By the time the Senate voted Wednesday on impeachment, the outcome was a foregone conclusion. The two articles of impeachment which the House passed against him on December 18 alleged actions by Trump which did not constitute any recognized crime, high or low, as required by the Constitution. They articles were also criticized by experts as poorly defined and legally dubious. The case that Trump’s Democrat accusers had built to support the articles of impeachment also lacked sufficient direct evidence to prove that Trump’s motives were as corrupt as they had claimed.
The key Senate vote which mandated a quick end to the trial took place on Friday, when Majority Leader Mitch McConnell succeeded in convincing all 51 Senate Republicans to hold the line against a Democrat measure that would have permitted the introduction of new witness testimony and additional documentary evidence into the trial. McConnell delivered a narrow 51-49 majority to defeat the hotly debated resolution that ended Democrat hopes of calling new witnesses such as former Trump national security advisor John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney.
Their testimonies, which Democrats had decided to bypass in House impeachment hearings which were under their control, might have damaged Trump in the eyes of voters watching live broadcasts of the trial, but would not have changed the final outcome of the impeachment trial, which was never in doubt.
Acknowledging that they didn’t have anywhere near the number of Senate votes to convict Trump, Democrats agreed to suspend the impeachment show, allowing their senators running in the Iowa caucuses to get in a weekend of campaigning before calling them back to Washington to end the trial with the inevitable vote that would acquit Trump, allowing him to remain in office.
A VICTORY FOR MCCONNELL
The vote to block new witness testimony was a tribute to McConnell’s rare political skills. He had warned both publicly and privately that agreeing to witnesses would lead to “mutually assured destruction,” because both sides would call controversial witnesses whose testimony would likely embarrass the other side, starting with Bolton for the Democrats and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter for the Republicans.
The fight reached a fever pitch after the New York Times reported that in an advance copy of his unpublished book, Bolton claimed to have firsthand knowledge that Trump had conditioned release of US military aid for Ukraine on that country’s willingness to launch a corruption investigation into the Bidens.
In the face of the furor created by the story, McConnell remained steadfast and persuaded his fellow Republican senators to not allow themselves to give in to Democrat demands for witnesses. He reminded them that, “never in Senate history has this body paused an impeachment trial to pursue additional witnesses with unresolved questions of executive privilege that would require protracted litigation. We have no interest in establishing such a new precedent, particularly for individuals whom the House expressly chose not to pursue.”
Trump had also said that if the Senate subpoenaed Bolton to testify, he would invoke executive privilege to prevent it, arguing that Bolton was likely to reveal sensitive national security information. The protracted legal battle which would ensue could have delayed the completion of the impeachment trial indefinitely.
Pat Philbin, a member of Trump’s legal team, warned during opening arguments in Trump’s defense that the president had a “long list” of witnesses of his own to call if the Senate agreed to hear Bolton’s testimony.
“I think people are just now beginning to understand that … it’s not just one witness and it could entail months of delay,” Republican Senator John Cornyn observed.
Soon after it became clear that McConnell would succeed in blocking new witness testimony, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer predicted, “If my Republican colleagues refuse to even consider witnesses and documents in this trial, this country is headed towards the greatest cover-up since Watergate. . . What will the president conclude? We all know: he’ll conclude he can do it again, and Congress can do nothing about it. He can try to cheat in his election again, something that eats at the roots of our democracy.”
DOOMED FROM THE START
The Democrat effort to oust Trump from the White House through impeachment over his controversial July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky, had been doomed from the beginning. Under intense internal party pressure, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi launched the impeachment process on September 24 based on media reports about the call, without the “smoking gun” evidence necessary to convince a sufficient number of Senate Republicans that it justified Trump’s removal from office, as happened to Richard Nixon in 1974 over his involvement in the White House coverup of the Watergate scandal.
The political odds against the Republican-controlled Senate removing a Republican president were always extremely long, which is why Pelosi had resisted the calls to launch the impeachment process on any pretext after Democrats won control of the House in 2018.
But after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report exposed the Russian-election collusion theory as the hoax Trump always said it was, frustrated Democrats realized they were about to enter the 2020 presidential election campaign without a leading candidate likely to defeat Trump’s bid for a second term. Party leaders became desperate to latch onto any reasonable excuse to impeach Trump, if only to satisfy the growing demands from their base of progressive activists, led by freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez from New York, who had already begun to challenge Pelosi’s party leadership.
Democrat hopes that their impeachment initiative would succeed began to fade the next day, September 25, when President Trump surprisingly declassified and released the rough White House transcript of his crucial July conversation with the president of Ukraine. It fell far short of the media-promoted complaint originated by the now notorious whistle-blower that Trump had pressured Zelensky to launch a corruption investigation, solely for his personal political benefit, into his most likely 2020 opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, by holding hostage $391 million of military aid that Congress had approved for Ukraine, as well as Zelensky’s request for an Oval Office meeting.
TOO LATE TO TURN BACK
But by that point, Pelosi had publicly committed herself to leading the impeachment effort, and it was too late for her to put that political genie back into the bottle. Pelosi was also under pressure from two powerful House committee chairmen, Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler, who had been pushing for Trump’s removal from the day he entered the White House.
Nadler has been a political enemy of Trump since his days as a New York State Assemblyman in the 1980s, fighting Trump-sponsored real estate projects on the West Side of Manhattan. The day after the Democrats won the 2018 midterm election, Nadler was overheard talking on his cell phone aboard a New York-to-Washington train about the impeachment hearings he was planning in the Judiciary committee he expected to chair.
First as ranking member, and then as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Schiff had been claiming since 2017 that he had seen convincing evidence that Trump was guilty of colluding with the Russians to interfere in the 2016 election, but he never revealed that evidence to the public.
When news of the complaint over the Trump-Zelensky conversation exploded in the media in September, Schiff denied he had any prior knowledge of it, but was later forced to admit that the whistle-blower had contacted a member of his committee staff in early August. Many Republicans believe that Schiff’s staff coached the whistle-blower in drafting the complaint – based entirely on second and third-hand information – that he submitted to the inspector general of the intelligence community, which led to the impeachment process.
GLARING WEAKNESSES IN THE IMPEACHMENT CASE
The transcript of the July 25 conversation made it obvious that the Democrats’ case for impeaching Trump suffered from a number of glaring weaknesses. First, Trump had committed no crime. The transcript revealed no evidence of bribery in the form of an alleged quid pro quo exchange of aid for Ukraine or a White House meeting for its president, in exchange for a Ukrainian investigation of the Bidens.
In fact, Trump delivered the delayed aid to Ukraine by the end of the 2019 fiscal year, as required by law, without Ukraine ever launching the investigation Trump had requested. In September, Zelensky also got the face-to-face meeting he had requested from Trump at the UN, where he publicly denied that he felt any pressure from Trump during their July conversation. In fact, Zelensky didn’t even know that Trump had delayed the delivery of the military aid to Ukraine at the time, since it was not mentioned during the phone call. Testimony from several witnesses confirms that Ukrainian officials did not learn about the delay until more than a month later when it was first reported by Politico.
Another problem with the Democrats’ impeachment case was that it depended on the concept that there was no legitimate justification for Trump to request an investigation into the Bidens. In fact, the hiring of Hunter Biden by Burisma Holdings, a notoriously corrupt Ukrainian energy company, as a highly paid board member, while his father, the vice president, was in charge of US policy towards Ukraine, was a blatant conflict of interest, and became a cause of concern for officials in the Obama State Department. The fact that Biden later ordered the Ukrainian government to fire the prosecutor who was investigating Burisma, on pain of losing a $1 billion US loan guarantee, only compounded the appearance of a conflict of interest that seemed to justify Trump’s request for an investigation from Zelensky.
The topic is so sensitive to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign that its press office has demanded that any media mention of suspected wrongdoing by the Bidens in Ukraine be accompanied by a disclaimer that there is no evidence to support those allegations, and that they have been thoroughly investigated and disproven.
HIDING THE WHISTLE-BLOWER
Democrats have also gone to great lengths to suppress any mainstream media mention of the name of the whistle-blower, who filed the original complaint about the Trump-Zelensky phone call. Contrary to Democrat claims, publicly identifying him would not break federal law or expose the whistle-blower to any kind of physical danger or retaliation on the job, but it would reveal his deep political bias and motivations for seeking to remove Trump from office.
According to Rush Limbaugh and other conservative sources unwilling to go along with the extraordinary self-imposed censorship in the mainstream media, the whistle-blower’s name is Eric Ciaramella. He is a registered Democrat who worked in the Obama White House, and was held over as a low-ranking member of the National Security Council when Trump took over. Ciarmella had previously worked with then-Vice President Joe Biden and former CIA Director John Brennan, and went back to his old job at the CIA after leaving the Trump White House, well before the July phone call.
Apparently, Ciamarella’s sources of information about the phone call were his current and former contacts at the CIA and inside the Trump White House. Schiff and the Democrats were desperate to avoid calling him as an impeachment witness because he would then be forced to answer Republican questions about how he was coached by Schiff’s staff in preparing his complaint, as well as the names of his sources who are still working in the Trump White House. His testimony would also have revealed to the public the deeply partisan motivations and duplicity with which the impeachment complaint was manufactured.
DEMOCRATS NEVER HAD DIRECT EVIDENCE OF TRUMP’S INTENTIONS
Democrats were never able to overcome the main problem with the whistle-blower’s complaint: the lack of any direct evidence to corroborate his claim that Trump’s Ukraine policies were corruptly motivated. None of the witnesses who eventually came forward in response to Congressional subpoenas were able to testify that they had personally heard Trump admit that the reason he asked Zelensky to investigate the Bidens was to help him win a second term as president in this November’s election.
Most had never directly spoken to Trump or heard him talk about his Ukraine policy. The only witness who did, US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, said that Trump had vigorously denied that he asked Zelensky for a quid pro quo. After changing his testimony several times, Sondland admitted that he had only surmised on his own that Trump had shaped his Ukraine policies for personal political reasons.
The mistake that ultimately proved fatal to the impeachment effort was Democrats’ perceived need to rush the House into voting articles of impeachment without taking the time to the gather sufficient evidence to support them. Democrats were keenly aware that the presidential primary campaign would begin in earnest when voters started selecting convention delegates, beginning with the Iowa caucuses on February 3. Democrats did not want Biden’s name to still be tossing around in the media coverage of the impeachment trial while voters were making their choice among preferred Democrat presidential candidates.
IMPEACHMENT WAS DRIVEN BY A POLITICAL DEADLINE
Since a Senate impeachment trial was expected to take at least a month, working backward on the calendar from the date of the Iowa caucuses, Pelosi and House Democrats set a political deadline for themselves of passing the articles of impeachment against Trump before the end-of-year Congressional adjournment.
The political calculation behind that decision was straightforward. Given the Republican control of the Senate, conviction of Trump by a 2/3 majority in the impeachment trial remained highly unlikely. Therefore, the only real political benefit from impeaching Trump was damaging his chances of winning a second term in the November election. But if the most likely Democrat to run against him was Joe Biden, Democrats could not take the chance of inadvertently damaging his chances for defeating Trump by keeping his conflict of interest problem in Ukraine in the spotlight of impeachment media coverage.
Democrats also did not want to have to answer embarrassing questions about why Trump’s removal from office via impeachment was still necessary at a time when the American people were already engaged in the process of deciding whether to grant him a second term or turn him out of office the traditional way, via the ballot box in November.
The only answer that Adam Schiff could offer during the impeachment hearings which he chaired was to raise the fear that any delay in Trump’s removal would enable Trump to “steal” a second presidential election, thereby revealing that Schiff still does not accept the conclusion of the Mueller report which failed to find any evidence that Trump or his campaign conspired with the Russians against Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Schiff claimed Trump’s request to Zelensky that he investigate the Bidens meant that Trump was already inviting another foreign country to interfere in the 2020 presidential election, and that any delay in his removal from office threatened to taint the outcome of that vote. Instead of methodically compiling the evidence before formulating the articles of impeachment against Trump, Democrats declared that they were in a race against time to complete the House investigation and launch the impeachment process before Trump could spoil the 2020 election.
TRYING TO STEAL TWO ELECTIONS AT THE SAME TIME
Trump’s legal defense team pointed to that argument as proof that the Democrats were trying to steal two presidential elections instead of just one, by overturning the voters’ choice in 2016 and preventing Trump’s name from appearing on the ballot this November.
Democrats had made a pragmatic political choice, opting for speed rather than exhausting the investigative process to compile the evidence necessary to craft an airtight impeachment case, which would force Senate Republicans to recognize Trump’s guilt and vote to convict him.
According to prominent legal experts, House Democrats were in such a hurry to pass articles of impeachment before the end of December that they failed to gather enough evidence to support charges which met the minimum constitutional requirements for impeaching a president. Initially, Democrats seemed confident that they could find evidence proving that Trump had offered President Zelensky a corrupt quid pro quo exchange, supporting the charge of bribery which is one of the “high crimes and misdemeanors” cited by the Constitution as justifying impeachment.
But because of their rush to pass the articles before the end of December, Democrats were unable to produce any direct, eyewitness testimony showing that Trump explicitly made the release of delayed military aid to Ukraine dependent on Zelensky’s agreement to investigate Joe Biden to help Trump win re-election. Democrats were forced to scale back the core accusation in the first article of impeachment to the much more nebulous concept of “abuse of power.” Their case was based on a logical argument, rather than hard proof, that Trump was using US foreign aid to demand an investigation of the Bidens for his own political benefit.
Pelosi was painfully aware of the lack of proof to back up the abuse of power accusation in the first article of impeachment. Because the case against Trump was so weak, Pelosi made a second crucial mistake which undermined the legal credibility of the second article of impeachment that accused Trump of obstructing Congress.
LEGALLY FLAWED SUBPOENAS
When she announced on September 24 that House Democrats would go forward with an impeachment investigation into Trump, she failed to follow the usual procedure, which calls for a vote by the entire House to give the inquiry the added constitutional authority of a formal impeachment investigation. This was a deliberate choice by Pelosi to help preserve her Democrat majority in the House by sparing members of her caucus from congressional districts which Trump carried in 2016 the need to cast a formal vote calling for the president’s impeachment, which they would have to defend this November when they stand for re-election.
Once again, Pelosi choose partisan political advantage rather than following proper procedures, enabling White House lawyers to argue that executive privilege invalidated the subpoenas she had issued to senior White House staff for their testimony and documents, because they lacked the legal force they would have acquired from a formal House impeachment vote. Pelosi could have challenged that claim by asking the federal courts to uphold her subpoenas, but that would have imposed a delay of several weeks, if not months, putting her tight impeachment schedule in jeopardy.
Instead, Pelosi decided to go forward and complete the House hearings without waiting for the witnesses and documents which might have significantly strengthened the case against Trump. Democrats could not accuse Trump of the real crime of obstruction of justice simply because they had chosen not to go to court to challenge his claim of executive privilege. Instead, the second article of impeachment accuses Trump of the non-crime of contempt of Congress for doing the same thing that previous presidents routinely did: taking Congress to court to justify their withholding of subpoenaed documents or testimony they did not want to turn over.
DENYING TRUMP DUE PROCESS OF LAW
Pelosi also set up the procedures for the House hearings that gave Schiff and Nadler complete control. That enabled them to deny Republican committee members and White House lawyers the ability to mount an effective defense of the president, or to call the witnesses they wanted to testify on Trump’s behalf. Using the unique security provisions of Schiff’s intelligence committee, witnesses testified behind closed doors, enabling Schiff and his staff to selectively leak snippets of testimony most damaging to Trump to the media, while severely restricting Republican access to the evidence the committee collected.
The Pelosi procedures were a drastic departure from those employed during the Clinton impeachment, when Democrats were given the opportunity to mount a vigorous defense of their president. The one-sided Pelosi enabled Republicans to make a persuasive case to the public that Trump was being treated unfairly by denying him due process and that the highly partisan nature of this impeachment process undermined its legitimacy.
Pelosi and House Democrats did meet their self-imposed deadline, getting the House to pass the two articles of impeachment against Trump on a largely party line vote on December 18. But the legally questionable nature of their accusations, and the lack of direct evidence proving Trump’s guilt, prompted Pelosi to depart from standard procedure once again. She was afraid that McConnell would manipulate the Senate trial rules to enable the Republican majority to reject the impeachment case presented by the House as insufficiently proven, and give Trump the quick exoneration he was seeking.
PELOSI TRIED TO HAVE IT BOTH WAYS
Instead of promptly transmitting the House articles of impeachment to the Senate to initiate the trial immediately, Pelosi decided to sit on the articles of impeachment for more than a month, in an effort to pressure McConnell into agreeing to allow Senate Democrats to further strengthen the impeachment case by calling the witnesses that House Democrats had bypassed in order to meet their deadline.
In the process, Pelosi undermined the argument that House Democrats had used to justify their rush to pass articles of impeachment in the first place. If Democrats really do believe that Trump’s continued presidency does represent an immediate danger to national security, why did Pelosi delay the impeachment process for a month? The answer is painfully obvious. Pelosi has always understood that the Senate, as currently constituted, would never vote to remove Trump from office. The real reason House Democrats rushed their impeachment process was to protect Joe Biden and wind up the Senate trial before the presidential primary voting began. It had nothing to do with the imaginary “threat” Democrats claim Trump poses to the integrity of the 2020 election.
Ultimately, the trial was all about the outcome of the 2020 election, and not just at the top of the ballot. In the House, it was about the fate of the vulnerable freshman Democrats from Trump-leaning districts whom Pelosi was trying to protect by shielding them from the necessity to cast a potentially unpopular vote in favor of Trump’s impeachment. Several Senate Republicans were also leery about voting against the Democrat request to permit John Bolton and other Trump administration officials to add their testimony to the trial record. But in the end, only Mitt Romney and Susan Collins broke ranks with McConnell and voted with the Democrat minority.
Romney’s early call to hear new witnesses to testify against Trump during the Senate trial came as no surprise. The simmering hostility between the two men goes back to the 2016 Republican primary campaign when Romney, as head of the GOP’s Never-Trump faction, launched stinging personal attacks on Trump’s character.
Susan Collins’ vote to hear more witnesses was always a possibility, given the fact that she cast a similar vote during the Clinton impeachment trial 20 years ago. Collins is also facing a difficult fight in November to retain her Maine Senate seat, but nobody who remembers her controversial vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh can doubt her political courage.
MCCONNELL KEPT SENATORS ALEXANDER AND MURKOWSKI IN LINE
Mitch McConnell was successful in maintaining his slim 51-vote majority of Republican senators in voting down the request for more witnesses by convincing Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander that while Trump’s request from the president of Ukraine may have been inappropriate, it was not serious enough to warrant his removal from office before the November election.
Alexander’s decision was not tainted by personal political considerations, because he has announced that he will not be running for re-election to his Senate seat. But he also knew that his crucial vote on the witness issue would help to define the legacy of his long and distinguished political career.
Alexander’s announcement of his vote last Thursday night was the first indication that McConnell would succeed in holding his Republican majority against witnesses.
Alexander said in his statement: “It was inappropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political opponent and to withhold United States aid to encourage that investigation. But the Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate.”
Alexander conceded that Democrat House managers had already proved their case to his satisfaction without new witnesses, but “they do not meet the Constitution’s ‘treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors’ standard for an impeachable offense.”
A Wall Street Journal editorial called his “wise judgement. . . Lamar Alexander’s finest hour.” His fellow Republican senator from Nebraska, Ben Sasse, said that “Lamar speaks for lots and lots of us.”
WARREN’S QUESTION WENT TOO FAR
Senator Murkowski said her vote on the witness issue was influenced by a controversial question presented to presiding Chief Justice John Roberts written by Senator Elizabeth Warren, accusing Republican senators of undermining the legitimacy of the trial.
“At a time when large majorities of Americans have lost faith in government, does the fact that the chief justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution?” the question read, prompting Roberts to shoot a visibly irritated look in Warren’s direction.
Murkowski said in her Friday statement announcing that she would vote against hearing new witnesses, “It has also become clear some of my colleagues [apparently meaning Warren] intend to further politicize this process, and drag the Supreme Court into the fray, while attacking the chief justice. I will not stand for, nor support, that effort,” Murkowski declared. “We have already degraded this institution for partisan political benefit, and I will not enable those who wish to pull down another. We are sadly at a low point of division in this country.
“Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate. I don’t believe the continuation of this process will change anything. It is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed,” Murkowski concluded.
Murkowski’s decisive vote against hearing new witnesses also spared Justice Roberts the need to decide whether to intervene to break a 50-50 tie, as the vice president would, when presiding over a normal Senate session. Ever since he handed down a controversial 2012 Supreme Court ruling finding Obamacare to be constitutional, Chief Justice Roberts has studiously sought to steer clear of such bitterly partisan disputes.
Even though Roberts did not have to decide the witness issue, Speaker Pelosi could not resist tweeting that, “it is a sad day for America to see Senator McConnell humiliate the Chief Justice of the United States into presiding over a vote which rejected our nation’s judicial norms, precedents and institutions which uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.”
WHY TURLEY AND DERSHOWITZ CAME TO TRUMP’S DEFENSE
Pelosi and Senate Democrats also left themselves open to accusations of hypocrisy by claiming the right to call their own witnesses that Democrats had denied to Republicans during the House impeachment hearings. In general, the shifting logic used to justify the impeachment process has revealed the fact that many Democrats don’t really care what reason is being used to justify Trump’s removal from the presidency – they just wanted him gone, starting from the morning after the 2016 election.
This inconsistency deeply disturbed legal scholars Jonathan Turley of George Washington University and Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz. Even though they both say they are philosophically opposed to Trump’s policies, they were even more appalled by the extreme tactics being used by Democrats to remove him from office, which they argue pose a real threat to undermine the institution of the presidency, American democratic values and the rule of law.
Dershowitz became one of the most controversial figures in the impeachment debate. A longtime ideological liberal, with a strong record for support of Israel, Dershowitz enjoyed a close personal relationship with President Barack Obama, and voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. He also prided himself on his long record of defending highly controversial criminal clients. While he objects, on political grounds, to Trump’s policies, he spoke out strongly in his defense, on constitutional grounds, against allegations that Trump could be impeached for obstruction of justice for firing FBI Director James Comey.
He wrote a book published in 2018 entitled The Case Against Impeaching Trump, which turned him into a persona non grata in the two years since then in liberal circles and media.
Dershowitz became a lightning rod for liberal critics once again after he agreed to join President Trump’s legal defense team as an expert on constitutional law a few days before the Senate impeachment trial began. During the Trump defense team’s initial presentation, Dershowitz made the controversial argument that the two articles of impeachment were invalid because neither one of them accused Trump of committing a crime or criminal-like behavior, as specified in the Constitution.
Dershowitz admits that his legal position today is different from the one he took 20 years ago during the Bill Clinton impeachment trial. At that time, he said that commission of a criminal act was not a requirement for a president’s impeachment. But as part of Trump’s defense team, Dershowitz made a powerful argument on the Senate floor for the dismissal of the two articles of impeachment against Trump, based upon the argument made by a former Supreme Court justice during the 1868 impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson.
Dershowitz also made waves during the question phase of the impeachment trial, when he challenged the Democrat contention that Trump’s request for Ukrainian corruption investigation of the Bidens was sufficient evidence of his corrupt motives, because such a probe would likely help Trump defeat Biden were he the Democrat candidate in the November election.
The distinguished law professor argued that such a puritan standard is unrealistic, because, in most situations, a politician has mixed motives for his or her actions. This includes at least some desire to attract votes for their own reelection which they honestly believe is also in the national interest, and does not prove, in Dershowitz’s opinion, “that any electoral benefit constitutes an impeachable quid pro quo.”
Dershowitz accused liberal news media outlets of misrepresenting his views by deliberately taking one of his comments out of context. “I never said or implied that any candidate could do anything to reassure his or her reelection, only that seeking [electoral] help is not necessarily corrupt,” Dershowitz insisted, and cited examples of such behavior by past presidents such as Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama.
TURLEY CRITICIZES THE “INCOMPLETE AND INSUFFICIENT RECORD”
Jonathan Turley was one of four legal experts who testified in November before the House Judiciary Committee about the legal requirements that the Trump impeachment process had to meet. He warned the Democrats at that time that conducting “the shortest impeachment investigation in American history. . . on the narrowest grounds and thinnest record for trial,” would guarantee its failure, “due to an incomplete and insufficient record.”
This week, after it became clear that the Senate would not hear the testimony that House Democrats decided to bypass in their hearings, Turley wrote, “the hard truth is that House Democrats lost this case the minute they rushed an impeachment vote, and they knew it. . . The blind rush to impeach guaranteed not only an acquittal but an easy case for acquittal. . .
“We will never know how this impeachment trial would have unfolded if the House had waited to secure additional testimony and court orders. Instead, the House submitted an incomplete record and failed to subpoena important witnesses like Bolton, making it quite easy for the Senate to refuse to do what the House had never even tried.”
Turley disagrees with Dershowitz by arguing that “impeachment can be based on abuse of power and [other] non-criminal acts.” However, Turley said that he did agree with Dershowitz’s conclusion that the House managers had failed to rebut the argument by the president’s defense team, and had failed to establish that Trump had held up the Ukrainian aid solely for selfish political reasons, justifying his impeachment.
REFUSING TO ACCEPT DEFEAT
In the end, the haste of House Democrats, as well as the numerical superiority of Republicans in the Senate, were the main reasons that the Ukraine-based impeachment effort failed, but Trump’s Democrat enemies are still unwilling to accept defeat.
Currently, Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff are still talking about taking up John Bolton on his offer to testify before House committees to lay the foundation for a Democrat effort to pass another set of impeachment articles against Donald Trump.