Hop, hop, hop! The kangaroos running this impeachment court are hopping like mad. To make the biggest jump of all --- the impeachment itself --- they have to build substantial momentum.
Hop! On Monday, members of the House Intelligence Committee are expected to view Adam Schiff’s draft of their impeachment report.
Hop, hop! On Tuesday, the Committee is scheduled to vote on the report.
Hop, hop, hop! On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Jerrold Nadler, holds its first hearing, using the Intel Committee's draft to “consider formal charges.” The committee will bring in four "academic" types to explore the Constitutional grounds for impeachment. That should be rich; there will be no actual evidence; just lots of speech-ifying to stoke Democrats’ partisan desires. At this writing, the Republicans have been allowed one such witness, one out of four, to argue the other side; perhaps they will be given more, but I guess it’s up to Nadler, who seems to be making the rules up as he goes along, just as Schiff did.
Over a couple of weeks, the House Intel Committee heard from twelve witnesses, 30 hours total, but all were “hearsay” witnesses except for U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who might be better described as a “presumption” witness. He didn’t know that the President desired a quid pro quo; he simply presumed. This after the President had told him in no uncertain terms that he wanted “nothing...no quid pro quo.” It was from Trump's own mouth: He wanted Ukrainian President Zelensky to “just do the right thing.”
Nadler sent a letter to the White House informing them his committee has set a deadline of this Friday to say whether or not the President will be participating in the hearings by having counsel present, cross-examining witnesses or presenting exculpatory evidence. Ranking Republican member Doug Collins of Georgia also received a letter asking him if the Republicans want to subpoena any witnesses to testify on the President’s behalf. Friday is also the day for Republicans on the Judiciary Committee to introduce any exculpatory evidence and to declare the witnesses they plan to call. (!!!)
The following Monday, the Judiciary Committee is scheduled to “consider the referrals.” Gosh, think they’ll decide to impeach Trump? The suspense is killing me. (To give an idea of the larger picture, this is also the day that Inspector General Michael Horowitz releases his report on the FBI and FISA court, and two days before he testifies before the Senate.)
All of this has been scheduled when neither the President nor the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have even seen the Intelligence Committee report and don’t know who Nadler's impeachment witnesses will be. Once that is known, they will have mere hours to put a case together. Some are arguing that any participation in this sham by the President, even just sending an attorney, tends to legitimize the process. Others say there is nothing the President can do that will legitimize this lousy and utterly partisan process and that it would be foolhardy not to have a lawyer present. Incredibly, he’s been denied any legal representation at all until now.
But in breaking news Sunday night, counsel to the President Pat Cipollone showed that he falls into that first camp. He has sent a four-page response to Nadler's letter, refusing to participate in this week's impeachment hearings. In a scathing reply --- and we know he can write one --- he said that "...this baseless and highly partisan inquiry violates all past historical precedent, basic due process rights, and fundamental fairness..." It goes on: "You scheduled this initial hearing --- no doubt purposely --- during the time that you know the President will be out of the country attending the NATO Leaders Meeting in London...you have given no information regarding your plans, set arbitrary deadlines, and then demanded a response, all to create the false appearance of providing the President some rudimentary process."