They hoped to vote this afternoon, then wrap it up and go home for the remainder of the weekend, to be with their families, eat nachos, and watch whatever sport is trending at the moment. Now they are angry, for it appears their job isn’t quite done as the Senate voted 55-45 to call witnesses in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump. Even five republicans, Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sasse, and shockingly, Lindsey Graham voted in favour of calling witnesses. But the rest are angry, including Ron Johnson who yelled at Mitt Romney in the Senate chambers.
What changed the mind of Lindsey Graham? Initially, Graham said …
“If you open up that can of worms, we’ll want the FBI to come in and tell us about how people preplanned this attack and what happened with the security footprint of the Capitol. You open up Pandora’s box if you call one witness.”
Hmmm … isn’t the whole purpose to get at the truth, to find out what really happened, how, and why?
Apparently one thing that changed Graham’s mind and perhaps others was a statement by Republican Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler regarding a phone call she witnessed between House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Donald Trump during the attack on Congress. She said McCarthy pleaded with the president, telling him, “You need to get on TV right now, you need to get on Twitter, you need to call these people off.” Trump replied, “Kevin, they’re not my people.”
“Yes, they are. They just came through my windows and my staff is running for cover. Yeah, they’re your people. Call them off.”
At that point, she said Trump told McCarthy, “Well I guess these people are just more angry about the election and upset than you are.”
Ms. Herrera Beutler ended her statement with …
“To the patriots who were standing next to the former president as these conversations were happening, or even to the former vice president: if you have something to add here, now would be the time.”
Perhaps that, if nothing else, stirred Mr. Graham’s conscience just a bit, helped him remember that there was a hangman’s noose waiting for Mike Pence that day, and all Trump cared about was overturning the election.
So, witnesses will be called, perhaps by both sides, though I have no idea where the defense team will find any witnesses whose stories will help their client look less guilty than he currently does. Apparently one of Trump’s attorneys, Michael van der Veen, is well aware that there aren’t any credible witnesses on his side of this equation, for he claimed that if a single witness is called, it would require over 100 depositions, and would include deposing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in his Philadelphia office. Many in the Senate chambers could be heard laughing at this display of pomp.
Republican Senator Roger Marshall says the trial should end, that the Senate has other work to attend to, and the country should “move on.” My response is … did we just ‘move on’ after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy? Did we just ‘move on’ after the terrorist attacks of 9/11? No, some things are too important to simply turn a blind eye and ‘move on.’ The attempted overthrow of a fair and honest election by a sitting president, the highest office in the land, is entirely too important to simply ‘move on.’ It is important that the transgressor never be allowed to hold a public office again. It is important that We the People know the truth about that day, how it was planned, financed, and implemented. It is important, most of all, that this never be allowed to happen again, that no future president believe he can get away, literally, with murder.
Meanwhile, Moscow Mitch not surprisingly, has decided he will vote to acquit Trump, despite the evidence of Trump’s guilt in inciting and encouraging the deadly attack. Whatever little shred of conscience he experienced was so small that it blew out of his nose as he snored during the night.
The importance of calling witnesses and hearing their testimony is not that it will sway enough senate republicans to do the right thing, but that it will be presented to the ultimate jurors, We the People. We will know what actually happened that day, how it came to be, and we will remember those in the United States Senate who lacked the courage to uphold their constitutional oaths, who put their own political futures ahead of our freedom, our lives.
UPDATE: Just as I was about to hit the ‘Publish’ button to schedule this post, the following ‘breaking news’ crossed my screen: