Thought experiment No. 1: Suppose Bob Mueller’s probe actually proved that Donald Trump is under Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s thumb.
Fill in the rest of the blanks with your favorite corruption fantasy: The Kremlin has video of the mogul-turned-president debauching himself in a Moscow hotel; the Kremlin has a bulging file of real-estate transfers through which Trump laundered racketeering proceeds for Putin’s favored mobsters and oligarchs; or Trump is recorded cutting a deal to drop Obama-era sanctions against Putin’s regime if Russian spies hack Democratic accounts.
Thought experiment No. 2: Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is not a demagogue. (Remember, this is fantasy.)
At the very first televised hearing, when he alleged that President Trump told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, “I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent ... lots of it,” Schiff was not defrauding the public.
Instead, impeachment’s Inspector Clouseau can actually prove that Trump was asking a foreign government to manufacture out of whole cloth evidence that former Vice President Joe Biden and his son were cashing in on the former’s political influence (as opposed to asking that Ukraine look into an arrangement so objectively sleazy that the Obama administration itself agitated over what to do about it).
What do these two scenarios have in common, besides being fictional? Answer: If either of them were real, we’d already be talking about President Pence’s upcoming State of the Union address.
This is the point that gets lost in all the endless chatter over impeachment strategy and procedure. Everything that is happening owes to the fact that we do not have an offense sufficiently grave for invocation of the Constitution’s nuclear option. If we had one, the machinations and the posturing would be unnecessary — even ridiculous.
Why are we talking about how Chairman Schiff, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and House Democrats rushed through the impeachment inquiry without making a real effort to interview key witnesses?