Democrats argued late last year that the impeachment of President Donald Trump was too urgent to wait for facts and key testimony.
The nation's survival was supposedly at stake. That's why they didn't have time to go through formal procedures and litigation to compel testimony from certain witnesses, such as former national security adviser John Bolton and White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.
Instead, they voted to impeach with a thin, partisan case that attracted no Republican votes. Then, having impeached Trump, they sat on their impeachment articles for weeks.
The Democrats' delay, and their continued whining, are based on their demand that the Senate adopt their preferred process for trying the impeachment. Instead of the procedure used for President Bill Clinton's impeachment in 1999, they want new rules that guarantee the Senate hears testimony that they themselves could not be bothered to obtain.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he will stick to those Clinton-era rules. He's right to do so. This is not about whether there will be witnesses or documents. It is about whether House Democrats can dictate to the Senate how to run its trial. The fact is, Democrats fear impeachment is flopping. They are desperate to bolster the weak, partisan case they made for it in the House.
Why do Democrats want the Senate to promise, in advance, that it will call Bolton and Mulvaney to testify? Because they don't want senators to laugh their case out of the chamber, summarily voting to dismiss it without further consideration. Remember, it was House Democrats' choice not to compel the testimony in the first place.
This leaves House Democrats in the quandary that often befalls liars: They have trapped themselves. For if the case for impeachment is sufficient "to prove the case beyond any doubt at all," as Rep. Jerry Nadler said, then additional witnesses are superfluous.
If, on the other hand, these witnesses are essential to make the case, then Democrats abused the House impeachment process for partisan gain, admitting in advance that they impeached Trump without sufficient evidence to remove him from office. Either way, they are lying. Their desire for witnesses is about creating what they hoped would be a politically beneficial spectacle, which is essentially the same motive behind the impeachment itself.
Fortunately, senators will not have to rely on House Democrats' honesty to judge this impeachment for what it is. There will be an opportunity for them to request witness testimony, even though there will be no guarantee to meet House Democrats' demands.
Under the rules McConnell has proposed, senators will hear the case from the impeachment managers and the White House. If the senators want to see or hear more, say, from Bolton, Mulvaney, or Hunter Biden, they can vote to do so once the other cases have been made.
In other words, while McConnell is not guaranteeing witness testimony in advance, his rules do not preclude the calling of witnesses should a majority of senators desire the testimony. This procedure, used in the Clinton impeachment, allowed senators to get answers without allowing House managers to turn the whole thing into an even more ridiculous partisan circus than it was.
History has a way of repeating itself.
The Washington Examiner
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