As we near the actual beginning of the impeachment trial of Donald John Trump, the President of the Electoral College of the United States of America, one must ask: Where is all this going? How bad will it get? The answer: it could go all the way from the removal, indictment and ultimate imprisonment of Trumputin and his thugs and cult followers to, on the other extreme, the effective crowning of him as a near-dictator and the dissolution of the Democratic Party and the imprisonment of people like me and others in the media who dare to write truths about him.
The Arrival of the Next John Dean
A thuggish-looking guy, born in the old Soviet Union but now a naturalized American citizen, Lev Parnas, has emerged from the Lobby bar at the Trump International Hotel, where he apparently lived for the past two years, to tell (apparently) all about his dealings with Trump and his Trumpsters regarding Ukraine and the matters mentioned in the Articles of Impeachment. In addition to his testimony, he apparently saved every scrap of paper, email, voicemail and video recording that had anything to do with the Ukraine scandal. He makes John Dean, who as Nixon's White House Counsel spilled all about Watergate, look like an amateur.
One document Parnas provided to the press and the House impeachment team is the following October 2, 2019 email from Trumputin's legal counsel Jay Sekulow to former Trumputin attorney John Dowd:
"I have discussed the issue of representation [of Lev Parnas and Igor Furman regarding their indictment] with the President. The President consents to allowing your representation of Mr. Parmas and Mr. Furman."
So much for Trumputin's claim that he does not know them. Will Parnas's documents be allowed to be presented to the Senate? Will Parnas be allowed to testify?
Will some of the 22 Republican Senators who are up for reelection in 2020 or retiring have the courage to stand up for the Constitution and the country and allow a real, not a fake impeachment proceeding to be held?
Whether or not the Trumpster Senators who will be sitting at their desks in the Senate chambers over the next few weeks silently listening to the impeachment proceedings unfold, will vote to allow witnesses to testify, as has been done in every one of the 14 previous Senate impeachment trials since the first one in the early 1800s), is uncertain. Will some of the 22 Republican Senators who are up for reelection in 2020 or retiring have the courage to stand up for the Constitution and the country and allow a real, not a fake impeachment proceeding to be held?
Here are those Republican Senators:
Retiring this year are Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, a 79 year old, three term member of the Senate; Michael Enzi of Wyoming, a 76-year-old, four-term member; and Pat Roberts of Kansas, an 83-year-old, four-term member. Note: Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, whose term is up in 2022, has announced that he will not run for a 4th term.
Republican Senators in danger of losing in 2020 if they screw up in the impeachment proceedings:
- Susan Collins of Maine, a four term, 67-year-old member who talks a good game but always votes with her party when the time comes to show her courage, will be strongly challenged by Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon;
- John Cornyn of Texas, a 68-year-old, third term member, a highly partisan GOP leader in the Senate, who could be defeated by Democrat MJ Hegar (Beto O'Rourke, where are you?) if Texas Latinos are allowed to vote;
- Joni Ernst of Iowa, a state trending Democratic, is a 59-year-old first term member who won in 2014 with 52% of the vote, and is famous for boasting at her proficiency in castrating bulls, will be opposed by Democrat Theresa Greenfield;
- Cory Gardner of purple state Colorado, who barely was elected in 2014 with 48% of the vote, and is projected to lose to popular former Democratic governor John Hickenlooper;
- Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a Trump suckup who might just lose reelection to black Democrat Jaime Harrison if he embarrasses himself enough in the impeachment proceedings;
- James M. Imhofe of Oklahoma, an 85-year-old, five-term member, regarded by some as the dumbest member of the Senate, who once brought a snowball into the Senate chambers to prove that global warming was a hoax;
- Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, who was appointed to replace ailing Senator Johnny Isakson, took office in early January 2020, and will run in a special election for the remaining two years of the term in November, 2020, against a strong Democratic candidate, hopefully former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams;
- "Moscow Mitch" McConnell of Kentucky, a 78-year-old, six-term member, who won in 2014 with only 56% of the vote and who could lose to a strong female Democratic candidate, former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath, if he makes the impeachment trial into a circus;
- Martha McSally of Arizona, who lost to Senator Kyrsten Sinema in 2018, but was appointed by the Republican governor to replace the deceased Senator John McCain, is running against a strong Democratic candidate, former astronaut Mark Kelly;
- Dan Sullivan of Alaska, who was elected to his first term in 2014 with 47.96% of the vote, defeating the incumbent Democratic Senator by 6,014 votes, will be running against an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Al Gross, who once killed a grizzly bear in self defense.
- Thom Tillis of North Carolina was elected to his first term in 2014 with 48.82 % of the vote, defeating an incumbent Democrat, and won with the help of discredited data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica, is currently trailing former state senator Cal Cunningham.
Twelve Democratic Senators are up for reelection in 2020, and only Doug Jones of Alabama appears to be in any danger, although some say that Gary Peters of Michigan could be in a tough fight.
"The World's Most Deliberative Body"
The Senate prides itself in having "gentlemanly debate", but it is unclear what will happen when the doors are closed and the Senators debate motions and other matters relating to the impeachment trial in private, with the doors closed, no cell phones or television cameras in the chamber, and only the Senators and a few necessary staff members in attendance.
There is the past history of the caning in 1856 of Republican Massachusetts Abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner by pro-slavery Democratic Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina, who used a walking cane to hit him thirty times in the head on the floor of the Senate, putting him in the hospital, never to regain his full health. Brooks was censured and resigned from the House. Can you envision Cory Booker punching Lindsey Graham in the face? Or Kamala Harris loudly getting in Moscow Mitch's face?
And what will Chief Justice John Roberts be doing during these closed sessions? Will he be sitting quietly as the Senators loudly debate these issues, or will he be using his power as the head of the Third Branch of Government to rule firmly on these matters, as a judge normally would do? However, he has to be aware that 51 Senators can overrule any decision he makes. But if the Senators are split 50-50, what would happen then? Mr. Chief Justice, show them that you are indeed a patriot, and make rulings in the country's, and not just the GOP's interest.
Another problem for the Senators, especially those up for reelection (see above), is the precedent set in the 1868 impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson, a Tennessee Democrat picked by Abraham Lincoln to be his Vice President, a few months before Lincoln was assassinated by a Southerner five days after the end of the Civil War. The Radical Republicans in Congress tried to get rid of Johnson throughout his Presidency, and finally got him impeached in 1868.
At the trial in the Senate, Johnson was acquitted by one vote. None of the eight Republican Senators who voted against impeachment were ever reelected or elected to any other office thereafter. (Johnson, ironically, who was not even nominated for a second term, was elected to be a Senator from Tennessee in 1874.)
Will the electorate punish the Republicans up for reelection in 2020 for sabotaging the impeachment trial, or the Democrats for pushing the impeachment proceedings to a trial?
The 2020 Election
No President has ever before been impeached when he was in the midst of an election to a second term. So Trumputin's supporters have argued that the Democrats should wait the almost 10 months and let the voters decide on November 3, 2020, rather than attempt to remove him by impeachment. However, it is certainly possible, evaluating Trumputin's past conduct, that there could be other horrific impeachable acts, now unknown, that Trumputin and his Trumpsters have engaged in to taint the 2020 election.
Has Trumputin or his operatives had secret discussions with Putin, urging him to again interfere in the 2020 election? Is he going after any of the other top Democratic candidates by doing "opposition research" on their backgrounds and urging foreign leaders such as Putin to state falsely, for instance, that Bernie Sanders was once a card-carrying member of the Communist Party? Could he find an Oklahoma Cherokee Indian chief who states that he can prove that Elizabeth Warren has no Indian blood? Will he float false evidence that gay Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has AIDS?
Is he going to start a war with Iran over an Iranian version of the "weapons of mass destruction" that George Bush used to sell the Iraq War and get reelected, or the "Gulf of Tonkin" phony incident that LBJ used to justify the Vietnam War? Is he going to force Kim Jung Un to fire a nuclear weapon at Japan, based on false evidence that he concocts?
We cannot wait any longer to get rid of this horrible President. He is already desperate, fearing that he may end up in prison, his assets stripped from him, and his children also in the slammer, if he loses the 2020 election. I have said for years that Trump will not be the Republican nominee in 2020. The Republican convention will be held the week of August 24, 2020, six weeks after the Democratic convention. A little over seven months from now, unless my prediction becomes true, Trump will be renominated.
Trumputin could die in the next few months from natural causes (a stroke from his obesity or other suspected health problems) or as the outgrowth of his ordering the assassination of the Iranian general, or he could be convicted by the Senate (now a long shot), or for some reason we do not now know, he could decide to work out a deal to stay out of jail and keep his businesses (while throwing some of his loyal Trumpsters under the bus), and resign.
It may be wishful thinking on my part, but many people I know pray every night that they will wake up in the morning and find that Trump is gone.