The Impeachment Trial of Donald J. Trump

On Wednesday, January 15, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi named  seven  Democratic House managers of the impeachment case against President Trump.  They were a diverse group of men and women who would prosecute the case for his removal from office. They were led by Adam Schiff of California, chairman of the  House  Intelligence Committee and Jerrold Nadler of New York, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Jason Crow of Colorado , a former Army Ranger who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was elected in 2018. He is a leading voice on national security. Val Demings of Florida , a former police chief, is known as a respected questioner in previous trials. Sylvia R. Garcia of Texas is a path- breaking Latina  lawmaker in the state. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, is a rising lawmaker who has emerged as a party leader. Zoe Lofgren of California is a veteran of the Nixon and Clinton inquiries.

Speaker Pelosi   signed the Articles of Impeachment slowly giving each manager a pen.  When the signing was complete,  she said , “President Donald J. Trump  is impeached for Posterity”.

The seven managers then carried the two Articles of Impeachment over to the Senate in a solemn procession.   There was coverage on all Cable networks of the signing and the procession.  This management team is far more diverse than the thirteen white men Republicans selected to prosecute President Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial.

On Thursday,  January 16,  The Senate was in session with Majority Leader McConnell in charge and Senator Grassley, the longest serving member in the chair.   Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John G. Roberts,  wearing his black robes, was escorted  into  the chamber where the senators were seated.  Grassley  greeted him and then asked him to raise his right hand with his left on the bible  before he administered the oath of impartiality.  Roberts  replied that he would and they shook hands.  He then moved to sit in the chair and address the senators.

Roberts asked them all to rise and raise their right hands.  Then he read the oath that called upon them to be impartial  as jurors in the trial of the president.  They all replied  they would.  Then,  each senator approached a desk at the front of the chamber where a recorder gave  a pen to sign the Registry .  The names of four senators were read aloud twenty five times in alphabetical order.  99 senators signed; one man was absent due to his wife’s illness.   They each signed the book  as a permanent record of the oath they had taken to be impartial jurors. This included Chairman Mc Connell who had said he would work with Trump and not be impartial  and Graham, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee who had said he would not read documents.  Both men had already said they wanted a speedy trial.

Roberts then read some procedural notes and adjourned the session until the following Tuesday.

The role of the Chief Justice in previous impeachment trials was written about in many newspapers and discussed on cable television.  Presiding over the Clinton trial, Chief Justice Rehnquist is quoted as saying, “I did nothing in particular and I did it very well.”   He was  pictured with gold stripes added to the sleeves of his black robes for the  significant occasion.

There are three current cases before the Supreme Court regarding Trump’s finances.  Another case concerns Trumps efforts to withdraw protection from the DACA immigrants who have lived here for years aiming to become citizens.   Many political columnists are addressing whether Roberts will be called upon to take a more active role than Rehnquist in the Senate Trial. Adam Liptak wrote in The New York Times,  “An Impeachment Trial Thrusts Roberts Into  Partisan Warfare”   He quoted from the Constitution, “When the president of The United states is tried, the chief justice shall preside.”  But the founding charter says  no more.  And what role the chief justice is to perform has proved baffling.

During the four days before the Trial would resume, major events occurred that would affect The Senate Trial.

On Friday, January  17,  Rachel Maddow conducted an in depth interview on MSNBC with Lev Parnas one of the men who worked with Rudy Giuliani on the stalking of  Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yuvonovich .  Parnas ,who is free on bail, described being  with President Trump often, supported by multiple pictures of them together at different times and places.  He agreed with Ambassador Sondland who said “everyone was in the loop.”  Also responded to Trump saying ,  “I don’t know the gentleman.  I take pictures with thousands of people.”   Parnas said bluntly,  “He lied.”   Parnas had become a cooperating witness and his testimony was on every talk show throughout the weekend.

Excerpts from Maddow’s interview were replayed many times by other commentators on Saturday and Sunday.  When the second half was shown on Sunday night, there were four million viewers.  Polls of Americans made clear that over 70 percent wanted witnesses and documents introduced into the Senate Trial.  Many said, “Whoever heard of a trial without witnesses?”

The big  news over the weekend  from The White House was that the president had added two “celebrity lawyers” to his team, Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz.   Since Trump appears to view the trial as a Television show, he was eager to have them join his regular lawyers.  Dershowitz immediately appeared on Ari Melber’s  hour and insisted that Abuse of Power in Article One is not a high crime and misdemeanor called for in The Constitution!  Ken Starr who ran the Clinton Impeachment was removed as Baylor University President over not acting on sexual abuses on the campus.  Both men have connections to Jeffrey Epstein the disgraced pedophile.

When the trial reconvenes tomorrow in the Senate, the men and women will not be allowed iphones  at their desks.  They must be silent and not ask questions.

Millions of Americans will be watching to see if Mitch McConnell will allow a rules change to include witnesses and documents in the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump.

Epilogue:

Tuesday morning January 21, 2020.  Last evening about six , Breaking News brought three BIG stories.   Donald J. Trump was boarding Air Force One to fly to Davos, Switzerland for the annual conference.  Mitch McConnell had released his plans for the Senate Impeachment Trial on a fast paced schedule.   He said weeks ago that he would work with the White House on the trial and the results shows that he did just that.  The third story was the White House lawyers release of a one hundred and ten page Brief (oxymoron) where they wrote that “the two Articles of Impeachment were constitutionally flawed and set a dangerous precedent”.

At about three this afternoon, the Democratic managers will begin their arguments in support of the Articles of Impeachment.  They will continue until midnight when most Americans will be sleeping.  Not prime time, for sure.    Each side will have 24 hours divided over two days.    By Saturday, this segment will be over.  Next week, the question of having witnesses, which 71 percent of the American public want will be raised.

At 1 p.m. today, the Trial will start.  I hope millions of Americans will be watching.   Perhaps Donald J. Trump will also watch in Davos.

……………………………………………..Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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