I said it yesterday: “enough is enough” when it comes to political stunts such as Speaker Pelosi’s withholding of the two Articles of Impeachment (which are themselves a stunt). Democrats needs to get it into their tiny one-track brains that there is too much going on in the world to make everything about “getting Trump.” Sen. Lindsay Graham was out in front on this over the weekend, urging Pelosi to get on with it or else the Senate would approve a rule change that allowed them to go forward without a formal delivery of the Articles. They didn’t need her and refused to be controlled by her.
And now, Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri has introduced a proposal for a 25-day deadline on getting the Articles. That’s 25 days not from the date of the proposal –- Hawley introduced it on Jan. 6 –- but from the Dec. 19 adoption of the Articles, “as recorded in the Journal of the House of Representatives,” which leaves Madam Speaker only until Jan. 13, less than a week from now and counting down.
At this point, that seems like a generous amount of time.
Hawley’s proposal would have to be approved without debate, by recorded vote in the Senate. Then, once the deadline is reached, if Pelosi hasn’t turned over the Articles, they “shall be deemed exhibited before the Senate” anyway and it will be in order for any senator to offer a motion to dismiss the Articles. With prejudice. (That means the Senate can’t submit them later.) As I understand it, the resolution doesn’t require that this happen, just that it will be in order if someone so moves. The Senate will also be able to conduct a trial if that’s what they decide. They can do what they want, Articles or no Articles.
Hawley’s proposal already has numerous co-sponsors, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Rick Scott, Indiana Sen. Mike Braun, Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Montana Sen. Steve Daines, Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso (chairman of the Senate Republican Conference), Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, Georgia Sen. David Perdue, and Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma (chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee). Seems as though this would breeze through.
Pelosi says she's holding on to the Articles until the Senate has put in place a “fair” process. (You know what I think about that; thanks to the many thousands who signed my “open letter to Nancy Pelosi.”) But Hawley and the co-sponsors released a statement calling her on it, reading in part: “...the Constitution gives the Senate sole power to adjudicate articles of impeachment, not the House. If Speaker Pelosi is afraid to try her case, the articles should be dismissed for failure to prosecute, and Congress should get back to doing the people’s business.”
In other words, Sen. Hawley, being from Missouri, the “Show Me State,” was saying to Madam Speaker, “SHOW ME THE ARTICLES by Jan. 13, or we’re likely to dismiss the whole case.”
Likewise, Sen. Scott said, “If Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to send the articles to the Senate, we should dismiss the articles of impeachment and get back to work on all the things that aren’t getting done...”
Sounds like a plan to me. Looks as though the Senate isn’t about to indulge the House’s power grab. Lindsay Graham has talked tough for a long time, but the day has come to take action to end the charade. If Sen. Hawley’s resolution hasn’t been passed by the time you read this, that needs to happen right away.
President Trump did a radio interview with Rush Limbaugh on Monday in which he addressed the charges against him: “They spent all of that time, all of that money, had brilliant people who happened to be, you know, very very --- they were crazed --- they were crazed. I mean, these people were dying to find something on Trump. They found nothing. I think there’s very few people that you’ve ever met who could have had that. They had so many investigators, they were calling people that I haven’t seen in years, and they got nothing.”
Rush asked him what he thought the point was of Nancy’s little game withholding the Articles, and he said he thought they were trying “to affect the election illegally.” He also said they weren’t sending the Articles over because they “are a joke.”
I've said that with growing concern about Iran, we need a full-time President and a full-time legislature. Trump understated the challenge posed by this distraction during his interview, saying “Yeah, it’s so sad for our country. We’re fighting with Iran, we’re fighting with all of these different places, and in many cases we’re doing great...but I have to spend and my team has to spend time on this stuff.”
It’s a wide-ranging interview. If you didn’t hear the show, you might enjoy the transcript.
So it looks as though the Senate will actually be able to speed up this confounded process so we can get it over with –- without using a cattle prod on Nancy Pelosi. She can turn over the Articles or she can put them in a hermetically-sealed mayonnaise jar under Funk & Wagnall’s front porch (thank you, Carnac the Magnificent). But if there is a trial, look for the anti-Trump side to protest loudly about Senate rules and propagate all sorts of misconceptions about how it’s supposed to go. Anticipate hearing a lot of them.
Byron York, over the Christmas holidays, wrote an article that took apart some of the anticipated misconceptions; these had already been brought up by Yale University historian Timothy Snyder in a series of tweets. Snyder was telling Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that as Majority Leader he had “zero constitutional authority” to define the shape of the trial. In Snyder’s opinion, the Chief Justice gets to run the trial, not just preside! What part of “The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments” does Snyder not understand?
Snyder also asserts that the senators are functioning as jurors, and as such must set side their “normal concerns” and “swear to be impartial,” or else they will “endanger the rule of law and the Republic.” York outlines the important ways in which an impeachment trial is nothing like a criminal trial in the justice system.
It’s an interesting read, especially since we’re getting close now to finally dispensing with this lunacy –- at least unless Rep. Al Green has his way and they impeach the President AGAIN. (Good grief.) When Democrats start trying to pick apart everything about the Senate trial, you’ll want to know what is and is not legally part of the process. You can be sure that most in the media will get things very wrong.