Yesterday, January 31, 2020, 51 of the 53 Republican Senators voted to bar witnesses from testifying, as well as to bar documentary evidence from being presented in the impeachment trial of President Trump. Only Susan Collins and Mitt Romney broke ranks to vote to allow witnesses and documents. I predict that immensely important vote will be remembered in history as unprecedented and abusive. Why? Because it means that most of the same Republican Senators will go even farther next week and vote to acquit the President and end the impeachment trial. Their verdict will be rammed through, even as they block testimony and evidence that might show the President to be guilty as charged with abuse of his presidential power. The abuse-of-power charge is that he pressured a foreign leader to perform a corrupt in act in exchange for military aid that had been authorized by Congress.
Evidence that would have been important to the impeachment trial will come out eventually, some in timely leaks and some, perhaps in torrents. The 51 Republican Senators who voted against allowing witnesses and documents will be asked to account for their rush to judgment. You can be sure those Senators are already preparing for that eventuality, and it will be interesting to see how they handle those questions. No matter how disingenuous their explanations may be, those Senators will not outrun the judgment of history and time. You can bet that the public obituary of each of the 100 US Senators will make mention of how he/she voted January 31, 2020 on the motion to allow witnesses and other evidence in the Trial of Impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump.
It is my understanding that it is the US House of Representatives’ responsibility to subpoena witnesses, gather the relative documentary evidence, and then determine if the President has committed high crimes, as defined in the US Constitution, of a level which warrants removal from office. If the House determines to proceed with impeachment, then it is to provide the US Senate with all the documentation needed for the Senate to conduct a trial and decide if the President should be removed from office, based upon the evidence gathered by the House.
This determination by the House is to be thorough, complete and comprehensive prior to submission to the Senate. Therefore; the fact-finding, questioning of witnesses and documentation of evidence is the responsibility of the House. The responsibility of the Senate is to conduct a trial based upon the evidence presented to the Senate by the House.
Due to the seriousness of impeachment of a president elected by the citizens, the House should take the time necessary to fully investigate prior to presenting it’s results to the Senate for trial. During the trial, the House presents its evidence related to the case and the Senate decides the outcome. This is similar to a trial in the criminal courts; whereby, the House acts in the capacity of the prosecutor and the Senate acts in the capacity of the jury. The jury in a criminal trial does not continue to investigate a case in which it is deliberating upon. Similarly the Senate should not take on the role of the House and continue to further investigate the impeachment case, but the Senate should decide the case based upon the evidence presented by the House.
You are probably right in that history will remember how this impeachment was conducted, especially when historians look back at the initial process in the House. I do not believe that the founders of the constitution intended for the presidential impeachment process to be a means of removing an elected president from office simply because the opposite political party was upset because its candidate did not win the election, nor because that party wants to use this as a means of obtaining some advantage in the next presidential election, nor because some politicians disagree with the president’s policies, nor because they just don’t like the president for whatever reason.
If a president has committed a high crime of such gravity that the country would be better served by removal from office, then the impeachment process should involve an overall consensus of the members of the House, without regard for their individual party affiliations. This process should be conducted in an open environment with fairness toward the president and thoroughly investigated prior to presenting the case to the Senate for deliberation; otherwise, this would become just a political stunt and create further turmoil and division among the citizens of the country.
Thanks for reading my thoughts on this subject.
We all have to remember that impeachment is a political process and not a criminal one. Whether you like Trump or not, Pelosi and the Democrats expected to run the circus under their own rules and it didn’t work. Some were wanting to impeach him even before he was inaugurated. It’s just a shame that it’s wrapped up the country this long and further divided its people.
MC – thank you for commenting on my blog. I see you’re getting out and getting some nice photos. Since you posted your comments on my blog article on Facebook, I will post my comments here too. This first paragraph clarifies my reasons for my original post, and I will follow up with direct responses to your comments. My original article was an admonishment of the 51 Republicans senators who voted to bar witnesses and documentary evidence from the trial of President Trump. It is simply an expression of my frustration with what I personally believe to be a travesty of justice. I went on to predict that those 51 Senators will not be remembered kindly by history. In my opinion, this trial will go down as an unfortunate miscarriage of justice, or perhaps an abortion. What follows directly is not my opinion. Every assertion I make below is a hard, cold, indisputable fact, that in my opinion summarizes the mischief worked by Senator McConnel. I didn’t expect better because Senator McConnel has made it clear from the beginning that he would use his power as majority leader to get an acquittal for the President. He went father when he said he would not be an impartial juror in the impeachment trial. When Senator McConnel went even further and announced he would coordinate the trial with the White House, he seemed to drop any semblance of a fair trial.
Glenn – Thanks for your comments, but they don’t respond directly to my post. My post simply presents some of my thoughts on the potential consequences of the Senate’s refusal to hear witnesses or see new evidences in the impeachment trial. Let’s look at a hypothetical situation which has some of the same elements as the impeachment trial. Put aside, if you can, all arguments about the different responsibilities of the House and Senate, trial process and Senate rules. The situation will demonstrate the potential consequences of a trial in which arguments about procedural and technical issues are used to bar key witnesses and important evidence. Imagine that you have been charged by a grand jury of capital murder for which you are innocent. Then assume that you have a friend who could prove, without a doubt, that you were with him more than 100 miles away at the time of the murder. The prosecution lawyers do not argue that they have evidence to dispute your friend’s claim. Instead, they argue to bar the witness (your friend) from testifying on procedural and technical grounds. Would you look kindly on those lawyers, knowing that their arguments might send you to the gas chamber? The case that the President’s lawyers made to bar witnesses and new evidence from the impeachment trial is as unfair, odious and consequential as that made by the prosecution lawyers in your case. I hope you will take the time to consider my question and to respond directly to my question – t
I totally agree with you on that point but my point was about the entire process. If this were to be run like a criminal trial, the prosecution would not have publicized the fact that they were already biased in their desire to see him removed from office, again, even before they could come up with a reason to remove him, hence my mention of calls to impeach him before he was even inaugurated.
Also, the prosecution would not have been allowed to make up rules in their favor. None of this was run like a criminal trial because it never was. Again, impeachment is a political process and was designed from the beginning to make it very difficult to remove an official from office.
It was a circus on both sides because the rules allow it to be even though that was never the intent.