Summary: “Impeach 45” became a regular chant and hashtag for the Left in its efforts to oust the 45th president from office before the next election. This predated President Donald Trump’s controversial phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which became the pretext for his impeachment. It was also well before the Mueller report, which cleared Trump and his campaign of conspiring with the Russian government to meddle in the 2016 election. MoveOn, Free Speech for People, RootsAction, and other left-wing nonprofits played essential roles in eventually pushing the House of Representatives to impeach the president, despite the certainty that the Senate would refuse to convict.
Fourth Time’s a Charm
For trigger-happy Democrats, the third floor vote on impeachment wasn’t a charm—but the fourth time would be.
The anonymous whistleblower complaint about the Ukraine phone call and investigating Hunter Biden’s misdeeds abroad presented another rationale for Democrats. Pelosi and the self-professed moderate Democrats were—for the most part—exhausted.
The new impeachment inquiry certainly created work for left-wing organizations. Among the new ones to pounce on the Ukraine saga was ImpeachmentHQ. It functioned as a rapid response campaign “war room,” sending out press links and spin to the media. ImpeachmentHQ was a joint effort of Defend the Republic and Stand Up America.
Stand Up American is an advocacy group founded and led by Sean Eldridge, a former unsuccessful Democratic congressional candidate and spouse of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes. Veteran Democratic communications operative Zac Petkanas, the president of Petkanas Strategies, was the director of Impeachment HQ. Petkanas Strategies houses Defend the Republic, a liberal advocacy group.
After an investigation run mostly by the House Intelligence Committee, the House Judiciary Committee approved the two weakest and most undefined impeachment articles in history: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress—neither of which are crimes.
While the Judiciary Committee approved an abuse-of-power article against President Richard Nixon, the Watergate impeachment articles also included obstruction of justice—an actual crime under federal statute. Clinton was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice, actual crimes under statute. The full House in fact rejected an abuse-of-power charge passed by the House Judiciary Committee. Even the impeachment of Andrew Johnson—widely regarded as discredited by modern historians—was based on violating an existing law duly enacted by Congress, the Tenure of Office Act. Though, the Supreme Court would find the law unconstitutional decades later.
Nevertheless, the Left was jubilant on impeachment day. Waters wasn’t shy about crowing on the House floor the day of the vote:
History will remember those who were willing to speak truth to power. Yes, I called for Trump’s impeachment early. This is our country. Our foremothers and our forefathers shed their blood to build and defend this democracy. I refuse to have it undermined. I wholeheartedly support this resolution. I’m proud that in the final analysis, justice will have been served in America and Donald Trump will have been impeached.
On December 18, 2019—almost 21 years to the day the Republican-controlled House voted to impeach Clinton in 1998—the Democrat-controlled House voted to impeach Trump on both charges.
After the House voted to make Trump only the third president in American history to be impeached, objective journalists with the Washington Post recognized the somber gravity of the moment by openly celebrating.
Post reporter Rachael Bade tweeted a photo of four of her Post colleagues at a restaurant table with food and drink, smiling brightly that said, “Merry Impeachmas from the WaPo team! [Paul Kane] is buying…w/ [Karoun Demirjian] [Seung Min Kim] [Mike DeBonis].” Bade later deleted the tweet, though not before enough screen shots were taken.
Green, who pushed the first three floor votes, was both happy and honest during a MSNBC interview. With four impeachment votes, the law of averages was almost on his side. “Well, the genesis of impeachment, to be very candid with you, was when the president was running for office,” Green told MSNBC.
Surprising no one, Trump was acquitted in a Senate trial, with a vote mostly along party lines.
But the radical politicians and advocacy groups that made up Impeach 45, Inc.—a not entirely coordinate effort but one with a common goal—got what they wanted: A Scarlet I on Trump’s place in history alongside Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson.
Just as the law of averages worked in the favor of a House finally getting that Scarlet I vote, Green is counting on the law of averages eventually working in a Senate trial as well if Trump is reelected, noting on C-SPAN:
There is no limit on the number of the times the Senate can vote to convict or not a president—no limit to the number of times a House can vote to impeach, or not, a president.