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Media Monitor: Trump’s Senators tie themselves in impeachment (k)nots

Licks like peas. With a bullpistle.

Were I a judge in their case, that is the sentence I would pass on the 50-odd Elsies in the Senate who last week voted against hearing witnesses in the continuing impeachment trial of Donald J Trump.

Photo: US President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Drake University on 30 January 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa.
(Copyright AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Did Trump ask Ukraine for a quid pro quo or not? Not!

Does Trump’s conduct rise to the level of impeachment or not? Not!

Do we want John Bolton to testify or not? Not!

Do we want Mick Mulvaney to testify or not? Not!

Do we want more witnesses or not? Not!

Do we want to subpoena the documents Trump is hiding or not? Not!

Do we want the chief justice to decide on admissibility or not? Not!

Is Trump guilty or not? Not! Not! Not! Not! Not! Not! Not! Not!

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By the way, if you want to know why I call the Republicans LCs, it’s easy; have Google translate lèche-cul (French) or lame-culos (Spanish) for you and you’ll get the picture. Like so much of what we have seen in this travesty of a trial, it isn’t pretty so be sure there are no children around.

With the children safely out of the way, perhaps we can begin with Alan Dershowitz, unrepentant defender of abuser/paedophile/rapist Jeffrey Epstein. Among serious constitutional scholars, many agree, Dershowitz is likely to constitute a minority of one.

“The only thing that would make a quid pro quo,” argued the octogenarian member of the president’s defence team, reckless of contortion-induced cramp, “is if the quo were in some way illegal. […] And if a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.”

Huh?

“So,” as CNN’s John King put it pithily, “as president, you cannot be wrong if you think you are right.”

Absurd! Disgraceful even. But many senators grabbed Dershowitz’s fig leaf in a vain attempt to cover their shame.

“I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate,” explains known black-jacket, white-jacket Lisa Murkowski on whom Democrats and democrats alike were counting to buck the ass-licking trend. “So,” she went on illogically, “I shall not be voting in favour of hearing additional witnesses.”

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“The Senate is drowning,” a CNN commentator accurately translated her reasoning, “and I’m holding its head under water.”

Lamar Alexander, who is 79 and not running for re-election in Tennessee, also let the Democratic side down with his puzzling stance.

“There is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven,” he correctly reasoned. “If you are persuaded that he did it, why do you need more witnesses?”

I am not aware that anyone responded with the obvious answer: “So that everyone has the opportunity to be, like you and Senators Marco Rubio, Rob Portman and Patrick Toomey, Mitt Romney and Susan Collins, persuaded that Trump’s conduct was inappropriate—and eventually decide on guilt or innocence on the basis of the whole truth, which is what trials are about?”

On CNN, a visibly upset Chris Cuomo argued that voting nay on conviction is okay but voting nay on witnesses is indefensible.

Washington Post columnist Max Boot, who registered as an independent literally the day after Trump’s election, deems the refusal to call witnesses in the Senate as ‘the GOP’s moral failure’.

“Senators who shirk their constitutional duties,” he says, “are cowards who disgrace their oaths of office and betray the Constitution.”

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The Constitution? In Law & Crime, Jerry Lambe tells us what a respected ethics lawyer thinks is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s attitude to that ubiquitously cited beast.

“Urinating on the Constitution is fun,” he quotes Republican-turned-Democrat Richard Painter as saying, “when you can get away with it.”

Indeed, McConnell is unapologetic and unabashed and has no shame for which he needs to use Dershowitz’s fig leaf as cover. One commentator suggests, however, that he may need not to show his face.

The Guardian’s Rowan Moore says that McConnell “has the strangely amazed look of a southern gentleman who has just caught his wife in flagrante with the stable hand.” Perhaps. But I’d add that said gentleman probably also has an ED and a chronic constipation problem, both of which, under the glare of the spotlight, he can’t get off his mind.

Moore adds that McConnell’s ‘aim is to serve the interests of the Republican Party in the Senate. Everything else—the interests of the US, the constitution, truth, justice, even Republicans not in the Senate—is subservient.’

How true! But the second last word goes to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, who thinks he understands why today’s Senate has let the Republic down. According to him, the Founding Fathers tried their darnedest to indemnify senators against the taint of politics and would clearly have preferred that senators not have to be elected.

Time—and Trump—have brought their efforts to nought.

Photo: UNC Political Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar

And in north Trinidad is where I want to end. On the airwaves today, there was news of Independent Senator Subhas Ramkhelawan and of UNC Political Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

The report on the former Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange chairman dealt with the settlement of the matter spawned by a less-than-transparent 2014 FCB IPO deal, which led to his resignation.

The report on the former prime minister dealt with her sanctimonious declaration that she had learned her lessons from the last time and would be trying to do better should her UNC, well, the UNC, once more get their hands on the Treasury, oops, on government in the next election.

My response? Yuh know what North have fuh you and Elsies like Rodney Charles, Tim Gopeesingh and Wade Mark and senators, new or old, like Gerald Ramdeen, Saddam Hosein and Ramkhelawan next election?

Licks like peas. With a bullpistle!

About Earl Best

Earl Best
Earl Best taught cricket, French, football and Spanish at QRC for many years and has written consistently for the Tapia and the Trinidad and Tobago Review since the 1970's. He is also a former sports editor at the Trinidad Guardian and the Trinidad Express and is now a senior lecturer in Journalism at COSTAATT.

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7 comments

  1. Why impeachment failed
    by Matt Mackowiak
    | February 03, 2020 11:36 AM

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    Having learned nothing from the hysterics and performance theater used during Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Democrats attempted to use similar tactics in a failed attempt to impeach President Trump in an election year.

    This colossal waste of time opens the door to impeachment being used as a political tactic in the future by a minority party. This will be the legacy of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to proceed with impeachment.

    But there were several paths available to Democrats when this began.

    At every turn, they chose political expediency. When taken together, dozens of small decisions ended in an epic failure.

    Impeachment must be bipartisan. As recently as March 2019, this was Pelosi’s standard. It was House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler’s standard during the Clinton impeachment as well.

    But Democrats played partisan games from the very beginning.

    Pelosi announced the impeachment and, in an unprecedented move, refused for weeks to hold a floor vote to authorize the inquiry. She assigned the matter to the House Intelligence Committee, rather than the House Judiciary Committee, so depositions could be held in secret. The White House was prevented from having counsel attend, and Republicans on the committee were not allowed to invite witnesses or compel testimony.

    Why did Democrats do this? They wanted to be able to leak from these secret depositions selectively. But there was a secondary motive.

    They wanted to protect leading presidential candidate Joe Biden, denying the GOP any opportunity to call him or his son as a witness.

    Soon enough, we will learn if this entire episode was manufactured. The whistleblower complaint may have been coordinated by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and his staff and the whistleblower. The intelligence community inspector general found partisan bias in the whistleblower’s background. That aspect of this story has largely been protected from further inspection.

    Had the House chosen to proceed with the impeachment inquiry in a fair manner, things may have been different. The White House may have participated. Republicans would not have been able to make process arguments. Potentially, a few moderate or retiring members may have come to a different conclusion. We will never know.

    Without that floor vote authorizing the impeachment inquiry, Democrats began issuing subpoenas. Why did they do this?

    They did not have the votes to pass an impeachment inquiry at the beginning. But they needed something they could sell to their media allies and House Democratic colleagues. This is where the leaks began.

    As time went on, eventually, House Democrats passed the impeachment inquiry on the floor and authorized subpoenas. But if they had the authority to issue subpoenas in House rules all along, why did they feel the need to authorize subpoenas?

    Democratic messaging shifted almost daily. They charged a “quid pro quo,” then they alleged “bribery,” and eventually they alleged “extortion.” But in the end, they could only muster the votes to pass “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress,” two stunningly weak articles of impeachment that did not allege a criminal violation or a violation of any statute.

    The House impeached Trump after a three-month investigation, the fastest impeachment in modern history. For comparison, President Richard Nixon’s impeachment investigation lasted five months and President Bill Clinton’s impeachment lasted eight months. For 71 of the 78 days in the House impeachment, Republicans had virtually no role and the White House had zero due process.

    House Democrats claimed Trump was an urgent threat to democracy and national security and must be removed from office immediately. But Pelosi puzzlingly held the articles for 33 days, preventing the Senate trial from beginning. Her true motivation cannot be known, but whatever it was, the gambit did not work. She folded after winning zero concessions.

    The reason impeachment must be bipartisan is that the Constitution requires 67 votes for removal from office. Instead of taking their time and trying to build bipartisan support, House Democrats chose to make impeachment hyperpartisan from the beginning. This doomed it to failure.

    Senators were rightly confused by Democrats’ trial arguments that their case was “overwhelming,” but that more witnesses and documents were needed.

    In the end, a majority of senators rightly decided that if it was enough information for the House to render a judgment, then it was enough for the Senate.

    The die was cast from the beginning of this impeachment farce.

    • Earl Best

      Mr Walter, If you seriously think this is worthy of publication, then you must have found Trump’s State of the Union address last night to be positively orgasmic.

      Shouldn’t we, BTW, impeach Nancy Pelosi for tearing up her copy in full view of the cameras?

      • Mr. Best

        I have great respect for you and your broad knowledge on subjects spanning politics to sports (and probably many more).

        I am not, by any stretch, a Donald Trump fan – far from it. I think he is a despicable human being who holds no moral qualities that qualify him for the office he currently holds.

        Now that I have made those two points my critique of your article “Trump’s Senators tie themselves in impeachment (k)nots” is that it is filled with emotion rather than facts and logic. While many would agree with you and even dream of the day that Trump finally leaves office, this impeachment was destined to fail from the beginning and one should not lose sight of the facts as to why that is. Getting people worked up and preying on the anti-Trump sentiment is easy, uncovering the truth and actually educating the reader is much more difficult.

        As it stands, perhaps largely due to the attempted and failed impeachment, Trump’s approval rating have never been higher during his presidency. Nancy Pelosi herself predicted this earlier when she insisted that she would not move to impeach Trump. She should have stuck with her instincts rather than succumb to pressure from within her party.

        So the take away that I got from this entire episode is this – remember Newton’s third law – “every action has an opposite and equal reaction”. It was a partisan decision for the house to move to impeach Trump and that action was met with an equal and opposite action – it was partisan for the senate to acquit Trump.

        What will not be forgotten other than the failed impeachment proceedings is that Joe Biden’s son was benefiting direct from foreign aid paid by US taxpayers to the Ukraine and then to a questionable Ukrainian company on which Biden’s son was a director. This will seriously affect Biden Sr.’s reputation as he seeks the Democratic ticket to contest the US Presidential elections. Judging from the Iowa results, Biden has been badly damaged.

        The Dems failed to protect Biden and ended up strengthening Trump – not a good day at the office by any stretch.

        • Earl Best

          Just to be clear, you’re saying that impeaching Trump was wrong because he was eventually acquitted and always looked likely so to be, right?
          Forget Adam Schiff. Give a listen to Mitt Romney and then tell me if you feel the same way.

          • Mr. Best

            Mr. Romney predictably was the only Republican to break ranks on the Republican side.

            Incidentally, when the impeachment vote was called in the House earlier, two sitting Democrats (Jeff Van Drew, and Collin Peterson) opposed both articles of impeachment the House passed. So on that matter I think I’ve outscored you 2-1.

            Lastly, remember “acquittal” and “innocence” do not mean the same thing and are not meant to be used interchangeably.

            • Earl Best

              If your interest is merely in brownie points and bragging rights, then you’re knocking on an open door. You win.

              If, however, you’re genuinely interested in getting at the whole truth, you should LISTEN to Romney’s justification for voting the way he did and then we can perhaps talk about hypocrisy and sincerity and mere political expediency.

            • Dear Mr. Best.

              Rather than finding an opened door I find your door is locked tight, without any room for different opinions or debate. This has taught me all that I need to know about you the journalist.

              Pleasant good day sir.

              Walter