Sunday, January 26, 2020

The Senate trial fair? The GOP takes the hypocritical oath

Revised and updated January 27,2020
With apologies to the oath of Hippocrates taken by physicians, here is the oath that must have been taken by the GOP senators: the oath of hypocrites. The oath swearing in newly elected Senators is " must swear or affirm that they will "support and defend the Constitution." The oath the Senators first took in the trial was very different They swore at the trial beginning "you will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help you god ". Every Senator acting as jurors in the impeachment trial took both of these oaths. The oath unspoken by the GOP looks more like they are swearing allegiance to Donald Trump. With the GOP Senators, the choice they face is to be a team player or a truth player rendering impartial justice. That choice has never been made clearer with the leak of the John Bolton book draft and textual documents of Lev Parnas. So far, the GOP Senators are determined to forbid any new witnesses or documentary evidence in this "fair" trial. This course of action does not meet the smell test and voters are not stupid. They know what fair trials look like. If Bolton is denied the chance to testify under oath in the trial, the GOP will increase the intensity of the stench.

Like bobbleheads nodding in unison, so far GOP Senators echo the party line in unison: no new witnesses or documents While the final vote to permit witnesses has not taken place, during the first chance they had to put it on the agenda, they refused. A second chance will come at the end of case presentations and questions. If interviews of Senators from purple states deemed potential votes permitting new witnesses are an indication, the GOP leadership and the White House seem to still have control over their caucus in a unified front to oppose additional witnesses and documents, even as new witnesses and evidence emerge that shred their carefully constructed arguments.

The question of whether this is a "fair" trial has just gotten an answer. It is no. Without additional witnesses, the flim-flam of the GOP/White House case would not be exposed. Neither the Senators nor the voters will get a full picture of the President's corrupt intent. We need to hear from John Bolton, President's national security advisor. under oath. Trump immediately denied the critical conversation that addresses the main claim that Trump did not tie freezing military aid to Zelensky to the "favors" he asked, to investigate the Bidens and Ukraine's role in hacking the DNC server in 2016. Timelines, testimony from Department of Defense and Budget officials, and ambassadors indicate that freezing the aid orders from the President and the July 25 telephone happened the week before and within hours after the call. Calls from the Ukraine embassy asking where is their aid preceded the July 25. The White House attorneys had argued these were not first-hand witnesses, but now one has come forth, Bolton. Whether Bolton's book draft would shake loose the needed four GOP Senators to vote to permit witnesses is unlikely, but hope springs eternal.

Slamming the GOP Senate's opposition on permitting witnesses is John Bolton's draft of his book that directly ties the President freezing/releasing military aid to Ukraine to Pres. Zelensky announcing the investigations into the Bidens and the 2016 election DNC hack. The White House already had a copy of the draft. No wonder the GOP and the White House do not want more testimony and documentation. By distributing the draft, Bolton has his insurance policy...even if the White House tries to kill the book or excise the damning section or divert it to courts over executive privilege claims. If the GOP questions Bolton, his word against the President, then get him to testify under oath in the trial. In any case, the genie is already out of the bottle thanks to the book draft leak.

The guy on the Ukrainian ground executing Guiliani's plans to get dirt on the Bidens Lev Parnas has emerged as a first-hand witness that Donald Trump was both knowledgeable and in charge of the scheme. This was no rogue operation. Like Bolton, he too needs to testify under oath and be cross-examined.
The question of fairness of the impeachment process is one of the pots calling the kettle black. The President chortled publicly he has kept the documentary evidence and direct witnesses from the process and then the GOP in an extreme form of hypocrisy have claimed there are no direct witnesses so there is not enough proof of their case. The Bolton book draft damned that argument.

To advocate for their arguments, White House lawyers have told flat out lies. They are asking you to forget what your eyes and ears actually witnessed, and just believe the spin. One of the most often told lies by the White House lawyers in the impeachment hearings was that the impeachment was unfair because the White House and GOP House members could not participate. 47 members of the GOP House had equal time cross-examination rights in the 'basement", many of those same participating in the pizza party protest. I sat through every hearing in the inquiry phase and heard defenders of Trump called as witnesses and those from the other side have equal time to cross-examine. And then this gem: The White House was invited to participate in the House Judiciary Committee and they refused, claiming, this hearing was unfair, so let us wait until the Senate trial." What it means is that the GOP will only participate when their party is in control. So far, the GOP Senators are determined to forbid any witnesses or evidence in this "fair" trial.

.There is a contrary streak in me. Democrats would win if Republicans persisted in denying witnesses and documents in the Senate trial and their votes to acquit and to deny witnesses and documents are totally along party lines. It would bolster Democrats' point: Trump was not exonerated; this was a party loyal vote. period. It was not a fair trial. We should have heard such testimony under oath, or, if not testifying, take the fifth, or claim executive privilege. We will never get the whole truth of the President's role and purpose. What is important, though, in equal measure, Democrats will continue providing evidence outside the trial to keep their attack fact points alive right through November. Investigative journalism will carry the ball forward and Bolton's book will sell well if it escapes the White House noose.

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