Impeachment of President Donald J. Trump begins Tuesday, January 21. Chief Justice John Roberts will preside over the trial in the Senate. The House has sent managers to the Senate to prosecute the case against president Trump: Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, Zoe Lofgren, Hakeem Jeffries, Val Demings, Jason Crow, and Sylvia Garcia. The White House has named the defense team who will defend President Trump against the charges brought against him in the House: Pat Cipollone, Alan Dershowitz, Jane Raskin, Pam Bondi, Robert Ray, Jay Sekulow, Kenneth Starr, and Eric Hershmann,
So far, the impeachment of President Trump has been wholly, 100-percent prosecuted by Democrats. Not a single Republican in the House voted for hearings or voted to impeach President Trump. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in her Cruella de Vil moment, delighted in saying, “He’s been impeached forever!” Yes he has, but Trump is the only president ever impeached solely by one political party. That will merit an asterisk in the list of presidents who have been impeached by the House: Johnson, Clinton, and Trump.
Article I, Section 3, Clause 6 of the Constitution:
“The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present.”
One of the rules for this trial will surely test the patience of all 100 senators. “All persons are commanded to keep silence, on pain of imprisonment.” Whoa! Yes, that includes no cell phones! So, senators are required to sit and listen silently for hours on end to proof of wrongdoing by President Trump, and then listen silently for even more hours on end to Trump’s defense team refute the evidence presented by the House managers. Some have estimated this hearing of the evidence will take about two weeks. Must see TV!
Only after both sides have made their cases will the senators be allowed to consider the next steps, which include dismissing the charges or calling witnesses. The Senate can vote to dismiss the charges or call witnesses with a simple majority vote. Convicting the president requires “two-thirds of the Members present.” If the Senate votes to call more witnesses, the trial could stretch out for weeks in which the Senate is in session for six days every week until the charges are dismissed or a verdict is rendered.
Why? Last year Representative Al Green (D-TX) stated plainly why Democrats have wanted to impeach President Trump: “I’m concerned that if we don’t impeach this president, he will get re-elected.” So, the Democrats impeaching Trump has been all about the 2020 election!
The only thing worth watching in this latest circus in Washington will likely be a few Republican senators. Unlike lockstep Democrats, Republicans tend to vote their own consciences, sometimes even against their own colleagues and leaders. To be fair, two or three Democrat senators may vote with the Republican majority to dismiss charges or acquit Trump of all charges. After all, we’re talking politics here, not governance.
Speaking of governance, President Trump continues to make trade deals, improve the economy, create more jobs, and stand strong against our enemies, all the things you won’t see in the news during the impeachment trial.
Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville, MS. You may contact him at PJandMe2@gmail.com.