Some of the most puzzling news to come out of the impeachment drama is Lindsey Graham signaling that there will be no witnesses called in the Senate impeachment trial. Graham told the Washington Examiner, “Here’s what I want to avoid: this thing going on longer than it needs to. I want to end this.” But critics might ask how it is possible to get to the bottom of what really went on in this debacle without putting the key players under oath like Adam Schiff, employees of the Intelligence Community, the so-called whistleblower, and Hunter Biden. Those of us who have seen through the charade want to see the madness end, but not without answers.
The problem may be unnamed “top Republicans” who are saying they will not vote to bring witnesses and will instead call for a vote to acquit as soon as Democrats and the White House have given their arguments. But is shortening the Senate trial and appearing to rush it through without showing the American people what really went on here a good idea? Americans want to hear from Hunter Biden about what qualifies him for a fifty-thousand-dollar-a-month salary from a Ukranian gas company that was trying to curry favor in his father’s White House, as the constant questions to Joe Biden on the campaign trail illustrate. Americans want to hear the answer to why some low-level, Clinton-connected intelligence flunkie was listening into a perfectly normal phone call between Donald Trump and the president of Ukraine and leaked it to partisan Democrats.
If Republicans do not call witnesses, then they will be handing a public relations win to the Democrats who blocked Republican congressmen from subpoenaing the witnesses at the congressional hearing. Yet again, the Republicans seem intent on letting the Democrats steal their lunch. Democrats got to call any moron they wanted to the witness chair, including a woman who mocked the name of the president’s thirteen-year-old son in a gross display of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Length of the process matters very little in comparison to who is responsible for this partisan clown show.
On Tuesday Democrats finally introduced their sham show articles of impeachment, charging the president with “abuse of power” and obstructing Congress. Considering the Ukrainian president said multiple times he was not pressured and the aid money was not withheld due to the conversation, it’s total insanity. Constitutional lawyer Alan Dershowitz wrote on Tuesday in an op-ed published by The Hill that the articles of impeachment are a complete fraud.
Neither of these proposed articles satisfy the express constitutional criteria for an impeachment, which are limited to “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Neither are high or low crimes or misdemeanors. Neither are mentioned within the Constitution.
Both are so vague and open ended that they could be applied in partisan fashion by a majority of the House against almost any president from the opposing party. Both are precisely what the Framers had rejected at their Constitutional Convention. Both raise the “greatest danger,” in the words of Alexander Hamilton, that the decision to impeach will be based on the “comparative strength of parties,” rather than on “innocence or guilt.”
Considering how weak these articles of impeachment are, perhaps calling for an immediate acquittal vote is valuable to put an end to it for those of us who have known it was a joke from the beginning, but what will that do for the low-information voters who get their all news from CNN or late-night talk shows? Will they ever know what a sham this was? Or will they just hear (over and over) that the Republicans rushed through a vote to acquit without hearing any evidence? Let’s hear the evidence, Republicans. We all know what it will show: Democrats up to their ears in Ukrainian aid money laundering, plots to overthrow a sitting president, and politically-connected hacks motivated by Trump hate meddling in our election process. Why wouldn’t we want to put that on parade?
At some point, Republicans have to get better about optics. The Democrats own the media so it’s always an uphill battle for the other side, but to give them all the screen time and then shut it down when it’s our turn seems like a mistake.
Maybe you have some thoughts you’d like to share with Lindsey Graham.
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Megan Fox is the author of “Believe Evidence; The Death of Due Process from Salome to #MeToo.” Follow on Twitter @MeganFoxWriter