Byron York: Impeachment vote a warning — to Trump and Pelosi – Washington Examiner
The headline of the House vote on a resolution to impeach President Trump was that lawmakers rejected it by an overwhelming 332-95 margin. But the story was something else: 95 Democrats vote to impeach the president, not for any alleged high crime or misdemeanor, but for causing “harm to the society” of the United States.
The vote, in other words, showed that 95 Democrats will vote to impeach the president for anything. For them, there is no need to accuse Trump of a high crime or misdemeanor involving Russia, or obstruction of justice, or campaign finance violations, or any other arguably impeachable activity. Accusing the president of being “unfit” for office is enough.
This is the introduction to the resolution, offered by Texas Democratic Rep. Al Green:
Resolved, that Donald John Trump, President of the United States, is unfit to be President, unfit to represent the American values of decency and morality, respectability and civility, honesty and propriety, reputability and integrity, is unfit to defend the ideals that have made America great, unfit to defend liberty and justice for all as extolled in the Pledge of Allegiance, is unfit to defend the American ideal of all persons being created equal as exalted in the Declaration of Independence, is unfit to ensure domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare and to ensure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity as lauded in the preamble to the United States Constitution, is unfit to protect the government of the people, by the people, for the people as elucidated in the Gettysburg Address, and is impeached for high misdemeanors that the following Article of Impeachment be exhibited to the Senate …
The specific article that Green offered relied on the resolution the House passed Tuesday condemning the president for those now-infamous go-back-where-you-came-from tweets directed at the so-called “squad” of Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ayanna Pressley. By sending the tweets, the impeachment article said, Trump has:
… brought the high office of the President of the United States in contempt, ridicule, disgrace, and disrepute, has sown seeds of discord among the people of the United States, has demonstrated that he is unfit to be President, and has betrayed his trust as President of the United States to the manifest injury of the people of the United States, and has committed a high misdemeanor in office.
“Therefore,” the resolution concluded, “Donald John Trump by causing such harm to the society of the United States is unfit to be President and warrants impeachment, trial, and removal from office.”
The point of Green’s resolution was not that it was a serious case for impeachment. The point was that it showed the extent of Democratic support for a nonserious case for impeachment. Ninety-five votes is far from the 218 votes required to pass articles of impeachment in the House. Nor is it a majority of the 234 Democrats in the House. But it still a lot of lawmakers — about 40% of the entire Democratic caucus.
If 40% of Democrats are ready to impeach the president before considering any resolution on Russia, obstruction, campaign finance, or anything else, Wednesday’s vote suggests that Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has argued that impeachment could backfire on Democrats politically, might have an uphill battle holding off impeachment on a more serious resolution.
Wednesday’s vote was a warning, both to the president and the speaker. It showed that any real impeachment effort will begin with 95 votes in the House. The Democrats who are dead-set on impeaching the president are already well on their way.