President Donald Trump waves as he and First Lady Melania Trump arrive, Saturday, May 20, 2017, to King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

President Donald Trump waves as he and First Lady Melania Trump arrive, Saturday, May 20, 2017, to King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Donald Trump is ending his first year as president on a high note, after successfully shepherding a massive tax reform bill through Congress.

But Democrats, many of whom still are unable to accept that he was elected over their nominee, the scandal-plagued Hillary Clinton, are quietly planning to remove him from office.

A recent move in Congress indicates they will push for impeachment if they win a majority in Congress in 2018.

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., is replacing disgraced Democrat John Conyers on the House Judiciary Committee.

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.

Nadler boasts experience as a ranking member on the panel’s Constitution committee and the courts subcommittee and was praised by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., as someone who will “handle it” if “the president messes around with the Constitution.”

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Nadler has been a longtime opponent of Trump, even working to hinder Trump’s career in real estate by preventing development in his electoral district in the Upper West Side.

“Nadler won a secret ballot 118 to 72, demonstrating that this caucus wants to be ready to clash with Trump if it vaults into the majority after next year’s midterm elections,” the Washington Post said.

Signs of the Democrats’ strategy are already emerging. As former assistant U.S. attorney Andrew McCarthy noted at National Review, Robert Mueller’s ever-expanding investigation into Trump has failed to find any evidence of collusion, and that phase of the investigation is “over.”

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Instead, McCarthy said, “it is, as it has always been, an impeachment investigation.”

McCarthy argues Mueller is hoping to make a case of “obstructing an FBI investigation” against Trump. However, McCarthy says there is no real crime because of the “incontestable power” of Trump to fire former FBI Director James Comey.

He writes:

For argument’s sake, let’s assume the worst: Trump knew [General Michael] Flynn had lied to the FBI (i.e., that Flynn had committed at least one felony), and he leaned on Comey to close the FBI’s probe. Even with those assumptions, there is still no obstruction case. The FBI and the Justice Department are not a separate branch of government; they are subordinates of the president delegated to exercise his power, not their own.

Yet that may not matter. Impeachment is not a criminal proceeding but a political one.

As anti-Trumper Jennifer Rubin opined recently in the Washington Post, “The president doesn’t need to commit a crime to be impeached.”

The claim of obstruction of justice would be enough for the Democrats to act, even if, it a strictly legal sense, no crime actually occurred.

This seems to be Nadler’s strategy. In recent comments at an Oversight Hearing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosensetein, Nadler demanded Congress open an investigation into allegations the president committed “obstruction of justice.”

“We have not held a single hearing on allegations of obstruction of justice at the White House – not for lack of evidence, but because, in the chairman’s words, ‘there is a special counsel in place examining the issue,’ and ‘several other congressional committees are looking into the matter,’ and the committee ‘does not have the time’ to conduct this critical oversight,” Nadler complained.

Though Nadler frames his concerns about Trump as a legal issue, even he implicitly admitted in his comments that his main gripe with the commander-in-chief is political.

“President Trump has engaged in a persistent and dangerous effort to discredit both the free press and the Department of Justice,” Nadler said. “These are the agencies and institutions under our jurisdiction. Every minute that our majority wastes on covering for President Trump is a minute lost on finding a solution for the Dreamers, or curbing a vicious spike in hate crimes, or preventing dangerous individuals from purchasing firearms, or stopping the president from further damaging the constitutional order.”

The political danger to Trump is real. Polls suggest most Americans side with Mueller over the president, perhaps because of the relentless,
though still unsubstantiated, charges of “collusion” with Russia that have become a focus of establishment media coverage.

If Mueller fails to find any evidence of a crime by Trump, or if he finds only evidence of a process-crime such as obstruction of justice, Democrats still are likely to use the special counsel’s report as political fodder for the midterm elections.

And it will most likely be the midterm elections that decide Trump’s fate.

The victory in the fight for tax cuts has largely united the Republican Party around the president, as foes Mitch McConnell, Bob Corker and Jeff Flake backed the bill.

Having consolidated control over his own party, President Trump must now ensure Republicans keep control over Congress, lest he risk not finishing his term. And time is running out: A recent poll shows Democrats with a 10-point advantage in the generic ballot, 10 months out from the midterms.

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