Photo: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks at a press conference in December
By Mike Talavera
Today Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced that the House of Representatives would be transmitting the articles of impeachment to the Senate sometime next week. After receiving the articles, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell will be compelled to start the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, the third such trial in US history.
“For weeks now, [McConnell] has been engaged in tactics of delay in presenting transparency, disregard for the American people’s interest for a fair trial and dismissal of the facts,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to Democratic colleagues. “Yesterday, he showed his true colors and made his intentions to stonewall a fair trial even clearer by signing on to a resolution that would dismiss the charges.”
Although the House approved two articles of impeachment against Trump last month, one for abuse of office and another for obstruction of justice, Pelosi and House Democrats have not passed them on to the Senate out of fear that McConnell and Senate Republicans will undercut the proceedings. Of prime concern for the Democrats is whether testimonies from key witnesses such as former Trump advisor John Bolton will be allowed, since without this testimony they will have little to no control over the trial.
Bolton, who said that he would be willing to speak at the trial earlier this week, is one of the few Trump insiders who reportedly has direct knowledge of Trump’s backdoor interactions with Ukraine, including the July phone call with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky that set off the impeachment inquiry last September.
During that call, Trump asked Zelensky to investigate his potential 2020 election opponent Democrat Joe Biden in what many viewed as inviting foreign interference into the US election. Trump had previously come under scrutiny for collaborating with foreign powers during the 2016 election, although the FBI’s Mueller report last year found no evidence of Trump working with Russia as Democrats had claimed. That report, however, did not come to a conclusion as to whether Trump had crossed a line in his attempts to thwart the investigation into his conduct.
After rushing to approve the articles of impeachment, Democrats stalled in hopes of getting more leverage in steering the course of the trial. Republicans called the bluff and have made no concessions, at least none that have been made public. Trump’s recent aggression towards Iran, sparked by his order to assassinate Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani, overshadowed the impeachment proceedings’ usual place in the headlines, which may have influenced Pelosi’s decision to move forward.
Both Democrats and Republicans have utilized the theatrics of impeachment to cater to their party bases in the lead up to the election. The case distracts from the real issues weighing on the majority of the US: poverty, reactionary immigration policies, gentrification, mass shootings, a deplorable healthcare system, rising suicide rates, environmental disasters, etc. Impeachment gives bourgeois politicians a stage to tout their loyalty to the constitution or their defense of the President, neither of which have any immediate or material consequences for the millions struggling to get by every day in the US.
Impeachment and the bourgeois elections are part of the same sham. It is time for revolutionaries, activists, and all those who desire a better world to push for an election boycott that rejects this sham, which is used to give the appearance of popular support to the system where a small ruling class holds all the power and wealth while the rest are oppressed and exploited.