I will start with this.
There is no conceivable way, barring an explosive revelation of new evidence, that Trump will be convicted and removed from office in his Senate trial. That doesn’t mean the stakes are not huge. If the House prosecutors can attract a handful of Republican votes, and hold the line with Democrats, earning a senate majority vote to convict, it really takes the power out of Donald Trump’s inevitable boast that he was “acquitted” and the whole thing is a Democratic hoax. It will hurt him deeply in 2020.
Having laid out that premise, Mitch McConnell might have made the worst mistake he could have made in contemplating a total “dismissal” without the presentation of any witnesses or exhibits (documents) and noting that he coordinated with the White House in the preparation of the trial. The admission goes directly against the oath senators take prior to trial. His actions have gone so far as to cross the line with several Republican senators who are now approaching open revolt.
Everyone knows that Lisa Murkowski, woman of strength and incorruptible nature, has already noted her anger with McConnell and seeming willingness to vote with Democrats on trial procedure.
Meg Carlson of The Daily Beast writes that this may be just the beginning.
“If only McConnell hadn’t blurted out his plans, he could have done everything he said he would with impunity,” she claimed. “Now, with Murkowski questioning McConnell throwing his lot in with Trump, he’s lost the first post-impeachment round to the House Speaker. At worst, by holding on to the articles of impeachment, Pelosi chose a slow death over a quick one in the craven Senate. At best, she may get a fairer, if not a fair, trial, a witness or two that if she had waited—and waited—for court rulings to compel their testimony that would have been met with cries of outrage for daring to continue hearings in the midst of an election.”
I don’t think anyone can argue this point. Had McConnell kept his mouth shut, he might well have gotten away with what he had planned.
So why did he blab all over? Easy, why does any Republican talk about anything? To please the boss, like any mob operation.
“Pelosi has also exposed that when McConnell swears an oath to be impartial at the opening of the trial, in the sight of his Baptist God and Chief Justice Roberts, he’s either had an unbelievable change of heart, like Saul on the road to Damascus, or he’s perjuring himself,” Carlson concluded.
Ultimately, this is the main point. In a political operation like the senate trial, where the mushy middle is looking for indications as to who is the more reliable party (keep in mind, they’re not following the evidence like we are, and maybe give some credence to Trump’s statement. That’s precisely why they’re “the middle.”), McConnell’s actions certainly look to a neutral observer like someone trying to cover the bad stuff.
The coordination looks like someone who isn’t the least bit interested in hearing anything, and doesn’t care what Trump has done. That can lead to the public turning against Trump (even a small degree matters) as we’ve seen happen in recent polls.
And that may lead the Republicans in the senate to open revolt, at least with respect to procedure and witnesses. In reality, no senator is moved by a national poll that says 55% of the public wants Trump removed. They care about whether their own state believes Trump should be removed. Someone like Senator Ernst in Iowa is in the classic “no win” situation, where she might have to vote to split the baby. Trump’s approval in Iowa is -13. Ernst is exactly the type of person who might vote to “hear from witnesses,” and then (probably) vote to acquit. Despite the inevitable vote to acquit (from most Republicans) damage is done to Trump with the public once again hearing directly from witnesses, and the possible defection of some Republicans on the verdict.
Then there are the others, Romney – who enjoys a lot of independence having just been elected, being a strong Republican in his own right, and being from a state with little tolerance for Trump to begin with.
Carlson’s theory is that once the dam breaks, once two to three Republicans state their intent to oppose McConnell’s plans and “coordination” with the White House, it will be extremely hard for many Republicans to not follow. Trump relies so heavily upon complete unity (look at the House), if total unity is broken, even by a few, it really does clear the air and Trump looks a lot more like a … normal person-president. One who isn’t entitled to absolute loyalty and favors from Republicans.
I agree. Mitch screwed up, big. He reached too far, all because he was too confident that Trumpers everywhere despise any questions of dear leader. He miscalculated some. There appear to be some Republicans who think dear leader needs to face the evidence.
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I have heard from several new members, all support helps. I know I sound like a broken record, it just matters more than most might guess.