By the end of next week, the Articles of Impeachment will be approved and sent to the Senate. The trial of impeachment in the Senate will likely be confined to two to three weeks in January 2020. It will be run by Republicans and made to help Donald Trump. In fact, at times, it may seem an impeachment trial is a honorable exercise, to undo the damage from the House of Representatives. It is a foregone conclusion that Trump will be acquitted of two articles against the him. The voting in the Senate will be nearly entirely along party lines – meaning Trump will be acquitted. I am 100% certain of this.
After the acquittal vote, there will be a moment of party unity among Republicans. Their speeches will be similar, using such phrases as “totally exonerated” and “proved to all that the charges were baseless.” They will in the process vilify Rep. Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler and Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The Democrats acted deplorably and despicably. The only reason for the impeachment was because they knew none of their candidates could beat him in November. At least that will be the spiel – are we that naive?
There is intense discussion right now among Republicans on how to make the trial in the Senate one of “vindication and exoneration.” Trump sees this as a time to glorify the achievements of the Republican party and vilify the Democrats. It is as if you went to a ball game, and one team could pick the umpire. This is free time on television, so why not? I won’t watch much.
For me, it will be a sad day. It will say to all future presidents that as long as you hold the majority in the Senate, then Article 2 of the Constitution doesn’t really apply. I agree the bar for impeachment must be high. The evidence must be solid. The conduct of the president must clearly show he committed “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Each of the Articles has been proven: I. Trump approved military aid for Ukraine conditional on announcements of two investigations to help him win elections and II. He obstructed justice by refusing to let key witnesses testify at the impeachment inquiry.
Obviously, Trump has the authority to veto military assistance. He also could have made an announcement, that he would attach conditions to the aid. He did neither of these. Instead, he had his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani and Ambassador Gordon Sondland to set up the “announcements” which would help support false accusations against Joe Biden.
It will be a sad day for the idea of elections free of outside interference. It will be a sad day for the role of Congress to investigate wrong doing by the president, because the subpoenas now don’t mean much. Trump and Republicans can celebrate his “exoneration” but he will forever be remembered in the history books, as the fourth president to be impeached by Congress.