Mitch McConnell has been playing extreme hardball with the Democrats regarding an impeachment trial for “president” Donald Trump. What he wants do is “rubber stamp” an acquittal of Trump and call it a day. Thanks to Nancy Pelosi, however, additional damning evidence has come out against Trump, making that rubber stamp a bit harder to affix. Now Chuck Schumer is playing hardball and may well get the last laugh. McConnell may want to think about the cliché, “he who laughs last, laughs best.”
Schumer’s plan includes targeting vulnerable Republicans by forcing a series of votes that, depending on how they vote, will hurt them on election day. Susan Collins, one of the most vulnerable, is trying to thwart Schumer by claiming to work with “a handful of Republicans” to keep the door open to witnesses. Oh, come on. Everyone knows about Collins’ claims of being a “moderate.” She is nothing of the sort. She has voted with Trump virtually 100% of the time, and we’ll never forget that she was the deciding vote who gave us Brett Kavanaugh for life.
Trump, who calls his impeachment “unfair” and a “witch hunt,” continues to do what makes him look most guilty: blocking witnesses. Politico reported that Trump has already suggested he would invoke executive privilege to stop John Bolton from testifying. Can he even do that now that Bolton is no longer in the White House? According to Mark Rozell, Dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, as reported by Time magazine, executive privilege is “the right of the president and high-level executive branch officers to withhold information from Congress, the courts and ultimately the public respecting (1) certain national security needs and (2) protecting the privacy of White House deliberations when it is in the public interest to do so.” So, the answer is “no.” Trump had no conversations with Bolton that concerned national security, other than his own actions jeopardizing it.
Schumer, and likely everyone else with half a brain, knows this and will use it to their advantage. It is also likely that Schumer knows about the poll from Hart Research that reveals 63% of voters in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and North Carolina will be highly disappointed if their senators vote against allowing witnesses and documents in the impeachment trial. If they vote against that, those senators can kiss their seats goodbye. Politico also reported on the Morning Consult poll, which shows that 57% of all voters want the Senate to call witnesses, including 56% of Independents and even 40% of Republicans. It’s looking more and more like Mitch McConnell had better go along with having a real trial in the Senate and not some sham proceeding.
It’s almost as if Republican senators are in the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” position. If they go along with McConnell’s plan of rubber-stamping this process, they risk alienating the majority of voters who put them in office. If they bow to Chuck Schumer, whom their conservative voters likely see as the enemy, those voters will be angry. They had best decide what’s most important and do so quickly. Heaven forbid they choose country over party for a change.