After waiting and planning for the better part of three years, Democrats are now in a bit of a hurry to get President Trump impeached. They had hoped to get it accomplished before Thanksgiving, but that deadline is no longer an option.
They now hope to have it out of the six “inquiry committees” and into the Judiciary Committee – where it should have been in the first place. And yes, there are technically six committees serving as impeachment inquiry committees – although the House Intelligence Committee, with California Congressman Adam Schiff chairing, seems to have all the action. If the others are doing anything, it is the best kept secret in Washington.
Democrats had hoped to have the whole damn impeachment thing – Articles of Impeachment and trial in the Senate – done before we get into the 2020 election year. They well understand that if the process drags on into 2020, it will consume media and public attention to the detriment of all those presidential campaigns.
Just a few weeks ago, all those east coast establishment media outlets were giving Democrat presidential candidates enormous airtime. Candidates with less than 5 percent support were being interviewed as if they were contenders. Debate coverage was characterized by pre-debate presentations by Democrat leaders and post-debate butt-kissing analysis. A seemingly endless series of so-called “town hall meetings” were essentially infomercials.
Now that the impeachment process has gone public, the Democrat presidential candidates have disappeared from the news. Impeachment specials have replaced those town hall meetings.
Democrats are committed to a rush-to-judgement — largely because they have already arrived at their judgment. They are so concerned about accelerating the process that they will forego hearing from the most critical witnesses to their case – folks like former White House Intelligence Advisor John Bolton.
If subpoenaed, Bolton will rely on the federal courts to decide if he must testify or if he comes under presidential executive privilege. That could take a few months, and it is not at all certain that Democrats could win that case. So, Schiff has decided to ignore hearing from key witnesses. And why not? They have already reached their verdict.
If Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is politically savvy – and he seems to be – he will not pick-up on the Democrats need to speed the process along. Instead, he will proloooong the process into January … February … March.
Just as we already know the outcome of the impeachment process in the House, we can be pretty sure that Trump will be found not guilty by the Senate. But while the Senate trial is going on, EVERY senator is obligated to sit silently as jurors. No questions from them. No speeches. They would even be admonished not to make any prejudicial public statements.
For politicians running for President of the United States, that would have the same effect of tying them up, gagging them and tossing them into the back of a pick-up truck.
Of course, it would only involve the senator-candidates. That would include Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar. Imagine … all the while Biden and Buttigieg are out there campaigning, the quintet would be sitting silently in the Senate chamber day after day … after day.
Of course, it is only a qualified benefit for the other candidates since they will be denied significant media coverage as the trial dominates the news. In a sense, they will also be silenced by the trial as those all-important state primaries come and go.
One way to prolong the trial – and provide Trump with a real defense – would be to allow both sides to call new witnesses – such as Hunter Biden and the whistleblower. During the Clinton trial, both sides agreed to NOT call additional witnesses, but to base their verdict on the Articles of Impeachment as presented by the House.
There is no reason that McConnell would follow that practice. It might have made sense back then because the House conducted the Clinton impeachment much more fairly. The Pelosi-Schiff rules are creating a very one-sided case. The House has blocked crucial witnesses. The other side needs to be heard and the Senate trial is the only option.
This will also be a way to put the House process on trial. The prospective Senate trial is something that should never have happened – and Senate Republicans should make sure that the American people understand that.
So, there ‘tis.