Trump’s Defense Team: They Play Lawyers On TV And They Are Lawyers. Good Ones!
You have to give the guy credit. Where the rubber meets the road on the blue carpet of the Senate chamber, Mr. Trump will have TV stars defending him not the yahoos who tried to exonerate him unsuccessfully in the House. Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr plus his own in-house guys and Pam Bondi. Pelosi’s crew cannot measure up to that group in star power or TV wattage.
Will this matter?
You bet it will.
Trump’s team has really one goal—no witnesses. All they need to do is prevent four Republican senators from crossing over and voting to open up the trial and they will succeed. Surely, some Republican will make a motion to dismiss. Only if four Republicans vote nae, will dismissal not occur. I would guess that the opening arguments of Team Trump will be that there is no evidence and no case so there can be only a dismissal. The fact that Trump blocked the acquisition of such evidence during the indictment phase (impeachment) will not deter the president’s men (and one woman).
The thinking goes that Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, and Lamar Alexander could supply the four votes. Cory Gardner of Colorado is also a possibility. Of course, that assumes no defections from the Dems and Doug Moore might vote with the GOP. What would be great is a 50-50 split that throws the decision to Chief Justice Roberts. How will he rule? My guess is that he would allow witnesses so as not to appear to be preventing justice and a fair trial. After all, most trials have witnesses.
Lindsey Graham seems to think that the House was an investigative body and if the House did not call a witness, why should the Senate have to? Look to article two of impeachment-Obstruction of Congress. The reason there weren’t more House witnesses is that Trump prevented their testifying and the House would not wait to subpoena them and delay the proceedings for months as the courts delayed a decision until after the 2020 election. That was the logic of the Dems anyway. The 2020 election is upon us and we cannot afford to delay. I happen to disagree and think that the electoral calendar should have had no bearing on what the Dems did to build their case. They should have subpoenaed John Bolten and the others and been more patient.
There is a lot still up in the air and Mrs. Pelosi may have been right to delay sending the articles to the Senate as more and more damning evidence against the president seems to dribble out every day. Who knew from Lev Parnas? (Certainly not Donald Trump despite sharing a lawyer with him, John Dowd.) Now Parnas may well implicate the entire executive branch of the government in the Ukraine scandal.
The Government Accountability Office, a non-partisan branch of the government, has declared the Trump delay of the aid to Ukraine a “crime.” Hey, this is starting to get interesting after all as the GOP argument that there cannot be an impeachment without a crime just went away.
But consider a debate between Jerrold Nadler and Alan Dershowitz. No contest, right?
In his classic fashion, Trump has thrown the guys that have gotten him this far, the GOP members of House Intelligence and House Judiciary Committees, under the nearest DC Metro bus and gone for reality TV stars—like himself—as his legal team.
And speaking of witnesses, if we get to that, and I certainly hope we do, not only will we likely get John Bolten and Schumer’s other three, but Joe Biden, Hunter Biden and maybe even Trump himself. Both sides might call Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo. Who the heck knows what they’ll say? Anything to keep their jobs.
This circus has just begun and Mr. Trump has guaranteed that “lions and tigers and bears” along with “the jugglers and the clowns” are just what we are likely to see over the next few weeks, unless his team can block a real trial.
The fate of the nation, the next election and all that is right and decent in America now hangs on the shoulders of a few GOP senators. Will any of them have a Profiles in Courage moment and buck their party establishment or will they just turn tail and allow Trump and his lawyers to make a mockery of an impeachment action that is already close to one as it is?
To quote Jason Robards, Jr. as Ben Bradlee speaking to Woodward and Bernstein in All the President’s Men:
“Nothing’s riding on this except the, uh, first amendment to the Constitution, freedom of the press, and maybe the future of the country. Not that any of that matters, but if you guys f*** up again, I’m going to get mad. Goodnight.”