Yesterday, Nancy Pelosi finally decided to move forward with the impeachment process after an inexplicable delay. She insisted she was trying to guarantee a “fair trial” for the president in a Senate that’s deeply divided along partisan lines. Of course, as anybody who has been paying even the slightest attention to politics over the last decade and a half knows, guaranteeing a non-partisan impeachment trial in the senate is like trying to sweep up leaves on a windy day.
Now, the Senate proceedings will finally begin on Thursday with what Bloomberg describes as a “show of pageantry” involving the reading of the two articles of impeachment on the Senate floor and SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts swearing in all 100 senators as jurors.
The seven House Democrats selected by Pelosi to argue the impeachment case until next week will present the articles of impeachment to the Senate at noon in Washington. After that, the public likely won’t hear much from the mixed-gender group, who will act as “prosecutors” at President Trump’s senate trial, when it kicks off on Tuesday. Roberts is expected to arrive around 2 pm, when he will begin swearing in senators.
The House team is being led by Intel Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who will read the articles of impeachment on Thursday. But another member of the detail told reporters that the team hasn’t yet started to discuss trial strategy.
“You know what? We haven’t discussed to that level of detail yet,” said Representative Val Demings of Florida.
That’s probably because the Dems’ goal is pretty straightforward.
Of course, successfully impeaching President Trump is essentially out of the question at this point. 67 senators would need to vote against him for the president to become the first American leader to be thrown out of office. Not a single Republican Senator has said they plan to vote against the president, and they have a sizable
Instead, Dems are hoping to air as much of the president’s dirty laundry as possible. To achieve that, they will need at least 4 moderate Republicans to break with their party and vote in favor of hearing new witnesses and new evidence, including possibly subpoenaing White House officials (including Mick Mulvaney and John Bolton) to testify.
The odds of President Trump being impeached are incredibly slim. At this point, Dems would consider it a resounding victory if they can win over a few Republicans to vote for hearing more evidence, allowing Dems to drag out the trial. Since the beginning, President Trump has insisted that he did nothing wrong, and although he has audaciously insisted that he wouldn’t mind a lengthier trial with witnesses, his advisors have clearly convinced the president that it’s in his best interest to keep the Senate trial as short as possible, Reuters reports.
At this point, we’d be willing to bet that millions of Americans have already forgotten that the basis for Trump’s impeachment was his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has publicly denied that Trump tried to strongarm him into investigating Hunter Biden, the son of Trump’s chief political rival, Joe Biden.
As Dems cling to a fantasy of impartiality, Republican Senate No. 2 John Cornyn of Texas made a good point.
Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas said an impeachment trial is a “unique process” that is unlike a regular court proceeding.
“They call us a jury but we’re hardly disinterested,” Cornyn said. “So the analogies we are all trying to make” to judicial trials “have their limitations.”
Ultimately, it will fall to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to prevent Dems from winning over Republican votes to hear from witnesses. If he’s successful, Senators will only consider evidence collected by the House during its investigation of the president.
Bottom line: The Dems don’t need to impeach Trump to “win”.