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Does It Matter? The Latest in the Impeachment Trial, Lev Parnas, and the Warren/Sanders Split

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | January 16, 2020 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | January 16, 2020 |


Even for this era of politics, yesterday was a very big day of news. The question, however, is this: Does it matter? Let’s take a look.

— The House voted yesterday to send to the Senate two articles of impeachment. They also named seven impeachment managers. Some procedural matters will be taken care of this week — including what the Republican Senate will and will not allow — and the trial itself will begin in earnest on Tuesday, after the holiday.

Does it matter? Yes and no. Historically, it matters. Trump will only be the third President in the history of the United States to go through an impeachment trial. That will be his legacy, sealing his fate as the worst President in the history of the country. The impeachment itself will also create at least a month of news headlines, generate hundreds of Trump tweets, and send Twitter and cable news into overdrive. But will Trump be convicted? Will it change anything? No, no it won’t. The Republicans have already made up their minds. It’s important for accountability purposes, but the trial itself is all for show. The outcome is predetermined.

— Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas gave an explosive interview with Rachel Maddow last night, where he admitted that everyone — Trump, William Barr, Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence, Devin Nunes, several Trump donors — was in on the campaign to oust Marie L. Yovanovitch. Parnas kept Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and Trump family friends/donors, Tom Hicks Jr. and Joseph Ahearn, apprised of his efforts to damage Trump’s political opponents. Pictures and text messages bolster Parnas’ account.

Does it matter? Beyond keeping cable news and Twitter buzzing for two or three more news cycles, it’s unlikely to matter. In fact, Susan Collins has basically already ruled out all of this evidence being presented in the impeachment trial.

On the other hand, it might matter to Maine voters deciding whether to reelect Susan Collins in November. It is a blue state and Collins has relied heavily on moderate voters to maintain her seat. How Collins has handled herself over the last three years has been appalling, and this is the latest evidence of that. She’s alienated the Democratic party and a lot of independents, and if her opponent Sara Gideon can gain a foothold, Collins’ reign may finally be over.

— Yet another book, A Very Stable Genius, this one from WashPo reporters, Philip Rucker and Carol D. Leonnig, paints Donald Trump as a profoundly stupid man.

President Trump reveals himself as woefully uninformed about the basics of geography, incorrectly telling Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “It’s not like you’ve got China on your border.” He toys with awarding himself the Medal of Freedom.

Will it matter? Not even a little bit.

— CNN played audio between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders after the debate on Tuesday night.

“I think you called me a liar on national TV,” Warren told Sanders.

“What?” asked Sanders.”I think you called me a liar on national TV,” Warren said.

“You know, let’s not do it right now. If you want to have that discussion, we’ll have that discussion,” Sanders said.

“You called me a liar,” Sanders said, adding: “You told me — all right, let’s not do it now.”

Does it matter? With the Iowa caucus less than three weeks away, it will probably harden support among both of their bases, ensure that the progressive wing of the party remains split, and probably make it easier for Joe Biden to win in Iowa and beyond. I think there are more than a few Sanders and Warren supporters who have changed their second choice to Biden instead of the other progressive.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

Header Image Source: Getty Images