I don’t intend to weigh in one the constitution question of whether President Trump was impeached.
I want to backtrack to whether House Democrats actually intended to impeach Trump.
Contrary to media memes, the purpose of impeachment is not to create a “stain” on the presidency. The fundamental question raised by the failure of Pelosi, Hoyer, etc… to move forward by appointing managers and passing it along to the Senate is did they ever intend to continue the process? Or was this a political stunt that wasn’t meant to go any further? If the latter is the case, then really nothing happened.
If House Democrats never meant to begin a process, but to score some points, then they abused a constitutional process (which we already know they did) with no real thought to the legalities of it. And the articles reflect that general sloppiness. They don’t reflect a serious legal strategy, rather a rapid attempt to score some points as easily as possible, before abandoning their weak case and blaming Republicans.
Why would they do that?
The House Dem leaders had never wanted to impeach Trump. Their hand was forced by their donor base. If they actually pass along the articles to the Senate, holes get poked in their case and Trump gets acquitted. But if they never actually pass on the articles, then either the Senate ignores them or handles them in their absence. Either way, Democrats can claim that there was an unfair process while taking none of the blame.
If this was what they intended all along, then there was never an actual impeachment because they never intended to move the process forward.
We’ll know one way or another in January. And I suspect what the Dems do will be motivated by pressure from their donor base and poll numbers.