Senate Republicans face a choice that history might well view as weightier than their ultimate vote on conviction-acquittal. The choice, of course, involves whether they will follow McConnell’s planned kangaroo court proceeding, or whether Republicans will vote to hold something akin to a fair trial as contemplated in the constitution, one with evidence, witnesses, a lack of coordination with the man on trial, all that.
Ex-federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner warns Senate Republicans that it is the vote on procedure that will be the one that defines their career for history:
History is barreling down on Senate Republicans. Their vote on the impeachment trial will forever define their public life. Will they be remembered for voting in favor of McConnell/Graham’s no-witness rigged trial? Or will history record them as standing for fairness & justice?
— Glenn Kirschner (@glennkirschner2) December 26, 2019
Call me naïve, but I believe tweets like this, which focus the issue like a laser and remind the Senators involved that they need to consider consequences beyond next week’s rage tweets, matter. This country certainly does sit at a crossroad, and history will be brutal upon anyone, on any side, that acts out of pure political expediency with such weighty issues hanging over the country.
And my dog does it ever matter.
First of all, we cannot count upon all 47 Democrats and Independents voting against McConnell. Senators like Doug Jones from Alabama, and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin face near political death by voting against McConnell representing the Trumpiest of states.
It is very easy to yell at Jones and Manchin to do the right thing. Why even be a Democrat? I do make that argument. But while we do hold to that point, as we should, we should at least remember that having these people lose their seats because of such a vote only ensures they are replaced by far more repulsive Trump sycophants. It is kind of “no-win” for us and the senators, unless it appears Trump could be removed.
So it is critical that influential people place as much pressure upon Republicans as possible, both to influence those Republicans that might break from McConnell, such as Murkowski, Romney, Collins, Alexander and maybe Ernst, to gather as many votes as possible, but also to give cover to those Democrats like Jones and Manchin, who are in a vice-grip political situation.
Transitioning a bit in topics, I am beginning to believe that McConnell’s strategy might well end up hurting Republicans, including Trump, even if McConnell succeeds in operating a sham quickee. Another former prosecutor, Alex Little, said things may get rough for McConnell as he faces his caucus behind closed doors and away from the media.
“I think there are three main people in the Senate that McConnell needs to look out for,” he began. “I think Murkowski, Romney and Collins who may take that tactic and may say, ‘listen, we care about the procedure, the institutional interests of the senate.’”
Yes, those are the obvious ones, but there may be more.
These Republicans need to understand that there is a fundamental divide (in the eyes of the independent public) between finding a reason to acquit the leader of your own party, versus voting to reject even hearing about what he did. Coordinating with Trump and refusing to have witnesses or exhibits practically screams; “We are afraid of the truth.”
That always looks bad.
“This is an interesting impeachment trial. Unlike the Clinton impeachment, the grounds for impeachment against the president are really substantial in a very different way and I think some Republican senators who deeply — if they could, there’s reports if this was done behind closed doors about the vote you’d see 30 Republicans vote to impeach the president. There are some real danger zones for the president and the Senate majority leader.”
Yes, which is precisely why I believe that if the Democrats secure 51 votes as to procedure, the first vote to be taken-up should propose anonymous votes on the verdict. I am dispirited by the fact that I haven’t even heard much talk about the possibility lately.
These two federal prosecutors are also speaking to a point that I have made several times. Nothing is ever, ever, guaranteed in a trial, even one in which the ultimate outcome might be as close to pre-ordained as this one. Evidence may emerge that sinks Trump’s chances in 2020 to such a degree that several Republicans vote to convict, which would be extremely powerful.
Murkowski is a gifted and powerful senator who has used her independence and incorruptibility to gain tremendous political leverage. If she is publicly calling out McConnell, it clears the lane for others who might otherwise be more timid.
Republicans do need to keep in mind that history is watching their every move. How they handle the next month or two will define their careers. Moreover, as senators, it is possible that some might find themselves too concerned about pleasing a president who will not even be president much longer, and indeed may be facing real criminal charges by the time that Republican is up for reelection again.
At that point, it would be awfully embarrassing to have voted to suppress evidence of abject criminality. Embarrassing is the least of it, it would also be unpatriotic and against their oath of office. Call me naïve, but I still think those things matter.
email@example.com and on Twitter @MiciakZoom