Diogenes of Sinope (c. 404-323 BCE) was a Greek Cynic philosopher best known for holding a lantern (above) to the faces of the citizens of Athens claiming he was searching for an honest man because he believed there was no such person. Current history, especially among Republicans in the Senate, suggest that Diogenes could be right.
Are there not at least four honest Republicans in the Senate who are willing to uphold their oaths of office, and to demand a fair impeachment trial in the Senate with witness testimony and documentary evidence that they know to exist which would definitively answer the question “what actually occurred with Ukraine” fully and truthfully? Why are all Republicans willing enablers aiding and abetting a coverup?
Article II of the Articles of Impeachment is for obstruction of Congress, the Trump administration’s “total obstruction” of Congress policy of prohibiting witnesses from testifying and refusing to produce documents requested by Congress. The only witnesses who have testified did so in defiance of the White House. The only documents obtained were through other congressional oversight proceedings, third-party FOIA requests, and from the witnesses themselves.
Senate Majority Leader “Moscow Mitch” McConnell is now aiding and abetting Trump’s ongoing obstruction of Congress by refusing Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s request to call these recalcitrant witnesses during the impeachment trial, and to subpoena documents. Schumer requests four witnesses, including Mulvaney and Bolton, in letter to McConnell about Senate impeachment trial. Mick Mulvaney previously admitted to a “quid pro quo” during a press conference, and John Bolton’s lawyer says he has information on Ukraine that hasn’t been disclosed. Neither witness has testified under oath. Why doesn’t McConnell want witnesses at Trump’s trial? Because he’s guilty.
Trump and McConnell don’t want a Senate trial that includes the handful of witnesses that Democrats have demanded because Trump is flagrantly guilty of all of the corruption for which he’s now been impeached. Trump got caught, and they all know he did everything he’s been accused of doing.
Such a trial would risk exposing this further — or worse. That’s because Trump’s conduct is without question even more corrupt than we currently know — probably much more so — and such a trial would risk additional revelations to this effect.
The latest battling comes in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s suggestion that she may hold off on transmitting the articles of impeachment — which passed the House [last] Wednesday night — to the Senate.
To be fair, Pelosi did create some confusion about her intentions. After this declaration prompted widespread uncertainty among Democrats about what’s coming next, Pelosi clarified matters.
So now the House will send over impeachment articles — and divulge a list of House managers who will serve as prosecutors at Trump’s trial — when the terms of the Senate trial are set.
“When we see the process that is set forth in the Senate, then we’ll know the number of managers that we may have to go forward and who we will choose,” Pelosi told reporters.
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In reality, Pelosi and Democrats are holding off on sending the articles because McConnell has already shown that he is afraid to hold a trial that will actually examine the charges against Trump.
We know this because McConnell basically told us so on national television.
When McConnell blithely vowed on Fox News to run Trump’s trial in “total coordination” with the White House legal team, McConnell revealed he’s determined to structure the trial with a single goal in mind: making sure it creates as few revelations as possible — since that means political pain for Trump and for McConnell’s majority — no matter how absurdly it must be structured to pull this off.
“Moscow Mitch” publicly vowed to violate his sworn oath of ‘impartiality” as a juror in impeachment. He is publicly confessing to what in any other context would be felony jury-rigging and obstruction of justice. The man is openly committing a crime. He is a coconspirator or accessory who is aiding and abetting Trump’s obstruction of Congress and obstruction of justice. McConnell should be portrayed, accurately, as a criminal committing crimes against the Constitution.
UPDATE: A scathing editorial published by the Louisville Courier Journal claims that Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is poised to violate his oath of office with his handling of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
In the editorial, Boston College law professor and Kentucky native Kent Greenfield argues that McConnell will violate his oath if he does not ensure that an impeachment trial in the Senate gets a full and fair hearing, which he says is required in the Constitution.
“The framers wanted to make sure the Senate would never take such a trial lightly — this oath requirement is over and above the oath each senator has already taken to support the Constitution,” he writes.
“Short of declaring war, the Senate is about to conduct its gravest and most serious constitutional obligation — to exercise the ‘sole power to try’ impeachments,” he concludes. “All senators should take their obligation of faithful impartiality seriously, especially McConnell. History is watching, and it will be a harsh judge.”
To that very end, McConnell rejected Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s call for witnesses at the trial, which included acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton.
We know why McConnell rejected that demand: because those witnesses almost certainly can testify to Trump’s state of mind in freezing military aid to Ukraine, at precisely the moment when he and his personal lawyer Rudolph Giuliani were implementing an elaborate plot to extort Ukraine into announcing investigations that would help Trump politically.
Indeed, this is exactly why the White House also blocked their testimony when House Democrats demanded it during the impeachment inquiry.
At bottom, this is a simple matter. Democrats are demanding to hear from witnesses whom we have not yet heard from, and who have direct knowledge of what may be the most corrupt act at the core of the scheme — the freezing of the aid — which Republicans claim was an entirely innocent act. Senate Republicans are refusing to hear from them, just as the White House wants.
As I have said before, the Party of Trump is a criminal enterprise led by a third-rate mafia “Don” Trump. They are all accomplices, coconspirators and accessories who aid and abet his criminality and corruption. There is not a patriot among them. They put fealty to their “Dear Leader” above all else, including loyalty to their country and our national security, and their oaths of office to defend the Constitution. They reject the rule of law and are amoral. It is a betrayal of the faith of the American people in our constitutional government. They must all be held accountable.
Some reporters have suggested Pelosi has no leverage to force McConnell to agree to hear from these witnesses by withholding the articles, because McConnell can simply refuse to hold a trial.
But it’s not clear that McConnell can do that. For one thing, as Maggie Haberman reports, Trump wants a trial, because he wants to be able to say he’s been acquitted. This creates an additional complication for McConnell: Trump wants a trial and also wants it to be rigged on his behalf. He doesn’t want to hear from those witnesses, either, which is why the White House blocked them.
So that means McConnell is under pressure to hold a trial, but he’s also under pressure to keep it from producing any new revelations. Yet vulnerable GOP senators might not accept a sham trial, and McConnell can’t have one unless 51 GOP senators vote for such a process.
McConnell may still be able to pull that off in the end. And it’s not necessarily clear whether withholding the articles will enhance Pelosi’s leverage to prevent that from happening.
But even if McConnell does succeed, that’s also terrible politics for Trump and Senate Republicans, since an enormous majority [public polling] wants to hear from Trump’s top aides, i.e., wants the trial to be used for further fact-finding. That means a sham trial puts them on the hook for a coverup. That may be the least bad option — something revelatory might be worse — but it’s still bad.
Either way, right now this isn’t complicated. If Democrats are acting out of concern that McConnell wants a sham trial rigged to protect Trump, that’s because McConnell told us so. And he wants a sham trial because Trump is guilty.
It only takes at least four honest Republicans in the Senate who are willing to uphold their oaths of office, and to side with Senator Schumer’s request to subpoena witnesses and documents that the Trump administration has so far been refusing to make available to Congress.
If Republicans really want to learn the truth and decide this case on the merits and the law, rather than GOP tribalism and criminal obstruction of justice, now is the time to stand up and be counted. The American people should demand no less from their Senators.
UPDATE: One courageous Republican voice emerges, will others follow? Sen. Lisa Murkowski ‘disturbed’ by McConnell’s vow of ‘total coordination’ with White House over impeachment:
Murkowski told NBC affiliate KTUU that she believes there should be distance between the Senate, which will serve as the jury for Trump’s impeachment trial, and the White House. McConnell’s comments, she said, have “further confused the process.”
“To me, it means we have to take that step back from being hand in glove with the defense,” Murkowski said.
Murkowski told KTUU she is committed to observing Trump’s trial objectively. It would be “wrong,” she said, “to prejudge and say there’s nothing there.” To jump to conclusions about Trump’s guilt would also be unfair, Murkowski added.