In the next few weeks, the U.S. House of Representatives may vote to approve articles of impeachment.
The governmental activity that the public has been witnessing over the past few weeks regarding the potential impeachment of the 45th president would be transferred over to the U.S. Senate, which unlike the House of Representatives is under Republican control.
If the Democrats actually pull off a vote to impeach the president, they just may find themselves ruing the day. The politically charged impeachment drama could play out in the following manner:
Republicans in the Senate would make the case that the House articles of impeachment are the product of a highly flawed process. They would point out that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff kicked off the hearings in a shroud of secrecy. Curiously, only information favorable to the Democrats was allowed to leak out.
Senate Republicans would also note that the chairman ran a series of closed-door depositions, a.k.a. “auditions,” followed by open televised testimony sessions that posed as committee hearings.
Much of the above mentioned was in flagrant violation of constitutional norms and is easily recognizable as an assault on due process.
GOP senators would highlight that Schiff’s rabidly partisan proceedings were devoid of fairness. Ranking Republican members on the committee were blocked from calling witnesses. Ukraine interference in the 2016 election was off the table, as were former Vice President Joe Biden, the business dealings of Biden’s son, the corrupt Ukraine energy company Biden’s son worked for, and of course, the identity and origin of the so-called whistleblower.
With the above described sham circumstances in mind, the Senate could reasonably dismiss the articles of impeachment and skip the trial altogether. But interestingly, the president and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have both weighed in, indicating their preferences to have a full Senate trial.
A Senate impeachment trial would involve each side having the right to call witnesses and perform cross-examinations. The House members, known as impeachment managers during the course of the trial, would present the prosecution case. The president would have the right to mount a defense with his own attorneys. The Constitution requires a two-thirds super majority to convict and remove a sitting president.
Should a Senate trial take place, it would have some unfortunate fallout for Democratic presidential candidates in that it would pull a number of them off the campaign trail at a most inopportune time. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Michael Bennet would be compelled to stop campaigning mere weeks before the Iowa caucuses.
McConnell recently alluded to this aspect of an impeachment trial, saying, “How long it goes on really just depends on how long the Senate wants to spend on it. I will say I’m pretty sure how it’s likely to end. If it were today, I don’t think there’s any question it would not lead to a removal. So the question is how long the Senate wants to take. How long do the presidential candidates want to be here on the floor of the Senate instead of Iowa and New Hampshire?”
When the Senate starts its impeachment preparation, not only do the proceedings occur in a forum in which the GOP holds a majority, key committees are also chaired by supporters of the president. The Senate Republicans will be able to bring forth evidence on issues and topics that the left and the mainstream media have routinely dismissed out of hand.
Democrats may already be experiencing high anxiety over the recent communications of GOP Senate leaders. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, requesting documents related to communications between former Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko and Biden.
Graham also sought documents pertaining to a meeting between Biden’s son’s business partner and former Secretary of State John Kerry. Additionally, Graham has said he will insist that the Senate call the so-called whistleblower to testify.
It is legitimate as well as relevant for the Senate to explore, as they likely would, the former vice president’s apparent role in placing pressure on the Ukrainian government to fire a prosecutor by the name of Viktor Shokin, who had been investigating the natural gas company, Burisma. Burisma paid huge amounts of money to Biden’s son, who by all appearances was an energy neophyte, for his membership on the company’s board of directors.
The telephone conversation between President Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, which ostensibly prompted the impeachment inquiry, involved a reference to prosecutor Shokin, making the facts concerning Burisma and Biden highly relevant to legitimate U.S. concerns over corruption in the Ukraine.
Additionally, the Senate would likely look into Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election by calling as a witness former DNC consultant Alexandra Chalupa to determine whether, with the assistance of Ukrainian officials, she was improperly engaging in opposition research on the Trump campaign.
Homeland Security Committee Chairman Sen. Ron Johnson and Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley have already written a letter to the head of the National Archives and Records Administration, seeking to obtain records of meetings between Obama administration officials, Ukrainian government representatives, and DNC officials.
The Johnson-Grassley letter specifically references a meeting in 2016 in which U.S. officials “brought up investigations relating to Burisma Holdings.” The letter also makes reference to officials in that meeting who asked that the Ukraine government “drop the Burisma probe and allow the FBI to take it over.”
According to the letter, White House records will indicate that Chalupa was present in “numerous meetings at the White House, including one event with then President Obama.”
Senators Johnson and Grassley have also sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray, seeking information on Chalupa. The letter states, based on reports, that “it appears that the DOJ and FBI have in their possession material relevant to our Committees’ ongoing investigation into collusive actions Chalupa and the DNC took to use foreign government sources to undermine the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.”
Should an impeachment trial take place, President Trump has indicated that he intends to bring in to testify both Schiff and the so-called whistleblower. Findings from U.S. Attorney John Durham’s probe into election-related controversies of 2016 would also likely become available should a Senate trial occur.
A witness list that includes Schiff, Biden, Biden’s son, Burisma board member Devon Archer, Chalupa, Fusion GPS researcher Nellie Ohr, and the so-called whistleblower, among myriad others, is the stuff of Democrat nightmares.
A little something for Dems to ponder before they take that all-important vote: Be careful what you wish for.