Of history’s four impeachments of US presidents, Donald Trump is the proud owner of half of them. Since he’s fond of superlatives he can truthfully say that no one gets impeached better than he does. He gets impeached strongly. All of his impeachments are tremendous. He only gets the best impeachments.
Like a good sequel (here I’m thinking of Godfather II) this week’s impeachment trial is going to have a few interesting differences from the last one. For starters, Chief Justice John Roberts won’t be presiding. This time around Patrick Leahy, age 80, the Senate’s longest serving Democratic member, will preside. Trump doesn’t rate a Chief Justice because he isn’t president any longer.
Let’s just say that again, shall we? Donald Trump isn’t president any longer. Thank you.
The brilliant and very capable Adam Schiff will not act as Lead Impeachment Manager. This time that honour will fall to Jamie Raskin, a superb constitutional law professor. Sadly, Raskin’s twenty-five year old son, who suffered from depression, took his life on New Year’s Eve.
And of course this time around Mitch McConnell won’t be in charge. He will have to sit there impotently and be forced to watch while the adults in the room conduct a real trial, not a make-believe trial.
Another important difference is that witnesses can be called, and many of the witnesses will include some of the very Senators observing the trial. You see, the trial itself is being conducted at the scene of the crime. Some of the members were victims, some of the members were criminally complicit in the unlawful attempt to overthrow the government by a mob of thugs inspired by Donald Trump.
While Donald Trump mawkishly mopes at Mar-a-Lago and acts as if he’s still president for the sake of his ego, for the sake of the trial he and his lawyers are mawkishly insisting he’s no longer president. And because he’s no longer president, their rationale goes, they claim the Constitution says it’s illegal to impeach let alone try him. The Constitution says no such thing, of course, and precedence says the opposite, of course.
This time Trump doesn’t get to disrupt the proceedings and pollute the process with nasty, inflammatory tweets aimed at chilling witness testimony and discrediting experts testifying against him. He won’t be able to intimidate them by tweet-storm this time. Trump’s Twitter account has been permanently and humanely banned from all of cyberspace.
Much will be similar to last time, of course. Republicans will once again prove just how vile, small-minded, dishonest, hypocritical and hateful they can be, all in the name of a vile, small-minded, dishonest, hypocritical and hateful little man named Trump. The fun starts Tuesday, 9 February at midday east coast time. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.