Tues­day was kick­off for im­peach­ment bowl

Antelope Valley Press - - OPINION -

The U.S. Se­nate, on Tues­day, opened its im­peach­ment trial with a marathon de­bate about how to con­duct the high-level, con­sti­tu­tional su­per bowl.

The con­tro­ver­sial con­flict is a tele­vised demon­stra­tion fea­tur­ing prime el­e­ments of the United States’ triple branches of gov­ern­ment — leg­isla­tive, ex­ec­u­tive and ju­di­cial.

This pro­found ex­hi­bi­tion of­fers cit­i­zens a rare view of the Chief Jus­tice John Roberts of the Supreme Court who is the pre­sid­ing of­fi­cer over the trial.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald J. Trump, who is the sub­ject of the im­peach­ment that was voted on by the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, spent Tues­day in Davos, Switzer­land, at­tend­ing an in­ter­na­tional sum­mit on cli­mate change.

In ad­di­tion, Tues­day’s ses­sion pro­vided the first glimpses of how House Democrats and the pres­i­dent’s lawyers will present their cases.

With the ca­ble tele­vi­sion net­works air­ing nearly all of the trial Tues­day, both par­ties took ad­van­tage of the ex­po­sure, each bit­terly ac­cus­ing the other of ly­ing about the facts and en­dan­ger­ing the na­tion’s democ­racy.

The news item that led many of the sto­ries in­volved Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, who backed off some of his pro­posed rules: Eas­ing plans for a tight two-day sched­ule and agree­ing that House ev­i­dence will be in­cluded.

His switch oc­curred af­ter sen­a­tors, in­clud­ing some fel­low GOP of­fi­cials, protested his orig­i­nal plan.

By the time the pro­longed ses­sion ended shortly be­fore 2 a.m., Wed­nes­day in Washington D.C., Se­nate Repub­li­cans had re­jected 11 Demo­cratic amend­ments, most of which sought sub­poe­nas for White House of­fi­cials.

On Wed­nes­day, the White House pro­fes­sion­als de­fend­ing Trump passed up a chance to force a vote to dis­miss the im­peach­ment charges against the pres­i­dent be­fore ar­gu­ments got un­der­way.

A mo­tion to dis­miss could still be of­fered later in the trial. The GOP con­gres­sional lead­ers have coun­seled the White House that it is bet­ter po­lit­i­cally, for the trial to run its course and de­liver a full ac­quit­tal of the pres­i­dent, rather than cut­ting it short and en­abling Democrats to ar­gue the re­sult is il­le­git­i­mate.

Democrats warned that the rules pack­age from Trump’s ally, the Se­nate GOP leader, could force mid­night ses­sions that would keep most Amer­i­cans in the dark and cre­ate a sham pro­ceed­ing.

”This is not a process for a fair trial, this is the process for a rigged trial,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chair­man of the House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee lead­ing the pros­e­cu­tion, told re­porters. He called it a “cover-up.”

He opened his ar­gu­ments be­fore the Se­nate play­ing a video of Trump call­ing for more wit­nesses to tes­tify. Schiff noted the sud­den change in pro­posed rules made mo­ments be­fore he rose to ad­dress the cham­ber. “The facts will come out in the end,” he said. The ques­tion is, will they come out in time?”

McCon­nell said the pres­i­dent’s lawyers will fi­nally re­ceive a level play­ing field, con­trast­ing it with the House im­peach­ment in­quiry.

Trump had en­dorsed the pro­posal from his at­tor­neys to dis­cour­age the pres­i­dent’s team from seek­ing a swift dis­missal.

Ob­servers of the trial said that dis­missal vote in the first week would al­most cer­tainly have failed to at­tract a ma­jor­ity of sen­a­tors, di­vid­ing Repub­li­cans and deal­ing the pres­i­dent an early sym­bolic de­feat.

No one knows how this trial will end, but mil­lions of peo­ple are watch­ing the pro­ceed­ings, proving that a huge plu­ral­ity of vot­ers are in­tensely in­ter­ested in the de­vel­op­ments in this dra­matic po­lit­i­cal pro­duc­tion.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald J.Trump’s im­peach­ment trial opened full throt­tle on Tues­day and there is in­tense in­ter­est on the now-un­known out­come.

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