If you think the House or even the Senate is going to have the last say in the John Swallow situation, pull up a chair my naïve friend.
This circus has lawsuit written all over it.
First of all is the question whether the House has the authority to call itself into session – as it did earlier this week. Nobody knows, because it’s never been done before. Leaders played gymnastics with semantics calling it a session to amend their rules, but it was absolutely unprecedented.
What happens if the committee investigating Swallow comes up with information that leads the House to impeach him? It’s entirely possible (maybe even likely) that Swallow’s lawyers would sue because the whole investigation wasn’t permitted under the Constitution.
How about the warning from Swallow’s lawyers that the investigation can only focus on his time in office, not beforehand? That’s a clear warning shot across the bow.
This whole process is going to be a balancing act worthy of the Flying Wallendas.
If Swallow is impeached and he takes the matter to the courts, it won’t be about justice. It will be about naked revenge. He will want to take as many people down with him as he can.
Think about it. He will have already been impeached. His political career will be in shambles. Why not detonate a political dirty bomb and contaminate as many people as possible?
If it comes to that, a lawsuit will draw out the process even further – perhaps until close to the 2014 midterms. That could spell big trouble for Republicans who don’t want to be associated with Swallow.
It’s a high-stakes game of political chicken. Both sides have just stepped on the gas, and there’s a lot of distance still to cover.