On Thursday, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi formally instructed the chairs of key congressional committees to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. The decision follows weeks of public and behind-closed-doors hearings and investigations related to the president’s alleged wrongdoings.
In wake of Pelosi’s decision, which made it clear that a vote on impeachment is all but inevitable, the White House is adopting a “confident tone,” according to a new report from The Hill. According to the report, which cites statements from a number of current and former government officials, the president’s allies are unfazed by the decision.
According to a former official who spoke to the publication on condition of anonymity, the White House’s refusal to participate in the impeachment hearings will work to the president’s advantage. The refusal to cooperate, according to the official, came after Trump and those close to him established that it would be a mistake to “legitimize” the inquiry.
“The situation in the House is a foregone conclusion and the process has been stacked against the president — why legitimize that by playing their game?” the official asked.
Another person familiar with the strategy echoed the sentiment, saying that Democrats “understand it helps them if the White House participates in the hearings, but that would be bad politics for the White House.”
Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale went on the record arguing that the impending trial in the GOP-controlled Senate will persuade the American public that the commander-in-chief did nothing wrong during his contacts with the Ukrainian government.
“Impeaching the president has always been their goal, so they should just get on with it so we can have a fair trial in the Senate and expose The Swamp for what it is,” Parscale said.
As The Hill notes, polls suggest that Democrats have failed to make their case, since support for impeachment has mostly remained unchanged. In fact, according to some surveys, support has been declining among independent voters in key swing states.
.@SpeakerPelosi: "The president leaves us no choice but to act…Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and a heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with Articles of Impeachment." pic.twitter.com/pKljgPu0pJ— CSPAN (@cspan) December 5, 2019
Tony Sayegh, a White House aide in charge of the president’s messaging strategy, welcomed the House vote, suggesting that some Democratic lawmakers — especially those in swing districts — might vote against impeachment.
“I suspect there are a lot of Democrats right now very uneasy about supporting impeachment,” Sayegh said.
“Regardless of what they decide, we’re ready for them.”
According to House Democrats, whose claims are based on a complaint filed by an anonymous intelligence community whistleblower, Trump pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate his political opponents, conditioning military aid on the probe and consequently committing multiple impeachable offenses.
Defending Trump, Republicans have strongly pushed back against the accusations, arguing that Democrats are launching “sham” investigations in order to remove the president from office before the 2020 presidential election.
According to reports, House Democrats are drafting four different articles of impeachment, accusing Trump of bribery, obstruction of justice, obstruction of Congress, and abuse of power.