Thursday, October 24, 2019

UPDATED: Is McConnell Falling Into Line?

The Hill is reporting that Mitch McConnell has come out in support of Lindsey Graham's resolution condemning the ongoing Impeachment Theater. The Graham resolution, according to Salon, claims that Impeachment Theater is "unconstitutional" as regards actual impeachment. More interestingly, he suggested, as I have, that if the House should now forward an impeachment article to the Senate the Senate should dismiss it without a trial:

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., claimed that any impeachment article against President Donald Trump should be “dismissed in the Senate without a trial." 
Graham, who recently criticized Trump for abandoning America’s Kurdish allies in Syria, appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show Tuesday to defend the president against the ongoing impeachment inquiry. (Hannity is known as an informal adviser to the president.) 
"What the House of Representatives is doing is a process of political revenge. It is alien to American due process,” Graham said. "It should be dismissed quickly in the United States Senate." 
Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the probe was “unconstitutional” and “illegitimate,” because Republicans have allegedly [!] been prevented from calling witnesses. Graham said he would introduce a resolution condemning the impeachment inquiry, which will state that any impeachment articles should be dismissed “without a trial.”
“We cannot allow future presidents and this president to be impeached based on an inquiry in the House that has never been voted upon, that does not allow the president to confront the witnesses against him, call witnesses on his behalf and cross-examine people that are accusing him of misdeeds,” Graham said.

Obviously, the resolution won't get the needed 60 votes, but it's still of interest in putting GOPers on record in a significant way. One theory would welcome a Senate trial as an opportunity to garner greater public attention for a wide ranging inquiry into the entire plot against Trump--starting with the Russia Hoax. The other view is that as a constitutional matter these House Dem shenanigans shouldn't be dignified by a Senate trial. That would be a public rebuke that could have political impact.

On the one hand, nothing in the Constitution says how the House should conduct impeachment inquiries--although a vote would appear to be necessary, open or closed hearings, presence of counsel for the president, opportunity to examine witnesses, all those appear to be somewhat unsettled. There is, however, the precedent of past impeachment inquiries. While precedent may not be binding, it does show that the sentiment of the people's House has always been that, even though an impeachment inquiry isn't a trial, it should be conducted with a high degree of seriousness and fairness, as befits such a grave proceeding.

On the other hand, nothing in the Constitution requires the Senate to accept the article(s) of a tyrannical House that ignores American standards of due process and basic fairness. The House inquiry, after all, is supposed to be about arriving at probable truth. Can the House compel the Senate? If the procedures followed ignore the standards that Americans have always recognized as integral to such a truth finding process, would it not be the duty of the Senate to rebuke the House and reject its articles as "illegitimate", simply to safeguard our constitutional order?

In any event, McConnell's support for the Graham resolution is interesting for two reasons.

First, in the past McConnell has claimed that the Senate would be required to hold such a trial. His latest statement, support Graham's resolution, suggests that he has reconsidered that position. He has been on record as previously stating that the House Impeachment Theater strikes at the heart of our constitutional order. Per The Hill:

"Overturning the results of an American election requires the highest level of fairness and due process, as it strikes at the core of our democratic process," McConnell wrote in a tweet earlier this month.
"So far, the House has fallen far short by failing to follow the same basic procedures that it has followed for every other President in our history," he added. 

At that time McConnell still offered no remedy for the House's travesty of an inquiry, but Graham's resolution allows him now to do so. Even if it isn't binding on his future actions.

Secondly, McConnell's support for Graham's resolution comes very shortly after concerted attacks on the Senate for its obvious failures to conduct its own serious investigations into the Russia Hoax--attacks that have targeted Graham very specifically. McConnell's support also follows statements by Trump which I characterized as indicating Trump's willingness to "go to war" with the GOPe over the way they've been behaving with regard to both his foreign policy and the House's Impeachment Theater.

Has McConnell reconsidered following Trump's warning shots? It would behoove him to do so.


Huh! That sounds like a plan--over to you Mitch!


  1. I am of several minds in this regard. Part of me suspects that the Senate leadership really is worried that an actual trial might well embarrass some present Senate Republicans (not to mention some present Democrats). It would be nigh impossible to deny Trump and his attorneys subpoenae for any witnesses they choose to call and question under oath in public, including Senators and Representatives. The Russian Hoax had some bipartisan fingerprints all over it, and bringing up this hoax would be part of a proper defense to the 360 turn you mentioned in the previous blog post. So, in this regard, I would want to see the trial conducted- it might well be the only opportunity to ever see these miscreants under oath and testifying in the open that we will ever get.

    Of course, a quick bitch slap to the House for conducting this Star Chamber impeachment would also serve a good purpose.

    1. I agree, and I think Trump understands all this. Why the DC gang keeps trying to play him for sort of chump or naif is beyond me.

  2. My view would be that for McConnell to reconsider, he would have to have previously committed in one direction. I don't think he did. Hair-splitting, perhaps.

    Largely, these are all moment-to-moment reactions to reactions.

    Dismissed by a vote to summary judgment is a good sign, though. I await media-mavens' explanation how this is somehow wrong...

    1. I agree. How a summary judgment would work, I'm not sure. The CJ presides at an impeachment trial and the senators are, in effect, the jury. Trump's lawyers could move for dismissal and the CJ could do it--or could he? To do so he'd have to rule on what constitutes grounds for impeachment. Could his ruling, if he did that, be appealed to the full SCOTUS. I would imagine the answer would have to be yes.

      More likely, the Senate, upon receipt of the article(s), and before the trial is called, would take a vote. Again, what would that be? A resolution? That would require 60 votes. Would some Dems favor that? Hard to say, although probably they wouldn't want to be on the record. On what basis could a simple majority vote be taken? I'm no parliamentarian, but if it were possible McConnell for sure would know.

  3. I want to like the idea of the Senate simply dismissing (by analogy to a summary judgment) any impeachment charges arising from a flawed procedure.

    I would like to think that even GOPe Senators would recognize the danger of considering impeachment based on a flawed House procedure. But maybe not...

    Would that dismissal require 51, or 60, or merely 34 votes in the Senate?

    If its 34 (as would be the case if the Senate conducted a full trial and acquitted) how would it look if Trump only got...let's say, 35 votes...

    I suspect a good case could be made for going through with the trial if the result were likely to be a majority for acquittal...more like an 'exoneration' than a technical 'acquittal'...

    1. It's all a can of worms at this point.

    2. Of course, you're right.

      Which leads me to remind myself of my belief that -- unless the House can come up with articles based on a fair process that the American public will buy as reasonably meeting the standard of "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors" -- there will never be a vote in the House.


      Because Trump is too popular (as of today), the economy is doing too well (as of today), and there are far too many vulnerable Dems in House districts which Trump won (and that win was based on hyperbolic promises not track record). You have to believe that as much as Pelosi wants to impeach Trump she wants even more to avoid losing the House in a Trump victory in 2020.

      Of course Trump had the advantage of running against the despised-by-many Mrs Clinton, but the Dems will be hard put to find a less vulnerable candidate based on today's roster.

    3. There was an article at Axios saying that the media dynamics that helped Trump in 2016 are even more in his favor heading toward 2020, and that Dems are scared witless over this.

  4. Could Pelosi abandon impeachment effort? Legal analyst predicts she may

    He predicted that Democrats will eventually abandon their impeachment push.

    "I think they're going to come out and [say]... 'We do not want to put the American public through this type of debacle. However, of course, it's fully warranted,'" Burns said.

  5. This is a huge can of worms for Pelosi and McConnell. Neither can allow an impeachment to go to trial in the Senate under any circumstances. Trump's legal team has already informed them that they will call current House and Senate members to testify under oath as part of the president's defense. These politicians must then either tell the truth or take the 5th, either of which is political suicide. None can lie outright because Durham is still conducting an investigation and perjury would be in play.

    So the essential dilemma is . . . how do they continue the bluff against Trump (who is clearly immune), appease their base and the blackmailers in the Deep State, and avoid a trial in the Senate? One of the Deep State covert false flag OPs was to try to instigate a small war in the ME, but Trump has preempted that. They can't seem to tank the economy, but they are not cowed. Black Swan here we come.

  6. Impeachment is entirely political. That means that there are no "rules" and each house may run their business as they see fit. That being said each must calculate the political cost of their desired outcome.
    The Dem's in the House want theatre and, if possible, impeachment, before Nov 2020. They have to decide if their shills in the media can flim-flam the American public enough to accept a process that is entirely contrary to traditional concepts of fair play and honest inquiry.
    The Rpblcn's want to not kill the golden goose that association with Trump gives them access to (I won't ascribe to them a desire to "dance with who brung'em" because I can't vouch for that level of integrity on their part).
    It would seem to me that one way to play this is to egg the Dem's into sending up a bill of impeachment. Let the appropriate committee inspect it, then pass a resolution of inadequacy, both procedural and evidentiary (hearsay being inadmissible as evidence on its face), by a simple majority, and send the whole hot mess back to the House to correct the specified discrepancies. No responsible District Attorney should go to trial with incomplete paper work or sloppy investigative procedures from law enforcement.
    Nothing has been decided, no trial denied; but the dead bird has been hung back around the Pelosi's neck and the longer it hangs there the worse it smells.
    And, if Mitch wants to go full "12 O'clock High" on them, he can run this drill each time they send it up until every i is dotted, t crossed, and witness interviewed in public. That should take at least a year to 18 months.
    I think at this stage time is a greater enemy of the Dem's than the Rpblcn's because the public is beginning to wakeup to how much water the media is carrying for the Dem's. The House Dem's wanted Impeachment Theater and I think they should be made to play their parts daily, with a matinee on Saturdays, until they are forced to bring down the curtain themselves by popular demand.
    Just a thought.
    Tom S.

    1. If there are no rules, then each and every opposite political president will be impeached no matter what.

      Words do mean things.

      High crimes and misdemeanors does not mean political differences.

      The House means the House with vote and not a secret vote or inquiry by one political party.

      The Senate, as defined in the Constitution and as argued for in rhe Federalist Papers, is an actial trial with the President having every protection in criminal cases afforded by the Constitution and court precedent.

      So, no, there are rules, otherwise we are not what our Founders intended.

  7. Mark Levin advocates the nuclear option.

    When the impeachment bill comes to the Senate, McConnell calls for a majority (not 2/3) vote to change the rules.

    The change of the rules enables the Senate to kill the House's impeachment bill one way or another. For example, the Senate simply tables the House's impeachment bill.

    1. With respect to Levin, rather than simple tabling I would greatly prefer a direct critique of the House's illegitimate actions. Rejection on that basis. Of course, that could be done in combination with tabling as a procedural move. As a reason for tabling.

  8. I think the best strategy is to conduct the Senate trial in very slow motion.

    Schedule the Senate vote for October 30, 2020.

    In the meantime, turn the trial into a national seminar on the Deep State's sedition against the elected President.

    1. LOL! I think we've all seen by now that there's plenty enough material to keep it going almost indefinitely. Turn it into a real Swamp Draining exercise. I mean, just today we're learning about Hunter Biden Romania!

    2. Schedule the Senate vote for October 30, 2020.

      Reschedule that Senate vote to November 3, 2020.

  9. McConnell and Graham, if they stand in his way, are not going to win against Donald Trump. It's just not going to happen.

    1. I'd really like to know what's up behind closed doors with GOPe senators.

    2. "I'd really like to know what's up behind closed doors with GOPe senators."

      Hand holding, divination, excessive consumption of alcohol are my guesses.

    3. If Schifty is so confident in his secret talks, why did he run out of the meeting like a little girl when the Republican reps stormed into the meeting? All of a sudden, the Dems who could care less that Clinton had a home brew server in her basement care about tweeting from a SCIF.

      Trump is teaching any Rep who cares to be a man how to fight.