Under enormous pressure from competing interests, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell finds himself between the proverbial rock and the hard place. Caught between a president who demands total exoneration and a growing call from both senators and their constituents for witnesses and documents, McConnell must select from his range of options the one likely to cause the least political damage.
According to the Washington Post, senators are uneasy at the prospect of Trump’s thuggish acolytes from the House, like Jim Jordan of Ohio, John Ratcliffe of Texas and Doug Collins of Georgia, making a ‘clown car’ spectacle in their supposedly more courtly Senate.
McConnell reportedly told the White House that their histrionics might offend the moderates on both sides of the aisle.McConnell must certainly recognize that any testimony of witnesses or the release of subpoenaed documents could be extremely damaging to the president even if they ultimately acquitted him. On the other hand, he must recognize that a show trial farce will not exonerate Trump, might well infuriate the American public, and could cost him his Senate majority.
So what is McConnell’s least objectionable option? Declare the House investigation an invalid ‘witch hunt’ and call for a ‘motion to dismiss’ a trial in the Senate, believing he can twist enough arms to pass it, and take his chances with any potential political fallout.
And if the stakes weren’t already high enough, Trump’s impulsive Mar-a-Lago dinner table orders to assassinate Soleimani and the simultaneously attempted assassination of Quds Force leader Shahlai in Yemen have blown up the “imminent threat” rationale and heightened Republican desires to make this whole thing just go away.
Could a ‘motion to dismiss’ actually pass? Yes, it could.
What part of this don’t people understand? What Mitch McConnell is doing in the Senate impeachment trial of Donald J.Trump isn’t merely a “cover-up”. This is a further consolidation of executive power, stripping the authority of Congress as a co-equal branch of government, the enshrinement of a supreme leader.
I agree. Though some are saying that the alt-right may just blow up the “old” Republican Party; I don’t think that they will, or can.
I do think that Trump & Co. have already done everything necessary to unseat “What’s His Name:” Drump is doing everything that he can to tamper with the jury in his own trial. And John Roberts may have a surprise or two he’s waiting to spring on us. That’s not going to be appreciated. Nobody, Republican or Democrat, likes being lied to: you can’t trust a man who lies for no reason. Nobody, sure as hell, wants to take the rap for a treasonous psychopath when all is said and done.
Finally, this may be the issue that breaks Thrump’s throne: his dishonorable conduct during his impeachment. We’re better than that.
Trump has put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a nearly impossible position. An unseemly, rancorous ‘show trial’ spectacle in the Senate will tarnish that body’s reputation and possibly cost him his majority. Allowing witnesses and documents at trial could fatally damage the Trump presidency even if they acquit him. And the president is demanding either total exoneration, or to shut the whole proceeding down with a motion to dismiss.
Only one thing is certain. McConnell will choose the path of least political damage.
I don’t know, McConnell has chosen the path of political damage repeatedly in pursuit of power over the past several years. Refusing to allow Obama to appoint a SCOTUS judge, killing the filibuster on cabinet nominees, ramming unqualified judges onto the bench, trying to kill the ACA, opposing election security, making a transparent deal to remove sanctions on Russia to get a Russian oligarch to invest in his state and he and his wife enriching themselves by exploiting their positions.
Up until this week, McConnell was the most disliked Senator in the country, now in 2nd place behind the unprincipled phony, Susan Collins.
I think McConnell doesn’t want to further destroy his reputation and that of The Senate and the GOP but I don’t think those things come first. Keeping his power does and that flows from his alliance with Trump and protecting that criminal.
So while I think McConnell may temper some of his terriblenesses and try to mask what nasty things he will do, I think it will still be on display in the trial as he continues to collude with Trump to sabotage a fair trial…as he has already openly stated he would.
Good point, the Republican party have apparently been intent (at least since November 2016 ) on destroying the system for personal gain. Including our planet…
“In his conversations with advisers on Thursday, Mr. Trump repeated once again that he could not believe he was facing such a predicament as impeachment. He said he wanted people to be prepared for a motion to dismiss and has hoped for one, even though Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, has said the Senate will have to take up the matter.” – New York Times Friday January 17, 2020
Trump must be throwing tantrums on the hour, not getting what he wants for once in his life. He didn’t want impeachment either. And he’s sure not going to want to see the results from the November election…nor will he want the subsequent ejection from the WH.
It’s ironic he keeps playing at his rallies, the Stones, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” He’s not going to enjoy learning that.
Politicians often bank on citizens not knowing what the laws actually say. However, some of us lay people actually study the law to understand it. We are all obligated to obey the laws, so it is incumbent on us to at least have a cursory understanding of laws, and if we can read and comprehend, we can glean more details about laws.
The Constitution does not provide for the Senate to dismiss an impeachment. It requires the Senate to “try all impeachments”. So there MUST be a trial. Now the question becomes, what is a trial, and how does the chief justice “preside” over an impeachment trial.
Article 3 of the Constitution does not set out the role of the chief justice in an impeachment trial, but Article 2 says the chief justice shall preside over the trial. So, what is the role of a judge when he/she presides over a trial?
Does “preside” simply mean to maintain order, or does it include determining whether evidence is illegal and improper, as well as instructing the jury (the Senate) about the law that applies to the case?
If Chief Justice Roberts role includes determining whether evidence is illegal or improper, he can decide if testimony from Joe and Hunter Biden is improper. Article 2 requires senators to take an oath of affirmation to do impartial justice, so will Chief Justice Roberts instruct ALL senators to remember their oath in deliberations?
In an impeachment trial, not only is the president on trial, but both chambers of Congress are on trial related to their loyalty to the Constitution.
Justice Roberts can be overruled on any decision by a simple majority. It’s not like the Supreme Court. As Justice Rehnquist said following the Clinton impeachment, “I did next to nothing and I did it very well.”
Nothing in the Constitution supports the notion that an impeachment trial in the Senate should be any different from a trial in any court. I know the press promotes this, but there is absolutely zero support for it in the Constitution.
The only difference is that senators are the jury. They are not the judge. That is why the chief justice presides over the trial, as opposed to the majority leader. That is also PROBABLY why the special oath of affirmation to do impartial justice is required to be taken by each senator. Just because Rehnquist did not assert the normal responsibilities of a judge, does not mean Roberts can’t.
I don’t believe Roberts can be overruled by a Senate vote as it relates to him “presiding” over the trial. Again, the question is what does preside mean. The Constitution does not indicate that “preside” has a different meaning in a Senate impeachment trial than it does in a regular court proceeding.
I think you’re right, that McConnell’s favored path would be a quick dismissal of impeachment but the brand new revelations from Lev Parnas makes it much harder for such a cover-up to get support from enough Repubs and even to refuse evidence and witnesses.
The delay Pelosi took in delivering the Articles of Impeachment really paid off. Had this started weeks ago, it might have been easier for the trial to have been already dismissed or completed. So Nancy gets a big salute for that.
And if more damning info comes out via Parnas? Maybe removal will still be a tough hill to climb but a majority vote against Trump is not unimagineable.