Opinion: Adam Schiff Tried To Return The Senate To Its Former Self As A “Deliberative Body”

If Donald Trump cared about any American citizen being corrupt, he would have gone to our law enforcement agencies and the State Department to have them look into it. He would not have gone to the newly-elected president of Ukraine, a young, inexperienced former reality show star who campaigned on solving the corruption problems that came with being a satellite of the Soviet Union.

As a Republican witness, EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified, Trump wanted the announcement.

“He had to announce the investigations,” Sondland said during the House impeachment inquiry, referring to Zelensky. “He didn’t actually have to do them, as I understood it.”

As we know, Trump’s plan failed. The Republican effort to have Hunter Biden testify before the Senate is Trump’s plan B. A day of Trump’s lawyers sucker-punching Hunter Biden wouldn’t have the same effect as a “bona fide” announcement that Biden was being investigated in Ukraine, but it would be enough to “breitbart” an ad for the campaign.

If Mitch McConnell cared about holding a fair impeachment trial, he would have allowed the two ingredients that make a case in an American trial: witnesses and documentary evidence. He and 52 Republican sheep did what Trump wanted – allow him to brag about how he had all the evidence and House managers had “nothing”. It was the sort of taunt one expects of a schoolyard bully – not of an American president.

No House Manager in the history of this country had the challenges that today’s House Managers have. And they all rose to the challenge. Lead manager Adam Schiff rose to the challenge of advocating for America, beginning with an introduction to why the impeachment power makes us an extraordinary experiment in democracy and how that distinguishes us from the tyrannies that seek to drag us down in the mud with them.

As each House Manager presented their portion of the case, we saw what a commitment to justice can produce. We saw women and men present the facts they knew based on the information they could pry loose solely because career civil servants were more committed to America than to Donald Trump.

I’m not saying that America is perfect. We have problems – many of them more pronounced because of Donald Trump and the Republican Party. We’ve always been about striving to be better and do better. Trump wants us to settle for being “just like” the criminal states his heroes rule. This is not who any of us are, regardless of our political leanings.

The ideas of serving the people and being accountable to them are what Adam Schiff and the House Managers are fighting for. That, and our national security.

Adam Schiff explained it all in part one of the House Manager’s opening statement. He said why impeachment is the lynchpin to democracy and why it applied in Donald Trump’s case. He gave it his all, as did each House Manager who followed.

Trump is just Vladimir Putin’s instrument seeking to destroy the things that made America a great country – even to those of us who strove to make it even better for more people by noting and commenting on the things that need improvement.

Trump, McConnell and Trump’s lawyers did all they could to hide the information that is usually available in a trial but it’s not only about covering up what Trump did. It’s also about covering up the consequences to our national security.

Schiff did an excellent job of explaining why we should care about Ukraine. Truthfully, it’s because decent people don’t turn on their friends. There are also some reasons that have as much to do with our national security as with whether we are as good an ally as we want of our allies to be to us.

Ukraine isn’t just some blip on the European continent. It’s a country that gave up nukes following the Soviet Union’s collapse because we told them that we’d protect their territorial integrity and that benefitted us because it was part of a Russia containment strategy.

It matters because we are less likely to see war fought on our soil. It also matters because our allies are watching and if we can turn on one, it begs the question: who’s next?

If anyone had doubts about how serious this is, one need only look at what took place on Tuesday. Trump’s lawyers lied, over and over again. They lied about the House Managers, about the House’s impeachment process, about the president’s rights in that process, and about the rights that the Republican minority had. Republican Senators dutifully voted in support of those lies, and to top it all off, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court admonished both sides for inappropriate language for such a deliberative body.

With respect to the Chief Justice, McConnell’s Senate was anything but the reputed deliberative body it once was. This solemn process was turned into a mockery of American justice as every Republican voted to oppose witnesses and documents because they didn’t want Donald Trump to get mad and find a Roy Moore to primary challenge them.

I say this with the utmost respect for the position of Chief Justice. John Roberts let America down because he let Trump’s lawyers lie to the Senate and get away with it.

The House Managers will continue to present their case, facts and using video of previous testimony to tell the Senate about Trump’s effort to cheat his way back into the White House in 2020 using a virtually identical playbook to the one that he and Putin used in 2016.

Since Trump approved of the frat boy performance provided by Pat Cipollone and friends; they’ll probably avoid the facts and the law, since neither are on Trump’s side. It’s likely Alan Dershowitz will be there, intending to drive a dagger through the Constitution’s heart while trying to claim he’s the Constitution’s advocate. We may see some alternative facts and alternative law.

We’ll probably see Republican Senators abandon their roles as jurors for longer periods because sitting quietly and listening to someone who isn’t a Fox commentator is really, really hard.

Of course, in a real court room, this would be unacceptable. If a juror just got up and walked out in the middle of any part of a trial, they’d be dismissed.
We all know that the odds are stacked against the Senate voting to remove Trump. It looks like the people will have to do the Senate’s work for it.