It’s no secret that Democrats and many Republicans have wanted to prevent Trump from taking office or remove him from office once he was sworn in. They used many techniques, including a phony counterintelligence investigation of alleged “collusion” by Trump with the Russians (no such collusion occurred) and an effort at removing the president from office on grounds of inability to carry out his duties using the 25th Amendment (which requires a vote to remove by the Cabinet).
Other tactics have included continual media and political harassment designed to frustrate Trump and make his administration dysfunctional. All of these efforts have failed. Trump has shown great resilience in the face of the criticisms and persistence in achieving his policy goals of tax cuts, regulatory cuts, a stronger defense posture and more secure borders.
The one remaining effort to handicap Trump is impeachment by the House of Representatives. This is well within the ability of the House Democrats to do. However, Speaker Nancy Pelosi does not want to go forward because it would actually increase Trump’s popularity and endanger her House majority; moderate Democrats elected in 2018 would be at risk of losing their seats in 2020.
This is a problem for pro-impeachment Democrats such as Jerry Nadler, Maxine Waters and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They have tried to subpoena current and former White House officials to testify in order to damage Trump. The White House will not let them testify on grounds of executive privilege. The House has sued in federal court to enforce the subpoenas.
Here’s the problem, as described in this article. The courts will generally uphold executive privilege and refuse to force the officials to testify. On the other hand, impeachment is well within the powers of Congress. A judge forced to decide on enforcing the subpoena would be more likely to enforce it if relates to impeachment.
Now Democrats are trying to have it both ways. They want to delay impeachment proceedings because they could help Trump and hurt Democrats. On the other hand, they want to claim impeachment proceedings are underway to improve their chances of having the subpoenas enforced.
A judge is likely to see through this sham and uphold the White House claim of executive privilege. Yet the fact that this is even being attempted shows how much some Democrats want to go ahead with impeachment at all costs.
The ultimate outcome is uncertain, although my estimate is that the impeachment process will proceed in a formal manner this fall. Meanwhile, investors should brace for more volatility due to this political turmoil on top of the already intense market turmoil.
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