Editor’s Note: Say What? is the segment of Liberty Nation Radio where we unveil some of the most wacky, astonishing, and damnable things uttered by politicians and the chattering class.
Tim Donner: What if they gave a Senate impeachment party and no one came? Well, crafty ol’ Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made sure that’s pretty much what would happen in a trial that everybody already knows will exonerate Trump, holding Republicans together to resist the Democrats’ clarion call for more witnesses and more evidence. Never mind that no crime was even alleged in the two flimsy articles of impeachment sent up by the House: the first for abuse of power, a vague charge, which any president could be accused of; the second for obstruction of Congress, because Donald Trump dared to properly employ the country’s system of justice, the courts, to evaluate his claim that his closest White House confidants should not be compelled to testify. That’s not obstructing anything. That’s asking a court to settle a dispute between the executive and legislative branches, which is a basic purpose of the judicial branch.
So, you knew the whole trial would be little more than a spectacle, yet another spectacle. A rehash of all the same hysterical Democratic charges of Trump as an existential threat to the nation, in a trial with a verdict already in the bag. So, what we got was the upper chamber’s version of impeachment theater, or perhaps playground theater, perfectly embodied by this exchange between House Manager and Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Trump’s lawyer, Pat Cipollone, followed by a warning from the presiding Chief Justice John Roberts to play nice in the sandbox.
Jerry Nadler: They lie and lie and lie and lie, and the president sometimes relies on a theory of absolute immunity, that says that he can order anybody in the executive branch not to testify to the House or the Senate, or to a court. It’s embarrassing. The president’s counsels will talk about this today.
Pat Cipollone: You don’t deserve and we don’t deserve what just happened. Mr. Nadler came up here and accused you of a coverup. He’s been making false allegations against the president. The only one who should be embarrassed, Mr. Nadler, is you.
John Roberts: I think it is appropriate at this point for me to admonish both the House managers and the president’s counsel in equal terms to remember that they are addressing the world’s greatest deliberative body.
Tim: One was left to wonder if Justice Roberts was using air quotes when he called the Senate “the world’s greatest deliberative body.” He wasn’t. But the president’s attorney carried on by ridiculing Democrat claims that the Senate trial is phony.
Cipollone: They falsely accuse people of phony political investigations. Really? Since the House Democrats took over, that’s all we’ve had from them. They started impeaching him the minute he was elected. They’ve weaponized the House of Representatives to investigate incessantly their political opponent.
Tim: For three years they’ve been doing that. And they now face the virtual certainty of a stinging defeat in the Senate where nary a crack has formed in Republicans’ defense of the president. But Democrats carry on with their scandalous charges. After using the terms obstruction, extortion, quid pro quo, and other horrible sounding descriptions of Trump’s behavior, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) decided to settle this time for the C-word: coverup.
Chuck Schumer: Leader McConnell has just gone along with President Trump’s desire to cover up this trial hook, line, and sinker. His resolution creates a trial that is rushed, with as little evidence as possible, and done in the dark of night. If they were so confident of their case, if President Trump were, if McConnell were, then why wouldn’t they want it in broad daylight? Why are they trying to do things at 2:00 in the morning?
Tim: Because that’s when nobody will be watching. Not that many are anyway, because nobody cares because everybody already knows the outcome. And McConnell will be damned if he’s going to give the Democrats any more prime time to recycle and regurgitate the same lines of attack as they did in the House. But one of the rising stars in the GOP, Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, telegraphed clearly that Senator Schumer should be careful what he hopes for.
Josh Hawley: I really thought that they made a mistake, and it was an interesting choice in highlighting the role of Hunter Biden and Burisma. The House prosecutor spent a good amount of time this afternoon saying how there was absolutely no corruption involved between Hunter Biden and Burisma. That Joe Biden had no conflict of interest when he got the prosecutor with jurisdiction fired, who was potentially looking into Hunter Biden and Burisma. So, I think that this had… It was a very strange choice on their part, but it really highlighted that so much of the House’s case turns on Hunter Biden, Burisma, and seeing that there was no corruption there. So, here’s my bottom line. If we call witnesses, I think we absolutely need to subpoena and ask for Joe Biden, and Hunter Biden, the whistleblower, and maybe Adam Schiff.
Tim: Translation: If you demand to hear from the president’s closest advisers, then we’ll certainly call up the guys who would scandalize your Democratic Party. But as this report from NBC News makes clear, the biggest task for senators forced to sit through 12 hours a day of endless predictable partisan rhetoric is simply to stay awake.
NBC Reporter: Shortly after 5:30 p.m., Senator James Risch, Republican of Idaho, could be seen motionless, eyes closed and head slumping against his right hand. Risch was the first lawmaker seen by Washington Post reporters to have clearly fallen asleep.
Chip Reid, NBC News: It’s a bit like a college lecture hall. Some of them are busily taking notes. Some of them look bored out of their minds. And if they’re thirsty, we’re told that only two beverages are allowed on the Senate floor, water and milk.
Tim: Wow! Not even coffee. Talk about an endurance test. And it must be particularly galling for the senators running for president who are forced off the campaign trail with the first contest in Iowa just days away. One of them is Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who’s been taking hits from every direction of late. And now one from the bitter loser from the 2016 campaign, Hillary Clinton, who spent the last three years trying to explain away her shattering defeat at the hands of Trump but has now turned her wrath on the man who dared to challenge her for the Democratic nomination in 2016.
NBC Reporter: Tonight, Hillary Clinton unleashing on her one-time rival Bernie Sanders. Clinton, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, tearing open old wounds from their protracted 2016 primary that pitted Clinton against the independent senator from Vermont. “He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him. Nobody wants to work with him. He got nothing done.” Senator Sanders today, unfazed by Clinton’s comments. What’s your response to that?
Bernie Sanders: Look, right now, today I am dealing with impeachment.
NBC Reporter: Why do you think the secretary is still talking about 2016?
Sanders: That is a good question. Ask her.
Tim: Hell hath no fury like Hillary scorned. She said nobody likes him; Sanders. That’s what we call projection. Nobody likes Hillary, so she says that same thing about Bernie. What a pathetic loser this woman has become. Her party has begged her to go away and stay away, but now she attacks one of her party’s presidential frontrunners right before the first votes are cast.
Read more from Tim Donner.