House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced on Thursday that she would be asking House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) to “proceed with articles of impeachment” against President Donald Trump. But one Washington insider who knows his way around the impeachment process is predicting that Pelosi’s move is about to backfire.
Former special counsel Ken Starr, who headed the investigation into impeachable wrongdoing by then-President Bill Clinton, said on Fox News Radio on Thursday that “it’s an outrage” to see Pelosi seizing control of a House panel, characterizing the move as “an abuse of power” that may force Senate Republicans to dismiss Dems’ case against Trump altogether, Fox News reports.
“It’s an outrage”
Starr’s comments came during an interview with Brian Kilmeade on the Fox host’s self-titled radio program on Thursday. There, Starr offered his thoughts on Pelosi’s change of direction.
“It’s an outrage to seize control of the deliberate process of a committee — [it] simply compounds a series of very, very terrible abuses,” Starr asserted, according to Fox. “The House Judiciary committee with its incredibly rich history needs to go into…an open session and debate this.”
The former special counsel went on to suggest that he perhaps shouldn’t be surprised that Pelosi has usurped this sort of power.
“Because back early in the fall, she unilaterally, with no debate in the people’s House, says we now have an impeachment inquiry. Now, she’s dictating the committee to actually draft articles of impeachment?” Starr said, incredulous. “It is an abuse of power.”
The straw that broke the camel’s back
Starr went on to contrast the impeachment proceedings that plagued Clinton and former President Richard Nixon with the current efforts to remove Trump, calling them “just the opposite of what we’re experiencing now.” Whereas both Clinton and Nixon’s impeachments had at least some support from the opposing party, Starr said Pelosi is now operating along “a strict party-line vote.”
“I think this may lead to a [Senate] motion to dismiss,” he predicted, “which I don’t favor. If the House of Representatives says we’re going to impeach, then the Senate should hold a trial. But I think this may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”
He added that “Republicans in the Senate [might] just rise up in righteous indignation and say, ‘This is absolutely unacceptable.'”
Eye on the ball
The move by Pelosi that was criticized by Starr represents a major change of course for the House speaker, who previously opposed Trump’s impeachment, citing a lack of bipartisan support.
“Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country,” Pelosi said in a March Washington Post interview.
She made similar comments to USA Today that same month, arguing that Democrats would be a waste of time “unless the evidence is so conclusive that the Republicans will understand. Otherwise, it’s a gift to the president. We take our eye off the ball,” she said.
But that’s exactly what they did. And now, unfortunately for Pelosi, it looks like the Democrats are about to strike out on impeachment.