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Nancy Pelosi tips her hand

Twitter, Christine Pelosi

“I don’t want to see him impeached, I want to see him in prison.”

A lot of people who want justice for Donald Trump have been grumbling about Nancy Pelosi, because Pelosi seems to be dragging her feet on impeachment. However, I don’t see anything to grumble about. A lot of politics is tactical and scripted. My interpretation of Pelosi’s tactics is that she wants a widespread, bottom-up outcry for impeachment. The more she seems to be resisting impeachment, the harder she is pushed. That’s exactly what she wants. She wants history to record that, as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, she brought justice to the most dangerous and most criminal president in history.

This morning, in Politico, Pelosi revealed — and I believe she is serious — what she really has in mind for Trump: prison.

The Politico article is Pelosi tells Dems she wants to see Trump in prison.

Republicans just naturally assume that because Republicans try to inflict political damage on Democrats with endless witch-hunt investigations, that that’s what Democrats are doing. Republicans, as usual, are delusional. The difference is that Republicans never had anything on Hillary Clinton, and the investigators knew it, even if the ignorati didn’t. Lock-her-up Republicans are quick to gloat, but slow to learn. Whereas Trump is not just a criminal, he’s a crime lord who must be held responsible for a long list of state and federal crimes — financial crimes, tax crimes, obstruction, conspiracy, and, in my opinion, treason. His financial crimes aren’t just about real estate. Trump also is deeply and criminally involved in the financial crimes of the global billionaire oligarchy, to whom he clearly owes dirty money, and lots of it.

Nancy Pelosi, we should keep in mind, has access to more information about what’s going on behind the scenes than any Democrat in the country. Her strategy, I believe, is to first politically destroy Trump by exposing Trump’s criminality in televised House hearings. She has about nine months to do that, because Trump must be politically destroyed before next year’s presidential primaries, so that the Republican Party can pick another candidate. I continue to believe that the odds are close to zip that Trump will be around to run for a second term. Rather, I think Trump will resign once 60 percent or more of the American population see his criminality, and once the Republican Party sees that Trump is doomed and turns on him. Trump will try to cut a deal for his resignation. But even if Trump manages to evade prosecution for his federal crimes, New York State has enough on him to lock him up for the rest of his miserable life.

Nancy Pelosi does not need to bluff, because she has more power here than Trump does, and she knows it. Trump, propped up by Republican propaganda and by stooges (such as William Barr) in key positions, has enough power to slow things down and to throw sand in the works, but ultimately it’s Trump’s criminal guilt that will take away all his power and ensure his doom. Pelosi’s task is that she must expose Trump’s crimes for all to see, on television. She has everything she needs to do that. She has the power of Congress, and the law, behind her. State law — not only in New York but probably also in other states — are a backstop against Republican dirty tricks and presidential pardons.

When Nancy Pelosi used the word “prison” yesterday, she knew exactly what she was saying and what she was doing. Now we get to watch as she plays her hand.

Update: Jennifer Rubin, at the Washington Post, drawing on another article by constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe, describes an actual legal structure for what Nancy Pelosi may have in mind. The article is, Forget impeachment. Tee up prosecution.

Part of the argument is that the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has already prejudged the case for impeachment. Republicans would look the other way and blame Democrats no matter what Trump has done. So, by this kind of road map, the House would investigate Trump’s crimes, concluding with a resolution referring the case and all the evidence to prosecutors as soon as Trump is out of office.

That sounds like a plan to me.


  1. Amy wrote:

    But David, why hasn’t his criminality been exposed and prosecuted all these decades?

    Friday, June 7, 2019 at 10:50 pm | Permalink
  2. daltoni wrote:

    Hi Amy… I think that would be because this country increasingly does not prosecute corruption and financial crime. One of the things we’re learning here is that the U.S. is farther along in becoming like Russia than we suspected.

    Saturday, June 8, 2019 at 7:43 am | Permalink
  3. James Mellichamp wrote:

    The ability to subscribe to blatant propaganda by Trump supporters staggers the mind. Even GOP leaders are starting to realize that Trumps tax cuts have had a negative impact and raised the deficit by $2 trillion dollars. And let’s not even consider the impact of trade tariffs. It really does feel like the Twilight Zone at times. Thanks for your eloquent disquisitions.

    Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at 8:37 pm | Permalink
  4. daltoni wrote:

    James… Thank you… To my thinking, part of what’s important is to be very skeptical of what I would call secondary sources and to focus on primary sources. In the context of Washington politics, I think what that means is to pay little attention to what *pundits* say (they are all over the map and mostly incompetent) but to pay much closer attention to hearings, court filings, and actual legal and legislative actions. Republican propaganda is pretty much 100 percent hogwash, of course. But there is a great deal of spin in reporting favorable to Democrats, and that must be discounted. Nancy Pelosi and the House committee chairs are the people to watch right now.

    Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at 8:53 pm | Permalink
  5. James Mellichamp wrote:

    Very apt. Of course the notion that if it’s on the internet or social media, then it must be true is endemic nowadays. Critical thinking is totally absent.

    Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

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