Congressional Democrats are already undermining the legitimacy of a likely impeachment trial in the Senate, which is widely expected not to convict President Donald Trump.
The Democratic-controlled House is scheduled to vote Wednesday on two articles of impeachment against the president, which would send the articles over to the Republican-controlled Senate. The House needs a simply majority to impeach the president; however, two-thirds of the Senate is required to remove the president from office.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he doesn’t expect any Republican senators to vote for removing Trump from office, and Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham predicted that impeachment will “die quickly” in the Senate.
With the impeachment effort likely to fall short in the Senate, many Democrats are already working to discredit the anticipated result. Democrats have accused Senate Republicans of running a rigged trial by not calling witnesses who haven’t appeared in House Democrats’ hearings.
“Not just the issue of impeachment, but the Senate itself will also be on trial,” Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin said Monday. “We owe it to our nation to be impartial and dignified in our proceedings.”
Democratic Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer called the Senate proceeding a “sham trial” and said the House should gather more information before sending the articles to the Senate. “Rather than allow for a sham trial in the Senate, we should keep gathering information & let the process ripen,” he wrote on Twitter.
“I’m stunned that McConnell would refuse to call witnesses because they might have information about wrongdoing. This is an utter abdication of the senate’s constitutional checks and balances responsibility,” Democratic Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley wrote on Twitter Tuesday. (RELATED: Impeachment Star Adam Schiff Won First Congressional Race By Campaigning Against Impeachment)
“It is incumbent on every Senator to ensure that the impeachment trial not become a farce,” asserted Democratic Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz. “That depends on whether 4 Republicans will stand up against a ridiculously quick process. Right now, you have head juror McConnell proudly promising that it will be over before it starts.”
“I call on every person in this country to demand that their U.S. senator demands an actual trial with the facts on the table. They can call the witnesses they want, but have a real trial and do not coordinate with the White House, because that’s a ridiculous idea,” Democratic Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal told The Washington Post last week.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer argued Tuesday that Democrats should be able to call their witnesses in order to have a “fair trial” — a suggestion McConnell dismissed as a “fishing expedition.”
“The House chose this road. It is their duty to investigate. It’s their duty to meet the very high bar for undoing a national election,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday.
“As Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi herself once said, it is the House’s obligation to, quote, ‘build an ironclad case to act.’ If they fail, they fail. It is not the Senate’s job to leap into the breach and search desperately for ways to get to guilty,” he said. “That would hardly be impartial justice.”
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