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Mollie Hemingway: “How Republicans Won Phase One Of Impeachment”

Mollie Hemingway: “How Republicans Won Phase One Of Impeachment”

“While many in corporate media will attempt to pretend otherwise, the first phase of impeachment did not go well for Democrats. It needed to be their strongest phase.”

The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway penned a phenomenal piece last week in which she analyzed the first phase of the Democrat’s partisan clown show impeachment circus.

Hemingway’s piece is rather long but is well worth the read.

The goal for Democrats was to build support for President Trump’s impeachment and eventual conviction in the Senate, ideally including removal from office.  Hemingway notes that they failed spectacularly in this regard.

Democrats ideally would have started their inquiry with credible bipartisan support and run things in such a way that public opinion developed in their favor. Public opinion would build pressure on Republican members toward an impeachment vote that had even stronger bipartisan credibility.

That did not come even close to happening. To begin with, not only was the vote to begin proceedings not bipartisan, there was bipartisan opposition to it. Polling initially looked promising for impeachment, with media outlets attempting to claim significant bipartisan support for inquiry and removal, but then the polling moved in the wrong direction for Democrats.

So what happened, what went wrong for Democrats?  Hemingway lays it out and points in turn to the shaky foundation of the “impeachment inquiry,” the loss of credibility of both Democrats on impeachment and of the leftstream media more generally, and to the effectiveness of Republicans throughout the public hearings stage.

Ultimately, of course, there has yet to be any evidence of any crime whatsoever being committed by the president.  Shifting goals and goalposts have seriously undermined Democrats and their media cheerleaders.

Before we get to the politics and how they were played by Republicans and Democrats, it should be noted that President Donald Trump has not been credibly accused of committing any crime, much less a high crime or misdemeanor. It’s almost shocking that Trump, of all people, keeps managing to do well on this score. Yet, as with the Russia collusion hoax, in which he was accused of being a traitor to his country, the lack of evidence for the charges against him is his ultimate saving grace.

What the charge is keeps changing, of course. The whistleblower initially suggested a campaign finance violation arising from a call Trump had with the president of Ukraine. That morphed into a quid pro quo for military aid to Ukraine, then extortion, then bribery, then obstruction of justice, then back to a quid pro quo, but this time only a quid pro quo for a White House meeting. The lack of certainty among even Trump’s critics certainly worked in his favor.

. . . . While the argument for impeachment was difficult to understand, Democrats’ own witnesses kept making Trump’s case against “the swamp” for him. There is no question that these bureaucrats, sometimes using third-hand information, were deeply opposed to Trump, his policies, and his behavior. Their problem was that they were not elected president. In fact, they weren’t elected anything. Some of them were political appointees — a testament to the awful job Trump has done at finding personnel who can accomplish his policy goals — and other times they were career bureaucrats.

The Resistance has generally had a difficult time with this issue, but the proper way to litigate political differences is not with the 25th Amendment, threats to the Electoral College, leak campaigns, spying operations, or impeachment proceedings, but at the ballot box. At no time did any witness make an effective case for anything other than, at best, a trip to the ballot box.

The anti-Trump media’s lack of credibility played a large part in their inability to collude with Democrats to build a viable (i.e. bipartisan) case against Trump that would shift public opinion.

Media outlets did all they could to bolster Schiff’s show and ran the impeachment hearings non-stop, as if Schiff’s inquiry had a legitimacy it never quite managed to earn on the merits. But instead of viewership increasing over time, it decreased.

Reporters kept deleting their tweets because they were getting facts about the hearings wrong. If reporters who were paid to follow the hearings weren’t able to keep details straight, what hope was there for normal people who have real lives and better things to do than watch hearings all day?

. . . . The lack of daylight between Democrats and many in the media was difficult to ignore. They seemed to march in lockstep with the day’s messaging from Schiff, as well as the overall legitimacy of the proceedings.

Here, too, the media seemed to underestimate the significant toll their participation in the Russia hoax had on their credibility. Where the public previously may have been willing to trust them when they claimed they had done their homework before claiming some evidence of wrongdoing by Trump, that trust no longer exists.

Schiff’s secret hearings, scandalous leaks, and perception of general shadiness also undermined the public portion of the hearings.

Schiff had run the Democrats’ efforts in the Russia collusion conspiracy they peddled for several years. During that time, his team leaked like sieves to compliant media outlets such as CNN and falsely claimed for years to have secret knowledge of Trump being a traitor who had colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election. With compliant media outlets, again, he tore down Republican members on his committee and their efforts to get at the bottom of the Russia collusion theory.

When it came time for impeachment, he followed the same pattern, leaking to the compliant media selected excerpts of transcripts to paint a false narrative. But this time, it didn’t work nearly so well. For one thing, the complexity that he weaponized so successfully in the Russia hoax didn’t work with the public. The public had been willing to at least consider an elaborate tale of Trump being a traitor who had colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election.

But when it turned out that Schiff, other Democrats, and the media had been completely wrong about their elaborate theory, it had consequences. They weren’t nearly so willing to fall for the old song and dance a second time, particularly on a story that conveniently began precisely the day after Mueller’s failed testimony.

Even worse for Schiff, he had destroyed the goodwill and comity that had once existed on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. While the compliant media were willing to spoon up whatever he gave them, Republican members knew not to trust him at all. They had also learned from the Russia collusion hoax that they had spent years painstakingly evaluating. Their report outlining Russian meddling as well as a report on some of the concerning behavior of government officials investigating the Trump campaign holds up infinitely better than the Democrats’ report on the same.

Republicans, by contrast, were immensely effective.

In part because Schiff and his team seemed confused about what case they were prosecuting, questions to witnesses were almost always leading, but never focused on a particular or consistent goal. Conversely, Republicans kept focused during their questions, always pointing out that the witnesses didn’t actually have first-hand information, or were basing their views on their own conjecture, a shaky basis for impeachment.

In general, Republican members did a surprisingly good job on cross examining witnesses. The Democrats kept rolling out new star witnesses, and some, such as Gordon Sondland and Lt. Col. Alex Vindman had opening statements that were quite strong for Democrats. Their opening statements withered under strong GOP questioning.

. . . . While many in corporate media will attempt to pretend otherwise, the first phase of impeachment did not go well for Democrats. It needed to be their strongest phase. It needed to be a time when support for the inquiry and impeachment grew. Instead, it shrank. Partly that’s due to Democrats’ failed strategy.

But GOP members also played a significant role. They stood strong against both the media and Democrats, showed very little weakness, sent signals early on that they weren’t going to sit back and cower during the proceedings, and generally learned a great deal from the previous few years’ efforts to undo the 2016 election.

Read the whole thing.

Orange Man Bad is not grounds for (bipartisan, public-supported) impeachment, much less for removal from office less than a year out from the next presidential election.  Democrats flubbed the whole thing, but they are hoping that they managed to damage the president enough that he will lose in 2020.


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They won because Democrats opened the mouths and everyone saw how unhinged they are and the media couldn’t cover it up (because who you gonna believe, your lying eyes or the Democrats calling themselves journalists).

    Are you saying people who are always shouting at the top of their lungs with their hair and pants always on fire lack credibility? So you don’t you like cancer? There is just no pleasing some people.

    ConradCA in reply to mailman. | November 30, 2019 at 10:53 am

    Nearly 3 years of lying about Russian collusion exposed the fact that the Dems Dear Leaders are liars willing to say anything to further their goals.

“Some of them were political appointees — a testament to the awful job Trump has done at finding personnel who can accomplish his policy goals — and other times they were career bureaucrats.”

This is an issue well-worth exploring. IMHO, there are so many appointments that the POTUS, and his newly-elected team have to make so fast, there is no way to properly vet them all. They can’t be left vacant.

How far can the POTUS trust his campaign transition team? Why were they selected? My guess is there was an urgency to quickly hire “experts” who know their way around the Swamp blindly believing they trust could be trusted. Leaks, open betrayals and incompetency quickly evolved into a revolving door of hires, retirements and outright firings.

It is very difficult to find enough loyal and competent people who have that extra commitment to the cause to populate an administration. Do there may be a tendency, almost a necessity to quickly hire “experts” who know their way around the Swamp and trust them to do most of it.


    More likely correct than not. Particularly with the Trump team, for not being an inhabitant of the swamp, he didn’t have an entire team of swamp knowledgeable people ready from the get go. And Republicans usually screw up these appointments and, in particular, leave other party Schedule C (Political) appointees in place instead of booting them out the door on day one or ASAP thereafter.

    A couple of minor corrections:
    “blindly believing they could be trusted”
    “So there may be a tendency”

      I really struggle with editing on this site.

      Tom Servo in reply to Edward. | November 29, 2019 at 12:57 pm

      Recall that the biggest thing that went wrong with the Trump Transition team was Chris Christie. Trump, early on, had selected Christie to run it because he thought he knew the right people. A couple weeks after the election, Trump and his people discovered that Christie was packing *all* of the appointments with Chris Christie deputies and cronies. Trump was disgusted and fired him, giving the job instead to Pence. But, that meant that 6 months of work and planning was all tossed out the window, and instead the former Governor of Indiana, who did not not seek and did not want the job, was asked to lead the transition team and set up all of the appointments in 8 weeks, even though he had very few contacts in D.C.

        I don’t dispute the fact that Trump believed Christie selfishly chose Christie loyalists to chair prime positions. The (now) obvious thing to note is Trump had no bullpen – save family members. It’s entirely possible that during the process of selecting appointments Christie discovered few people wanted to work for Trump? And those that did were third-raters?

        Hindsight being 20/20. Trump may have been better served by keeping Christie’s people.

    “”They can’t be left vacant.””

    As I’ve read elsewhere, there are actually an unusually large number of “acting” heads of departments, deputy chiefs, etc. due to Trump’s inability to make any recess appointments.

      Hopefully, they are for departments targeted for elimination. Certainly not high priority. Like the EPA. Trump has been quietly gutting several government departments. There isn’t a single part of the government that couldn’t use a major haircut.

      Speaking up for the Civil Service here. A huge number of the appointee positions unfilled have Civil Service ‘Deputies’ and staff who have been doing that job in that agency for literally thirty years, or back to the Reagan administration. Appointees have been pushed all the way down to state-level agency teams in most places, and generally when the State Director of ABCD gets appointed, they don’t know enough about the ABCD agency to make good decisions.

      In general, if an agency group is functioning well, making good decisions, and passing along policy from the President down to the implementing employees without screwing things up, there’s no burning need to drop a two-year ‘Bungee’ boss into the position.

      Although personally I think it would make sense to add to the Recess Appointment ability of the President. Make an ‘Expedited Appointment’ for any position that the President has sent to the Senate and that 90 days have passed since without a vote, using the same restrictions. (can only serve until the end of the Senate’s term, can’t be the same guy, etc…)

        Speaking down to the Civil Service here, because “public servants” tend to be overwhelmingly leftists and because they’re the ones who have been deliberately sabotaging the Trump Administration. Not all of them, of course, but it really only takes a few at the highest level of career bureaucrat to gum up the works. Note for example the idiots who’ve been “testifying” before the Kangaroo Kourt. They’re exactly and specifically the type of bureaucrat you’re defending. Political appointees are there for a specific reason – to ensure that the administration’s policies are implemented, not sabotaged.

        tom_swift in reply to georgfelis. | November 29, 2019 at 9:06 pm

        In general, if an agency group is functioning well, making good decisions

        That’s a pretty wild hypothetical. A major problem with government in general is that there’s no mechanism to see that such things actually happen. A functionary doing a crappy job gets the same salary as one doing an outstanding job; there is no Darwinian mechanism driving the organization toward improvement. If anything, the opposite is more likely; with time, sclerosis occurs naturally and eventually dominates.

    “It is very difficult to find enough loyal and competent people who have that extra commitment to the cause to populate an administration.”

    It’s even more difficult when the agency in charge of doing the background checks and security clearances, the FBI, is also the agency leading the coup.

    Not only can they get rid of employees at will, they can make sure that the identities of appointees and their family members can be leaked so they can be harassed and fired. And there’s evidence that’s happened.

I believe the headline should be “How the Democrats lost the impeachment”. The answer is simple. They never had a case to start with and their plan was to gather dirt during the inquiry which was a total failure. Donald J Trump has already won the 2020 election since their are no viable Democratic Party candidates (including Bloomberg). The only person that can lose Trump’s re-election is Trump himself. After retaking the majority in the House and maintaining majority in the Senate, Trump will show America the road back to civilization and to Jesus Christ our savior. His second term will dwarf his first four years. We may never see the Democratic Party again as a force in US politics,

Lucifer Morningstar | November 29, 2019 at 12:40 pm

To begin with, not only was the vote to begin proceedings not bipartisan, there was bipartisan opposition to it.

But that’s not true. The “Proceedings” were initiated well before any vote of authorization was taken. And that’s why in the resolution that was passed it states that the three committees were “directed to continue their ongoing investigations as part of the House of Reps. existing inquiry. So the inquiries/investigations or whatever you want to call them were ongoing at the committee level before the House actually authorized those investigations and Pelosi only allowed the vote to happen when she finally realized that the feces was going to hit the rotary mechanism no matter what she did.

But it’s all moot point now. Since the democrats once again failed miserably to find something, anything to base articles of impeachment on.

Given this precedent, we need to begin working now on the impeachment of any future democrat president-elect.

This is gonna be fun.

    I’ve spent a long time, including even the Tea Party years, thinking we need to rise above the lunatics on the left, but there is no path to victory there. We just get wiped out time after time no matter how high the road we take; in fact, the higher the road we take, the more we lose.

    I’m now all for hitting back. The second the Dem nominee is announced (or crowned), I will be calling for his or her impeachment. That very minute. All’s fair and they will always win if we refuse to play by their rules. Let’s play by their rules and immediately call any Dem president illegitimate. Make them play by their own rules, isn’t that what their god Alinsky proposed?

      I am certain that whoever they nominate, there will be a thick file of their certifiably impeachable crimes. That would be a lot of fun if they were confronted with those crimes every time they were in front of a camera or microphone.

      I don’t disagree at all – in fact, you could say that this is exactly what Trump is doing with Biden. Dems don’t like it when we play by their rules.

        Trump proves Fuzzy’s point. And he does it with humor and without threats.

        We get his tweets at the same time as the enemedia which is why Trump has been so successful at pushing them out of the way. By the time the establishment idiots tell us their version of what Trump just said, we already heard or read it for ourselves. So the enemedia and NeverTrumpers’ role has been reduced from one of informing us to one of “correcting” what we already know.

        It may not be “presidential” but why is polite corruption better? Winning!

Lucifer Morningstar | November 29, 2019 at 1:54 pm

To bad The Federalist is on my block list and I’m unable to read the entire article. But for some reason even the most innocuous comments I make over there are immediately marked as ‘Spam” and are removed. So since they think I’m a spammer (I’m not) I don’t go there any longer nor do I recommend them as a website to read. Too bad that. I’ve enjoyed reading their articles in the past.

What the ‘impeachment’ inquiry has demonstrated this far to the general public is that there is in fact a ‘deep state’ at least in the form of an agreed upon consensus view developed, held and enforced by mid to high level bureaucratic members.
For a LTC to suggest, much less act in opposition to POTUS, that the establishment ‘interagency consensus’ somehow is legally superior to the policy directives of POTUS is absurd.

I recall reading an article whose author escapes me, that there are something like 2000 ‘senior officials’ in the administration. This is the kind of empire building that must stop. DoD and Ambassadors aside, maybe the head of an agency/ department and their deputy should be required to get confirmation in the Senate, The rest of these folks above GS-14 should be ‘at will, serve at the pleasure of the POTUS’, not some new version of the medieval clerisy.

Hopefully with SCOTUS practically inviting a case to revise or reverse the ‘Chevron doctrine’ of deference to agencies this can change as the senior positions wouldn’t be nearly as influential/powerful. Imagine a world where Congress couldn’t direct that the Secretary of x shall develop rules and procedures but instead Congress was forced to actually develop and pass completed legislation. That alone cuts out most BS fact finding trips and forces Congress to stay in DC to work legislation or vastly reduce the scope of the Federal government because they will be too busy to do everything that these agencies do now.

Pipe dream, maybe. On the other hand reversing Chevron will have huge implications for how the Federal government operates. The current hucksters and grifters in Congress would actually have to work vs the theater we have now.

    Once again, nice theory, snowball’s chance. If you think that there is anything at all that can be done to make Congress do any actual work, you’re living in a fantasy world. First, they would never pass any such law, and Second, they wouldn’t enforce it upon themselves even if they did pass it. They’d just hire more staff, get nothing done and shut down the government…….hey, maybe it’s not such a bad idea after all!!!

      CommoChief in reply to txvet2. | November 29, 2019 at 8:57 pm

      You are correct that Congress won’t willingly pass anything to require actual work, performance and accountability for themselves. However they don’t get a choice at SCOTUS.

      Assuming SCOTUS actually overturns the Chevron doctrine, the basis of the modern federal government radically changes. The legal/constitutional underpinnings of the bureaucratic bloated state is removed. All those nice easy ‘the Secretary shall’ laws are now thrust back to Congress to write the legislation and minutiae of modern regulatory state OR the regulations are not constitutional. It is that simple.

      Congress goes to work passing legislation OR the regulatory state collapses. Either way we win.

        tom_swift in reply to CommoChief. | November 29, 2019 at 9:13 pm

        There is no way Congress can competently handle the minutiæ of the modern regulatory state. They’re a bunch of lawyers; what do they know of medicine, bridge-building, coal mining, fire prevention, metallurgy, computer networks, machine screw threads, the ingredients of Coca-Cola, trash disposal, maritime navigation, forensics, space flight, or anything else? That stuff must be handed off to somebody with some knowledge of the details.

a testament to the awful job Trump has done at finding personnel who can accomplish his policy goals

Anybody who’s ever tried to staff an organization, no matter how small, knows that it’s hard to get good help. A cliché, but true enough.

DJT has probably staffed more organizations than most of us. But he doesn’t stick with someone who turns out to be unsuitable. Many managerial types are reluctant to say those magic words “you’re fired!” perhaps due to misplaced loyalty or a reluctance to admit that the initial hire was a mistake.

    txvet2 in reply to tom_swift. | November 29, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    You’re right in theory, but I don’t think Trump has been all that efficient in firing the incompetent and/of downright hostile. The names Rosenstein and Wray come immediately to mind.

Molly is good people. I’ve emailed her and gotten fast responses each time.
I wish we had more Molly’s working the press instead of tappers and stelters.