15:16 GMT +321 January 2020
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    The House Democrats’ impeachment proceedings against US President Donald Trump are simply “pro forma” actions that will ultimately result in Trump’s triumph and further increase his publicity, Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist, told Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear Friday.

    The US House Judiciary Committee on Friday recommended impeaching Trump, with a vote on the proposal in the full House of Representatives next week. The committee voted 23-17 to advance two articles of impeachment against Trump, one of which accuses him of abusing his power as president of the United States in order to try and force Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden; the other article accuses Trump of obstructing the congressional investigation of that affair, Sputnik reported.

    Rall told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker that Trump “is the embodiment of the ‘all publicity is good publicity’ aphorism.”

    “I think in this particular case, he [Trump] is definitely right. The Democrats are a good, solid 17-or-so Senate votes away from removing him in the Senate, and that just ain’t going to happen. So he knows this is a fight he is going into where everything is fixed; the ref is going to rule in his favor. He makes the goal count whether he gets the ball in or not. He wins no matter what. So, of course he wants to play this game as long as he can. He’s going to make the Democrats look very foolish I think at the end of the day,” Rall said.

    “One important political framing rule is never pick a fight that you can’t win, and that’s what the Democrats did here. [US House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi knew it - that’s why she was so reluctant. And once they decided to go forward, they didn’t fully commit to it. Democrats have become a pro forma party. This is a pro forma impeachment. They did a pro forma health care plan under [former US President Barack] Obama,” Rall explained.

    The House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, Justice, and Oversight and Reform committees have been conducting an investigation into a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. House Democrats have alleged that Trump sought an illegal "quid pro quo" from Kiev by threatening to withhold military aid to pressure the country into opening an investigation into Biden and his son Hunter’s business dealings regarding Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings.

    “It’s the way that they’re doing it that’s so bizarre,” Rall said of the Democrats. “First and foremost, it’s that they’re not going after him on counts where he might be vulnerable even among Republican voters and some Republican swing senators. They’re not going after him on emoluments, child separation, any number of other things that most Republicans could get behind. Instead, it’s very nebulous, and you listen to these hearings - I don’t like to say this, but the Republicans have a lot of good points: No need to rush their process, they [Republicans] should be able to call their own witnesses.”

    “This is all true, and the Democrats are just ramming this through before Christmas time as a sop … to a certain cadre, I would say the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party that wants to see - not Trump scalped, but they want to see his feathers ruffled,” Rall explained.

    “Even if you’re a big-time Trump hater, this is not the thing that most Trump haters really care that much about … they’re not going after him on emoluments and generalized correlation because people like Joe Biden and Hunter Biden do that stuff themselves,” Rall pointed out. “Corruption is endemic.”

    The Democrats’ emphasis in the impeachment articles “completely violates the foundational rule of presidential politics, which is that you never want to run on the other person’s agenda,” Rall said. “You never want to make your campaign contingent on just voting against the incumbent. You have to present a vision of what the country would look like and feel like if you were going to run and make people excited about that. The Democrats aren’t even trying to do that.”

    “Impeachment has turned out to be a great way to distract from the progressive surge of [US Senators] Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders within the Democratic primaries. It has washed away a lot of that momentum … and they’re [the Decmoratic nominees] not getting much coverage for their ideas,” Rall said, arguing that the Democrats are “really fighting a war that they ought to have fought two years ago when Trump first became president.”

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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