Well, here we are. All wrapped up in this impeachment business. Almost nothing in the news these days except all the activity in the U.S. House and the serial lying, character assassination and a steady stream of verbal sewerage coming out of the White House daily.
There’s not much guessing about the outcome of the issue. Looks like Speaker Pelosi has the votes and I’ll bet she figures, when push comes to shove, a few Republicans will even join the Dems. That’s all well and good, having the votes in your pocket. And it appears she does.
With any luck at all, the House will do the deed and pass the “Bill of Impeachment” over to the Senate before Christmas. First, they’ve got to contend with some GOP reps - the crazies - and all the baseless B.S. in which they’re engaged.
But, I’m already looking a step ahead to the Senate. And I have a question. Given the long, wide and deep political divisions in that chamber, can there be a fair impeachment trial? Seriously.
As I recall, in the other two such trials in my lifetime, leaders of both parties put differences aside and got their heads together - in secret - to draw up a set of rules for how the trial would be conducted in those formerly hallowed halls.
Again, with the angry, highly partisan feelings, the personal attacks and the rancor that exists in almost every vote on other issues in the Senate these days, is it really possible for folks in leadership of the two parties to agree on such an absolutely necessary basic issue?
And there’s this. What if they can’t? What happens then? Does the whole thing just die? Is it all over? No trial?
No one seems to have the answers to any of those questions. There’s a lot of “chin music” going on but I haven’t seen any assurances “leadership” can rise to the occasion. Rather than getting together, it seems there are almost direct efforts to keep the divisions open while pouring a verbal salt in the wounds.
Example. One of the most historic and practiced tenets in Congress is that no one in either body will publicly speak disparagingly of a member in the other body. Not even mention a name.
So, here we have a “senator” from Louisiana, with a mouth larger and quicker than his brain, publically naming Speaker Pelosi, saying for all to hear, “It must suck to be as dumb as she is.”
Coming together? Observing rules and protocols? Overcoming ingrained political and personal divisions for the common good? Trying to at least get along while Congress deals with this most serious impeachment business?
You’ve got GOP crazies - and a know-nothing President - “demanding” the whistle blower not only be named but forced to testify in the impeachment hearing. Strictly against federal law. Won’t happen. The same bunch has already been attacking the credibility of witnesses. The “credibility” of these witnesses? Really? Good luck with that.
And, across the rotunda, you’re got the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee saying there are no grounds for impeachment and he won’t be reading the testimony of witnesses who testified before House committees. Nor, he says, will he watch the televised public hearings. A lawyer by education, a retired Army Judge Advocate in the Reserves, and the chairman of the most germane Senate committee calls impeachment “a scam” and he “won’t read the under-oath witness statements?” Comity? Coming together?
And there’s Ol’ Mitch. He’s already said Republicans will “take a responsible lead” and the trial “shouldn’t last longer than five or six days.” Then, he thought a bit and prophesied it “could take longer” when he figured out six Democrats running for President could be taken off the campaign trail for weeks with an extended “trial.”
There’s a whole lot of lawyers sitting in those Senate chairs. They’re the folks who’ll be the “jury” for the process. They’re going to be sworn in as “jurors” beforehand with an oath that requires “an open mind” to the testimony and other evidence to be presented.
Idaho has two of those “jurors.” Have you listed to either of them lately. “I’ve seen no evidence that rises to the level or impeachment,”
they’ve said, or words to that effect. Others of their political “persuasion” have uttered similar statements. You’re going to find 67
Senators with “open minds” in a “jury” pool like that? And the chairman of the Judiciary Committee calls the process “B.S.?”
So, the question is, again, what happens if they can’t get their act together? How do you find 67 votes for any honest verdict given the words, pre-judgement and dismissals already on the public record?
The impeachment process rests on the U.S. Constitution and is about the most important issue to be dealt with by the 537 members of any Congress. The process, as in any other judicial proceedings, requires honesty, thoughtful consideration of all testimony, all witnesses and other evidence with an open mind.
Do those things seem possible in the chaos of hate and division extant in our Congress? They’re absolutely necessary to a fair trial and a just verdict. That’s how they’re supposed to approach this.
But, can they? Will they?