Is impeachment over, or is it just beginning? Prepare for more rounds of this
As Democrats announced two articles of impeachment against President Trump on Tuesday morning -- abuse of power and obstruction of Congress -- I heard the country breathe an audible sigh of relief. Our long, national nightmare is finally over.
Anxieties over would-they or wouldn't-they, the constant public opinion polling updates, hours-long hearings, cable news arguments over the prudence or peril of pursuing such a serious course of rebuke against the president, market uncertainty and hand-wringing over how this may affect 2020 -- all of this can finally stop, and just in time for the holidays when we need a break, no matter which side of impeachment you are on.
Yes, impeachment now goes to the Senate for what is likely to be a formality vote, wherein the Republican majority will not decide to convict and remove Trump from office. But for all intents and purposes, the House Democrats just punctuated two years of endless speculation.
Well, I hate to be a Grinch, but this might not actually be the end of it.
Just as we're wrapping up this seemingly never-ending news cycle, it's not all that hard to imagine the whole thing happening again, before November of 2020 -- and there are a few reasons why.
First, there's a bizarre and downright naive false expectation that impeaching Trump will somehow change his behavior; this false expectation has often justified the act of impeachment itself for Democrats.
Barry Berke, Democratic counsel for the House Judiciary Committee, warned Monday that if Trump isn't impeached for this round of bad behavior, "our imagination is the only limit to what President Trump may do next or what a future president may do next to abuse his powers."
But Trump doesn't believe he did anything wrong and has even leaned into the very abuse of power he's accused of, asking China and others to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, and egging on Rudy Giuliani to keep at it in Ukraine.
Trump will, most likely, continue to test the fences of our democracy for weaknesses, which will inevitably include more abuses of power. If Democrats were constitutionally obligated the first time -- and I believe they were -- won't they be constitutionally obligated the next? And the next?
To wit, just last week, before this impeachment was even sewn up, Texas Rep. Al Green said Democrats would pursue impeachment several times if the Senate doesn't vote to convict Trump.