The impeachment trial of Donald John Trump has gone just beyond the halfway point as Democrats have concluded their case in the first phase and the White House has launched its defense, which will end with a decision whether or not witnesses will be called.
In the above video, Not Fake News editor and publisher Bob Gatty and I discuss where things currently stand. We also discussed where we see things going from here, especially with the revelation of the “Bolton Bombshell” which threatens to undo any strategy being considered by Trump’s lawyers.
Here are our conclusions.
The Democrats, fearful of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) wording, when he presented the rules governing the trial, sought to get as much of the House Impeachment hearings on the record. At the last minute, McConnell changed the word “may” to “will”, thus allowing House evidence to be a part of the impeachment record.
In their opening statements, the Democratic impeachment managers carefully and methodically laid out their case, complete with exhibits, corroborating video evidence and well rehearsed arguments as they sought to make a case for Trump’s removal from office.
The Trump attorneys, on the other hand, in their early presentations had their say in brief snippets, rehashing old arguments and accusations with little or no substance to back up their rhetoric. Instead, they resorted to accusations and innuendo, which demonstrated just how they will approach their defense of “the perfect phone call” and foreshadowed their defense that Trump did nothing wrong.
Abuse of Power
In laying out their argument for the first article of impeachment, abuse of power, Democrats presented a clear path as to how Trump sought to use a foreign government to intervene in the 2020 elections by enlisting the aid of Ukraine in “getting dirt” on who Trump saw as his greatest threat to re-election, former Vice-President Joe Biden. They presented evidence showing that the information sought by Trump and his associates was a months long process, and not limited to a single “perfect phone call”.
The next day, their focus shifted to second article of impeachment , which alleged that Trump obstructed Congress by refusing to allow witnesses or submit requested documents. Lead House Impeachment Manager Adam Schiff (D-CA) argued that a failure to hold Trump accountable for these actions would result in a complete abandonment of the separation of powers.
At the end of each day, Republicans were interviewed, with most stating they were unconvinced by the Democrats arguments. They cited lack of evidence and lack of first-hand witnesses as reasons for their stance, which is ironic since this is exactly the motivation behind the second article of impeachment.
Now, it appears the “Bolton Bombshell” may well be enough to convince enough Republican senators – four are necessary to provide the required simple majority assuming all Democratic votes hold -- of the need for witnesses -- at least Bolton.
Most likely, the White House will press for testimony from former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who had a lucrative contract as a member of the Burisma energy company board of directors. Burisma, of course, had been investigated by Ukraine authorities for corruption, but Hunter Biden was never accused of wrongdoing. Joe Biden already has said – flatly – that he will not testify.
Much is yet to unfold over the next several days as the Senate trial continues.
Will it be enough to convince sufficient numbers of reluctant Republican senators to follow the evidence and kick Trump to the curb?
At this point, it appears that the answer is no with acquittal appearing to be inevitable along party lines -- unless there are even more revelations that are further damaging to Trump.
The next few days will determine the fate of Donald John Trump and our nation.