The witnesses have spoken, the politics are largely settled.
Now impeachment investigators will make the case for public opinion over Thanksgiving.
And for House Intel Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. and the Democrats, the outlook on public opinion doesn’t look so good
Schiff’s Thanksgiving Day plate is empty — and President Donald Trump is set to roast the turkey.
Polling numbers for impeachment support are spoiling. Internally, Democrats are fearful — and are starting to crack.
Most recently, one prominent House lawmaker, Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., abandoned the notion of impeachment altogether. Now, she’s backing efforts to censure Schiff’s actions.
Lawrence was once pro-impeachment but switched after polling data forced her hand.
“You can censure, you don’t have to remove the president,” Lawrence said in an interview with No BS New Hour.
Lawrence’s public decision to go on the record against impeachment is a gut check for Schiff and the Democrats — and further proof that the televised hearings did nothing to sway American voters as they begin to compile the so-called evidence.
On Monday, hundreds of pages from Schiff’s intelligence committee were being compiled into an exhaustive report that will begin to outline whether Trump engaged in “treason, bribery or high crimes and misdemeanors” by asking them about Democratic rival Joe Biden.
The report may come as soon as next week.
There are rising political stakes for all sides. Americans remain deeply split over the impeachment question, despite hours of sometimes riveting testimony, and the country’s polarization now seems to foreshadow an outcome: Democrats are poised to vote to impeach the president while Republicans stand firmly with him.
Sending the case on to the Judiciary Committee, which is ready to start its own round of hearings in December, provides another chance to sway public opinion before a House vote expected by Christmas and a Senate trial in 2020.
“The evidence of wrongdoing and misconduct by the President that we have gathered to date is clear and hardly in dispute,” Schiff told colleagues in a letter Monday. “What is left to us now is to decide whether this behavior is compatible with the office of the Presidency, and whether the Constitutional process of impeachment is warranted.”
Republicans insist the president did nothing wrong. While Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani pursued the political investigations with Ukraine in what witnesses described as an irregular foreign policy channel, Republicans argue it’s not clear the president directly intervened to withhold the money to Ukraine.
Trump gave Giuliani a vote of confidence Monday.
“Rudy is the best mayor in the history of New York. In my opinion, the strongest mayor, the best mayor,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.
However, in a setback for the administration, a federal judge late Monday ordered former White House counsel Donald McGahn to appear before Congress. The president has tried to keep top aides from testifying. The administration will appeal the ruling.
Some Republicans, led by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., prefer to keep digging into claims that Ukraine was involved in 2016 election interference. They also see reason to scrutinize the work of Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, for a gas company in Ukraine.