On the eve of impeachment, all through the House...
WASHINGTON -- On the cusp of House impeachment, ye olde Capitol may quake on the cornerstone George Washington laid in 1800.
Inside, scores of hungry reporters run to catch sleepless members of Congress, finding politicians blessed with iron stamina. We try to stay cool under the chandeliers, operating on coffee and a shared sense that here and now is history.
The days are dark, short and rainy, leading to the moment when President Donald Trump will be impeached by the Democratic House of Representatives. Pressuring Ukraine, a foreign power, to publicly investigate a 2020 opponent, Joe Biden, in exchange for $400 million in military aid, led him to this pass.
Abuse of power and obstructing Congress are grave constitutional violations. An American tragedy in a short presidency.
Yet Trump treats the situation as would a surly bad boy sent to the principal's office. The ready-to-rumble Trump never learned simple words like "shame" or "sorry" when he was that brazen boy.
At 73, the president has the peculiar talent to turn this rare rebuke around, into tragedy of the absurd -- once outside the House. The affair is far from over.
For now, the authority Trump despises is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat. Despite early doubters, she held her raucous caucus tight as soldiers all year, a work of political art.
Those doubters are now believers. Centrist Democrats from swing districts are sticking with the team, one by one. Reps. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., and Ben McAdams, D-Utah, are voting their consciences ahead of their jobs.
John F. Kennedy authored a book on such stands, "Profiles in Courage."
Daniel Goldman and Norm Eisen, Democratic lawyers in the impeachment hearings, strode out of the speaker's office on the second floor, discussing closing strategy like field lieutenants.