The big rush to a quick impeachment hit a roadblock.
Speaker Pelosi, who was never enthusiastic about impeachment, is kinda like a substitute quarterback put in late in the game, somewhat unhappily.
Nevertheless her team has moved the ball downfield to the 5 yard line with only 10 seconds left in the game. She takes the snap, rolls out to the far left and spots a wide open receiver in the back corner of the end zone. Easy scoring pass, right? No, she holds the ball, takes a knee, and calls timeout with 2 seconds remaining.
Her exasperated Coach yells, “Why didn’t you throw the ball?”
Her response: “I don’t trust that receiver. He won’t follow my instructions. I wanted him closer to me, just across the goal line.”
“Ok, one more play. What do you want?”
“I want him to do exactly as I instruct him in the huddle and I’ll pass the ball to him.”
“But what if he doesn’t follow your exact instructions?”
“I’ll just hold the ball. At this point, what difference does it make? We’re 27 points behind!”
Well, you might say the last play is still under review, but that’s the story of Pelosi vs. the Senate. She knew the outcome long before she reluctantly took the helm of the impeachment team.
(If you don’t like this analogy, blame it on a solid week of watching football. There would be more humor and joy if my favorite teams had won.)
What does the Constitution say? Here are the exact words about responsibilities of the House and Senate (Article 1, Sections 2 and 3).
“The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.”
“The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present.”
The writers of the Constitution kept it short and simple. The House shall have the sole power of Impeachment. The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. Could it be any clearer? The only problem was those wise writers expected future members of Congress to have common sense. They did not anticipate that two hundred years later Congress would be full of lawyers looking for weasel words they could interpret to their own desires.
So here we are. Has the President been impeached or not?
Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“Football is getting all the play now.” WA #353, Sept. 29, 1929
“It’s pitiful when you think how ignorant the founders of our Constitution must have been. Just think what a Country we would have if men in those days had the brains and forethought of our men today!” WA #107, Dec. 28, 1924