House congressional leaders have emphasized more than once in recent weeks that the stain of Donald Trump’s impeachment scandal will not wash off. His misdeeds were not enough to sway his Senate Republican allies, but they will help define his troubled legacy.
“I think that we have pulled back a veil of behavior totally unacceptable to our founders, and that the public will see this with a clearer eye, an unblurred eye,” House Speaker Pelosi said of the president, adding, “Whatever happens, he has been impeached forever.”
That’s obviously true — or is it? Evidently, Trump doesn’t quite see it that way.
President Donald Trump said Friday that his impeachment should be invalidated, and he gave an ominous warning when asked how he’ll pay back those responsible, saying, “You’ll see.”
“Should they expunge the impeachment in the House? They should because it was a hoax,” Trump told reporters at the White House before departing on Marine One.
A week ago today, Alan Dershowitz, a controversial member of the president’s legal defense team, told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that he disagrees with the idea that Trump will “forever” wear the label of impeachment.
“If he wins this [trial in the Senate], I think nobody should regard him as having been impeached,” Dershowitz argued.
That was a difficult position to take seriously, since what people “regard” as true is far less important than what is true. But his client seems to be going one step further, suggesting “they” — presumably, House members — take it all back. It’s as if Trump believes the chamber can and should hold a do-over vote, un-impeaching him.
I have a hunch that won’t happen anytime soon, not only because there’s a Democratic majority in the chamber, but also because the evidence of Trump’s guilt is obvious and overwhelming. Indeed, it was a point Senate Democrats, two Senate independents who caucus with Democrats, and a Senate Republican could all agree on.
But Trump may be thinking about a more long-term strategy. Perhaps someone told him about the fact that lawmakers censured Andrew Jackson in 1834, only to have his allies “expunge” the censure from the record in 1837 after control of the Senate switched party hands.
I won’t pretend to know whether Trump will win a second term or when Republicans will next control a House majority, but don’t be surprised if, should those circumstances arise in the near future, if Trump asks his GOP allies to vote on a resolution — no matter how ridiculous — intended to say his impeachment didn’t really count.