After 10 days of President Trump’s impeachment trial, the Senate finally voted Friday night not to introduce more witness testimony. This effectively closed the trial and set a timeline to cancel the made-for-TV miniseries “Schumer Schiff Sham Show” on Wednesday.
Predictably, the Democrats are now pivoting their narrative and trying to sell America two Big Lies.
Big Lie 1: “No witnesses, no documents.”
This is a ridiculous spin driven by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
The House heard from 18 witnesses (17 of them public). On its own decision, the Democratic majority in the House decided not to allow GOP witnesses or subpoena witnesses like former National Security Adviser John Bolton and Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who they now claim they “must” hear from.
The Democrats didn’t want to be tied up in the judicial system to allow a court to determine if their subpoenas were valid and could override executive privilege.
It’s theoretically possible Democrats could have prevailed in requiring testimony if they had gone through the proper judicial process, but they were too busy pretending it was a matter of national security to push their impeachment through quickly. That was their choice not to litigate those issues.
It was absolutely not the responsibility of the White House to agree to the House’s witness list just because House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., demanded it and threw a temper tantrum.
Then, once the two articles of impeachment adopted by the House were finally delivered to the Senate after an inexplicable four-week delay, the Senate heard 192 portions of testimony from 13 of the House witnesses over nine days of arguments from counsel for both sides. The Senate also received 28,578 documents from the House.
This is not a complex case and the facts are very simple and uncontested. Many criminal trials far more complex than this case have fewer witnesses and definitely far fewer documents. It’s a lie to claim the Senate has nothing but statements from counsel or “no witnesses and no documents” to consider when rendering its judgment.
Big Lie 2: “An acquittal isn’t exoneration.”
Of course, it is. In every instance, a verdict of acquittal by the authorized arbiter (whether a judge or jury or – in this case – the Senate) means the person charged is not guilty and fully exonerated. The point of process is to render a final judgment on the merits, unless a case is dismissed earlier for a procedural or process issue.
Here, the Senate would have been well within its constitutional authority to simply dismiss the articles of impeachment outright without considering the merit of the charges, because the articles are defective on their face and fail to allege a valid, impeachable offense. The Senate also could have dismissed the articles outright for the myriad problems with the House inquiry.
However, the Senate, as the constitutionally appointed arbiter, chose to receive the record from the House (notably absent testimony the 18th witness – Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson), hear arguments from both sets of counsel, and next week render a verdict on each of the two articles.
For the Democrats to claim that the Senate’s final judgment on the merits of this case is anything less than full exoneration of President Trump undermines the legitimacy of the Senate, and in turn the Constitution. It’s also just patently false.
Article 1, Section 3.6 of the Constitution gives sole power to try all impeachments to the Senate. Like any regular trial where questions of law (including what evidence is admitted) are determined according to the governing process, one side may be frustrated by an adverse ruling. But nevertheless, the trial proceeds to final verdict.
In a regular judicial context, there is an appellate process, which the Constitution does not provide for in cases of impeachment. The Senate’s rulings on questions of law are just as final as its verdict. The Democrats obviously won’t like the outcome of a vote for acquittal of President Trump, but an acquittal is indeed a full exoneration. That’s basic law and is also just.
The Democrats will continue to sell their two Big Lies, but at the end of the trial – when the president will be exonerated – all they will be left with is a failed sham based on lies and debunked presumptions.