Today is the start of the Senate Trial of the Impeachment of Donald John Trump, President of the United States. An the American people have fallen down the rabbit hole into the trial of the Knave of Harts where we have the Verdict first then the trial. I say this because of the trail rules initially proposed by the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last night. With some thought and consideration given to quick mods made just before things got started.
Like Alice I expect most Americans who follow the Trial will be quite perplexed by what they see and hear. First because the Senate method of operations is often arcane in the extreme. This is especially true when many of the Senators are worried about their electorate and just what they will think. It is a grand old Senate tradition obfuscate in hope the people back home will not notice what just happened. The rules for the trial, as they currently stand, go a good way towards this goal. An just like Alice the American people just get to watch and wonder.
I do not envy Senator McConnell the job he is facing. He has to, first, keep Pres. Trump happy/pleased. If he doesn’t there is no telling what Pres. Trump might do but a roaring tirade is not off the table. Next he must insure that Pres. Trump is not only not convicted by 67 votes but that it is done in such away that Pres. Trump can say he was 1) exonerated and 2) found innocent. All the time making the trial look fair and honest. The one thing the GOP does not need is to go into the election year tarred with a trial seen as rigged and/or unfair. When you start a trial with the verdict already decided by the jury it is often quite hard to look fair, even when it is.
I wait with baited breath to see how this plays out.
Before I start let me open with the acknowledgement that I can be hypocritical. As a devout and practicing Christian I know I can and do sin. I just attempt to acknowledge it and work to be better in the future. That said lets get started on the great age of Hypocrisy Signaled by the election of Pres. Obama.
I bet you thought I was going to say Pres. Trump, didn’t you? “Sherman, to the Way Back Machine!” Hypocrisy is one of the oldest human failings in history. The problem is we now live in the age of video recordings and the Internet. This means, quite simply, that all of our leaders need to remember that what we said 21 years ago can, and will, come back to haunt them. This is of particular importance to some of the leading members of the U.S. Senate.
Just over 21 years ago several leading members of the Republicans in the Senate were members of the House of Representatives working to impeach Pres. Clinton. In this effort they took to the airwaves to stand on ‘High Principals’ to that end. Unfortunately they are now taking the exact opposite positions in the Impeachment of Pre. Trump. An not only does the opposition have the videos, they are playing them on all the TV outlets they can get to show them. What is worse this is not the first time this has happened in the Impeachment Hearings.
I maybe one of the few ‘lay’ people to watch the house hearing where the Constitutional Law experts testified. But I did watch and I did hear Prof. Turley testimony. He was well spoken, clear and concise in why Pres. Trump should not be Impeached. He stuck to all of the Pres. Talking Points in his defense. The problem is it can be shown he was functioning as a paid hack.
21 years ago Pros. Turley took the nearly exact opposite position in the Impeachment of Pres. Clinton. Now while it is perfectly acceptable for a scholar to argue in favor of a cause he personally does not support it does bring into question the veracity of his arguments when it is shown that the same person has taken all sides on an issue. It is particularly bad when the person in question is put forward as a principled, and unbiased scholar just putting forward a principled position. From now on Prof. Turley’ s scholarly Veracity will be questioned. He will have to work hard an long to regain it.
I have no doubt that there are plenty of people on the Democratic side of the House and Senate who are all to often hypocritical but that is not the point here. The point here is that bald faced lying of the Trump Administration has already thrown a lot of tar on the Republican Party. The House Impeachment hearings has thrown even more. An if the GOP Senate runs the Trial of Donald J Trump like they are promising it is going to be eye deep in tar and other lest lovely detritus. The party may never recover.
In the lore of Psychohistory and Sheldon Crisis’ there come a time in every crisis commonly known as the Crux. Simply put the Crux’s is the point in the crisis where one and only one decision can be made and it will force all human history down the path desired by the Psychohistorians (or Robots). Unfortunately for us our crisis as another kind of crux. Ours will have basically two major paths, not one.
Sometime in the next few months the GOP in the Senate is going to have to decide if all there is, is support of Donald J Trump or to the Ideals of the United States. The Crux isn’t the conviction of Donald J Trump but rather the kind of trial the GOP controlled Senate will give him. If the trial is not up to the basic ideals of fairness of this country the American people will know it. The range of possibilities for the trial are shrinking as I write this.
We seem to be coming down to either having a Pro forma trial where no witnesses are called. Where we may not even have any open/closing statements made by the House & the President. All me may have is a reading of the Impeachment Resolution and then a call for the question (vote) and then 51+ Senators vote to “acquit” Donald J Trump.
The other Choice is to have a full trial with opening statements, the calling of witnesses with questioning by both parties, closing statements followed by the Senate voting on each article of impeachment and we will either have 67 votes to convict or we won’t.
In either case both the American people and the World will know just what kind of trial was held. An this will set this country, irrevocably on one of two paths to the future. Both paths will be hard to walk, but one will lead us to a day of new light, the other of to a day of darkness.
46 years, 5 months ago on 17 May 1973 the Senate Special Committee on Watergate started holding open hearings. This was just the start of the public investigation that lead to the Impeachment of President Nixon. It would be many many more months before the House Judiciary Committee would start hearing on impeachment after a great many shocks and revelations of truly stunning and shocking things. Like many Americans I watch as much of all the hearing as I possibly could. I remember clearly coming home from morning classes and being glued to the TV watching the Senate hearing with my mother and my friends.
We discussed endlessly what we were seeing and just what it meant. Some of it serous and some of it not. (I remember quite clearly objecting to how John Dean’s wife (who was sitting directly behind him while he testified) was dressed (Mom thought she was shamelessly going Braless.). But just what does that have to do with what happened today? Simply put the first few days of the Senate Hearings nothing seemed to happen. But we were wrong. We started to see just how remarkable team Senators Evin and Baker were. Here were to dedicated Party Members, one Democratic and the other Republican but more than that here were two men totally dedicated to the Senate and the Constitution. These two men set the tone of the hearings and kept a firm hand on the rains so that most of the time no one fell into Partisan politics. What most people then, as now didn’t realize was that Senator Ervin was the Senate’s recognized Constitutional Scholar. An we would soon be grateful for were the words of Senator Baker “What did the President know and when did he know it?”
I do not hold out much hope that this nation will get as lucky now as we did then, but we can hope. Today we House of Representatives take the first steps to public hearings on the actions of President Trump and if they are worthy of impeachment. I do have a suggestion for the hearings. Let’s seek the answer to this question:
“What did the President do and when did he do it?”
Once we know the answers to these questions we can then move on to tacking the issue of if he has done something worthy of impeachment.
46 years ago we thought this nation was badly split between Conservatives vs Liberals but it was nothing like it is now. The GOP was able in the ensuing years split the conservative Democrats off from the party with it’s famous ‘Southern Strategy’. At the same time it drove the liberal ‘Romney’ Republicans from their party with the famous RINO drive. It is now next to impossible to find a Republican who is financially conservative and socially liberal nor can you find many Democrats who are socially conservative and financially liberal. Personally I’m in the school of Political Science thought that says this is why the two parties seem to be shrinking while independents is growing. In any case this is now that was then. We are facing a great political battle that will be fought out with the background of Partisan Politics and it is up to the American Electorate to slap members of Congress upside the head when it get too out of hand. We must remind them that the country and the constitution comes before party.
A lot has been said, on both sides of the isle, about getting the Impeachment investigation(s) of Donald J. Trump done by Christmas. Many reasons have been given. Some good, some bad, some reasonable, some not, but all have one thing in common. Most Americans aren’t paying the reasons any mind. Also most people are not paying any mind to what comes after. I hate to think the number of times I’ve heard people talk as if the Impeachment is an end in itself. It is not.
Impeachment is JUST an indictment. A formal accusation of wrong doing by a government official. We will still have to go thru a trial. An what’s more it has to be a public trial. It must also be seen to be a scrupulously fair trial. Why? Several reasons but for most to me is that not only will Donald J Trump be on trial but so will the House of Representatives that voted the Impeachment. If the people believe, even for a second that the impeachment was not fair and just, if it was brought for partisan and/or political reasons, then Donald J Trump and MAGA will win. They will win even if Donald J Trump is convicted and removed from office.
The Impeachment document must not only be legally valid it must be clearly understand able by the vast majority of the American people. The actions that Donald J Trump are impeached on must be simply and clearly seen to be wrong, but also corrupt and beyond the pale of any action of an elected official. It can not just be a ‘technical’ violation of some arcane election law. At best it should be shown that the actions were not only corrupt, but they were taken for corrupt reasons and that anyone with any decency would know are corrupt. People need to be able to not only put themselves in the position of the victim but also the perpetrator(s) and be able to say “Yes, that is corrupt, that is wrong. An I know it is corrupt and Wrong.”
Will this insure that the Senate will convict? No, It won’t. Nothing can ensure that. Given the current mood of the Senate Republicans I don’t think anything Donald J. Trump does, or can do (sort of selling part of the USA back to Russia) could get him convicted. But what it just may do is assure that the Donald J Trump, MAGA, and the Republican Party that supports him will pay the price come November.
Once more, today, a Senator who is a member of the GOP Caucus of the Senate has stoped the passing of a Law to have any campaign who is offered help by a foreign government report such offer to FBI. No reason for the objection was given and some people are starting to wonder just what the GOP is up to. In my searches of the internet to see if I could find any reasons why the GOP Caucus is acting this way I have been flooded with theories and conspiracies but no hard statements form reliable or notable sources. I would like to put forward some ideas of my own and would like to see how they play out.
Hypothesis One: Motions were Unanimous Consent
This latest stoppage was to what is known as “Unanimous Consent” motion and it means literally what it says: all of the Senate agrees, votes Yes, to enact the law. It is possible that the Senator who objected to the Unanimous Consent felt that such an important act needed proper debate. Maybe she just objects to the whole idea of Unanimous Consent. This later idea is easy to check, if a bit of work, just see if she has objected to all previous Unanimous Contents while she has been in the Senate. But basically we are saying the the Senator in Question objects to the bill in question being passed by Unanimous Consent for what ever reason.
Hypothesis Two: A poison pill
It could be that there is some clause buried that the GOP strongly objects to. This is known as a ‘poison pill’ and is a very common tactic used by the minority party of one house to get the majority of the other house to kill the bill. To date I’ve n to heard of ‘poison pill’ in the bill, but I will keep my eyes open for it.
Hypothesis Three: “Not in my Senate!”
This is a simple one. It could just be that the GOP caucus does not want to pass any bill from the house it just doesn’t have to. That is this bill was not in the “Must Pass” category. This to is easy to check to see if only “Must Pass” bills from the house have voted on by the Senate.
Hypothesis Four: Force of Habit
This final idea is that Senator McDonnell is just in the habit of not passing any bills put forward by a Democrat. It has been almost then years that he and the GOP Caucus has been objecting to any bill that the Democrats, House or Whitehouse, has put forward. The very idea of agreeing with the Democrats is an anathema to them. Not that they don’t welcome support form Democrats when it is clearly a GOP Bill but whenever it looks like the Democrats can claim to have a win it will be stoped dead. Currently i see no way to test this.
Of all four hypothesis’ I favor the fourth and I hope someone will suggest a way to test it’s validity. In any case we seem to be in for an election in 2020 where who ever win’s will have to defend their election against charges of being elected by the Russians.