By Elpidio R. Estioko
After almost a month since the two articles of impeachment were approved by the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally sent the impeachment articles to the Senate last Wednesday even without assurance that there will be a fair trial!
Was this a wise move on her part? What made her do that without getting what she wanted in the first place withholding the impeachment articles unless assured of a fair trial by GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell?
I think there are three things that may have nudged Pelosi to exactly do that! First, Democrats already thought it’s time for her to send the articles to the Senate. Seeing the pressure from among her peers, I thought she figured out to send it already after a closed door caucus in the basement of the Capitol. She doesn’t want to wrestle further with her peers, so it’s time to do it! It was a subtle signal but Pelosi saw it coming!
Second, she thought that even without a black and white assurance from GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a fair trial may likely to happen in view of the mileage the impasse has created resulting to the statement of former Security Adviser John Bolton saying he will testify if subpoenaed by the Senate, among others. This time Bolton is saying that he will testify. Or, is he saying that because he knows the President will invoke executive privilege to bar him from testifying? Or, it may even go to the courts to find out if he will be allowed to testify. When this happens, the trial will go on even beyond the November presidential elections, which the GOPs more likely want to happen. I hope Bolton is sincere in his latest pronouncement because if he really wants to testify, he can ignore a possible executive privilege by the president barring him from testifying. After all, the privilege should be based on a policy pronouncement not on a political one.
Third, the mileage created by the impasse to the American people has somehow solidified the idea that there must be a fair impeachment trial. The American people need however to heed the public pronouncement of US Chief Justice John Roberts stating that the “American people are taking impeachment for granted.” They need to be proactive in processing the information and not be clouded by lies, misinformation and misrepresentations being circulated in the social media. Apparently, Roberts is saying that we need to be informed as citizens of the United States and must defend our democratic principles by upholding the US Constitution.
With the latest move of Pelosi, will it change the collaboration going on with McConnell and the President as regards to how to proceed with the trial? Again I would say that it’s disturbing to note that the person being impeached is dictating on the terms of the trial. McConnell publicly acknowledged that he is getting directions and signals from Trump and the White House Legal Counsel panel. This breaks the separation of powers embodied in the US constitution. Will the sending of the impeachment articles to the Senate break this collaboration? Although it will make some senators think twice, it may not make any difference impacting the collaboration going on!
To have witnesses in the trial and accept new documents, we just need a simple majority with four GOPs siding with the Democrats to approve it. Most likely, there will be four senators siding with the Democrats in coming up with a trial. This number, however, is not enough to remove Trump from the presidency because we need two-thirds vote or 20 GOP senators to side with the 47 Senate Democrats to remove Trump (they need 67 votes), which is unlikely to happen. However, with this bipartisan exoneration, Trump will go down to US history as the third seating President to have been impeached by Congress. Unlike other impeachment trials, however, Trump impeachment came at a time that there is a forthcoming presidential elections in ten months. A bipartisan exoneration of Trump will definitely affect the outcome of the November Presidential elections and gives the Democratic presidential standard bearer a competitive edge.
Retired Professor Angelito Roldan from Southern California thinks that with or without witnesses, the Senate trial is a sham. On the contrary, vocational Instructor Ruel Manipis from San Jose, CA thinks that with witnesses in the trial, it will yield a fair trial to the satisfaction of all regardless of the outcome.
Whatever happens, however, Trump claims he is ready and doesn’t care because he believes he will be re-elected with the economy at its highest with 76% performance indicating the economy is very strong and… with a strong economy, and with an incumbent candidate as he is, there’s no reason he will lose.
That, in itself, is a very strong argument for Trump, but people are claiming that’s only for the rich 1% of the population and not benefitting the middle class. Besides, we don’t know yet what will happen between now and November. People are claiming that’s only for the rich 1% of the population and not benefitting the middle class. Should the new information collaborating impeachment and trial to go on as fair as possible, slowly… by the time the election comes, the President should have lost his credibility. This is being shown by the people moving towards impeachment, now at 56%, and if the trial continues, the impeachment vote will go up till the elections.
Is Pelosi justified in sending the two articles of impeachment to the Senate without being assured of fair trial? Maybe… if the signs mentioned above will likely happen and those involved will truly defend the Constitution. Or, maybe not… if the legislators acting as jurors will be partial and will be trying the case along party lines, not as legislators!
So what now? The American people will be waiting, maintaining the wait and see stance as things develop from here on!
(Elpidio R. Estioko was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and a multi-awarded journalist here in the US. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author @ email@example.com.)