Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate began yesterday and it started in predictable fashion. Every motion by Democrats to include witness testimony and relevant documents was rejected by the Republican majority. Opening arguments should begin today. Here’s what you need to know.
In this particular impeachment, the opening arguments are really the trial itself, especially if no witnesses are ever called. At the end of multi-day opening arguments, there will be another opportunity for motions, and again the Democrats will move to include witness testimony and relevant documentary evidence. IF the Senate rejects these motions, the “trial” will have consisted almost entirely of the opening arguments, and the Senate will hear closing arguments, then take a vote on whether to remove Trump from office. If some Republican Senators break from the majority and vote to hear witnesses, then the trial will begin to resemble an actual trial, but Republicans will still have final say on which witnesses actually get called. It could be Ambassador Bolton, but it could instead be Hunter Biden.
The lawyers conducting the impeachment trial really aren’t making their case to the Senate. They are making their case to the American people. And because the Senate will likely not vote to remove Trump from office, it’s the voters that will have the final say in November. And if there is any good news, it is this: House Impeachment Manager Adam Schiff wiped the Senate floor yesterday with Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow. Schiff was clearly in a different league and all Sekulow had were insults, complaints and distractions. Schiff and his team came prepared while the Republicans were still using their playbook from the House proceeding–but getting angry and resentful and indignant in the quiet solemnity of the Senate chamber comes off even more desperate and impotent and ineffectual than it did in the House. Anyone paying attention to the proceedings will see pretty quickly that the Democrats came with a plan, with evidence, with details, and Republicans came only with Trump’s patented wail of “so unfair,” rarely addressing or attempting to rebut the facts of the case.
Trump, meanwhile, was making an ass out of himself in Davos where he was chasing his lifelong dream of hobnobbing with real billionaires. Unfortunately for Trump, the elite at Davos don’t have much use for him. Robert Habeck, the joint leader of Germany’s Green Party said of Trump’s stumbling, bumbling speech at World Economic Forum: “Only self-praise, ignorance, disregard for everyone, no perception of global problems. It was the worst speech I’ve ever heard in my life.” There are plenty of legitimate criticisms of Davos and the people who attend, but most of the participants are vastly more intelligent than Trump, and most of them are far more capable and accomplished than Trump will ever be. He yearns for their acceptance but will never get it so instead resorts to picking on Greta Thunberg by calling her “very angry,” which is rich coming from the most aggrieved victim in the history of American politics. “Witch hunt. So unfair, so unfair!”
Oh, and of course Trump threatened Europe with new tariffs while in Davos. How else could he shift attention away from the ridicule of his buffoonish, second-rate speech while staying in the spotlight?
The Senate isn’t going to save us from the Trump infection. It will be up to us, our families, our friends and our neighbors this November. Keep resisting and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”