Tag:game changer

Schumer: NY Times Report “Game Changer” for Witness Testimony

Senator Charles Schumer has been peaking in on us, at Zoom, y’all. Today he is out with quotes that are as needed as they are obvious, and he sounds a touch angry. I suspect he read our article and comments from yesterday. “This new story shows all four witnesses that we Senate Democrats have requested (were) intimately involved and had direct knowledge of President Trump’s decision to cut off aid and benefit himself,” said Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “Simply put, in our fight to have key documents and witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial, these new revelations are a game changer.” I am not a U.S. Senator, yet, but I have one quibble. This report didn’t so much change the game – everyone knew that these people had firsthand knowledge or Trump wouldn’t have delayed a golf game to order his staff to not testify – what it has done is increase the heat in that deep fryer currently boiling over our favorite Kentucky chicken, Mitch McConnell. “Let me be clear, this is about getting to the truth,” Schumer said. “Will the Senate hold a fair trial or will it enable a cover-up? President Trump, if you are so confident you did nothing wrong, why won’t you let your men testify?” Let me be a bit clear, too, while also being a bit of a lawyer here. Given Schumer’s newfound confidence (and evidence), if the Republicans remain wholly united, and a party-line vote prevents witness testimony, including the four above, I would counter them, bigly. I would be very tempted (if I were in place to do it) to begin the actual trial, once it starts in front of Chief Justice Roberts, to make what we call a  motion in limine, which is a stupid fancy description which just means “a dispute about how the trial will go, to be settled before a trial.” We usually file them weeks in advance, but Schumer won’t have that option, plus we wouldn’t want to give it away if he did. That motion would be directed straight at Chief Justice Roberts. It would state that one cannot have a trial without witnesses, that the very meaning of the word “trial” presumes “witnesses.” Yes, the constitution leaves the “rules” of the trial up to the Senate. But it does command the Senate to hold a trial. It would be entirely proper, and perhaps persuasive, to make a motion before the trial judge, stating that we’re not even following the constitution. If we are prevented from calling witnesses, we never had a “trial.” As we sometimes say in law, the worst that can happen is he says, “No,” and then you’re in the same place anyway. But Roberts might not say, “no.” Roberts is no Democrat, but he’s no Trumper, either, Moreover, Roberts understand that Trump represents a constitutional threat to the judiciary, as well as the nation itself. When Trump is finally gone, there will be a big push (there better be) to remedy some of the Trump-McConnell abuses with respect to judges and justices, from Garland to “184 new judges” many wholly unqualified. Roberts might see ditching Trump as a move that demonstrates the impartiality and legitimacy of the judiciary, cutting off the need for some of those reforms. I would be damned tempted. As […]

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