If there's someone to pity in this impeachment sham, it's the early risers. Tuesday, after a Senate session stretched well past 2 a.m., it was obvious that the "deliberative body" was going to have to be deliberate about one thing: caffeine. Operating on no sleep, Senate Republicans plowed through a grueling 13 hours just to approve the impeachment rules. But even they -- it turns out -- were a victory.
Unlike Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) secret circus, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has set up what he calls "a structure that is fair, evenhanded, and tracks closely with past precedents that were established unanimously." In other words, this isn't going to be another Capitol basement witch hunt that fails to meet any of the founders' criteria. This trial, like Bill Clinton's, will follow the rules.
Of course, Senator McConnell, many would argue, has had a lot of time to think about how an impeachment case would go in his chamber -- since, as the Heritage Foundation's John Malcolm has pointed out, he's had three years to think about it. "On Jan. 20, 2017," Malcolm wrote, "the day Trump was sworn in as president, a Washington Post headline read: 'The campaign to impeach Trump has begun.'" Ten days later, Malcolm went on, "Mark Zaid, the attorney representing the so-called "whistleblower," tweeted: "#coup has started. First of many steps." A handful of months later, on May 17, Democrats like Rep. Al Green (Texas) were already on the House floor, demanding impeachment.
Now, there may still be surprises in McConnell's trial, but the president's acquittal shouldn't be one of them. "There is absolutely no way," John told me on "Washington Watch" Tuesday, "that there are going to be 67 senators who'll vote to remove President Trump on either of these articles of impeachment." They aren't buying it -- and more importantly, the American people aren't buying it. As a matter of fact, Donald Trump is heading into this trial with the highest approval rating yet of his presidency.
"Both sides," John explains, "are playing to the electorate." But remember, he warned, "that didn't work out so well for the Republicans during the Clinton impeachment trial." When all is said and done, this may be one of those occasions when Democrats wished they'd learned from history, instead of trying to rewrite it. They're trying to remove the president -- not because he's done something wrong, but because of his policies, which, as John points out, are an "anathema to their progressive agenda."
And they may claim, as Pelosi did, to have scored a big win. "This president is impeached for life," the speaker declared. And in this case, Congressman Jim Banks (R-Ind.) argues, "she is 100% correct. This president was impeached for 'life' -- or, to put it more clearly, he was impeached because he is pro-life." His efforts on the unborn alone, Banks points out, "are reason enough for the pro-abortionists in the Democratic Party to look for ways to remove him from office."
"While other presidents have promised they would stop organizations such as abortion giant Planned Parenthood from getting tax dollars to subsidize their abortion activities, this president actually did it... Trump has also gone out of his way to protect conscience rights... protecting religious orders, pro-life organizations, and others that have religious or moral objections to providing coverage for contraceptives that cause early abortions in their health insurance plans. [That's] a welcome change from President Barack Obama's efforts to bankrupt nuns or have them thrown in jail... Trump has also championed ending inhumane human fetal tissue research, supported pro-life legislation in Congress, highlighted dangers to the unborn in Obamacare, and fought pro-abortion forces at the United Nations."
"So, yes, Pelosi is correct that Trump was impeached for life because his pro-life credentials so inflamed Democrats that they would grasp at anything they could to impeach him. Trump is likely proud of it. If that is a badge he must carry, I am happy to carry it as well. Consider me also impeached for life!"