A drama in 2 Acts: The House and Senate
WASHINGTON -- They kept it simple and solemn in the House late in fall: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
These are twin articles of impeachment now facing President Donald J. Trump, just announced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Democratic chairmen, notably Reps. Adam Schiff of Los Angeles (House Intelligence Committee) and Jerrold Nadler of New York (House Judiciary Committee). Pelosi wore bright cobalt blue.
Artillery fire across the aisle soon erupted. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., accused them of trying to "tear down the country."
On the other side of the creamy Capitol, the Senate was still stirring, barely awake. That's the pattern we've seen all year: the House acts; the Senate reacts with a yawn.
Yet now the Senate has no choice but to get into the House act. By the Constitution's clear words, once the House impeaches the president, the eye of the Trump storm moves to the Senate.
Hurricane Donald threatens to leave a shambles in his adopted -- or abducted -- party wake when it's over. Just in time for the 2020 races.
You can count on it: The Democratic House will impeach Trump in late 2019 -- next week -- and a Republican Senate trial shall start in early 2020.
As sure as stars, it won't be a pretty mud fight, whether Trump is acquitted or removed from office. It's bound to make the bitterly partisan President Bill Clinton affair -- he was impeached but not removed -- look like horsefeathers.
That House drama happened early Tuesday morning. The power of two was quickly debated and rippled among the reporters in the Rayburn Room as they ran after the speaker for questions; she took none. The lawyerly Mueller report on Russia's 2016 election interference did not make the House cut.
That was the curious thing.