“Sadly, this is not any cause for glee or comfort. This I something that is very solemn, that is something prayerful,” Nancy Pelosi intoned on Thursday, just ahead of the House vote to formalize the impeachment inquiry. With all due respect, Madame Speaker—some of us think this is very gleeful! And even sort of comforting! And as for prayerful—if our prayers can lead to 20 Republicans in the Senate being willing to vote for impeachment, it will restore our faith in the power of the almighty.
According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Friday, 49 percent of Americans think that Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 47 percent say he should not be. But this slim minority may soon get a big chance to change its mind: The impeachment hearings are slated to be televised soon—before Thanksgiving!—and the vote on impeachment could come before Christmas.
Thursday’s historic referendum was 232 to 196, with two Democrats siding with the Republicans (we know you are both in Trump districts and are worried about being reelected, but for shame) and one former Republican who is now an independent. The GOP was a solid block of nay-sayers, though in fact Republicans are in a bit of a pickle: Should they stick with Trump’s assertion that his phone call to the Ukrainian president was “perfect,” or should they admit that the call was sleazy and fishy, but pivot and argue that it is not an impeachable offence?
The second strategy may be all but inevitable, as the quid-pro-quo evidence piles up. On Tuesday, White House policy officials Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and, later, Timothy Morrison, reportedly told investigators that there was indeed a shadow parallel foreign policy for Ukraine run by Rudy Giuliani. According to NPR, “Both men listened to Trump's now-famous July 25 phone call with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky….Vindman said he thought almost immediately that what he had heard was problematic. He pushed for Trump to reinstate the military assistance to Ukraine during the time it was frozen and also for the White House to restore terms [to the notes on the call] that Vindman remembered Trump using, including references to the investigation that Trump wanted into the family of former Vice President Joe Biden.”
And more fun to come! Tomorrow, the house committee is supposed to talk to John Eisenberg, the top lawyer on the National Security Council, and the guy who reportedly rushed to lock up the transcript of the infamous phone call in a secret hiding place. And whither John Bolton? Will the former National Security Advisor and right-wing nightmare answer a subpoena and blab to the house committee on Thursday? We are pretty sure Bolton hates Trump, who fired him in September—but doesn’t he hate Pelosi and company even more?
And turn off the Hallmark Channel! The president has offered a possible early holiday present, telling a reporter at the Washington Examiner, “At some point, I’m going to sit down, perhaps as a fireside chat on live television, and I will read the transcript of the call, because people have to hear it. When you read it, it’s a straight call.” (Note to the commander-in chief: This is not a transcript. It is a report on the call reconstructed from various people’s notes, and according to Vindman, the numerous ellipses indicate where dicey stuff has been left out.)
In other news, yesterday the Washington Post reported that gangs of smugglers have repeatedly sawed through new sections of Trump’s border wall, using commercially available power tools. Last Sunday night the president showed up at Game 5 of the World Series in Washington, where he was booed and met with chants of “Lock him up.” Last night he ventured out again, to Madison Square Garden, for something called the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Depending on who you talk to, he was greeted by cheers that drowned out boos, or the other way around. On Friday, he appeared at an event he was surely more comfortable with—a rabble-rousing rally in Biloxi, Mississippi, the highlight of which included this meditation on his current situation: “The Democrats, the media, and the deep state are desperate to stop us. And it’s not me it’s us, it’s all of us.”
Lastly, we leave you with these intriguing tidbits: Barneys may be gone, but it might be slightly easier to enter the Gucci store in Trump Tower soon. On Thursday, the president announced that he is leaving Manhattan and making Mar-a-Lago his permanent residence. To this news, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo responded, “Good riddance. It's not like Mr. Trump paid taxes here anyway. He's all yours, Florida.” And on Tuesday, at a Republican fundraiser, the president mused that if he met some horrible fate, he is not sure Melania would be particularly upset. Referring to Rep. Steve Scalise, who was wounded in a mass shooting in 2017, the president said: “[Scalise’s spouse] cried her eyes out when I met her at the hospital that fateful day…I mean, not many wives would react that way to tragedy. I know mine wouldn’t.”
Originally Appeared on Vogue