There has been increased talk in recent days about whether the four Democratic senators currently seeking the presidential nomination — as well as senators thought to be too biased to serve as jurors — ought to recuse themselves from the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. But one well-known conservative pundit just put an end to that line of argument with a tell-it-like-it-is bombshell.
In an appearance on Fox News, Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for President George W. Bush, declared that there is no need for these kinds of recusals, because calls for them are based on a misguided understanding of what the Senate trial phase of impeachment really is.
Fleischer’s comments came during an interview with Laura Ingraham of The Ingraham Angle. There, he was asked whether he agrees with those who believe that the likes of Democrat candidate Sens. Elizabeth Warren (MA), Bernie Sanders (VT), and Amy Klobuchar (MN) — or any senators from the Republican side of the aisle — ought to recuse themselves from the trial.
“It’s just such a joke on its face,” Fleischer said in video shared by Fox News, “because what they’re trying to pretend is that they’re a real court of law and they’re not.”
Fleischer went on to explain what he believes the framers of the Constitution intended for the impeachment of a president.
“If the founders wanted to put this in a real court of law for a real trial they would have done so and impeachment would have gone to a jury,” he said. “It’s not, it is going to a political body, it’s going to the House and now it’s going to the Senate. The framers intended it to be political because they want politicians who are accountable to the people to make these final decisions about whether to overthrow the people’s determination from an election.”
For this reason, Fleischer stated that people ought to “stop pretending it’s a court of law.”
Not a court of law
The argument for having the senators currently running for president recuse themselves is that they cannot objectively look at the matter because of their vested interest as candidates in seeing Trump ousted from the White House. Meanwhile, those advocating for the recusal of Republican senators such as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) suggest that those lawmakers have already declared their impartiality and have made up their minds to acquit before any evidence is presented in the upper chamber.
If the Senate trial was indeed analogous to the proceedings in a typical courtroom, then these would be strong arguments for recusal. But Fleischer went on to explain to Ingraham the absurdity of applying this standard to the Senate trial.
“If it’s a court of law, why are they reading newspaper articles about it? Why are they appearing on TV?” he asked. “Jurors are not supposed to read articles about the cases which they’re hearing. So, aren’t all those Democrats who are reading newspaper stories biasing themselves?
“No,” Fleischer replied in answer to his own question, “because it’s not a real trial, and none of us should look at it the way we do, and the Democrats should stop this silly game. No one is buying it.”
There can be little doubt that Fleischer hit the nail on the head with this one.