Raskin Maryland

Democrats’ ‘Shitshow’ Helped Lead to Trump’s Acquittal

The Democrats’ second hyperpartisan impeachment effort of former President Donald Trump apparently devolved into a circular firing squad shortly before Trump’s second acquittal.

The issue seems to be the failure to call witnesses.

Yet the leader of the House impeachment managers said witnesses would have been irrelevant, given that most Republicans believed the process was unconstitutional anyway.

As Breitbart News reported on Saturday, “Senate Democrats blamed House impeachment managers for not informing them they wanted to vote for witnesses until Saturday morning.” And, “once the two groups decided to move forward, they had no plan for what to do next.”

Continuing, Breitbart noted, “While Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and his fellow senators had prepared to vote on witnesses, they got no warning that the head House prosecutor was about to force a vote that could have extended the trial for days or even weeks.”

Additionally, reported Breitbart, “Senate Democrats held a Saturday morning conference call blaming House Democrat managers for keeping them in the dark about their plans. … The managers then began informing the senators that they wanted the witnesses five minutes before the Senate was set to convene.”

“The Senate quickly voted 55-45 to consider potential witnesses, even though the vote on witnesses surprised Schumer. But after Democrats voted to move forward, House managers did not know what to do next.”

What they did next was cut a deal with Trump’s defense team that allowed one witness statement, by GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, and move toward closing arguments.

Herrera Beutler had claimed that Trump told House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy that the rioters were “more upset” about the election than he was, and declined to more forcefully to tell the mob to stand down.

Per Breitbart, “The Senate agreed that having Herrera Beutler and other witnesses testify would be appropriate before a verdict could be decided. The decision, however, quickly proved to be controversial among congressional Democrats.”

Yet many Senate Democrats “feared that a lengthy witness review process would delay even further the legislative agenda of the newly installed Biden administration.”

And Republicans promised as much.

GOP Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, the vice chairwoman of the Senate Republican conference, referred to the Democrats’ internal squabbling as a “total, total shit show,” according to Breitbart.

“If they want to drag this out, we’ll drag it out. They won’t get their noms (nominations), they won’t get anything,” Ernst reportedly said.

So, the deal was cut, and Trump walked.

But Rep. Jamie Raskin, the Maryland Democrat who led the impeachment effort, told reporters that witnesses would not have swayed GOP senators.

“If you listen to Mitch McConnell and the Republicans who are now hurriedly explaining why they voted not to convict, all of them are hinging it on a legal argument, jurisdictional, or some other legal argument that could never be overcome by any number of witnesses,” Raskin said.

“We could have had 5,000 witnesses and Mitch McConnell would be making the same speech. Because what he’s asserting is that the Senate never has jurisdiction over a former president. … The point is that no number of witnesses demonstrating that Donald Trump continued to incite the insurrectionists even after the invasion of the Capitol would convince them. They wouldn’t be convinced.”

Perhaps they wouldn’t be convinced because, as the libertarian Cato Institute Chairman Robert Levy has argued, the Constitution says nothing about “former” presidents.

“Our federal government has only those powers enumerated in the Constitution,” Levy wrote last month. “It does not have the power to impeach a former president.”

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