Comments and responses
Alice Steward: Democrats need to realize they had their chance to make an overwhelming and bipartisan case for impeachment — and they failed.
My Response: House Manager Adam Schiff made it clear months ago, that to win in an impeachment trial is a very difficult, even if all the facts are solid and in your favor. I and others believe Adam Schiff used his time very effectively to lay out the case against President Trump based just on evidence given at the hearing. I fully expect an acquittal, because Trump is the Republican candidate for re-election and the voting will be along party lines. The Republicans and Donald Trump will champion the acquittal as some kind of victory for justice and fairness. I think most Americans will see through this as a trial absent of witnesses will likely be perceived as a coverup. Americans are more likely to be aware of the dishonesty and disrespect of the electoral process by soliciting the help of the Ukrainian President to support false accusations against his rivals – even if the Senate acquits Trump.
Alice Steward: But then Rep. Adam Schiff, lead impeachment manager, touting crushing evidence to support the two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — said additional testimony and documents are needed. If House Democrats had met their constitutional threshold for a conviction, they would not need additional information. They realize the only potential for an impeachment game-changer is additional evidence — and, ideally, witnesses.
My Response: I don’t see the contradiction. Yes – the House Managers stated there was already clear and convincing evidence and they wanted more collaborating testimony from 4 – 5 witnesses. Anyone who has ever served in jury duty understands there isn’t a threshold of proof based on written law, but it is in the minds of the jurists, in this case, 100 senators with 53 of them Republicans, whose threshold for violations of the constitution is sky high. Democrats wanted a new series of high level witnesses such as Mick Mulvaney to come forward and firmly collaborate in detail the plan to delay badly needed military aid to Ukraine solely improve Donald Trump’s re-election in 2020 to show how tightly all their evidence fit together. If this failed to convince the 53 Republican Senators, then there would be an appeal in the form of an election in 2020.
Anyone who sat in a jury, knows that if a prosecutor shows DNA evidence, fingerprint evidence, and even video recordings (obviously clear and convincing evidence), they still present eye witnesses. Mulvaney and Trump were in the meetings with Trump and they are the best eye witnesses of what happened.
Alice Steward: Here’s the thing, though, House members could have subpoenaed Bolton already. They did not, and they should not expect the Senate to do the job they failed to do.
My Response: I agree. The House should have subpoenaed Bolton to appear. But they could see a lengthy court process as Bolton’s assistants were fighting the subpoenas. It seemed that Bolton was complying with the President’s order not to testify. Mick Mulvaney was subpoenaed.
Alice Stewart is a CNN political commentator, Resident Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University and former Communications Director for Ted Cruz for President.
What’s next (from Vox’s news, their best guess):
A rough outline of the schedule is below: (managers and counsel may decide not to use all the time allocated. It may be on Monday that Alan Dershowitz will make his presentation defending Trump because he did not break the law. No crime, no impeachable offense).
Wednesday: House impeachment managers have roughly eight hours for opening arguments.
Thursday: House impeachment managers have roughly eight hours for opening arguments.
Friday: House impeachment managers have roughly eight hours for opening arguments.
Saturday: Trump’s defense counsel has roughly eight hours for opening arguments.
Next week: Defense counsel could continue to build their case on Monday and Tuesday. Senators will also have up to 16 hours to ask questions of both the impeachment managers and Trump’s counsel.
A vote on hearing more evidence isn’t expected until sometime next week, and then the pressure will be on a subset of moderate Republicans and Democrats yet again. That vote will ultimately determine if any additional witnesses will even be considered or if Republicans will be content wrapping up the trial without this testimony.