Wednesday, February 10 saw the start of the impeachment trial of Donald Trump – if one takes the previous day’s proceedings for what they were; a debate on whether it was even constitutional to hold a trial at all. For anyone who had witnessed Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing or Trump’s first impeachment trial, day one’s Democrat performance was painfully predictable. It should have been full of “good grief, did he/she just say that?” moments, but it was not, because, these days, every minute spent listening to partisan politicos speak is one of those moments, and so the novelty has worn off.
The opening salvo from the Trump Derangement Syndrome crowd had almost everything: tears, outrage, anger, hyperbole, hypocrisy, outright falsehoods, and indignation. Well, perhaps not everything. It lacked a high-speed car chase, a shootout, a steamy love scene, a handful of zombies and a ninja. Then again, perhaps it did have a handful of zombies. The most notable missing ingredient of this not-Oscar-worthy dramedy, though, was substance.
At least the now famously flatulent Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) did not audibly pass gas during the impeachment managers’ presentations, so that was one positive development.
Hyperbole and True Crime
One single example sums up how far over the top the 45th president’s haters have gone. “Donald Trump committed a massive crime against our Constitution and our people and the worst violation of the presidential oath of office in the history of the United States of America,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who leads the House impeachment managers, in his opening statement.
Though the impeachment managers did not present any new facts – or barely any facts at all, for that matter – they did play for the Senate some previously unreleased video and audio of the events that took place in and around the Capitol building on January 6.
That they had access to previously unpublicized recordings raises questions: at a time when several media outlets have already published video and audio from the January 6 demonstration, how did the impeachment managers suddenly produce additional recordings previously unseen? Were these audio and video clips already released to media outlets that colluded with Democrats, not publishing the material so that the prosecution could introduce them as “new” evidence?
More to the point, is this trial nothing more than a fundraising opportunity? After all, everyone in Congress already knew that the chance of Mr. Trump being convicted is slim indeed, if not entirely beyond the realm of reality.
Impeachment or Fundraiser?
As Axios reports, Americans were bombarded on Wednesday with emails from the campaigns of multiple members of Congress, soliciting donations off the back of the impeachment trial. “Convict the white supremacist-in-chief,” demanded an email from the campaign committee for Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO). “Will you make a donation and support Cori’s fight to hold Trump and every seditionist in Congress accountable?”
Rep. Jesús “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL) asked his supporters to “pitch in $5 to help us hold Trump accountable.” And it is not just Democrats who are using the Senate spectacle to rake in the campaign dollars. Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York asked her supporters for “emergency resources as I lead the fight to expose this fraudulent impeachment for what it is – a reprehensible political circus designed to SHAME millions of Trump supporters.”
These were not the only members of Congress from both sides of the aisle who took the opportunity to pad their campaign coffers. So, is an impeachment the solemn, constitutional duty Americans are told it is, or just one more reason for politicians to do the thing they spend most of their time doing; raising money?
Thursday will see Raskin and his impeachment managers continue and conclude their prosecutorial onslaught, such as it is. They have another eight hours at their disposal. It is enough to make one wish that the COVID-19 pandemic had shut down the television news networks. They may, or may not, use all of their allotted time. Thus, Trump’s defense team could begin their arguments on Thursday or on Friday.
Whatever happens, just remember, folks: whether it’s enduring an Oscars ceremony – at which none of the Democrats who took to the Senate floor on Wednesday will be honored, despite their best efforts – or getting through another two or three days of this dreadful waste of time, we’re all in this together.
Read more from Graham J. Noble.