The Democrats may have impeached Donald Trump, but that doesn’t mean they’re done investigating him.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is capitalizing on “explosive” new emails to press for documents and testimony in the Senate trial, The New York Times reported Monday. Schumer claims that the messages are smoking-gun proof of a “quid pro quo” that justifies bringing forth evidence that Democrats did not obtain before impeaching Trump in the House.
Schumer seeks new testimony
With Congress at an impasse as Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) withholds articles of impeachment from the Senate, Schumer and his fellow Democrats have been left grasping at straws as they lose leverage to unwavering Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Amid this partisan standoff, Democrats welcomed the release of new emails this weekend that they said shows a fresh, potentially damning paper trail, according to Fox News.
The documents, released by the Center for Public Integrity, show that Office of Management and Budget (OMB) official Michael Duffey sent the Pentagon a request to “please hold off” on aid to Ukraine and to keep the matter on a strict “need to know” basis. Schumer cited the email, reportedly sent about 90 minutes after Trump’s phone call with Ukraine, in a new letter calling for a broadened investigation into Trump’s actions.
“What happened over the weekend has only bolstered the case that documents should be produced and witnesses testify,” Schumer said, calling the emails “explosive.”
Schumer is seeking more extensive internal documents from the White House, State Department, and OMB about Trump’s phone call — including texts, emails, and other documents — apparently with the hope of proving that Trump ordered the hold on aid directly. But Republicans can easily write off the “explosive” emails — and all of Schumer’s new demands — as a desperate play for momentum as their position weakens.
McConnell, Graham hold steady
Pelosi has said she will not send the articles to the Senate until she sees the initiation of a fair process, but McConnell has made it clear the delay won’t win her any leverage there. Indeed, McConnell ha dropped any pretense of being an impartial juror in what he regards as a thoroughly unserious, partisan circus that should be dealt with as quickly as possible.
“Do you think Chuck Schumer is impartial?” McConnell asked during an appearance on Fox News on Monday. “So let’s quit this charade. This is a political exercise.”
McConnell already shot down Schumer’s request for John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney, and other officials to testify, and it’s unlikely that the “explosive” emails will change much, outside of giving Democrats more reasons to accuse McConnell of stonewalling. Republicans have gone on the offensive, accusing Democrats of continuing an unserious fishing expedition despite voting to impeach the president based on narrow (yet vague) charges of wrongdoing having to do with Ukraine.
“Democrats are treating impeachment as an open bar tab. Time to cut them off, take their car keys away (put GOP in control of the House), and end this insanity,” Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tweeted Monday.
Indeed, it’s curious that Democrats appear to be expanding their investigations of Trump, in spite of the finality of the impeachment vote they built up to be so “solemn” and historic. Schumer may say he wants to see “all” the evidence, but the ambit of his party’s investigation was revealed to be virtually limitless on Monday when House Judiciary Democrats said that they might seek additional articles of impeachment having to do with Robert Mueller’s investigation, even as the first impeachment stalls.
As Schumer casts a bigger fishing net and his House allies resurrect the Mueller probe, it appears that the left does not know what the right is doing. Have Democrats impeached Trump in reality, or just in theory? Either way, it’s hard to take this spectacle seriously.