1. The House can pass articles of impeachment over the objections of the Republicans, and refer to the Senate for trial.
2. The Senate will conduct a trial. There will be a vote, and the Republicans will vote unanimously, along with a small number of Democrats, to not convict the President. Legally, it will all be over at that point.
That's the key. If the House impeaches THERE WILL BE A TRIAL. And it won't be pretty. The Republicans will be totally empowered to cut through the BS we've had to endure up to this point. The Republicans will have every incentive in the world to keep it going as long as possible.
3. However, during the trial, and this is what no one is thinking about right now, the President’s attorneys will have the right to subpoena and question ANYONE THEY WANT. That is different than the special counsel investigation, which was very one-sided. So, during the impeachment trial, we will be hearing testimony from James Comey, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Bruce Ohr, Glenn Simpson, Donna Brazille, Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch, Christopher Steele, Hillary Clinton, John Brennan, James Clapper, and a whole host of other participants in this whole sordid affair and the ensuing coverup activities. A lot of dirt will be dug up; a lot of truth will be unveiled. Finger pointing will occur. Deals will start being made, and suddenly, a lot of democrats will start being charged and going to prison. All this, because, remember, the President’s team will now, for the first time, have the RIGHT to question all of these people under oath - and they will turn on each other. That is already starting.
Just think about that. And I can't believe he didn't name Barack Hussein Obama. The possibilities are mind boggling.
4. Lastly, one more thing will happen, the Senate will not convict the President. Nothing will happen to Trump. Most Americans are clueless about political processes, the law, and the Constitution. Most Americans believe that being impeached results in removal from office. They don’t understand that phase 2 is a trial in and by the Senate, where he has zero chance of conviction. Remember, the Senate is controlled by Republicans; they will determine what testimony is allowed — and **everything** will be allowed, including: DNC collusion with the Clinton campaign to fix the election in favor of Hillary, the creation of the Trump dossier, the cover up and destruction of emails that very likely included incriminating information.
They will incriminate each other for lying to the FISA court, for spying and wiretapping the Trump campaign, and for colluding with foreign political actors, especially George Soros. After the Senate declines to convict the President, we will have an election, and Trump will win. It will be a backlash against the petulance, temper tantrums, hypocrisy and dishonesty. Even minorities will vote for Trump, because, for the first time, they will see that democrats have spent 2+ years focused on maintaining their own power, and not doing anything at all about black murders in Chicago, homelessness, opioids, and other important issues that are actually killing people. And, we will spend the following four years listening to politicians and pundits claim that the whole impeachment was rigged.
So let’s move on to impeachment.
Sounds like fun--but not for the Dems. You may say that the Dems will get to call all sorts of witnesses, too. But the GOPers will be setting the rules. Would you want to participate in a trial in which Mitch McConnell was setting the rules against you?
UPDATE: I found two comments at Open Thread on the effort to expel Trump from office through impeachment that are worth considering. (You can find them there, but I've left the names out here because they didn't comment here.) Like these commenters, I have serious doubts that Pelosi can muster the requisite 218 votes, after the Schiff performance yesterday.
To the point in one of the comments re the likelihood that "many" Dem senators might vote against conviction, I point out that that could be simple self preservation. Trump will not be convicted, and he demonstrated to all senators his ability to swing senate elections in 2018, in which, against all precedent, Trump's vigorous campaigning gained the GOP three seats in an off year election.
I don’t believe Nancy has the votes. Any Democrat from a Red leaning district would have to make a calculation if being associated with the “Resistance” would play well in 2020. Tulsi Gabbard from Bright Blue Hawaii will not be voting to impeach.
Unlike Lars, I believe that if the House votes to impeach that McConnell will get the Senate trial going and there will be a vote, which will not have the requisite margin to convict. Many Democrat senators will be in the camp that votes against conviction.
I’m willing to bet that Trump will use this impeachment as a badge of honor and successfully use it in his re-election campaign against the Democrats likely winning both the House and Senate for his second term. You don’t have to agree with his personality or many of his policies but even a NeverTrumper should admit that his political skill with enough of the electorate is superior to Nancy & Chuck and their media hypemeisters.
I agree that there are not going to be enough votes for the reason you state. The Democrats are going to have egg all over their faces, again. How many times can a party come off as giant losers and still attract voters? I think this may be the end of the road for their party as it currently exists.
Additionally, this definitely puts a fork in Biden. After all, he bragged about doing exactly what they are accusing of Trump of doing. He could have flown under the radar with that, but the impeachment proceedings shines a big bright spotlight on it all. I can't tell if he was sacrificed or they're just too stupid and crazed to understand what they're doing to him.
IMO, the public's perception will extend beyond Biden to become a general sense of hypocrisy and corruption among Democrats (an accurate perception). Americans don't like that kind of unfairness. Also, many Americans are sick and tired of Democrats viciously slandering and misusing Constitutional processes to attack anyone they don't like (think Kavanaugh).
This will also energize Trump's base to donate and vote.