Opinion: The House Should Not Send Impeachment to McConnell’s Rigged Senate

It’s imperative that the motion on impeachment be tabled.  Otherwise, that power will be delegitimized by the McConnell/Graham rigged circus.

As the impeachment vote draws closer, we’ve seeing how much damage Donald Trump has done to America.

Over the weekend, one former Democrat stuck his finger in the wind, realized he can’t win an election and bolted to the Republican Party.  This is not a thing, as several other first term Democrats announced they intend to do the morally correct thing for America.

The way this is going, it is very likely that Donald Trump will be impeached on Wednesday.  The next question is whether the articles of impeachment should be sent to the McConnell Senate.  There was a time when no one would question if that should happen.  That was before the Senate Majority Leader announced his plan to hold a trial without witnesses, in co-ordination with the White House, because he and the White House agree on how to handle impeachment.  That was also before the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and former JAG Lindsay Graham said he isn’t going to bother looking at the evidence.  He already knows Trump is innocent, because he lets Lindsay play golf with him.

If I hadn’t read about it in American newspapers and seen video of McConnell and Graham actually saying these words, I’d think I was hearing about a Star Chamber proceeding instead of a quasi-judicial proceeding in a country that swears by the rule of law.

Remember the days when we differed in philosophy and we differed on the conclusions that could be drawn from facts, but we agreed on the facts.  We took pride in the fact that we could form different opinions on the facts and could do so without reprisal from the government.

Since Donald Trump took the presidency and Kellyann Conway introduced “alternative facts”, a strange thing has happened.  You’re more likely to find facts in pieces written by solid opinion writers like Greg Sargent and Jennifer Rubin than in reporting by the White House’s preferred correspondents from Fox and something called One America Network (OAN).

OAN is a media outlet that specializes in sucking up local news outlets and using the credibility those journalists built up with their audience to push Trumpian and Soviet-style propaganda from Putin’s state-controlled media.  It comes as little surprise that until recently, OAN news readers read mandatory editorials  written by the central authority if they cared for their jobs.  Rarely, one would refuse and they would be history.  It’s little wonder that Donald Trump is deeply enamored with OAN, and why his Republican Party bears a strong resemblance to the “unity” on display at OAN.

In tyranny, the dictator’s opinions, no matter how absurd, are taken as fact and parroted by the media, party operatives and by the courts.  Dissent is severely punished and information is amplified by a “unified” echo chamber.

If norms threaten the dictator’s power, they are denounced and their advocates demonized.

If Trump is impeached, the House has two options. It can turn its very serious work resulting from investigation, documentation and testimony over to the likes of Mitch McConnell and his clown car Senate.  We know Trump will try to turn a somber proceeding into the right wing version of an SNL skit.

The other option is, as Harvard Constitutional Law Professor Laurence Tribe proposed is to simply table the motion.

Now that President Trump’s impeachment is inevitable, and now that failing to formally impeach him would invite foreign intervention in the 2020 election and set a dangerous precedent, another option seems vital to consider: voting for articles of impeachment but holding off for the time being on transmitting them to the Senate.

This option needs to be taken seriously now that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has announced his intention to conduct not a real trial but a whitewash, letting the president and his legal team call the shots.

Tribe’s reasoning is infallible.  A serious process would be reduced to a frat boy food fight by McConnell’s Senate.  It’s a part of why Speaker Pelosi declined to initiate impeachment proceedings following the Mueller report.  It had merit, but it was complex and with numerous actors.  The more complex, the easier it is to mangle, distort and manipulate.

As a matter of legal reasoning and evidence, the Mueller report was the right thing to do and it still is.  There is a basis for impeachment within it.

But the things that differentiates the Russia scandal from the Ukraine scandal is the Ukraine scandal is, in reality, a crime in progress and it’s much easier to understand.  The elaborate scheme concocted by Russia involved many actors and it was intricate.

Ukraine involves few people, it’s far easier to understand and we know what the president knew and when he knew it.

Since Ukraine still doesn’t have all of the aid it was promised, and Trump continues to look for ways to cheat his way to victory in 2020, he continues to abuse his power in a manner that is impeachable.  It’s as if all crimes go down the memory hole and the only ones that count are the ones that are in progress.

And people who are lawyers, who were lawyers back in the days when America was about the rule of law and people thinking for themselves, are buying into it.

So here I am advocating a break from the norms on impeachment in the name of preserving the integrity of the process.  If articles of impeachment are sent to McConnell, he will make a mockery of it, just as Trump has made a mockery of free speech, press freedom, popular elections and the dignity of all Americans.

Most of us know that the sky is blue and the grass is green.  Continuing to know that the process must have integrity means tabling impeachment.