The impeachment saga finally came to an end on Feb. 5 when the Senate voted to acquit President Donald Trump of both articles against him: one for abuse of power, and one for obstruction of justice. But now, it looks like House Democrats are getting ready to start the process all over again.
According to the Daily Signal, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the House’s lead impeachment manager and head of the lower chamber’s Intelligence Committee, suggested again this week that Trump may have abused his power — this time, by allegedly intervening in the criminal prosecution of Roger Stone.
Abuse of power…again?
Prosecutors at the Department of Justice (DOJ) recommended a sentence of seven-to-nine years for Stone after he was convicted late last year of lying to Congress, according to USA Today. Soon after, Trump expressed his displeasure with the sentencing recommendation, calling it a “horrible and very unfair situation.”
It was later that news broke that Attorney General Bill Barr would push for a lesser sentence for Stone — a development that led many Democrats, including Schiff, to think Trump had put his thumb on the scale at the DOJ.
“It would be a blatant abuse of power if President Trump has in fact intervened to reverse the recommendations of career prosecutors at the Department of Justice,” Schiff said Tuesday, according to The Hill. “Doing so would send an unmistakable message that President Trump will protect those who lie to Congress to cover up his own misconduct, and that the attorney general will join him in that effort.”
The congressman went on to say the “Trump administration poses the gravest threat to the rule of law in America in a generation.”
He insisted that he won’t “take a position on the proper prison term for Mr. Stone,” however.
Not off the table
While Schiff stopped short of saying the House would pursue another impeachment over this alleged new “abuse of power,” not all Democrats followed suit. California Rep. Eric Swalwell (D) told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Wednesday that impeaching Trump over his actions with regard to Stone hasn’t been ruled out.
“We’re not going to take our options off the table,” Swalwell said, according to the Washington Examiner. But he clarified: “We don’t wake up in the morning wanting to impeach him, you know.”
Swalwell went on to insist that Democrats want to work with the president “on prescription drugs, background checks, and infrastructure, but we are not going to let him just torch this democracy because he thinks that he’s been let off once and we’re not going to do something about it.”
It’s not clear what a second impeachment would achieve. Given the partisan make-up of the Senate, Democrats would have no hope of getting the two-thirds majority required to remove the president from office.
You’d think they’d have learned that lesson already.