Carl Hiaasen

Forget impeachment — there’s a better way to get Donald Trump out of office | Opinion

Sen. Elizabeth Warren says President Trump must be impeached.

She says it’s a moral imperative, when it’s actually a simple math problem.

The House of Representatives could easily vote for articles of impeachment, but the Republican-controlled Senate will never convict Donald Trump. There aren’t enough votes.

It would be, like the Bill Clinton impeachment hearings, a doomed and stupendously expensive exercise that could backfire on the President’s critics.

While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders are struggling to tamp down the impeachment chatter, others – including 2020 candidates such Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris and former HUD secretary Julian Castro — are all fired up.

Just look at the Mueller Report! they say.

Well, sure. Even the redacted version paints Trump as a lying, bullying, petty, paranoid child who would have done anything to shut down the Special Counsel’s investigation.

If such high-level interference or intimidation of the Justice Department had occurred during President Barack Obama’s third year in office, he would have been tried, convicted and gaveled out of a job by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a nanosecond.

And, yes, a Congress faced with evidence of obstruction of justice or other offenses by a sitting president is constitutionally empowered to proceed, without political considerations.

That sounds very high-principled, but so do the words engraved on the Statue of Liberty, which are, at this point, basically decorative.

Liberals who know how to add numbers also know that the President won’t be vanquished from office by impeachment. So, setting aside their available constitutional mission, what would be the point of hauling the country through a lengthy, ultimately fruitless prosecution?

Here’s the blockbuster news we would learn from House impeachment hearings about the Trump presidency:

1. The White House is a dysfunctional madhouse where the job turnover is higher than your average Papa Johns.

2. Trump is incapable of speaking the truth. A man who casually thrice lies about his father’s own birthplace (it was New York City, not a town in Germany) isn’t only unfit to govern, he’s ungovernable.

3. Trump tests the loyalty of his anxiety-ridden staff members by their willingness to defend his dumb-ass lies at the cost of their own integrity.

4. Before the election, there were numerous contacts between Putin-connected Russians and Trump loyalists and campaign operatives. However, because Trump’s campaign was so comically plagued with amateurs, it’s conceivable that those who cozied up to the Russians were too stupid to know they were breaking the law.

Sure, impeachment investigators might dig up additional details about the sleazy antics of Paul Manafort, Mike Flynn, Michael Cohen and the other greedy boneheads Trump surrounded himself with.

It’s also possible that House will nail down more incidents in which the President tried to thwart Mueller’s work, or jeopardized national security to benefit his private business deals.

None of it matters to Trump’s devoted core base of supporters, currently hovering around 37 per cent. There’s nothing about his blowhard, back-tracking persona that they don’t already know, and probably nothing they would learn will change their minds.

The portrait of volatility and incompetence painted by the Mueller Report mirrors what’s been described in all the insider accounts already published about this presidency.

Trump’s tremulous tweet storms are destined for future psychiatric textbooks, and you could compile a three-hour speech reel of him spouting one lie after another. The folks who support him don’t much care.

Some Democrats who concede that impeachment will probably end in acquittal by the Senate insist it’s still worth the effort. They say the hearings will keep the issue of Trump’s diarrheal dishonesty at the top of the debate, energizing their voter base and fundraising for the 2020 race.

That’s the same strategy tried by then-Speaker Newt Gingrich two decades ago, when he knew the GOP in the Senate didn’t have the votes to remove Bill Clinton. Clinton’s presidency was damaged and distracted by the circus, but he left office with higher popularity ratings than the Republicans that went after him.

Is impeaching Trump justified under the Constitution? Of course. Duh. He’s the most venal, lawless, infantile boob who ever sat in the Oval Office.

But he’ll survive a Senate trial, and the extravaganza will only feed his crybaby narrative about “presidential harassment.”

The pending Congressional investigations, if clearly focused, could be important and break some actual news. Impeachment would just be a show.

And, seriously, is there a functioning adult in this whole nation who needs further illumination about the current goat rodeo in the White House? Everyone knows what Trump is capable of, and you either love his act or you hate it.

Only a fool would wait for Congress to get rid of him. A better way — also a gift from the Constitution — is to get off your ass and vote him out.

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