BREAKING NEWS Severe Thunderstorm Warning issued for Jackson, Madison, Marshall counties Full Story
SEVERE WX : Severe Thunderstorm Warning View Alerts

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.

Huntsville
Scattered Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 97° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 94°
Florence
Few Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 97°
Fayetteville
73° wxIcon
Hi: 96° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 73°
Decatur
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 91°
Scottsboro
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 72°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 99390

Reported Deaths: 1733
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13109243
Mobile9947207
Montgomery6835148
Madison537834
Tuscaloosa421373
Unassigned359961
Baldwin354425
Shelby328335
Marshall316736
Lee267845
Morgan239318
Etowah212131
DeKalb181913
Calhoun178414
Elmore172338
Walker152664
Houston139812
Russell13682
St. Clair133817
Limestone133313
Dallas132323
Franklin127420
Cullman122512
Colbert118113
Autauga116921
Lauderdale116719
Escambia108217
Talladega102614
Jackson9894
Tallapoosa85579
Chambers84138
Dale83424
Blount8004
Chilton7926
Butler76436
Coffee7616
Covington73520
Pike7097
Clarke6629
Barbour5755
Marion57424
Lowndes57224
Marengo55215
Hale47626
Bullock46411
Winston45311
Perry4424
Bibb4385
Wilcox42910
Monroe4214
Randolph40110
Pickens4009
Conecuh39310
Washington39112
Sumter36018
Lawrence3491
Macon33514
Crenshaw3185
Choctaw28312
Cherokee2737
Henry2633
Geneva2611
Clay2585
Greene25111
Lamar2222
Fayette2075
Cleburne1271
Coosa1012
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 122712

Reported Deaths: 1223
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby23238304
Davidson20620213
Rutherford655354
Hamilton613253
Knox460039
Williamson355125
Sumner343373
Unassigned316110
Out of TN292414
Wilson229023
Bradley194312
Montgomery193913
Sevier18867
Putnam176718
Trousdale15836
Robertson155819
Hamblen139614
Blount130311
Maury12577
Washington12522
Tipton120810
Madison110217
Sullivan99414
Bedford92811
Hardeman91717
Macon86013
Lake7870
Loudon7423
Gibson7175
Bledsoe7051
Fayette6988
Dickson6912
Anderson6846
Dyer6508
Cheatham5957
Henderson5932
Jefferson5684
Obion5654
Lawrence5626
McMinn54720
Coffee5453
Rhea5362
Warren5304
Carter5226
Lauderdale5088
Haywood5006
Greene4928
Cocke4752
Roane4752
Hawkins4727
Hardin4718
Cumberland4576
Smith4524
Weakley4514
Monroe4449
Giles38113
McNairy3785
DeKalb3602
Franklin3304
Carroll3143
Lincoln3021
Marshall3013
White2935
Henry2880
Johnson2800
Claiborne2720
Crockett2695
Hickman2680
Campbell2481
Wayne2262
Marion2244
Chester2212
Decatur2133
Polk2063
Grainger1970
Overton1951
Unicoi1660
Union1600
Benton1551
Cannon1470
Jackson1271
Humphreys1243
Morgan1221
Scott1190
Grundy1142
Meigs1060
Sequatchie1050
Fentress930
Perry810
Hancock802
Clay760
Lewis751
Stewart740
Moore630
Houston590
Van Buren360
Pickett351

Community Events