As the so-called impartial school of Senate sharks prepared to gather next Tuesday to ruminate over the fate of President Donald Trump, Fox News Channel co-host Pete Hegseth posed a profound question.
“The oath is to be impartial, said Hegseth Friday on Fox and Friends. “The least impartial body in our country today is the United States Senate. If you are a Republican in the era of Trump and you can’t get behind him in this moment after the partisan action of Democrats, why are you still a Republican?”
It is a question that perplexes many observers as the spotlight turns on five Senate Republicans in particular ahead of Trump’s impeachment trial: Susan Collins (R-MN), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Corey Gardener (R-CO) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN).
House Democrats voted Dec. 18 to impeach Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, accusing him of using his office for personal political gain when he urged president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter on a July 25th phone call.
The call summary, released by the White House, shows no conditions were set and no pressure was applied to Zelensky to coerce an investigation. Democratic House lawmakers also accuse Trump of blocking their efforts to obtain documents and witnesses.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has been menacingly targeting the most vulnerable and moderate Republican members of the GOP-led chamber. He said he will likely force votes on witnesses next Tuesday.
They have signaled a willingness to bow to his demands for witness testimony from Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff; Robert Blair, assistant to the president and senior adviser to Mulvaney; John Bolton, former national security adviser and Mike Duffey, a senior official in the Office of Management and Budget.
The president would in turn demand testimony from the Bidens, the whistleblower who’s complaint triggered the impeachment inquiry and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), who is accused of having contact with the whistleblower.
Conservative GOP senators have been issuing veiled warnings to dissuade them from opening the door to witnesses so the trial can wrap up expeditiously.
The senators are weighing the two articles of impeachment while the ‘mainstream’ media unleash a non-stop series of ‘bombshells’ loaded with misinformation, lies and hysteria.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued an adverse legal opinion against the Trump administration Thursday and the timing seemed awfully suspicious.
They claim the president broke the law by withholding $214 million in defense aid to Ukraine which had been allocated to the Department of Defense for security assistance that was appropriated by Congress. The GAO contends that the administration did not have the right to hold the money back just because it disagreed with its allocation.
“Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law,” the opinion said. “OMB withheld funds for a policy reason — not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that the OMB violated the ICA [Impoundment Control Act].”
The GAO claims to be a nonpartisan government watchdog but timed its announcement for release on the same day that Democrats staged their ceremonial transmission of articles of impeachment to the US Senate, giving the media beasts red meat for their Trump barbecue pit.
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Russ Vought was quick on the draw, challenging the GAO opinion.
“This GAO opinion comes from the same people who said we couldn’t keep National Parks open during the shutdown. Recently GAO flipped its position twice in the last few months. We wouldn’t be surprised if they reverse again. Regardless, the Admin complied with the law at every step,” he insisted.
House Democrats are also touting new documents, including text messages, notes and other communications from Lev Parnas, a close associate of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. They purportedly document conversations Parnas had with Giuliani and other Trump officials about efforts to push out former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and dig up dirt on the Bidens.
Parnas is a man of dubious repute who is under indictment by prosecutors from the Southern District of New York for financial crimes. His claims may be connected to his push for a plea deal.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared on Indianapolis-based conservative radio host Tony Katz’s show Friday promising, “We will do everything we need to do to evaluate whether there was something that took place there.”