Impeachment, the Texas edition: What to expect this week in Washington

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We’re going to experiment with an impeachment-focused newsletter this week, highlighting the many Texans on both sides of the aisle involved in the process. Our goal is simplicity, giving you the lay of the land with a little analysis all in one place. Let’s get the show on the road.  

Setting the scene

Round two of the impeachment drama in D.C. begins this week. The House Intelligence Committee is expected to vote Tuesday to approve the final impeachment report and effectively punting the matter to the House Judiciary Committee. It is here where the formal Articles of Impeachment are drawn up. 

On Wednesday, the Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold its first impeachment hearing. Texans are the committee include U.S. Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee, Sylvia Garcia, and Veronica Escobar (all Dems) and Reps. John Radcliffe of East Texas, known for his drama embellishment, and Louie Gomert who always makes the Lone Star State look awful to the rest of the country, on the GOP side.

The president’s team has so far rejected the offer—though there is wiggle room to change their mind—by the Judiciary Committee for him to testify, to prove his innocence.

Rep. Jackson Lee tweeted that her committee has “provided @POTUS with the very request he has sought over many weeks—due process and the right to present his defense—he and his team now make a decision not to participate…[I]t is again concerning for the American people that the president would not want his position or posture to be heard by all of the American people.”

The politics

The first round of televised impeachment hearings did little to sway the public in either direction. Polling before the hearings and after remained roughly the same: 50% support impeachment, 43% don’t, and 7% don’t know, according to CNN. Texas voters are evenly split on whether to impeach or not.  

Congressional Republicans continue making the argument that what the president did was wrong but not impeachable. That means the GOP—as it has all along—is unable to dispute the fact pattern. No matter what it’s called, bribery—Trump asking for dirt on an American citizen and a 2020 political rival, Joe Biden, in exchange for giving Ukraine military aid and a White House meeting—is quite clearly spelled out in the constitution. 

(By the way, what happened to all of the constitutional constructionists? You better believe if this was Obama being investigated, the entire Republican Party would be pointing to the literal text of the Constitution.)

Assuming the Senate acquits the president based on what we know today, the big question is how the impeachment inquiry impacts the 2020 election. No one knows the answer yet, but the president himself is doing everything he can to shape public opinion. Republicans are outspending Democrats on impeachment advertising—$6.8 million on TV, $2 million on Facebook ads (and $700,000 just in Texas as of the third week in November)—compared to Dems’ $4.7 million on TV ads. (Ad spending is via Axios and Bully Pulpit Interactive.)

Here’s to hoping this week that the English language is used to make the case against Trump. It’s bribery, not “quid pro quo.” Less than 1% of the U.S. population speaks Latin.

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