It was a busy day for Chief Justice Roberts as he presided over wonderland-quality injustice in two bodies.
Then Chief Roberts presided over the McConnell-controlled Senate’s impeachment cover-up proceedings, where absurd doesn’t begin to describe what happened there. We watched as a principle in the impeachment of Bill Clinton turned arguments McConnell made at that time on their head.
This wasn’t merely about the usual partisan hypocrisy one expects from Republicans. Starr implied that the impeachment power should be dissolved. He did that by pointing to the fact that we inherited it from British law, and that if we kept ours, it would amount to adopting the British non-confidence vote.
This argument is mixing apples and oranges. The British non-confidence vote is applied to the Prime Minister, who is comparable to our Speaker of the House – not to our president. For the record, the British Parliament can’t get rid of their monarch (who is their head of state, as the President is ours) with a non-confidence motion. But, since Republicans were just hoping to bury potential testimony from John Bolton, that, if true, would prove there was in fact a quid pro quo – The GOP probably doesn’t care about the occasional fallacious argument.
Trump’s lawyers know they can’t defend Trump’s actions, that’s why they brought in the corrupt former Attorney-General of Florida, Pamela Bondi, to smear Hunter Biden. You may remember Bondi. She asked Donald Trump for a hefty campaign donation and shortly afterward decided not to pursue a fraud case against Trump University. Some people might call that pay to play or quid pro quo. I’ll just call it corrupt.
To be fair, Biden’s decision to work for Burisma was ethically challenged, but it was not illegal and again not comparable to Trump’s shakedown of Ukraine. For one thing, Biden didn’t shake down the Ukraine to get his son a job – even Republicans failed to find anything resembling proof to suggest he did.
Unlike Bondi’s deal with Trump or the deal Trump wanted to make with Ukraine President Zelensky, Biden was not using public money (tax dollars) for personal gain. It’s Trump’s attempt to use public money to gain personally that is an impeachable offense. It’s an abuse of power, the same thing Ken Starr argued was the basis for impeaching Bill Clinton when Clinton lied about having an affair. Voters are smart enough to know that there’s a huge difference between lying about sex and trying to use fake information from a foreign source to attack a political opponent.
There were still more clown car moments that looked like Republicans wanted a life line in their attempt to cover up Trump’s offenses against the Constitution and the American people.
At one point, one of Trump’s lawyers tried to impeach Barack Obama.
I’m not kidding; he basically substituted Barack Obama’s name and the debunked Russian conspiracy theory that claims Ukraine interfered in 2016.
While all this fantasy was going on, the Chamber was silent. Chief Justice Roberts did nothing to rein in the lies and conspiracy theories used to amuse Republican Senators and give them something to rely on when they try to explain why they voted for letting foreign countries choose our presidents.
For the record, House managers and Democratic Senators were silent as well, and that may be because the Senate’s credibility as a deliberative body is already on life support. By objecting at every lie, they would have come off like the Senate version of Trump’s frat boy caucus in the House.
And it could be that they are drafting questions for that phase when House Managers have the broadest opportunity to reintroduce facts and laws to these proceedings.
The departure of facts and law is an American tragedy unfolding before our eyes. If Trump’s lawyers lied in court the way they have here, they’d be sanctioned. I expect there would be ethics complaints that could result in disbarment. Every lawyer representing Donald Trump is bound by professional ethics and should be held accountable by the bar association. For all the jokes about lawyers and ethics, the fact is they are required to tell the truth before judicial tribunals – which includes this proceeding.
The greatest tragedy in all of this is that the Senate is not doing its job for the people of America. That means the Senate majority is fine with foreign countries choosing our presidents.