I am predicting that President Donald Trump gets acquitted today. The Senate impeachment trial of President Trump is reaching its waning hours. The House Managers and the President’s attorneys have each presented their opening arguments. We are now two days into the “question and answer” session, where each Senator gets a chance to ask questions of the respective teams. Once that process ends today, there will be a vote on whether to call witnesses before closing the trial and voting on impeachment.
It has been an interesting few days. For only the third time in our history, a President has been impeached by the House of Representatives, and is now being tried in the Senate. The House Managers, led by Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) has presented the case they made in the House, arguing that President Trump abused his power for personal political gain (because that would be a first…),and then obstructed the House investigation by refusing to produce documents or allow certain witnesses o testify. President Trump’s team has vehemently argued that there was no quid pro quo—Trump did not withhold aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into the Bidens. And they have argued, quite effectively, that the assertion of executive privilege over documents and witnesses, which has long been recognized by the Supreme Court, cannot form the basis of obstruction.
The battle has been intense and often nasty. In a shocking moment, Chief Justice John Roberts who is presiding over the trial, had to admonish both sides to remain civil. In his words, to “remember where you are,” referring to the Senate as the “greatest deliberative body” in the world.
Now the battle moves to witnesses. The Democrats want to call former National Security Adviser John Bolton and White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. They argue that both witnesses have evidence relevant to the impeachment proceedings, but were blocked from testifying in the House impeachment inquiry by President Trump. Their argument has been bolstered in recent days by leaks detailing excerpts of John Bolton’s forthcoming book in which he writes that President Trump told him to withhold aid to Ukraine until they opened an investigation into the Bidens. Thus, evidence of a quid pro quo.
But Republicans and the President’s lawyers have been fighting back, arguing that the purpose of the Senate trial is to judge the impeachment case brought by the House. The House could have gone to the Courts to try to force Bolton and Mulvaney to testify, but they didn’t. Now is not the time to try to introduce evidence to support the impeachment case. The House has already impeached—that evidence needs to be judged.
My take on all of this is as follows: Democrats have been attempting to nullify the election from the very day Trump got elected. That is clear. Democrats across the board have been caught stating their intention to impeach Trump from the very beginning. The first reason was that Trump supposedly worked with the Russians to steal the election—he was a “foreign agent.” When that of course turned out to be completely false, crestfallen Democrats searched for a new reason to impeach Trump. Trump gave them a golden goose with his inappropriate, but not impeachable, discussion with the Ukrainian president.
What is clear in all of this is that the Democrats have been a party in search of a way to get rid of Trump. They have set a dangerous partisan precedent that it is ok to weaponize impeachment as a way to nullify a lawful election. I’ll say it again, it is a danger to the future of our democracy.
The next presidential election is in November. If the Democrats want to remove President Trump, then beat him at the polls. That is how a democracy is supposed to work.