Democratic lawmakers have turned a routine administrative review of foreign assistance to a European country into bizarre tales of election meddling and corruption.
America’s television audience has the luxury of switching channels, mentally zoning out or finding something else to do, but Senate Republicans unfortunately don’t.
Reports are emerging of lawmakers, some of advanced age, being driven into states of near unconsciousness akin to the iguanas in Florida that are falling off trees as they battle freezing temperatures. If this goes on much longer the sergeant-at-arms will have to start picking up the senators from the floor.
Stephen A. Crockett Jr. wrote an article for The Root on Tuesday entitled “We Watched Day 1 of the Impeachment Trial Because We Knew You Didn’t Want To,” claiming, “The first day of the impeachment trial was so long (13 hours!) that we are sure you stopped watching, so we watched all of it. OK, fine. We didn’t watch all of it but we watched more than you. OK, how much did you watch? We watched longer than that.”
As the ever-changing story goes, President Donald Trump used a $391 million military aid request and a White House meeting to pressure Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter during a July 25 phone call. Hunter Biden held a lucrative job on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company.
Democrats allege Trump wanted dirt on Biden, his political rival, who is a candidate for the Democratic Party’s 2020 nomination for president. Trump had concerns about deals the Bidens negotiated and Ukraine’s reported interference in the 2016 US election.
The call was flagged by an anonymous whistleblower and Democrats latched on to his complaint to justify a long-desired case for impeachment, accusing Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Even the House impeachment managers were having a tough go of it Wednesday, as they tried to punch up their nearly 9-hour telling of the hackneyed, worn out story of Trump not just stealing the election with the help of Ukrainians, but their old arch-enemies, the Russians. In fact Russians popped up in the strangest places on Day Two.
Lead House Manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said, “As one witness put it during our impeachment inquiry, the United States aids Ukraine and her people so that we can fight Russia over there, and we don’t have to fight Russia here.” He left many confused, thinking it was the 1980s when Ronald Reagan was president. He was adamant that Russians could attack the U.S. and removing Trump from office was paramount, otherwise the integrity of the 2020 election could not be “assured.”
Even Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) was looking worse for wear, stuttering, pausing and missing his place often as he flipped pages. At times he sounded like he was not going to make it through his presentation without a respirator.
He gave the ruse away when he declared at the outset “the House managers will now undertake to tell you the ‘story’ of the president’s Ukraine scheme. As we tell this ‘story’ it is important to note that the facts before us are not in dispute.” Not so Mr. Nadler.
Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) looked like she could have used a few extra hours of sleep after enduring Tuesday night’s marathon session when Democrats tabled 11 motions. They failed to badger and browbeat Senate Republicans into approving more documents and witness testimonies at the beginning of the trial.
Demings tried in vain to add intrigue to her stilted story about Trump’s promise of a White House meeting with Zelensky but didn’t seem to be following the circuitous script herself.
Thursday’s presentation is expected to be another snoozer as the managers focus on the law, Constitution, the facts and how they apply to Article I of the Constitution.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Schiff’s “speech was one of the most compelling I have heard. It was a tour de force. And I think that a good number of my Republican colleagues for the first time, heard the entire arguments powerfully, succinctly and completely.” He’s got to be kidding right?