House Democrats are carefully considering when to take the impeachment process to the public, along with which witnesses to present and how to make the strongest case, The Washington Post reports.
It could happen as soon as mid-November, and with the blockbuster testimony they received in closed session from acting senior U.S. diplomat in Ukraine William B. Taylor Jr. and his predecessor, former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch—compelling witnesses because of their gravitas and experience—they have a solid beginning. They also want and need to hear from former national security adviser John Bolton, a primary foe of the Rudy Giuliani takeover of Ukraine policy.
The Post reports that part of their consideration is that “some Democrats were feeling pressure to advance public hearings in hopes of avoiding further disruptions.” They need to get over that. The only defense Republicans have right now is bullshit process arguments, and they’re trying to change the subject to that. Democrats can’t let them, and that means nipping the kind of stunt the nation saw Wednesday in the bud, by coming down hard on those Republicans who stormed the secured area and delayed the deposition of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper, and compromised national security while they were at it. The way to prevent further stunts and delays like that is not to speed up the process, but to punish those lawmakers.
Democrats are apparently also grappling with how to make the hearings run smoothly and competently when more than a hundred members, from both parties and multiple committees, want to get in on the action. That’s an easy one, too: create a select committee for the purpose of conducting public testimony, and put smart lawyers acting as counsel in charge of the questioning. This isn’t the time to allow members from either side of the aisle to grandstand. The gravity of this situation demands that all the competing egos among Democrats be put aside to allow the professionals to take over. That has the added benefit of setting up a structure that will minimize Republican filibustering and nonsense. Luckily, this is a consideration that’s already occurred to them, the Post writes, noting that “leaders will all but assuredly have to take the rare step of persuading lawmakers to sideline their egos and defer management of the hearing to skilled staff lawyers, and potentially the members with prosecutorial or relevant administrative experience.” That’s immensely encouraging.
Democrats need to stay the course, not be distracted by bullshit Republican antics and process deflections, and follow the process for as long as it takes to build the strongest case to present to the American public. If that means taking this into next year, so be it. The public, in steadily increasing numbers, is with them.