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Does Impeachment Play in Pennsylvania?

Most Americans have probably concluded that the entire exercise is political theater

Across the pond, grown men are willing to bring down a sitting president over the word “us.”

Isn’t that what it all comes down to? In President Trump’s July 25 call with President Zelensky of Ukraine, he said this:

I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it…. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the attorney general call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it…. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.

The Democrats say that “us” means “Donald Trump” and the Republicans claim that “us” means “the United States of America.” Everything else is commentary.

Democratic House managers of the impeachment spoke for 21 hours straight last week, detailing the president’s supposed wrongdoing in excruciating detail. Then President Trump’s lawyers took the podium on Saturday and dismantled their case in two hours.

The core of their argument is this: Nothing happened. The president never offered a quid pro quo. Indeed, it’s perfectly legitimate for the president of the United States to ask another country to investigate corruption. In fact, President Trump has made fighting corruption and sharing the burden of foreign assistance a central pillar of his foreign policy.

But even in the worst-case scenario — in which President Trump was offering a quid pro quo — numerous witnesses testified that Ukraine only became aware of this supposed deal in late August, after Politico published an article reporting that Trump was holding up military aid to Ukraine. So the question is, how can there be a quid pro quo if one party is unaware that there is an exchange of favors?

Several news outlets reported that the spectators’ gallery in the Senate is mostly empty, an indication that the public has already tuned out of the impeachment process. True, watching lawmakers and attorneys speak for hours on end isn’t the most compelling entertainment. But on the other hand, shouldn’t impeachment, the making of history, attract more attention?

Most Americans have probably concluded that the entire exercise is political theater. Even if the Democrats could prove that Trump was strong-arming Zelensky for a “favor,” I think most observers would agree that that kind of “favor” happens every day in business, politics — even family life.

Polls show that the American public is sharply divided over removing Donald Trump from office, which means that the 2020 presidential election will once more come down to a few key states. How impeachment plays in Wisconsin, Florida, and Ohio, therefore, is more important than how it plays on the Senate floor and CNN.

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 796)

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