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SHAPIRO: Democrats Shift The Impeachment Goal Posts
President Trump Meets With Nancy Pelosi And Chuck Schumer At White House on December 7, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson/Staff via Getty Images

On Thursday’s episode of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” the Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief talks about what Democrats are now saying to justify impeachment. Video and partial transcript below: 

The Democrats do have a bit of a pickle on their hands, and that is that a majority of the House does now support the impeachment inquiry. That was gonna be obvious, as soon as Nancy Pelosi endorsed this thing, it was pretty obvious that impeachment was going to happen. 

If you had to put your money down, you’d say that impeachment happens in the House and nothing happens in the Senate. Why? Well, Nancy Pelosi cannot afford to announce an impeachment inquiry and then say, “Oh by the way, we’re not impeaching him.”

I mean that is going to be a very rough move for her. If she puts impeachment on the table and then says, “Well we couldn’t come up with anything, so I guess it’s okay.” 

That is not a thing that’s going to happen. Once she says the “I” word, it’s now happening: Democrats are going to vote to impeach Trump. It’s a foregone conclusion. The question is whether that is justified, and whether Republicans in the Senate will join, or whether any in the House will join, except for Justin Amash, who now considers himself an independent. 

The problem is [with the polling data]. There’s not a lot of suggestion … that Americans actually want impeachment. There’s an article from The New York Times saying, “For many Democratic voters around the country, the prospect of an explosive impeachment battle in Washington left them nervous. Republicans were mostly unmoved.”

So there’s not a lot of public approval for impeachment at this point, and there’s not a lot of poll data on impeachment, but there’s a story yesterday it’s a new [Quinnipiac] poll [that] shows the majority of Americans were against the impeachment and removal of President Trump. Four percent of Republicans and 73% of Democrats support impeachment. However, overall the majority of Americans do not support impeachment. The overall numbers 57% “no,” 37% percent “yes.” 

Of course Democrats want Trump impeached because they’re Democrats. But overall this is not a winning issue for Democrats, especially if they don’t have a smoking gun. So Democrats are really running a bit of a risky game here. What they feel is like, “Okay fine so people don’t support impeachment, so we impeach. What’s the big deal? He doesn’t get removed from office, and then Elizabeth Warren runs on the basis of him being corrupt and wins.”

So they’re banking on Trump having an underlying popularity problem in a way that Bill Clinton did not. Bill Clinton was a pretty popular president until the impeachment hearings began. He was less popular afterward, but still pretty popular, and his popularity actually increased as the impeachment hearings went on, and as Democrats successfully, if falsely, argued that the whole thing was about sex. 

But Trump, they feel, is not Clinton. Trump does not have anything like the underlying approval ratings that Bill Clinton did, and so what you’re starting to see is the Democrats make excuses for why they’re going to impeach Trump even without a quid pro quo. Now, they’re shifting the standard pretty dramatically here. 

So top House Democrats, for example, put out a statement saying no quid pro quo is required to betray our country. It’s a statement from Schiff, Jerrold Nadler, Elijah Cummings, and Eliot Engel. They called the transcripts an “unambiguous, damning, and shocking abuse” of the office of the presidency for personal political gain. Again, it’s hard to say that [when] Barack Obama, in 2012, pledged the Russians flexibility … in relation to the upcoming election. That was bad. Was it impeachable? Probably not, because maybe Obama wanted flexibility for the Russians from a sort of defensive standpoint because he thought it to be good for the country. Personal political benefit and the country’s interests are not necessarily completely separate is the problem.

The statement continued: “Let’s be clear: no quid pro quo is required to betray our country. Trump asked a foreign government to interfere in our elections — that is betrayal enough.”

Again, pretty solid info from John Solomon at The Hill, that the Obama administration was pressuring the Ukrainians to investigate Paul Manafort, who ended up being Trump’s campaign manager. Plus, Hillary Clinton was working with Ukrainians to gather dirt on Trump and Manafort. 

Nonetheless, you’re seeing the Democrats shift their standard because they know that they now have to impeach they’ve gone too far not to impeach and they don’t have the goods. So instead, they’re shifting the standards. Neal Katyal, the acting solicitor general in the Obama administration, has a piece in The New York Times today called, “Trump Doesn’t Need to Commit a Crime to be Kicked Out of Office.”

So this went from Trump definitely committed a crime, to what he did is bad but not criminal, to it doesn’t have to be criminal at all, we can impeach him for any reason whatsoever. Katyal says:

But the potential criminality of the president’s conduct is not the full picture. Our founders deliberately drafted the Constitution’s impeachment clause to ensure the potential grounds for impeachment would cover more than criminal activity….

This is brazen conduct and it took place the day after Robert Mueller testified in Congress, perhaps when Mr. Trump felt liberated from the shadow of the Russia investigation….

To make matters worse, before the call record of that conversation was released on Wednesday, President Trump pointed to it as exculpatory evidence. It makes you wonder what will be revealed about other calls, contacts…

But the bottom line is this: Democrats are now shifting the goalposts.

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