President Donald Trump shared a tweet on Tuesday morning, quoting a conservative columnist who made two claims that don’t mesh well with reality.
Directly quoting Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at the conservative site The Federalist who was speaking on Fox & Friends, Trump wrote that she had claimed Democrats were purposely prolonging the impeachment process to benefit themselves politically, suggesting that they were trying to grow support for impeachment by making it last longer than necessary.
“The Democrats are trying to draw out this inquiry because they don’t have the support,” Hemingway said, according to Trump’s tweet.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 22, 2019
There are two items to look at within those assertions, however, that warrant a fact check: first, are Democrats drawing the process out? And second, do they lack support from the public for an impeachment inquiry?
On the first issue, we can look back at past impeachment inquiries in recent years to tell us whether the process is going fast or slow.
- According to reporting from Axios, the time it took from when a scandal worthy of impeachment came about (which, in Democratic lawmakers’ eyes, was the whistleblower’s complaint) to the time that they announced an impeachment inquiry happening was just 11 days.
- For former President Bill Clinton, an impeachment inquiry announcement took much longer to happen: from the time reports of an affair broke to the time his inquiry was announced by Republicans in the house, 260 days had passed.
- The Watergate scandal took even longer to produce an impeachment inquiry in the House. From the date of the break-in at the Watergate Hotel to the announcement of an inquiry, 599 days had passed by.
Hemingway and Trump may think that Democrats are dragging things out, but the fact of the matter is that, comparatively, other impeachment inquiries took much longer to develop after the initial scandal took place. A proper and thorough investigation should take some time to complete, and since the start of the inquiry to Tuesday, when Trump tweeted Hemingway’s words out to his followers, only 28 days have passed. Contrast that to the Clinton impeachment: from the start of the inquiry to an impeachment vote, 73 days passed by.
But what about drawing out the impeachment process solely to get support for their cause, or to get political support against the president? On that front as well, Hemingway (and by proxy through his tweet, Trump) are wrong again.
There already exists strong support for Trump’s impeachment, including his removal from office. Per prior reporting at HillReporter.com, a CNN poll published this week shows 50 percent of Americans back Trump’s removal through the impeachment process. Meanwhile, only 43 percent say the process shouldn’t be happening at all.
Hemingway made comments about Democrats taking too long to start and end their impeachment inquiry. She also suggested the only reason Democrats were taking so long was to shore up support for their cause. Trump, tweeting out her commentary from Fox News to his followers, endorsed her views.
But her views are wrong: there is substantial support for Trump’s removal from office already, and the impeachment process itself hasn’t taken a long time at all, compared to other efforts to remove presidents in recent history.