Setting a dangerous precedent
A plurality of Americans polled on the eve of the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump support convicting and removing him from office for soliciting help from a foreign power to smear and discredit Joe Biden Jr. in order to help Trump win re-election in 2020.
One would assume that support for convicting him would climb much higher if the proceedings included the sworn testimony of witnesses so that the evidence against him was heard by Americans.
However, as Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell and other Republicans have bragged publicly, they have no interest in a full and impartial trial with sworn witnesses and evidence made available for the public to see and hear. They have already decided in advance to acquit Donald Trump of all charges, regardless of the evidence of his guilt or innocence. This kind of charade is often referred to as a sham or a whitewash job.
Further, they have set up the rules for the trial and its’ schedule so that most Americans will never hear the evidence against him, even if it happens to come out.
Arguments from House Democrats in their Constitutional role as “managers” of the case against Mr. Trump are currently scheduled to be made during the middle of the night, when almost no one in America will be watching or listening.
History records many instances of despots and tyrants holding mock trials under the cover of darkness. One thinks of Jesus before the Sanhedrin, Pontius Pilate, and the High Priest, Caiaphas.
This is within the Senate Majority Leader’s Constitutional power to arrange.
But, is it just? And further, is it good for our nation, going forward?
It seems to me that Republicans are setting a dangerous precedent where future presidents may break the law, bury the evidence, bully and intimidate witnesses, stonewall Congress and get away with everything.
A little Constitutional study demonstrates that the Framers placed Impeachment in the Constitution specifically to protect us from such abuses of power by elected or appointed officials — not limited only to the President.
Three years of lies, racism, misogyny, discord, division, secret meetings with our enemies, and children in cages have in no way convinced me that Donald Trump is worth squandering our democracy to protect.
Unfortunately, that is the course that Senate Republicans under Mitch McConnell’s leadership have chosen to follow in this mockery of a full and fair trial.