I spent this week in Washington, D.C., filming a new TV show about family. It was somewhat fortuitous in that a Republican congressman I have long known wanted to meet in person. That became a surreal moment in my life that wound up making international news.
The congressman did not want to talk on the phone, but in person. He did not want me to come to his office or be anywhere on Capitol Hill because he did not want to risk being seen with me. So he drove to a Safeway grocery story near my hotel and let me go grocery shopping with him.
As we walked the aisles of the grocery story, the congressman went on a profanity laced tirade about President Donald Trump. You will not be surprised to learn that the congressman is occasionally on Fox News defending the president. But he has clearly come to hate the president, including calling him an “evil, stupid Forrest Gump.” I am leaving out all the expletives. There were a lot.
The congressman made a couple of points worth noting. First, he thinks the president is to blame for the impending Democrat tsunami. It is conventional wisdom in Washington, at this point, that the Democrats are taking back the House, most of the states and probably the Senate. The congressman was livid and blames the president. He is ready to impeach the president and take him out because he thinks the president is going to take the rest of them out.
But impeachment is the other issue. It is not going to happen. As the congressman noted, the Judiciary Committee is stacked with Republicans who could not survive primary challenges if they voted to impeach the president. Impeachment is not even a consideration unless the president fires Robert Mueller. That could happen, but it probably won’t.
Right now, despite talking heads on TV saying it, there really are no grounds to impeach the president. Senate Democrats take their role seriously and they do not see the evidence presented so far in the public as proof of any high crime or misdemeanor warranting impeachment. But if the president fired Mueller, suddenly he really does become Richard Nixon and sets himself up for the high crime of obstructing justice.
Even then, it would be hard for Republicans to vote to impeach the president if they were battling it out in primaries. Though, as the congressman told me, once the primaries are over they just might do it, but again, only if he fires Mueller. They know many of their colleagues are getting wiped out, so they might as well wipe out the president with them.
The congressman, as an aside, is deeply worried and frustrated about China and Russia. He does not think the United States is up to the task of taking them seriously. He does not think we are fiscally solvent and he is already having buyer’s remorse on the spending package he voted for. He lamented that we were not in serious times and did not have serious leaders capable of rising to the challenges we face.
There is, I think, something to that. But it is worth noting that this is a man ready to impeach the president, but he goes on television to say nice things about Trump because otherwise the voters would throw him out of office. In his profanity laced tired, he told me “I can't say that in public or I'd get run out of town.” That is also part of the problem.
Erick Erickson hosts Atlanta’s Evening News on WSB Radio.