The conventional wisdom as we enter this week is that the House will deliver the articles of impeachment to the Senate sometime this week with the trial possibly commencing before this week’s end. That same conventional wisdom calls for a staid trial perhaps ending in very short order sans witnesses with Donald Trump remaining in office. But it could be wild and that’s what I want to explore today.
At this point I don’t see a path to twenty Republican Senators joining a united Democratic caucus in a guilty verdict removing Trump from office. Only a major shift in public opinion among the GOP electorate will make that possible and it hasn’t happened to date. That doesn’t mean I expect a smooth ride for Trump and his sycophants.
The trial could be as simple as opening arguments and a successful motion to dismiss. I certainly hope that isn’t the case. If it is, that will signal the transformation of America into a banana republic. Public reaction would be interesting.
The Senators act as jurors complete with swearing an oath to impartially view and rule on the evidence submitted. I could see the Democrats challenging the eligibility of several Republicans specifically including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham. McConnell has made public statements that he would coordinate every step of the way with Trump’s White House. Trump is the defendant; how is that impartial? Graham has publically declared that he will not take evidence into consideration and that his mind is made up. What part of that resembles a fair juror? Under the rules of the Senate it would take John Roberts to declare them unfit jurors and 50 senators to back his ruling or him to rule them fit jurors and 51 senators to overrule him. I don’t see either happening, but it would be one heck of a fireworks show to watch.
While everyone expects the Democrats to call for witnesses; what is to stop the Republicans from doing the same? I expect a GOP call for the Whistleblower, Hunter and Joe Biden along with Adam Schiff. None of them are relevant to the case at hand but when has relevancy, truth, the law or decorum mattered to today’s GOP?
Highly unlikely, but just to throw in a Perry Mason moment; what is to stop a mystery witness coming in out of the wings to blow the lid off everything? Along those lines, how about a fall guy or gal entering the scene and boosting those TV ratings Trump loves so much? Trump is concerned with self-preservation. He certainly would throw someone under the bus if it saved him. Add to that the number of people who would feel they were the hero if only they could sacrifice themselves to save the great man.
The most likely wild twist is another impeachment or supplemental article(s) sent up to add to the two under consideration. I’m honestly not certain how the mechanics of this would work (I think there are at least two paths) but I’m willing to bet Nancy Pelosi is. I also feel confident she will use them to the maximum advantage of her cause.
Trump may metaphorically be like the gangster who gets a not guilty verdict only to be slapped with new charges on his walk out of the courtroom. I’ll be watching and I’m certain you will be too.
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