The last week has been an absolute whirlwind in America.
The Democratic Congress has passed their Articles of Impeachment and sent them to the Senate. The Democratic leadership is insisting that new documents and witnesses should be presented at the Senate “trial”, but the Senate, controlled by Republicans, asserts that their constitutional duty requires them to only try the Articles presented to them by Congress.
Nancy Pelosi held the Articles before sending them to the Senate for a period longer than that taken by the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees which formulated those articles. Many of the Intelligence sessions were held in the SCIF, a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, which is inherently secretive. The American voter was barred from hearing the testimony that occurred in that space. The key testimony of the Intelligence Community’s Inspector General, Michael Atkinson, who permitted the “whistleblower” to file a complaint without first-hand testimony which started the Ukrainian affair, has never been made public.
Republican members of those two committees were not permitted to call witnesses whose stories might have defended the President’s actions or whose testimony might contradict the second-hand information presented by the Democrats.
And yet, the Democrat Voting Bloc in both houses of Congress insist that they want a Senate trial based on “fairness” and “impartiality”; that without calling additional witnesses and testimony they will be complicit in a cover up on behalf of the President. Rep. Jerry Nadler, who heads Judiciary, said the Senate’s conduct was on trial along with the President’s.
All of this serious noise takes place in the background as Trump strikes two of the most noteworthy successes of his Presidency. His “Phase One” deal with China, while the implementation of the specifics terms has yet to play out, is the first ever trade deal between the two economic powers that attempts to rein in China’s manipulation of its currency and the terms under which American companies can enter its market.
This was followed immediately by a bipartisan ratification of a tripartite trade agreement among the US, Canada and Mexico which covers over $1 trillion in trade, the largest such deal in American history. Trump will sign that agreement while the Senate haggles over the thin gruel of impeachment which, for the first time in the country’s history, alleges no criminal violation.
But nothing – nothing – could capture the absurdity of this charade better than the media opportunity orchestrated by Nancy Pelosi to mark the signing of the Articles of Impeachment. While intoning about the sad, somber, prayerful tragedy she has wrought on the Nation, she has essentially accused Mitch McConnell, the majority leader in the Senate, of being a puppet of Vladimir Putin. And after slinging what Vanity Fair, a reliably sympathetic Democratic press organ, asks with 21st Century subtlety, “What Kind of S–t Do the Russians Have on Mitch McConnell?”, Nancy seats herself at an ornate desk with her radical acolytes behind her, picking up pens emblazoned with her name from two silver trays, and signs – letter by letter – the Articles. Smiles all around, souvenir pens distributed, photos taken member by member.
So, The Democratic leadership, propelled by the energy and activity of its more radical elements, has pulled the pin on impeachment. This after having smeared the Trump campaign and transition team with the Steele “dossier”, which begot FISA warrants against Carter Page, which begot Rod Rosenstein as Acting Attorney General, which begot the Mueller Report, which begot a “whistleblower” with clear political bias working with Adam Schiff, which begot this Impeachment “inquiry”.
While the Democrats would like the Senate to call members of the administration who would likely be covered by Executive Privilege, they chose not to subpoena those witnesses in the House, fearing that a court challenge by the White House would delay passage of the Articles. Their claim now, that those witnesses must be heard by the Senate in the interest of “fairness”, smacks of partisan posturing as they pass the prosecutorial buck to the Senate in the hopes that Mitt Romney, the new John McCain, and others will accede to their demands.
The Democrat leadership has also expanded its smears to include Bill Barr, the Attorney General of the US. Nancy Pelosi has suggested that if the charges made by an indicted, sketchy Ukrainian American, Les Parnas, are true, then it would be appropriate to appoint a special prosecutor to examine Barr. But consider this odd juxtaposition: by using this language, the Speaker is conjecturing that she tends to support the fact set rendered without an oath by a tangential figure under indictment facing hard jail time while the Justice Department says his claims are “100% false”.
The credibility attacks on Barr are pre-emptive attempts to discredit the investigation of US Attorney John Durham who is looking into the “predicate” of the Russia Collusion suspicions of the FBI and CIA into the Trump campaign. If there is any legal reckoning to be had among those government officials who either went rogue or had authorization from Obama to conduct surveillance of an American citizen (factually, it must be one or the other), it will come from Durham whose marching orders came directly from Barr. No matter what happens during impeachment, the Democrats must insulate themselves from Durham’s findings of criminality. For years, the Democrats and their allies within the press beat the drums of impeachment wholly predicated upon the now-dispelled notion that Vladimir Putin had stolen the Presidency from Hillary Clinton by way of his peeing Apprentice, Donald Trump.
This is the toxic atmosphere being breathed in Washington as the Impeachment trial begins in the Senate on Tuesday. The Democrats have masterfully kept their forces in line in both houses, everyone parroting the lines, “No one is above the law,” and, “The American people are demanding a fair trial.” Republicans, on the other hand, have seen their line breached by, among others, their standard-bearer in 2012 against Obama, Mitt Romney.
Each side has trenched themselves in, affixed bayonets and awaits the charge of the other. Whatever the outcome, there will be blood (figuratively speaking, of course), and the country and Presidency will never be the same.