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Dems Lacked Evidence for Big Charges, ‘Walking Back’ Bribery Claims

You know it’s bad when network journalists are poking holes in the Democratic conclusions. On Tuesday, the reporters on CBS continued to be unimpressed with what congressional Democrats came up with as they prepare to impeach the President. Chief Washington Correspondent Major Garrett saw the announcement of the charges as a letdown with politicians “walking back away from some of the things they were alleging quite loudly two weeks ago.” 

Live coverage anchor Anthony Mason wondered, “Why do you think that the Democrats have backed away from a word that they used quite prominently not so long ago, bribery… and also extortion?” Garrett, who has been blunt this week with his impressions of the Democratic conclusions, explained, “Well, they clearly don’t believe they have the evidence to make that case stick. Bribery, extortion, those were words that had great power and force about a week ago, maybe two weeks ago. Absent from this docket, if you will, of impeachment articles.” 

 

 

Garrett also noted how this impeachment doesn’t stack up to that of Richard Nixon or Bill Clinton: 

Something else is conspicuously missing, obstruction of justice. As Gayle noted, that’s what we’re typically accustomed to hearing when Congress decides whether or not a President has done something so bad that it must impeach the president. Obstructing justice was part and parcel of the Clinton and Nixon impeachment procedures. Not so this time.

The journalist blamed it on impatient Democrats who need impeachment before 2020: 

House Democrats, by any historical measure, accelerated this impeachment process. So they’ve not gone through what other impeachment processes have, court challenges over disputed documents and, or witnesses. If a White House defies a court order for a subpoena, then you can propound an article of obstruction. But Democrats don’t want to wait for the court procedures, in some cases haven’t even engaged them to test this question in court. 

Garett concluded by dismissing the strength of the Democratic argument in comparison to the early talk of bribery: “House Democrats are in full public view walking back away from some of the things they were alleging quite loudly two weeks ago.” 

On Monday, Garrett dismissed the whole thing as “not exactly pay-per-view material.” On Sunday during his Takeout podcast, Garrett pointed out that, unlike Barack Obama, Donald Trump “hasn’t tried to jail anybody.” 

 

 

On Tuesday, after Garrett’s appearance, Mason hinted that the Democratic impeachment effort smacked of elitism: “There were seven House members up there led by Nancy Pelosi, of course all Democrats from just three states, New York, California, Massachusetts, which just continually emphasizes the divide here.” 

A partial transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more. 

CBS Live coverage
12/10/19
9:03

ANTHONY MASON: Chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett has covered the Trump administration since it began. He also covered the last presidential impeachment where Bill Clinton was put on trial 20 years ago. Major, good morning. 

MAJOR GARRETT: Good morning. 

MASON: Why do you think that the Democrats have backed away from a word that they used quite prominently not so long ago, bribery? 

GARRETT: Right. 

MASON: And also extortion. What is the reason behind that? 

GARRETT: Well, they clearly don’t believe they have the evidence to make that case stick. Bribery, extortion, those were words that had great power and force about a week ago, maybe two weeks ago. Absent from this docket, if you will, of impeachment articles. Something else is conspicuously missing, obstruction of justice. As Gayle noted, that’s what we’re typically accustomed to hearing when Congress decides whether or not a President has done something so bad that it must impeach the president. Obstructing justice was part and parcel of the Clinton and Nixon impeachment procedures. Not so this time. Why? Because House Democrats have, by any historical measure, accelerated this impeachment process, so they’ve not gone through what other impeachment processes have, court challenges over disputed documents or witnesses. If a White House defies a court order to comply for a subpoena you can propound an article of obstruction. But Democrats don’t want to wait for the court procedures, in some cases haven’t even engaged them to test this question in court. They’ve left with obstruction of Congress, which is a smaller sounding, and in the history of impeachment, less enforceable, or less, let’s say, strident accusation against the White House. In both cases House Democrats are in full public view walking back away from some of the things they were alleging quite loudly two weeks ago. 

9:22

ANTHONY MASON: Nancy Cordes was in the room when Democrats announced their articles of impeachment and she has been could have gone it for us from the start. Nancy, I was struck with one thing. There were seven House members up there led by Nancy Pelosi, of course all Democrats from just three states, New York, California, Massachusetts, which just continually emphasizes the divide here. We know which way Republicans are going to go. Does Nancy Pelosi have all of the Democrats on board? 

NANCY CORDES: If she doesn’t, she is pretty close, Anthony. She only lost a couple of Democrats in the last vote, and part of the reason they decide. Part of the reason they decided to stick with this narrowly constricted set of articles of impeachment only to no bribery, because, some of her more moderate members were uncomfortable with the idea of the in back into the Russia investigation when crafting these articles of impeachment. So, the fact they have decided to construct this so narrowly, to rely on two articles of impeachment, that Democrats across the board feel they can clearly and concisely defend the, that is going to help her keep her party together. Now, will she be able to win over any Republicans? Probably not, but, Democrats say they believe that ship has already sailed. 

 

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