The Slatest

Today’s Impeach-O-Meter: Nancy Pelosi Is Gonna Do This Thing. She’s Doin’ It!

Pelosi's legs and feet are seen from underneath a row of American flags.
Pelosi delighted the media by beginning her Thursday press conference with a light-hearted game of hide-and-seek. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The relaunched Impeach-O-Meter is a wildly subjective and speculative estimate of the likelihood that the House votes to impeach Trump before the end of his first term.

Earlier this week, the House Intelligence Committee passed a 300-page report about Donald Trump’s Ukrainian extortion party over to the Judiciary Committee, which is in charge of deciding whether to recommend impeachment to the House at large. On Wednesday the Judiciary Committee held a hearing with several law professors who, between theatrical Republican efforts to change the subject, argued that Trump’s behavior was impeachable by historical and constitutional standards. Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed that, yes, impeachment, yeah, they’re doing it, it’s happening:

While this has been the logical outcome since Pelosi, after months of stalling and deflection, announced her support for an impeachment “inquiry,” it’s noteworthy in that it means that neither Pelosi nor the swing-district Democrats she’s always worrying about have gotten scared off as the inquiry has been conducted. (Polls show that the general public supports impeaching and removing Trump by a narrow margin.)

Washington Post reporter Mike DeBonis notes that Pelosi used the plural “chairmen,” which suggests that she wants House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff to continue to be involved in the impeachment process. And Schiff has said as recently as Tuesday that his committee will continue to pursue the Ukraine investigation’s various loose threads, particularly the question of whether the White House may have used U.S. support as leverage to persuade a previous Ukrainian administration to obstruct and/or close investigations into Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani went to Europe this week to meet again with the former Ukrainian prosecutors with whom he’s collaborated to promote the bogus right-wing conspiracy theories about Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee at the center of the scandal. In a magical, amazing twist, he is apparently doing so because he is filming “episodes of a documentary series for a conservative television outlet” that will convey a “pro-Trump, anti-impeachment narrative.” (The conservative outlet is One America News Network, which is Fox News for people who think Fox News is insufficiently reactionary.)

This Ukraine stuff—seems like we’re going to be hearing about it for a while longer! And lo, the meter ticks ever upward, such that future editions of this post will have to begin with an explanation of asymptotes.

The Impeach-O-Meter at 99 percent.
Illustration by Natalie Matthews-Ramo and Lisa Larson-Walker/Slate. Photos by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, Win McNamee/Getty Images, Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images, Drew Angerer/Getty Images, and Peter Parks-Pool/Getty Images.