BREAKING NEWS Officer-involved shooting at Verona Convenience Store Full Story

Democrats' impeachment fantasy crashes

Article Image

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer comments on the 49-51 failed Senate vote to compel witnesses and documents for the remainder of the impeachment trial.

Posted: Feb 1, 2020 9:20 AM
Updated: Feb 1, 2020 9:20 AM

The Trump impeachment trial has been gripped by drama surrounding witnesses, particularly former national security adviser John Bolton: Will he or won't he testify?

But there's a better question: What exactly would be the point? Thanks to revelations in The New York Times about his book, which will be out in a few weeks, we already know pretty much what he might say.

While testimony from Bolton and other potential witnesses might extend the impeachment circus for a few days or weeks, depending on how the President's claims to executive privilege are resolved, no new and substantive information relevant to the alleged Ukrainian shakedown or other offenses outlined in the two articles of impeachment is likely to emerge.

In the free-flowing information river of Twitter, Facebook, newspapers, podcasts and 24-hour cable news, senators undoubtedly already know most of what live witnesses would have revealed.

The Republicans could argue that not having Bolton testify hurts them more than it hurts the Democrats because his account is being largely taken by the media and political world as fact.

After all, The New York Times never published a cross-examination of Bolton to go along with the claims allegedly asserted in his manuscript. No hard information is currently available on how much his publisher is paying him for his backroom stories about the President who fired him. In a normal trial or even a Senate trial, Bolton's veracity would be tested in the crucible of cross-examination.

Of course, no tears need be shed for the Republicans who have the votes to call Bolton for the purpose of discrediting him if they wish. But what would be the point? The question-fest now in progress shows both parties are mostly locked in position, suggesting that a swift acquittal of the President is on the horizon.

No, the Senate "trial" is more like professional wrestling -- hyperkinetic drama with fixed story lines and a predetermined outcome.

That's partly why the participants have been so lax in their behavior. The access to outside "inadmissible" information in the trial has been staggering. The senators have been deprived of cell phones and other electronic devices and nourishment other than milk and water to keep them focused. When breaks have occurred, however, they've made a bee line for the television cameras to explain their views. They post on social media and make podcast appearances.

Ted Cruz even has his own impeachment podcast, the popular "Verdict with Ted Cruz," where he posts his analysis of the trial every day. This routine, senatorial press-pandering conduct would cause a mistrial and a contempt citation in a normal criminal trial.

For their part, the Democrats have said they seek a fair trial and proclaimed that "a trial with no witnesses is not a trial." What they fail to admit is that, all senators, R and D, already had their minds made up about all the bad stuff -- real and rumored -- that they've heard about Trump. Some have participated in the spread of such information even before Nancy Pelosi handed out souvenir pens to the key participants in the House impeachment proceedings.

In a real trial, it is possible to change the location -- the "venue" -- of the trial and even sequester the jury to ensure fairness and a verdict based only on properly admissible evidence produced in court.

In contrast, the only venue for an impeachment trial is in the Senate chamber, where no rules limit exposure to outside media regarding the accused.

Their ultimate vote on guilt or innocence on the articles of impeachment is a simple yay or nay recorded by the Senate clerk. No explanation is required, and there will be no cross-examination of senatorial jurors by the chief justice on the materials the senators considered before they voted.

Yes, they will be instructed to consider only the information presented by the House managers and the President's defenders in the Senate chamber. But there is no way to erase their senatorial memory banks of the gossipy material they heard or even discussed after leaving the Senate chamber every day.

In a real trial, when the witness strays and reveals something which is not legally admissible, the judge will "strike" the testimony and order the jury to disregard what they have heard. Trial lawyers often ruefully observe that such an instruction is meaningless because, "You can't un-ring a bell." No one is making any attempt to "un-ring" the senatorial bell in the Trump trial, and it's a very big bell.

In the end, Trump will win because the Republicans have the votes, but he will come away from the whole process damaged.

Joe Biden, on the other hand, may be hurt even more. Though no criminality on his part has been proven, he was in a clear conflict-of-interest position when the Ukrainians started paying big bucks to his son, Hunter Biden. The then-Vice President Biden should have declined further involvement with the Ukrainians and salvaged his reputation.

Hunter may have needed the money and the "job," but it will probably cost his father the job he always wanted, President of the United States. When that happens, watch for Michael Bloomberg's rise in the polls as he spends billions of dollars of his personal funds to become the viable Democratic alternative to Trump.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 261167

Reported Deaths: 5713
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17561191
Hinds16687329
Harrison14050202
Rankin11102217
Jackson10729188
Lee9014143
Madison8495168
Jones6607114
Forrest6135122
Lauderdale6067192
Lowndes5490120
Lafayette511794
Lamar499865
Washington4904125
Bolivar4087109
Oktibbeha403581
Panola380981
Pontotoc374757
Monroe3651106
Warren3649103
Union353263
Marshall352069
Neshoba3464154
Pearl River3422105
Leflore3090109
Lincoln304287
Sunflower290373
Hancock288461
Tate279062
Alcorn270754
Pike268180
Itawamba266662
Scott256048
Yazoo253756
Prentiss251153
Copiah247649
Tippah247550
Coahoma245954
Simpson241471
Leake236167
Grenada222471
Marion220273
Covington219072
Adams212370
Wayne208432
Winston205870
George203539
Newton197346
Attala196461
Tishomingo193861
Chickasaw188444
Jasper177838
Holmes171368
Clay164237
Tallahatchie155635
Stone149525
Clarke144762
Calhoun139922
Smith127725
Yalobusha121134
Walthall114037
Greene112929
Noxubee112225
Montgomery111236
Carroll106422
Lawrence105617
Perry104031
Amite100826
Webster95424
Tunica88221
Claiborne87825
Jefferson Davis87727
Benton84823
Humphreys84224
Kemper80020
Quitman7049
Franklin69617
Choctaw62513
Wilkinson59625
Jefferson56520
Sharkey44817
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 436087

Reported Deaths: 6486
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63969994
Mobile31211565
Madison27851208
Tuscaloosa21233271
Montgomery19698326
Shelby19093130
Baldwin16981188
Lee13036105
Morgan12526134
Etowah11987179
Calhoun11441206
Marshall10357123
Houston8886158
Limestone827876
Cullman8203108
Elmore8120104
DeKalb7828103
Lauderdale7798103
St. Clair7763125
Talladega6394111
Walker6002177
Jackson594644
Colbert545276
Blount543986
Autauga532761
Coffee456762
Dale406883
Franklin372448
Russell349212
Chilton342873
Covington336068
Escambia330144
Dallas312096
Tallapoosa3120107
Chambers301170
Clarke293336
Pike261131
Marion251558
Lawrence250752
Winston232742
Bibb221248
Geneva208746
Marengo206529
Pickens199031
Hale182742
Barbour179337
Fayette177029
Butler172459
Cherokee164330
Henry158224
Monroe151320
Randolph144336
Washington140127
Clay129146
Crenshaw122944
Macon120937
Cleburne120724
Lamar119721
Lowndes113736
Wilcox106622
Bullock102228
Perry99118
Conecuh96821
Sumter90026
Greene76823
Coosa63215
Choctaw51724
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 54°
Columbus
Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 55°
Oxford
Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 46°
Starkville
Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 50°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather