Apparently believing his first week in the White House has been flawless and the public will be extra patient with him, Joe Biden did a very foolish thing. He decided to ride the tiger of impeachment.
“I think it has to happen,” the president said in a brief TV interview about his party’s bid to try Donald Trump. Biden conceded a Senate trial would slow confirmation of his nominees and passage of legislation tied to pandemic relief, but insisted there would be “a worse effect if it didn’t happen.”
He doesn’t say what could be worse, but let’s take a guess: Democrats obsessed with getting revenge on Trump would get furious at Biden. That’s the only possible answer because only Democrats would revolt if Trump were not put in the dock.
Chalk it up to another example of Biden having trouble with the transition from partisan candidate to president. You might remember his promise to work for all Americans, no matter how they voted, but he’s already forgotten it. His dozens of executive orders and pronouncements show he’s working only for left-wing Dems.
When it comes to impeachment, he’s also late to the game. Biden’s first clear support for Nancy Pelosi’s Folly comes just as the winds are shifting in Trump’s favor and the chance of conviction is rapidly approaching zero.
The change reflects the fact that the Dems’ theater of the absurd is becoming more messy and less logical with each passing day. Tempers over the Jan.6 Capitol riot are cooling and reality is setting in about the pitfalls of a trial and the need to get on with governing during the twin public-health and economic crises.
Start with the concept of the trial itself. A Fintech Zoom caption on a photo of House managers walking the single article to the Senate said it would start “only the fourth impeachment trial of a president in US history.”
Except Trump is no longer president. An honest caption would have noted this would be the first impeachment trial of a former president — and thus a private citizen — by the Senate. Doesn’t quite have the same zing, but happens to be true.
The justification for a trial is even shakier with the decision by Chief Justice John Roberts to be a no-show. Roberts has bailed out, reportedly refusing to preside because Trump is no longer president.
The Constitution says the court’s chief justice “shall preside” when the president is the accused, but Roberts either decided he doesn’t have to, or shouldn’t, because Trump is out of office.
As a result, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy will preside, making the Democrat both juror and judge. How’s that for fairness?
These events shoot a big hole in the Dems’ rationale, and Sen. Rand Paul created an even bigger one Tuesday. The Kentucky Republican gave a powerful speech in which he called the process a “sham” and, by asserting the trial would be unconstitutional, forced each senator to vote yes or no on the question. Only five Republicans voted “yes” with all 50 Democrats, meaning the 45 other GOP senators view the trial as unconstitutional. It is close to a given that they would also vote to acquit Trump, meaning there will be nowhere near the 67 votes needed for conviction.
And if Trump isn’t convicted, he can’t be barred from future public office, which is the ultimate aim of the Trump haters in both parties. So why waste precious time with a trial, and add to the nation’s overheated polarization, if the outcome is foreordained?
The key vote came from minority leader Mitch McConnell, who sided with Paul’s claim that a trial is unconstitutional. A week ago, McConnell let it be known he was “done” with Trump and sent signals he might vote to convict, which would have opened the floodgates among his colleagues.
With his Tuesday vote, McConnell sealed those floodgates shut.
Part of the sudden GOP unity stems from the belief that the party without Trump supporters wouldn’t win an election for dog catcher. Moreover, rumors that the former president might form a third party — — the Patriot Party — apparently got the attention of McConnell and others.
A story on Fox News left no room for doubt about the prospect. Jason Miller, a Trump adviser, was quoted as saying the former president “made clear his goal is to win back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022,” then added an ominous caveat. “There’s nothing that’s actively being planned regarding an effort outside of that, but it’s completely up to Republican senators if this is something that becomes more serious,” Miller said.
Finally, there is another development that could help Trump’s defense. With so much of the charge against him based on his speech to the crowd on the morning of Jan. 6, it is noteworthy that The New York Times reported last Friday that the FBI is chasing what the Times calls the “masterminds of Capitol riot plots.”
The article cites charges of conspiracy against three members of a group called Oath Keepers and suggests others were connected to them. In addition, the Times says there are photos “showing some people moving inside the building in tight formation, wearing military gear, carrying restraints and sometimes using hand signals or radios to communicate.”
There are also other reports that some people arrived and entered the Capitol while Trump was still giving his speech, in which he said, “I know everyone here will soon march to the Capitol to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”
Although both things could be true — that Trump incited the crowd and that others plotted an invasion — the plot angle further muddies the rationale for an unprecedented show trial against a former president. All things considered, common sense and America’s well-being dictate that Dems must let go of the past and focus on helping a ravaged, divided nation.
More of de Blasio’s empty promises
Mayor de Blasio came into office promising to tackle the “tale of two cities” and income equality. Proof of his failure is everywhere, especially regarding crime at the city’s Housing Authority buildings.
As The Post reports, murder is skyrocketing in the projects, even more so than in New York as a whole. At least 71 people were murdered in NYCHA’s 302 properties in 2020, a 48 percent leap over the 47 killings in 2019.
Throw in the fact that City Hall has bungled — and lied about — lead paint in the same projects, and you get the picture of a mayor who is good at making slogans and awful at delivering results.
Reader Michael Devine offers an interesting comparison, writing: “Gov. Cuomo chastised President Trump for even considering granting a pardon to the ever-corrupt Sheldon Silver. Meanwhile, Cuomo’s parole board routinely releases cop killers, murderers and rapists.”
Sleep on it
Headline: “Power naps recharge the brain, improving mental sharpness and lowering risk of dementia”
I rest my case.