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, […]
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 […]
Sometimes people in Washington get it plain wrong!
If conservatives support police killing citizens without justification, climate denial, fact denial, science denial, racist and misogynistic behavior, or a litany of other absurd points of view about numerous important issues, we call them out.