By: Lisa M. Hayes – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
If Nancy Pelosi fails to start an impeachment inquiry, she will go down in history as a part of the cover-up.
It’s important, at this point, for all of us to understand how impeachment works and why it matters. It’s especially important to understand why it’s impeachment is critically important even if it fails.
Here is the Cliff Notes version: Impeachment happens in two places. The House of Representatives starts an impeachment inquiry. The House functions more or less as a prosecutor’s office. When the House starts that inquiry it’s loosely the equivalent of a grand jury deliberating on an indictment. Some of that would happen in plain sight. Some of it though, would not.
What matters most about impeachment proceedings happens in the Senate. If the House votes to proceed with impeachment after the inquiry, there will be a trial on the Senate floor. That trial would be complete with evidence and testimony that will be public – as in televised, for all the world to see.
Make no mistake, there is a lot to see and know that the public has not been privileged to. What the public hasn’t seen matters. For the record, the public is not alone in that boat. Most of our legislators haven’t seen the evidence or heard the testimony either. Hell, most of them haven’t even read the Mueller report.
The Special Council’s office produced, in the form of the Mueller report what looks like a very complete and thoroughly written charging document. It outlines the crimes as they apply to the law. What we haven’t seen is the underlying evidence, which would typically be read into the record during a trial. A charging document is usually a precursor to a trial where a jury and the public is privy to the underlying evidence.
The Special Council’s office did its job. However, what Mueller could not do was charge the President criminally. He was prohibited from even entertaining that option. Frankly, I don’t think he thought it would matter that he couldn’t. He believed, rightfully so, that Congress would do their job and start impeachment proceedings. What no one could anticipate was that Nancy Pelosi would drag her feet.
The product of the work of the Special Council should be a part of the public record. Nancy Pelosi is the gatekeeper to the evidence because if not for an impeachment inquiry, the bulk of the work of the Special Council’s office in the form of the underlying evidence will remain hidden, seen and understood by only a select few people. This is the story of our democracy and without a trial on the Senate floor, it will die silently in the dark.
Impeachment proceedings will force our legislators, Republican and Democrat, to hear and see the evidence, even the ones who haven’t bothered to read the report. More importantly, it will put that evidence in front of the American people and it will become a part of our history. Impeachment may fail to remove the President from office. In fact, it’s likely that it would. However, the removal of a President is only one outcome of impeachment. Although that feels critical it might be less critical than using an impeachment inquiry and subsequent trial to put all of the testimony with evidence into the public record. The American people have a right to it. Pelosi is stonewalling.
Pelosi gives a half a dozen reasons for not starting the inquiry ranging from impeachment being a legislative distraction to it being a non-starter because of the Republican-controlled Senate. She has said there aren’t enough Democrats in the caucus calling for impeachment and that the 2020 candidates are seizing on impeachment calls for political reasons that don’t suit her.
However, it wouldn’t matter if a majority of Dems were calling for impeachment. If Nancy Pelosi says it doesn’t go to the floor, it doesn’t go to the floor. That is the power of being the Speaker of the House. Additionally, there is more to being Speaker than counting the expected votes of your caucus. It’s about leadership and Pelosi needs to lead. If she stood up to say it was time, the Dems would fall in line behind her.
To quote Donald Rumsfeld, “As we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”
There has never been a time in our history where that jibberish made more sense. What we’ve got is a Report by the Special Council that very few people have actually read. It’s being translated by talking heads from the news outlets of choice for the masses to chew on. Many legislators haven’t read it in its entirety. However, most of those who have landed at the same inescapable conclusion: It’s time to open an impeachment inquiry.
It is imperative that the truth of what’s happened in our country, the details, the evidence be allowed into the public record, public awareness, and history books because without an accurate and public historical record we risk repeating our mistakes. There is no legislative agenda more important than preserving what’s left of our democracy.
Nancy Pelosi will make her place in history. It hangs on one decision. She will either be the hero of a clap-back meme or the woman who made the decision to allow what belongs to the public into the light. That truth belongs to each and every one of us and it’s past time we had it.
Pelosi is one of the most powerful women on earth. Will she lead or will she continue to stonewall?
This is about transparency and Pelosi knows it. If she fails to proceed, she’s no less guilty of choking our democracy with lack of transparency than a President who’s guilty of Obstruction of Justice.
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Lisa M. Hayes, Senior Editor of Confluence Daily.
Confluence Daily is the one place where everything comes together. The one-stop for daily news for women.