Lindsey Graham insists that the Bidens and Burisma have no place in a Senate impeachment trial
I admit that I have been lusting after a long Senate impeachment trial in which the Democrats would be put on trial, particularly Joe Biden's confession that he bullied Ukraine into firing the prosecutor who was investigating the bribes of millions of dollars in director's fees paid to his degenerate druggie son, Hunter. But it is worth considering whether or not a Senate impeachment trial is the proper venue for getting to the exposure of the corruption.
Senator Lindsey Graham is making the argument that the impeachment trial is the wrong place for the Biden inquiry. Rush transcript via Grabien:
GRAHAM: "I don't know where this goes, but I know impeachment will be over soon. I supported the Mueller investigation, by the way, for those who care about domestic Politics. I didn't know what Trump had done with the Russians. What have I come to believe? There is no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. If you're not colluding with your own government, why do you think you're colluding with the Russians? The president is not much of a colluder. So the bottom line here is that Mueller spent two years and $25 million looking at all things Trump and Russia and now we're impeaching the president of the United States by partisan people, no outside counsel involved. This thing will come to the Senate and it will die quickly and I will do everything I can to make it die quickly."
REPORTER: "I just wonder how quickly. Let's do a little bit on procedure. There's a debate ongoing about how a trial should be held in the Senate, including whether to have live witnesses. You don't support live witnesses. Why?"
GRAHAM: "I want this to end as quick as possible for the good of the Senate, for the good of the country, and I think the best thing for America to do is get this behind us. We know how it's going to end so we can focus on the problems we talked about today. If you don't like President Trump, you can vote against him in less than a year. It's not like a politician who's unaccountable if you don't impeach them. So I think impeachment is going to end quickly in the Senate. I would prefer it to end as quickly as possible. Use the record that was assembled in the house to pass impeachment articles as your trial record. I don't want to call anybody. I don't need to hear from Hunter Biden, I don't need to hear from Joe Biden. We can deal with that outside of impeachment. I don't want to talk to Pompeo, I don't want to talk to Pence. I want to hear the House make their case based on the record they established in the house and I want to vote."
On Face the Nation yesterday, he promised that some unspecified time in the future, he wants an investigation into the Biden-Bursima scandal, while reiterating his personal liking for his former Senate colleague, Joe Biden. Partial transcript via the Daily Caller:
"Here's the deal: this whole process around Ukraine wreaks with politics. They have done everything but take a wrecking ball to Donald Trump and his family. We're not going to live in a world where only Republicans get looked at," Graham said. (snip)
"As much as I love Joe Biden and I'm sincere when I say that ... it's hard for me to tell my constituents to ignore the fact that Hunter Biden received $50,000 a month from a gas company in Ukraine run by the most corrupt person in Ukraine, and two months after the gas company was investigated, the prosecutor got fired," Graham told CBS News. (snip)
"I hope I can look at the transcripts of the phone calls between Biden and the Ukraine … and say there is nothing there. These are legitimate concerns about what happened in the Ukraine. I love Joe Biden, but none of us are above scrutiny. I'd like to knock all this off and get back on governing the country," Graham said.
I am not persuaded by this reasoning. But there are reasons that Senator Graham either does not understand or prefers not to mention that give me pause about using the Senate trial this way.
One: The chief justice of the United States Supreme Court will preside over the trial, and we have no idea how the incumbent in that position, John Roberts, might intervene to, for instance, shut down or not even allow questioning of witnesses who might be called. Ever since he twisted himself into a pretzel in order to find Obamacare constitutional, conservatives have had deep suspicions about his motivations. I cannot be confident that the trial would go as we hope.
Two: We don't know what, if any, surprises the Democrats may be holding in reserve. Given the first factor, they may be allowed by the chief justice to introduce matters beyond the two counts of impeachment the Judiciary Committee forwarded to the House for voting on.
Three: Given the Constitution's specification that the Senate has the "sole Power to try all impeachments" but that "the Chief Justice shall preside," there is ambiguity about who has the final call over what witnesses shall be allowed to speak on what topics. The words "constitutional crisis" get bandied about far too often, but a dispute between the (narrow) Senate majority and the chief justice is a nightmare possibility. Would the Supreme Court rule as a body in support of their boss? We are in uncharted territory.
In such an eventuality, the underlying issues of Trump's innocence and Biden's guilt would get lost, and an unnecessary issue with no right answer, only opposing self-interests, would become the focus.
While experience has taught all of us that reliance on promises to take care of issues "later" are worthless, we also have A.G. Barr and U.S. attorney Durham working on the case.
I can't yet call myself certain and want more debate and data. I am now entertaining the idea that a brief trial, refuting the specific charges, and a swift not guilty verdict might be the best solution.
Photo credit: YouTube screen grab (cropped).