Pelosi Demands Prison For Trump In Closed-Door Meeting With Dems

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The growing divide among Democrats in the House calling for impeachment and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi grows more fraught and apparent every day as the impeachable offenses committed by the president are revealed. In a closed-door meeting of Democratic lawmakers, Pelosi made her stance known.

Pelosi, after Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) of the House Judiciary Committee made his case for impeachment proceedings, told Democrats that she doesn’t want to see Trump impeached; she wants to see him in prison. Impeachment proceedings would most likely never pass through the Senate and an exoneration there by loyalist Republicans could prevent criminal charges from being possible once Trump is out of office. It’s a risky move.

The Week writes that:

‘There isn’t any precedent for ousting a president and then putting him through a criminal trial, it’s true. The closest America has come was in 1974, when then-President Richard Nixon resigned from office ahead of impeachment for Watergate, then was given a full and unconditional pardon by President Gerald Ford before criminal charges could be brought. And it’s true that if Trump were somehow ousted from office via the impeachment process, his successor — Vice President Mike Pence, remember — might do him the same favor that Ford did Nixon.’

Should Trump lose his bid for the presidency in 2020, he could be brought up on multiple charges related to his businesses and his actions in the White House. Should he be impeached, if that were possible, Vice President Mike Pence would take over. Trump would most likely be pardoned and painted as a martyr of vengeful Democrats. However, there’s also a case for doing both: impeaching Trump and holding him criminally accountable, as well as a list of warnings of what would happen should Trump manage to win again in 2020.

‘it’s not a case of either-or. The House of Representatives can impeach Trump — and he can also face additional, post-presidential consequences later on, if that’s appropriate. And choosing prison over impeachment actually might backfire. After all, Pelosi’s proposal depends entirely on Democrats winning the White House back from Trump in November 2020. While that’s not a completely unreasonable thought — Trump has never been a popular president, and his approval rating in some key battleground states makes a second term look dicey for him — don’t forget that polls and conventional wisdom had Hillary Clinton winning the 2016 election.’

The divide is heating up with each passing day and each new piece of information. As migrants die at the border thanks to Trump’s policies, his numerous obstruction of justice crimes come to light, and his lawless and unethical profiting from the presidency is reported, calls for impeachment grow louder.

‘By choosing prison over impeachment, then, Pelosi runs a real risk that she gets neither. She also increasingly raises questions about her own leadership. Her belief that Trump has run afoul of the law and the Constitution is apparently genuine: As Politico noted, she has stated that Trump “‘is engaged in a cover-up,” that his staff and family should stage an intervention, and that the president’s actions are “are villainous to the Constitution of the United States.”‘

The biggest risk is two-fold: 1) Trump escapes impeachment and a precedent is set for future presidents to violate the law the same way that Trump did with no recourse possible; and 2) Trump wins in 2020 and the statute of limitations for his crimes is reached. At that point, there will be little anyone can do.

‘But Pelosi apparently still remains concerned about the political fallout. And she’s not entirely wrong to wonder what might happen to Trump’s popularity — and claims of vindication — if the Democratic-led House impeaches him, only to see the Republican-held Senate find him not guilty of the allegations against him.

‘Then again, her rhetoric and actions don’t seem to be matching up. If she continues to say the president merits imprisonment, then continues to hold back from action, it’s possible — even likely — that voters will decide she doesn’t mean what she says, or that she lacks to fortitude to follow up on those words.’

Featured image via Flickr by Gage Skidmore under a Creative Commons license