It was obvious from the onset that the two sides had very different strategies in the housekeeping phase of the Senate Impeachment trial of President Trump. The first day of the trial was devoted to debating the rules to be in force during the Senate trial – specifically whether documents and witnesses should be summoned before the start of the trial or whether that issue should be considered by the senators after both sides have presented their cases.
Throughout the 13 hours that the senators dealt with the timing of witnesses, it was obvious that the various amendments proposed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer – and argued for acceptance by the House Democrat Managers – were doomed to failure. The 53 Republicans opposed to the amendments bested the 47 Democrats who voted in favor – again establishing that the entire impeachment process is founded on political partisanship.
The conflicting strategies were evident on the clock. The Democrat House Managers used all their time to hold the floor. The attorneys representing the defense used only a fraction of their time. The variance in the use of time was based on those very different strategies.
The House Managers used most of their time to TRY THE CASE. They used the question of when witnesses should be considered to re-sell the case they proffered in the House Intelligence Committee, in the House Judiciary Committee, when they voted the Articles of Impeachment out of the Judiciary Committee, when the Articles were passed by most house Democrats (without any Republican votes), when the Articles were finally delivered to the Senate – and now again when the Senate was debating only the rules.
Democrats cannot seem to get over the fact that no matter how many times they tread over the same arguments, the needle of public perception and opinion does not move very much – and to the extent it has moved, it has been to Trump’s benefit.
Democrat Managers offered up a full-blown prosecutorial case – with the extensive use of graphics and videos, including those of witnesses in the House’s impeachment process. They meticulously regurgitated all of the charges incorporated in the Articles. In fact, they repeated the same points over and over – often using the same videos over and over.
The House Managers demonstrated the political motivations of the impeachment process by using a significant amount of their time to advance political disagreements Democrat have with Trump and Republicans – but that had NO relevancy to the housekeeping issue at hand. They talked about the number of bills the House passed but have not been taken up by the Senate. They brought up civil rights. They talked about presidential veracity. None of it relevant to the debate over the rules. It was all geared for their pals in the press and the court-of-public-opinion. Just another attempt to sell their snake oil.
Conversely, the attorneys representing Trump refuted very little of the case-based allegations raised by the Democrats. This brought them a lot of criticism from left-wing media. The panels of parroting panelists and CNN and MSNBC all praised the House Managers and criticized what they determined to be the weakness of the President’s team – even calling them incompetent. The Anti-Trump news media went into overdrive in joining in the prosecution.
But … is it possible that the president’s team has outfoxed the Democrats?
Once the housekeeping arguments were over, the Senate moved on to the presentation of the actual case charged by House Democrats – which will be yet ANOTHER repeat of the same old talking points. If the Trump attorneys had not already known in detail of the Democrats strategy in pressing their case, they certainly know it now.
None of the prolonged amendments battle is likely to produce any positive results – although Schumer appears to still believe that repeating the same issues and raising the same concerns will move the needle of public opinion in Democrats favor. Schumer’s exercise in futility may well tire the public.
After some eight hours of same old, same old testimony by Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to persuade Schumer to package the remainder of his amendments into one vote. Schumer refused and carried on his political folly for another five hours – finally ending around two in the morning.
Taking up dozens of hours to pursue a score of stillborn amendments was an entire waste of time and an affront to the process. It is politics over common sense – and it just may backfire on the Democrats.
The Democrats will now have a total of 2 hours over three days to present their case (again). What they could possibly say during such a loooong brief (with apologies for the oxymoron) is hard to imagine. There is going to be very little we have not heard. In fact, the Democrat House Managers are likely to use much of their time to continue to plead the case for more documents and witnesses – which will AGAIN be debated following the conclusion of the President’s defense arguments.
This whole thing is starting to look like a comedy sketch that is being turned into a very boring full-length movie. Fortunately, this too shall pass.
So, there ‘tis.