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A Tale of Three Trials

Donald Trump has become the third president to be #impeached. No amount of fact twisting can change that. What comes next is anyone’s guess, but three possible trial scenarios are emerging.

The first is one proposed by Senate Majority Leader #MoscowMitch McConnell (R-KY); the second is being pushed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). And finally, there is a competing version of the process being dictated by #defendantDonaldTrump, himself.

Under the McConnell version, there will be a brief , two-week trial with zero witnesses. McConnell and most Republicans have already predetermined the outcome. Those in the Senate, like those in the House of Representatives, have pledged to remain staunchly loyal to Trump, refusing to acknowledge the facts and intending to quickly end the process by immediately absolving Trump of any wrongdoing. They plan to use their majority to force a prompt vote for acquittal.

They believe this approach will create an upswell in Republican support, erase the stigma of impeachment and propel Trump to victory in 2020.

Meanwhile, Democrats want to question those first-hand witnesses to the Ukrainian phone call who were forbidden by Trump to testify during the House hearings, which became the basis for the impeachment charge of #ObstructionofCongress. Getting testimony from Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former National Security Advisor John Bolton could bolster their case for conviction and removal, so of course, this is being strongly opposed by Republicans.

This has led to an impasse, as the rules of the Senate trial are being established. As a result, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threatens to withhold the impeachment articles to force Republicans to the negotiating table. This move has angered Trump, who has demanded an immediate trial so he can use the expected not guilty verdict on the campaign trail.

And then there is the Donald Trump version.

Trump wants a protracted trial; a media spectacle which will parade witnesses eager to establish his innocence. You can only envision the witness list he wants to establish. Media darlings like Fox News' Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro are certain to be among those he’d want to testify on his behalf. He is sure to imagine a parade of cabinet officials who, like in Cabinet meetings, will pledge their loyalty and gush over how it is an honor to serve this tyrant.

In addition to seeing himself as a master showman, Trump also overrates himself as a businessman, so he sees the trial as an opportunity to bring in hordes of his supporters, eager to view his ultimate triumph while staying at his Washington hotel.

In essence, he sees it as both a political and business victory. He will undoubtably trumpet the ratings of the trial as “the best ever!”, inviting further supporters to join him. Even former White House advisor Steve Bannon is touting this as the trial of the century, giving it the hype Trump hopes to generate.

This is making Republicans nervous as they fear an extended trial could expose cracks in their case as witnesses potentially contradict each other. They, therefore, face the difficulty of remaining I’m lockstep with White House policy, with which they have pledged total coordination.

Hopefully some compromises can be reached, some witness testimony can be given, and the truth comes out. There needs to be a fair and open process for justice to truly be served.

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