A day after Senate Republicans voted in near-unanimity to declare the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump an unconstitutional sham, Sen. Chuck Schumer said that the trial will go forward, hell or high water.
“Make no mistake: There will be a full and fair trial on convicting Donald Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors. He is charged with inciting an insurrection,” tweeted Schumer. “The evidence against him will be presented in living color for the nation and every one of us to see.”
It’s amusing that Schumer would use the phrase “make no mistake,” seeing as how this is one of the most obvious blunders we’ve seen Democrats make since…well, since the last time they put this man on trial in the Senate. Then, too, Americans got to see the “living color” evidence of Trump’s wrongdoing and came away singularly unconvinced. Indeed, the last impeachment was notable because it was the first time we’d ever seen charges look lamer with each new witness.
In this case, the hand the Democrats are playing is – astoundingly – even weaker. For one thing, it’s far from certain that a former president can even be convicted on impeachment charges. The Constitution is fairly specific about outlining impeachment as a process for removing a sitting president, which Donald Trump is not. Second, the Constitution requires that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court preside over the trial. In this instance, he will not. Consider this strike one, and it’s a major whiff.
Secondly, if Democrats are to make the case against Trump, they will have to prove two things: One, that Trump said something that would be construed, by the average individual, as a call to storm the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. We’ve seen the speech, and we’re not sure how you make that case. But even if you could, you would have to also prove that the insurrection would not have taken place were it not for Trump’s incitement. Seeing as how the FBI is uncovering evidence every day that it was planned in advance on social media, that’s another bar they won’t be able to clear.
All in all, this feels like the last, weakest attempt on the part of Democrats to take Trump down. It started with the Russia fiasco, it went into Phase II with the Ukraine impeachment, and now we arrive at the final chapter: The post-presidency impeachment. Each time, the battle plan gets sillier and more disconnected from reality. We’re sure that Mitt Romney and a handful of his NeverTrump colleagues are warming up their “yes” votes, but the idea that 17 Republicans are going to go along with this charade?
Make no mistake, that’s not going to happen.