The White House is feeling relieved after House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler’s (D-NY) first impeachment hearing proved to be an optics disaster for the Democrats.
Republicans are hailing the Wednesday testimony from three liberal professors as a boon to Trump’s re-election campaign, with one Republican comparing the hearing to a “flaming bag of dog sh**.” Democrats proved themselves to be out of touch with their witness choices, officials told the Washington Examiner.
“I’m not sure who in the majority thought that Americans wanted to be lectured by three biased law professors,” said a White House official. “The Democrats are out of touch and have never understood what the American people see in President Trump, and that was on full display.”
Nadler circus lifts spirits at WH
Nadler took over the impeachment process this week after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) concluded a round of hearings featuring current and former White House diplomats and security officials. While Democrats hailed witnesses like former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman as “brave public servants,” Republicans characterized them as sanctimonious bureaucrats who summarized the “Swamp” and its unbreakable self-regard — and indeed, outside the insular world of Washington, the hearings failed to move public opinion.
To target those Americans still undecided, Nadler did the best thing he possibly could by summoning three academics from elite universities to make the case for Democrats. Republicans roundly denounced expert witnesses Pamela Karlan, a Stanford University professor, and Harvard scholar Noah Feldman for testimonies that were widely described as puffed-up, elitist, and shrill.
Karlan apologized after facing backlash for invoking Barron Trump’s name to make a joke about President Donald Trump’s presidential power — a move that some excused as a play on words that was nevertheless unbecoming of a so-called “expert” witness. And the neatly-coifed Feldman, looking like he had just walked off the set of a Harry Potter movie, was mocked by Republicans for his preening, pompous demeanor.
The comparatively staid John Turley, the Republicans’ only witness, presented a subtle argument, saying that he did not approve of Trump’s actions toward Ukraine but that they were not impeachable, and that Democrats were playing with fire by rushing through the process. The whole display lifted spirits at the White House and in the GOP, with one Republican using some choice words to describe it: a “flaming bag of dog sh**.”
“[White House] staff watching thought it was a win for the White House and that Republicans on the committee did a fantastic job, particularly selecting [Jonathan] Turley as their witness,” the White House official told the Examiner.
Dems declare victory, speed ahead
But Democrats, heedless of public opinion or the damage impeachment will do the country, quickly claimed vindication. Not 24 hours later, Pelosi told Nadler to move swiftly towards impeachment, praising the professors for having “illuminated without a doubt that the president’s actions are a profound violation of the public trust,” Fox reported.
The Speaker, in rhetoric as hackneyed and overblown as the professors she praised, said that Trump left Democrats “no choice” and that democracy itself is “at stake.” It marked a dramatic step for Pelosi, who had long opposed impeachment before her September edict opened the “inquiry,” warning it would be divisive and likely fearing the impact on vulnerable Democrats.
But the party is now charging full speed ahead, with another hearing in Nadler’s committee on Monday — for what purpose is unclear, since they seem to have already reached their verdict. Trump has responded by daring Pelosi to “do it now, fast” so Americans can “get back to business.”
Trump’s confidence doesn’t appear to be misplaced. Pelosi is taking a political risk with no obvious reward — all for the sake of satisfying her anti-Trump base, it would seem — by setting up Trump for a victory lap when Republicans in the Senate will likely acquit him. When all is said and done, Wednesday’s hearing may provide the Trump campaign with some more useful material.