Friday, November 22, 2019

UPDATED: Trump: Give Me A Full Trial With Affirmative Defense

So we've gone around on this a bit here--should the Senate refuse to dignify a Kangaroo Court impeachment, or should they go for the throat in a full scale trial? In a perfect world any articles of impeachment would be trash canned by the Senate. But this isn't a perfect world. Moreover, for better and/or worse, impeachment is inherently political--given that it is handled by the Legislative Branch.

President Trump has apparently settled the issue, according to the Washington Examiner:

White House counsel Pat Cipollone signaled during a Thursday meeting with key Senate Republicans that Trump has concluded he has more to gain politically from presenting a detailed defense at trial than from no trial at all, said GOP sources familiar with the discussion.

There's more at the link, but that's really the long and the short of it. And who am I to argue with the decision of a guy who has pulled one political rabbit after another out of his hat for the past three years?

UPDATE: Jonathan Turley, law professor and noted impeachment scholar:

TURLEY: I don’t know. Whether this is intentional or not, it seems designed to fail in the Senate. I don’t think you could prove a removable offense of a president on this record even if the Democrats were in control. This thing is too narrow, it is – it doesn’t have a broad foundation, and it’s an undeveloped record. There are a lot of core witnesses that were not called. And the question is why? They said, “We want a vote by December. We want to vote before Santa.” Why? Why – why would you – why would you be pushing this instead of calling these critical witnesses?
TURLEY: They are. And you know, the Senate, the Republicans will be in charge of the rules. I was Adam Schiff’s opposing counsel last time we did this, in the last impeachment. And Adam benefited greatly because the Democrats were the ones who wrote those rules. Now it’s going to be the opposite. Even the Chief Justice in that proceeding does not get the final word. If he makes a ruling on evidence, the majority of the Senate can overturn him. And so the question is, what is this going to look like in the Senate? And I got to tell you, I think this could be the trial that Trump wants. And they will – the first witness they call may be Hunter Biden.


  1. All the more reason, for Nancy to find an excuse, to "run out of time to get to a vote".

  2. I predict the Democrats take no vote for impeachment. They might try to bail out with a censure, but I think they will just quietly let the idea of impeachment die off after the New Year.

  3. I tend to agree with both of you. The polling must be giving Red district Dems the yips. Nothing would be worse for Pelosi than losing the vote.

  4. All members of Congress will be returning home to their districts over the Thanksgiving Day Holiday and every one of them will get a local update on how the politics of the faux impeachment is playing in Peoria. The swing district House members will likely organize as a block of votes and approach Nancy with their concerns. Nancy will not call a vote if her head count reveals that she would lose. Rather, they will pass a weak resolution condemning Trump for his rumored transgressions and then promptly leave DC for the Christmas Holiday. The biggest winners in this outcome will the Senators (both Republican and Democrat) who have lots of skeletons in the closet and can now rest easy that they will not be exposed as collateral damage.

  5. The prior commenters make a lot of sense. To the Dems I say, be care what you wish for. You might get it.

    I don't think Pelosi is stupid enough to risk a vote, but who knows. I think that Trump is a master strategist and that might be why he told Pelosi that she is a third-rate politician. Maybe he's pushed her hard enough that she is determined to hold a vote.

    I'm only speculating. Trump is a master button pusher. If she is smart (assuming my speculation is correct), she won't take the bait.

    I'm sure a lot of red state Dems are anxious. Maybe Schiff and Nadler and the Four Horsemen (AOC, Ilhan....) are pushing Pelosi.

    I don't know. I think that a Senate trial benefits the Donald. Either way, advantage Trump!

    1. Trump was taunting Pelosi today on Fox, calling her "Crazy Nancy" and "the worst Speaker ever." You have to believe he was deliberately goading her. The thing is, if he's goading her and she goes for it--he wins. But if he's goading her and she DOESN'T go for it--he still wins, he pwns her.

    2. To use the threadbare cliche, he lives in her head. Victoria Toensing once opined (considering all the grief he is getting), “I don’t know how he gets up in the morning.” I wonder how Nancy P sleeps at night… She has allowed the creation of one fine mess...

    3. And I suspect it'll only get worse.

  6. Well, as a strategy is distract from whatever Barr/Durham/Horowitz delivers, the House Dems have sure run out of gas. It may be theatre, but it's sure not holding anyone's attention. I'd guess the cable ratings will tell Nancy a story more crucial than any Thanksgiving earful from Rep's constituents.