The first day of the Senate “impeachment” trial finally wound down after 1 a.m., with tempers flaring and Justice Roberts having to warn both sides to restrain their anger and show decorum.
The shouting match came after Rep. Jerrold Nadler pulled the Democratic accusation for the umpteenth time that denying their requests to call more witnesses that they didn’t bother to subpoena before voting to impeach meant that Senate Republicans were conspiring in a cover-up. He declared that the “Senate is on trial here,” and that President Trump’s invoking his executive privilege rights was because “only guilty people try to hide evidence.” That “triggered” Trump’s attorneys Pat Cipollone and Jay Sekulow, who blasted Nadler for making false allegations against the Senate the way he’s made false allegations against the President and his attorneys, and for shredding the Constitution by claiming that invoking your due process rights is proof of guilt.
It was an appropriately explosive ending to a day when even the most patient man on Earth would’ve been tempted to pull an Elvis and shoot out his TV screen in frustration.
Over and over again, we were subjected to the same tired, unproven and debunked allegations repeated as if they were unassailable fact. When the House managers brought up the name of Ambassador Sondland, I had to marvel at how they conveniently failed to mention that his testimony collapsed like a two-dollar card table under cross examination. He was forced to admit that all his incendiary accusations were only his personal assumptions, and the one and only time he actually spoke to Trump, Trump told him the exact opposite: that he didn’t want any quid pro quo, he just wanted to make sure the President of Ukraine kept his campaign promise to root out corruption. How did the House Democrats miss that part? It happened right in front of them. Maybe, like most of America, they’d fallen asleep at that point.
At the end of the long, long day, the Democrats’ attempts to bully and shame Republicans into letting them try to scrounge up the evidence they failed to find in the House didn't work, with every proposed amendment to expand the inquiry defeated on a party line vote (it doesn’t bode well for them that they seem be getting on even Mitt Romney’s last nerve.) That doesn’t mean they won’t be allowed to call more witnesses, just that it will be put off until later. First, they have to prove that they have a solid enough case to warrant the time and trouble of calling more witnesses. I suspect that’s the reason why they were so desperate to get permission to do it now, before the Senators get a gander at the house of marked cards they’ve cobbled together as a “case.”
It will come as no surprise to anyone who listened to the Democrats’ repetitive and hyperbolic opening statement that a Real Clear Investigations analysis found that it’s built on the belief that if you don’t have evidence, your case can be made to sound more convincing by repeating the same thin allegations over and over again.
I’m not going to recap the day in detail because nobody should have to suffer through that again. So I’ll just summarize it with a couple of cut-to-the-chase quotes from various commentators:
1. The House Democrats have a slam-dunk case with overwhelming evidence of the President’s guilt. But they can’t prove it unless they’re allowed to subpoena more witnesses and documents.
2. If they’re not allowed to call the witnesses they want, it’s a cover-up. If Republicans are allowed to call the witnesses they want, it’s a vast right-wing conspiracy to spread disinformation.
3. And this, from an anonymous poster on a news comment board, I think sums up in a nutshell what this entire farce is really all about: “Trump is being impeached for Presidenting without being a Democrat.”
If you would like a reasonably painless, informative and even occasionally funny recap of Day One, I suggest you scroll through the live blog of the proceedings at Townhall.com. You might even want to bookmark Townhall.com because judging by the first day, this is going to be a long, painful and infuriating slog.
Finally, to help wash this out of your brain, here’s a story of far more interest and importance than anything the House Democrats had to say in the Senate: