We’re one week into the trial of our current president, and the Democrats have wrapped up their impassioned cries for rational thought during a highly partisan process. Adam Schiff weaved the various elements of Trump’s corrupt dealings with Ukraine much better than expected. But will a great speech or two make a big difference in the outcome? Not a chance. This is a president whose supporters are more than willing to go down with the sinking ship, no matter what history will them of them.
Schiff hasn’t been kind to his Republican colleagues, either. He went so far as to say that they might expect history to mount their heads “on a pike” for voting alongside the president after the trial is complete.
But he knows that’s exactly what will happen.
The Democrats have used every fact at their disposal — and there are a lot of them — while the Republicans are expected to continue their gradeschool logic: the president of Ukraine says there was no pressure and he didn’t know the aid was withheld during a July phone call, plus Trump didn’t actually commit a crime. (But he actually did violate the Impoundment Control Act by withholding congressionally appointed funds, soooo…)
Jonathan Turley wrote for The Hill: “Murkowski, who is being courted by both sides, could again find herself aggrieved by an argument from counsel if, as widely expected, the White House frames its case around a widely discredited theory that impeachment requires a criminal allegation.”
We know that the Founding Fathers did not agree with that statement, which is why Turley describes further: “In both the Clinton and Trump impeachment inquiries, I addressed that theory as historically and constitutionally unsupportable. Yet Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz will make the argument as the core of the defense. It is a particularly baffling decision given not only Attorney General William Barr’s rejection of the theory but also the Democratic and many of the Republican senators. So the White House is making an argument that the vast majority of senators in the jury have already rejected, including Republican senators coming forward this week.”
But then again, that helps define our point: When you can’t argue against a long list of facts, you form arguments that are based on long-ago debunked or discredited ideas. “High crimes and misdemeanors,” in case you were wondering, were used by the writers of the U.S. constitution to describe acts by public officials that violated the public trust — not actual crimes. The definition has changed over time, of course, allowing the corrupt to form arguments that are not, in actuality, based on any fact at all.
So far, it seems to be working quite well for the defense.