The U.S. Senate impeachment trial is making a mockery of a significant provision of the United States Constitution, which gives the House of Representatives the sole power of impeachment and the Senate the sole power of impeachment trial.
And with nary a cry of protest, we are watching our Democracy as it is being upended.
The House, able to select from a virtual smorgasbord of high crimes and misdemeanors alleged committed and still being committed by President Donald J. Trump, picked just the ripest of the allegations; abuse of power for Trump's alleged quid pro quo request in a July 2019 phone call "asking" that the newly elected president of Ukraine (the place where, incidentally, the computer servers holding the "evidence" of Trump's debunked theories on crimes committed by his 2016 political rival reside) launch an investigation into "corruption."
Not just any corruption, but corruption allegedly involving just one person; his 2020 political rival, Joe Biden.
The president in his response to the investigation of that allegation added another. His alleged refusals to turn over documents necessary for the House investigation and to tell key members of his administration to ignore subpoenas, the House says, is obstruction of Congress.
The president, never explaining the grounds of his determination, claims it's executive privilege.
With a report presenting evidence that Donald J. Trump solicited aid from Russia to sway an America election in his favor in 2016, and a second complaint that he was allegedly doing it again in the election now just months away, House Democrats logically determined that waiting for the chance of a second rigged election was unwise, and so hurried to impeach with the idea of protecting the trust in our elections process.
If you can't trust the process by which we select officers to positions of trust, there's not much left to trust.
While the public hasn't been granted much access to the Senate impeachment trial, now underway, it seems that the House managers laid out their case almost exactly as expected, not taking into consideration the sudden availability of some of the very testimony sought during the House investigation or a key GAO ruling saying that the president's withholding of military aid to the Ukraine had indeed been illegal.
The president's counsel also put on the case expected; blaming the process, saying that because there was no testimony during the investigation from anyone with direct knowledge, there was no evidence and that, precisely as expected, "the President did nothing wrong." If he did, well, it doesn't rise to the level of an impeachable crime.
Oh, the articles also failed to mention any specific crime at all, so there can be no impeachment.
Exactly the "trust me" defense I warned of. ('Trust me' not a sufficient impeachment defense, January 19, 2020)
Not a single piece of evidence refuting the allegations was entered into the impeachment record by the defense to counter the 28,000-plus pages submitted by House managers prosecuting the president. There was not a single exculpatory claim that Donald J. Trump did not commit these crimes as alleged.
They did not disprove either of the allegations, arguing, basically, that if they are crimes, they don't matter. The president can do what he or she wants.
The President of the United States is above the law.
Most of America, 75-percent according to recent polls, see through the defense ploy and recognize that the President of the United States cannot withhold evidence and testimony from investigators investigating him, profess no wrongdoing and expect the trial to be considered fair or sufficient.
The Senate, all 100 of whom swore " ... that in all things appertaining to the trial of Donald John Trump, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help me God," cannot expect to conduct the trial without calling forth that testimony and those witnesses, or at least demanding a valid and legitimate explanation from the president detailing the grounds of his claims that executive privilege applies.
But it appears that two Senate Republican leaders, both of whom openly admitted well before the trial that they would not be impartial in all things appertaining to the trial of Donald John Trump, now pending, yet still swore an oath that they would, will continue down their not impartial path.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, is working behind the scenes to ensure that Senate Republicans hold fast on plans not to vote for calling witnesses, trying hard to corral the scant handful of Senate Republicans with the temerity to take their trial oath seriously and request to see that evidence.
None of those few are from Idaho or Montana.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, echoed at the conclusion of the president's defense a declaration he made long before the trial began; "I am ready to make my decision based on the record established in the House," he told reporters. "The House chose not to pursue witnesses that were available to them. I don't want to start a precedent of doing it half-assed in the House and expect the Senate to fix it."
Meanwhile, President Trump continues doing what President Trump does.
"Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man. He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!" he Tweeted on Sunday, adding on Tuesday, "No matter how many witnesses you give the Democrats, no matter how much information is given, like the quickly produced Transcripts, it will NEVER be enough for them. They will always scream UNFAIR. The Impeachment Hoax is just another political CON JOB!"
Shift blame, obfuscate, threaten.
We won't see for another day or two whether or not the Senate will call on the witnesses denied the House, or any others who might provide evidence to exonerate the president.
No matter which side of the aisle you're on, rest assured that this decision will have great and long-lasting implications, implications even more profound than whether the Senate convicts or, as is far more likely, exonerates this president.
It will determine if we, as a nation, a mere 244 years after giving the question a resounding "no," will at last have our very first king.