Republican leaders in the Senate have come under attack after vowing that the impeachment trial would be a speedy affair — but one writer thinks they should take things a step further.
Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) should not give the “sham” impeachment the stamp of authority by holding a trial at all, Joel Pollak argues at Breitbart. Republican leaders have vowed to move quickly toward Trump’s acquittal rather than dismiss the charges outright, upsetting both Democrats and Republicans hoping to use a protracted process to their advantage.
Pollack: Senate trial a mistake
Democrats in the House have not yet voted on impeachment, but the dialogue has already shifted to the Senate where Trump’s fate will be decided by a Republican-led caucus. It is clear that Democrats sense an opening — however small it might be — to tip the scales against Trump with additional testimony and evidence, despite Republicans having made clear that their minds are made up.
Graham and McConnell have nevertheless promised to hold a trial, albeit a prejudged one in the eyes of Democrats. Republicans are now weighing the risks of how fast to move ahead, equally wary of looking like they’re dismissing the charges just to protect Trump and giving Democrats an opportunity to target Republican senators through a lengthy process.
Pollak argues that any Senate trial would be a mistake, since the impeachment charges are baseless and the House proceeding was tainted by partisanship.
It is indeed ironic to watch Democrats who blocked Republican witnesses in the House now demand a fair process — but Republicans shouldn’t retaliate with a Senate trial investigating Hunter Biden or the “whistleblower,” as tempting as it might be, he says.
“But as Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has pointed out,” Pollack argues, “all of these witnesses could be called in an ordinary oversight hearing, not in an impeachment trial. The president does not need to use impeachment to prove his innocence; the flimsy ‘evidence,’ most of which would be inadmissible in court, cannot possibly sustain a guilty verdict. Moreover, almost everyone in the Senate has already made up his or her mind.”
Democrats’ “desperate charade”
More profoundly, Republicans could risk setting a dangerous precedent and upsetting the balance of power between Congress and the presidency by endorsing the Democrats’ articles of impeachment, which Pollak suggested would make the president into the subordinate of Congress, rather than a co-equal part of government. While Democrats would balk at a dismissal, they have already failed to garner bipartisan support — so they can hardly claim the mantle of constitutional duty, he said.
Not only have Democrats failed to reach that threshold — some of their own have begun defecting, with at least one Democrat, Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ), saying he will vote no on impeachment and join the Republican Party.
Democrats are expected to move ahead with a full House vote to impeach Wednesday, setting the stage for a trial in January — unless 51 Republicans vote to dismiss, a realistic threshold for the 53 Republicans currently in the Senate, barring any unexpected defections.
But McConnell and Graham have said that they won’t take that route, instead promising a quick trial likely ending with Trump’s acquittal, according to CBS News. Democrats have already slammed any prospective trial as a rigged process and have begun to dial up the pressure on Senate Republicans in a last-ditch attempt to sink Trump — and Republicans have expressed their own misgivings about forfeiting a highly public opportunity to probe the Bidens and the murky role played by the “whistleblower” in sparking the impeachment probe.
President Trump has — until now — refused to participate, but he has said he looks forward to facing down the impeachment when it finally reaches the upper chamber. According to The Epoch Times, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said that the president is eager to respond to the “desperate charade” in a “fair” process when the time comes.