

Moran also seemed confounded by Pelosi’s plan to not deliver the Articles of Impeachment until after the New Year:

I cannot figure out what the strategy Nancy Pelosi has. The Constitution says the House has the power, the sole power to bring an impeachment. The Senate has the sole power the try an impeachment. I don't get what her leverage is here, and at the end of the day, the Democrats are going to come up short because they don't have the votes in the Senate and that's what controls the process.

Turning to Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty, fill-in host Martha Raddatz decided to read from Tumulty hyperbolic column as if it was insightful. “If things play out as they usually do in the Trump era, all of this will soon be subsumed in the next thermonuclear burst of chaos generated by a president who cannot be chastened or shamed,” she quoted. “Once again, the House has made a notch in history. What's different this time, however, is that no one really believes anything will change as a result.”

 

 

Tumulty had two arguments as to why Pelosi’s plan was a terrible one. First, she pointed out that it “undercuts the House's argument that they had to move quickly on impeachment because it was so urgent.” Her second concern was for the 2020 Democratic candidates. “[Impeachment] is depriving their presidential candidates of any oxygen, and the fact is if Donald Trump is going to be removed from office, it is going to happen next November.”

Seemingly annoyed with his colleagues' lack of faith in Speaker Pelosi, ABC political analyst Matthew Dowd stepped in to sing her praises, even equating her to New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick (click “expand”):

MATTHEW DOWD: First I want to say something about-- I don't underestimate Nancy Pelosi's ability in this process in what she’s able to do. She’s proven it over 20 years. She's like the Bill Belichick of the House chamber. She knows what she’s doing. I agree we’re in suspended animation for two weeks. There's no real delay. They're coming back on January 7th. I think she understands she's going to have to send the articles over. The question only becomes, is if four Republicans senators who are willing to vote to make it go to a trial and have witnesses, a real trial. I think that's doubtful because what they would then be voting is—They’d be voting to make it harder for them to then take the next vote because more evidence would be gathered in this.

Of course, he meant the Belichick comparison to be a salute to her capabilities and maybe not a nod to cheating.

A short time later, Moran was asked about how Trump’s impeachment was different from President Clinton’s. His first point was the difference in public interest in the process, citing an ABC poll finding “62 percent of Americans say they are following these developments closely.” He compared it to the 82 percent for Clinton’s.

Two-fifths of the country can't be bothered and part of that is exhaustion with the constant drumbeat of outrage and bitterness and rancor,” he lamented.

On top of trying to convince the Senate to remove President Trump from office, Moran argued that Democrats also needed to work on getting the public “interested much less actually behind the process, we are split on that.” Because, so far, “it really feels like a nothingburger to some extent.”

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

ABC’s This Week
December 22, 2019
9:41:50 a.m. Eastern

MARTHA RADDATZ: But Terry, I want to start with you and I want to go back to that Senate trial. You heard what Senator Jones said with Senator Johnson, they’re still at an impasse, clearly. So, we’re going to ask you to read the tea leaves. You’ve been through an impeachment proceeding before. So, what do you see, and how do you see this trial proceeding?

TERRY MORAN: Mitch McConnell calls the shots. At the end of the day, the Senate has the sole power to try impeachments. He’s in control of the Senate. I think he will, because he is an institutionalist so some degree, he'll try to work with Democrats. But at the end of the day, the rules of this trial will be laid down by Mitch McConnell.

I cannot figure out what the strategy Nancy Pelosi has. The Constitution says the House has the power, the sole power to bring an impeachment. The Senate has the sole power the try an impeachment. I don't get what her leverage is here, and at the end of the day, the Democrats are going to come up short because they don't have the votes in the Senate and that's what controls the process.

RADDATZ: And, is there an argument? I know Noah Feldman, who testified in the House impeachment proceedings said, he actually hasn't been impeached yet because those articles aren't set up which probably will be moot pretty soon.

MORAN: It will be moot because eventually they'll get it and he says that the House must transfer the actual articles to the Senate for the impeachment to happen. It looks to me like they impeached him. They voted on a bill of impeachment with two articles, that's an impeachment.

RADDATZ: A little distraction for a while. And Karen, let me read what you wrote this week in your Washington Post column. “If things play out as they usually do in the Trump era, all of this will soon be subsumed in the next thermonuclear burst of chaos generated by a president who cannot be chastened or shamed. Once again, the House has made a notch in history. What's different this time, however, is that no one really believes anything will change as a result.”

So, is there anything the Democrats can do?

KAREN TUMULTY: I think everything is frozen in place right now until Congress gets back, but I do -- I agree with Terry. The chances of getting any kind of concessions out of Mitch McConnell are very small, and the risks of delaying this are quite high for two reasons. One, is that it undercuts the House's argument that they had to move quickly on impeachment because it was so urgent. And the second, is that it is -- it is depriving their presidential candidates of any oxygen, and the fact is if Donald Trump is going to be removed from office, it is going to happen next November.

(…)

MATTHEW DOWD: First I want to say something about-- I don't underestimate Nancy Pelosi's ability in this process in what she’s able to do. She’s proven it over 20 years. She's like the Bill Belichick of the House chamber. She knows what she’s doing. I agree we’re in suspended animation for two weeks. There's no real delay. They're come back on January 7th. I think she understands she's going to have to send the articles over. The question only becomes, is if four Republicans senators who are willing to vote to make it go to a trial and have witnesses, a real trial. I think that's doubtful because what they would then be voting is—They’d be voting to make it harder for them to then take the next vote because more evidence would be gathered in this.

(…)

RADDATZ: And Terry, this is the second impeachment trial you have covered. Or not trial, proceedings. You were -- President Clinton back then. As Matt pointed out, as we all know all along partisan lines, this one. So, just give us some thoughts on the difference between the two, and what it says about where the country is now.

MORAN: The most striking thing in that poll is that while this is a historic moment, it doesn't feel momentous, and that poll said only that 62 percent of Americans say they are following these developments closely. Whereas, in the Clinton administration, 82 percent. Two-fifths of the country can't be bothered and part of that is exhaustion with the constant drumbeat of outrage and bitterness and rancor.

RADDATZ: Post-Muller

MORAN: All that stuff. And I think that people are just tuning it out a little bit. It just doesn't feel as much. A without getting the country, A, interested much less actually behind the process, we are split on that. It really feels like a nothingburger to some extent.

(…)

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Events Trump Impeachment Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Broadcast Television ABC This Week Video Terry Moran Martha Raddatz Karen Tumulty Donald Trump Nancy Pelosi Matthew Dowd

Sponsored Links