Thursday in “Impeachment Ville:” What a day!
There are a plethora of things to mention about the activities that occurred in the Senate Chamber on Day 3 of the Senate Impeachment Trial. Sadly, though, none of those things we will say have anything to do with any evidence of President Trump’s wrongdoing (or alleged wrongdoing) that supposedly are responsible for bringing us to this place.
House Management Leader Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) took center-stage most of the day as he has for the first two days of the trial. He consumed almost all of the time allotted for House Democrats to present their case to the Senators who will vote later on the removal of President Trump from office. But they also “danced the dance of politics” before the television cameras that beamed their impeachment charade to all Americans who think enough about the impeachment trial to take time from their busy lives to look-in.
Thursday’s Democrat presentation bordered on a story wrapped in desperation. No one knows better than the House Managers that their lack of evidence places them in a spot of almost inevitable failure in their impeachment attempts. To their credit, however, they attempted to stay on point: except for Mr. Schiff. He wandered all around the world, speculating that “we must take care of Ukraine so they will continue to help us defeat the Russians over there so that we will never need to defeat the Russians over here.” Huh?
Several times that desperation became really obvious — so evident because they actually journeyed back to the Mueller Report to cherrypick a few salient points that although they were part of Mr. Mueller’s exoneration of President Trump for allegedly colluding with the Russians in 2016, Mr. Schiff felt there was still enough damning information in the report to fuel an impeachment.
Points from the Mueller Report rang on mostly deaf ears in the Senate.
Let’s look at the Day 3 bullet points, and then I’ll share a significant letter with you.
Bullet Points: Day 3
- House Managers recalled the testimony in the House Judiciary Committee hearing of Harvard law professor Noah Feldman. You may remember that in that hearing, Feldman (as did others) gave a passionate list of justifications for the impeachment of President Trump, none of which were based on any factual information or data. Each was exhaustive, too. More importantly, each was strictly his opinion. Schiff, as usual, drew on those Feldman justifications even though they were entirely unfactual and opinion.
- Many wondered if there would be any pushback from House Manager’s aggressive and often angry Senate presentations. The first sign of a backlash among that critical group came Thursday when Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) a moderate member of the conference, said she was offended by House manager Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s assertion that GOP members voting against allowing new testimony and evidence were engaged in a “cover-up.” “I took it as offensive,” she told reporters. “As one who is listening attentively and working hard to get to a fair process, I was offended.”
- Content if the trial on Thursday became so benign that House Manager Hakeem Jeffries at one point told a story of one American who approached him upset about something that Jeffries thought he wanted Democrats to investigate regarding the Trump trial. Instead, the man said, “Someone voted against Derek Jeter on his Hall of Fame ballot.” Former New York Yankees great Derek Jeter was one of three baseball players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame recently. Jeter’s election was one vote short of being unanimous. (That had a lot to do with impeachment, right?)
- Wednesday before leaving Davos, Switzerland, for his return to Washington, President Trump was asked by a reporter if he had considered attending the impeachment trial as a visitor. The President replied that he might do that, but he was certain his defense team would frown on his doing so. Thursday, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) reached out to the President and asked the President to be the Senator’s guest in the visitor gallery.
- Rep. Val Demings takes the stand to discuss the U.S. obligation to provide Ukraine with aid to “counter Russian aggression and shorten the war in the East.” Fifteen thousand people have been killed and 1.4 million displaced as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, according to Demings. She says the U.S. has provided $1.5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since 2014 and another $1.5 billion in other assistance. What she did NOT mention was that the Obama Administration routinely held foreign aid (as does EVERY president) in negotiations for those countries’ actions. Obama withheld aid:Pakistan — $800 million; Colombia — $450 million; Phillipines — $433 million; Egypt — $260 million; Honduras — $30 million; Mexico — $26 million. Of course, Obama’s VP “threatened” to withhold $1 billion of aid to Ukraine. House managers failed to mention any of these.
- House managers have used just 16 of their agreed-to 24 hours to present their impeachment case. Therefore, the floor is theirs again Friday. The President’s legal team is currently scheduled to begin their defense on Saturday. However, there is some conversation about waiting through the weekend and starting on Monday.
In closing, I am going to read a letter written regarding impeachment. It’s incredible in content, its spirit, and its call to action. It’s a letter you “Need” to hear.
I’ll tell you who wrote the letter after I complete its reading.
“Mr. President, this is a day of solemnity and awe. I rise humbled that we are participating in a process that was mapped out more than 200 years ago by the Founding Fathers and that the words we say today will be looked upon by historians and future Congresses for guidance. That is quite a responsibility.
Growing up, our country and its government seemed like a mighty oak — strong, rooted, permanent, and grand.
It has shaken me that we stand at the brink of removing a President — not because of a popular groundswell to remove him and not because of the magnitude of the wrongs he’s committed — but because conditions in America has made it possible for a small group of people who hate the President and hate his policies to very cleverly and very doggedly exploit the institutions of freedom that we hold dear and almost succeed in undoing him.
Most troubling to me are the conditions that allowed this to happen, and the small group who precipitated them.
It is the small group of lawyers and zealots who decided that they would invest time and money to exploit a weakness that people knew the President had, find a case to air it publicly, and use it to bring him down.
What is so profoundly disturbing is not that this small group of haters hatched this plan. It’s that this group — or any group equally dogmatic and cunning — came so close to succeeding.