Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Senate Trial Opens - And The Solemnity and Historical Significance Should Ensure No Circus Erupts

Impeachment managers walk the articles over to the Senate yesterday

"This whole thing stinks.  It's exactly why you need to have live witnesses and a real trial. If you're a Senate Republican right now, I don't care how conservative you are and how much you love this president, you've got to love this country more. The truth has to come out, that's what the American way is."  - Former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal last night on 'Last Word'.

Following  yesterday's 228-to-193 vote to adopt the two articles of impeachment and appoint the House impeachment managers (primary litigators) the stage is now set for one of the more polarizing events in the past fifty years. One which will, ultimately, determine whether we are a nation of laws and justice, or renegade scofflaws.  A nation in which we have a government defined by checks and balances, or a de facto monarchy.  If the words and messaging of Mitch McConnell are to be believed the latter is the case, but that is still to play out in the next few weeks with this Senate trial.

 The solemn procession of the trial managers came almost one month after the House impeached Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, formally accusing him of seeking foreign election assistance from Ukraine and then trying to conceal his actions from a House inquiry. Only one Democrat, Representative Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota, joined every Republican in voting “no.”    This cowardice alone is mystifying given the emergence of a trove of new documents related to Trump’s pressure campaign.   These have  played directly into Democrats’ arguments that any trial must include new witnesses and evidence.  The material includes messages between Giuliani "henchman" Lev  Parnas and a reprobate named Robert Hyde - currently running for a GOP congressional seat in Connecticut.

Parnas, a businessman and Republican donor indicted for campaign finance violations, claimed last night in an interview with MSNBCs Rachel Maddow, that: "Trump “knew exactly what was going on” in a scheme to pressure Ukrainian officials to investigate Joe Biden, according to an associate of the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani."

On behalf of Giuliani, Parnas said he told a Ukrainian official that unless the administration announced an intention to investigate the Bidens, Mike Pence would not attend the Zelenskiy’s inauguration. The next day, “to my awareness”, said Parnas, Trump called to inform Ukrainian officials that Pence would cancel his trip to Ukraine.

Parnas also said other members of the Trump administration knew about the Ukraine pressure campaign. He said William Barr, the attorney general, “was basically on the team”. And the former national security adviser John Bolton, who recently indicated he would testify in the Senate impeachment trial if he was subpoenaed, also “100%” knew about the scheme, Parnas said.   Also in up to his ears was a Trumpster rat named Robert Hyde who's job was evidently keeping Parnas and his then overseer - a corrupt former Ukrainian prosecutor named Yuriy  Lutsenko -  in the loop on getting rid of then U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovonavitch,

Hyde's stalking of Yovonavitch, from the documented messages released, included the following:  

"She's next to the embassy. They'll let me know when she's on the move."

  "They're willing to help if we/you would like a price"    

"Guess you can do anything in the Ukraine with money."

Hyde's messaging warrants further scrutiny at the very least, which means dragging him into questioning in a Senate trial.  To ignore the documented material on the basis of "he's blowing off steam" or "it's all beer talk" would be a failure of responsibility on a level with the Warren Commission's omission of dozens of equally unsavory first hand witnesses. (Though again, the WC was not an official gov't investigation but a creation of LBJ, to cover his own hide.) 

What we now know is that the Internal Affairs Ministry of Ukraine is taking Hyde's stalking and surveillance seriously.  According to the NY Times, the Ministry said in a statement released this a.m.  that “the published messages contain facts of possible violations of Ukrainian law and of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, which protect the rights of diplomats on the territory of another state.”

And further , Ukraine “cannot ignore such illegal activities” on its territory, the statement said, adding that the national police had started criminal proceedings after analyzing the new material.    It is also of interest to note that Ukraine said it had asked the F.B.I. for help investigating the reported penetration of computer systems belonging to Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company, by hackers working for Russian intelligence.  This is the same lot for whom most of the Reep Senators will be working, if they buy into the "Ukraine did it" bollocks. (And actually try to get Hunter Biden as a witness, as the moron Rand Paul vowed, i.e. if Dems are granted their (real) witnesses.)

Anyway, the trial is  now set to begin with the reading of the articles, charges today and in earnest by next Tuesday. Today also  Chief Justice John G. Roberts will be sworn in to preside and all Senators will take an oath to administer “impartial justice.”.   That means the Repuke Senators cannot have already found Trump "not guilty" or attempted an instant dismissal.  That would be a cover- up in plain sight, and merit naming this a sham trial.  As Jerrold Nadler put it: "The Senate is on trial here too."  Indeed it is. 

Following Roberts summoning the Senate must then promptly issue a summons to Trump,  informing him of the charges and requesting a response.  Already we know the orange maggot is losing it as he keeps up his screeching episodes in front of WH aides, in between tweeting "This is a hoax!" and watching his bosom buddies on Fox and Friends.

OK,  to revisit reality, we know this POS resident will most likely be acquitted no matter how the trial plays out, or for how long.

  In that event, we also can be sure such a pestilence as Donald J. Trump is almost certain to use his likely acquittal in the Republican-controlled Senate as a complete exoneration and turn the considerable apparatus of his campaign to stoking public outrage over the process.  

This is where the rubber hits the road, and then becomes the test of whether we have a court of final appeal residing in the American public, i.e. its willingness to vote this criminal out of office, given his own party refuses to honor its constitutional duty. It will take immense fortitude and clarity of mind, as well as supreme self-regulation not to be buffeted and succumb to the  torrent of lies, disinformation and propaganda. (Former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul warned last night of a wave of disinformation sown by Russian bots during the Senate trial - all with the intent to mindfuck millions.)

Let's get into our heads that Trump's behavior is not just abnormal.  No, it instead marks the epitome of corruption.  That is,  a person given public power to act for the people but who then takes that and uses it for his own selfish, private gain.  Most constitutional scholars - not the dopey "Federalist Society" idiots-  grasped that the Founders took corruption most seriously. Indeed, it was central to the founding of this country.  After the decision to become these 'United States' the next question was how do we protect against corruption. 

A quarter of the time, at the Constitutional Convention, the Framers were all about corruption in sundry aspects:  the treaty power, the size of districts, the Electoral College.  Everything was debated in terms of how do we protect against corruption.  Inherent to this, implicitly understood was the danger of Republics, or their potential weakness.

That is, they could become corrupted if a corrupt politician or demagogue - especially one with an energetic minority (or majority) backing, somehow was elected.  Thus, the framers were less afraid of external threats than internal threats of corruption.   One of the Founders and Framers most aware of this was George Mason. Who, at the Constitutional Convention, said the following:

"Shall the man who has practiced corruption, and by that means procured his appointment in the first instance, be suffered to escape punishment by repeating his guilt?"

In other words, should an unfit swine like Donald Trump, who's already escaped accountability in the Mueller investigation, be now allowed to once more use bribery of a foreign power to get re-relected, and thereby escape his just punishment?

Thus, Mason was aware that it's not just the corruption he was worried about (as well as other Founders, like James Madison) but also if such man becomes corrupt enough that he can corrupt the electoral process itself, to get into power again- and escape all sanction.

The Mason quote, interestingly, came in the midst of the Framers' debate about impeachment. The original drafts for the impeachment provision  were more concerned with malpractice or the neglect of duty. But Mason and others were so worried about corruption that they insisted the provisions include bribery, treason and maladministration. 

They then decided the last was too broad and ambiguous so it was taken out an replaced with "high crimes and misdemeanors" -  which had a very precise meaning at that time (i.e. in the English tradition).  For reference, the three major proponents of the impeachment power were: Edmund Jennings Randolph, Mason and James Madison.

Each talked not only about corruption but foreign corruption, i.e. the unique dangers  of an executive have powers in the foreign realm. Randolph, for example,  was worried about an executive becoming corrupted in matters of war and peace, because people wouldn't necessarily know about them. Say Trump making a secret deal with Kim Jong Un or Recip Tayyip Erdogan, that was against U.S. security interests.

This is exactly the case with Trump and his Ukraine extortion, and why impeachment - as well as rapid removal from office - is essential.  The codswallop that the whole impeachment process is a "hoax" or "revenge" on poor Dotard  for the 2016 debacle is without any basis. None. Hence, today's Wall Street Journal editorial piffle, (p. A14):

"The Senate can now do better by the Constitution by holding a trial that judges President Trump without validating the partisan House process and its weak case."

Is total, inexcusable and egregious balderdash, but typical of the WSJ's op-ed page propaganda and disinfo.

In fact, the House Dems produced an impeachment inquiry for the ages, calling dozens of high profile witnesses to testify including Fiona Hill, Gordon Sondland, Kurt Volker, David Holmes, Marie Yovonavitch, William Taylor, and many others.  All of them produced devastating direct testimony of Trump's criminal acts, to do with shaking down Volodymyr Zelenskiy to announce an investigation of the Bidens - in return for nearly $400 m of military aid to Ukraine. (Now threatened by the Russians in the Donbass region)

The problem is that if the majority Reeps in the Senate adopt the governing narrative (seeded by the Russian security services) that Ukraine was really the interloper in the 2016 election and Trump was the victim- then we are witness to no more than a kangaroo court with no positive outcome for removing the turd.  Worse, by carrying water for the already discredited GRU and their conspiracy codswallop - like Lindsey Graham plans to do to use against the Bidens - we can declare that all these miscreants are de facto traitors. They are openly using debunked material from a foreign security service to undermine our Republic, and indeed, to destroy it.

Yes, it is true as one commenter said this morning,  that they are acting to protect themselves from being primaried - thanks to Trump's hold on his dumb base. But that is putting one's job and party before country. Another form of treason, and at the very least a violation of one's Senatorial oath to protect and defend the Constitution.   Not Donald J. Trump.

Given the above,  all eyes will be watching  - to the extent they are able (given Moscow Mitch plans to control media-press access in the Chamber). Still, the final verdict on the Repubs may well marginalize them forever as a national party.   See e.g.

Indeed, numerous commentators have already referred to the solemnity and gravitas of the occasion of this trial with a Supreme Court Chief Justice presiding.  At the very least this ought to inspire a seriousness of purpose that was absent in the carnival -like House hearings - with assorted Reepo buffoons  (like Doug Collins and Jim Jordan) acting like the clowns they are.

See also:

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