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Impeachment trials signal issues of conflict over Trump’s defense case

On Jan. 31, the Senate voted 51-49 in favor of blocking new witnesses and new evidence from being included in the impeachment trial. 

This vote means Republicans have succeeded in speeding up the impeachment trial by preventing new testimony and documentation from being presented to the Senate, forcing the impeachment into its final phase. 

Now, Feb. 3 will be the day for closing arguments for the trial and President Donald Trump will
be acquitted by Feb. 5 as the final Senate vote is scheduled for that day.

The only silver lining in this show trial is that Trump was not exonerated as president when he presented his State of the Union address on Feb. 4, but few will be impressed with this consolation prize. 

How did Trump’s impeachment trial turn into such a bad reality television? The blame lies on both sides of the isle. 

With a Republican Senate that is extremely loyal to Trump, Democrats should have known that they would not be able to get Trump removed from office. The Democrats’ job was to make the strongest case possible against Trump. 

The blue party did not make the best case. By rushing and choosing weak articles to impeach Trump on, the Democrats’ case seemed mediocre at best. Their task was to convince the public that Trump was unequivocally in the wrong, even with a guaranteed Senate acquittal.

The irony here is that Republicans and Democrats are arguing for the other side as far as the speed of the trial is concerned. 

The Democrats should’ve been the ones trying to speed this process up because of the weak articles that they presented against Trump and to prevent him from using the failed attempt as
ammunition for his upcoming campaign. 

On the other hand, if Trump’s hands were so clean, Republicans should’ve been the ones asking for witnesses in order to vindicate Trump of any wrongdoing and potentially do his bidding by calling witnesses like Joe or Hunter Biden to testify.

The articles of impeachment on the grounds of abuse of presidential power and obstruction of Congress turned out to be fruitless endeavors because it was nearly impossible to prove intent considering the lack of witnesses and evidence available. 

Trump’s defense argued that it was the House’s job to subpoena these witnesses during the
House trial which is almost a fair point. 

Why wasn’t John Bolton subpoenaed by the House after he publicly said he would testify if subpoenaed?

The defense said that the Democrats should have fought harder against their stonewalling and obstruction, which is also true. 

This does not mean that Trump was in the right by blocking testimony in the house or that the Senate was correct for not allowing any new evidence or witnesses the Democrats may have discovered along the way.

“How do you have a trial without witnesses?” Sen. Bernie Sanders said in a video online, as reported by NBC news. 

“This is outrageous, this is a mockery of justice and is sadly consistent with a president who believes he is above the law,” Sanders continued. 

“He is the beneficiary of a show trial that refused to allow the American people to hear the evidence against him.”

A fair trial means that new witnesses and documents pertinent to the case should be available to the court, especially those that the President has hidden or directed others not to testify. 

This was not a fair trial and by denying new witnesses and evidence, the Senate has ruied congressional oversight, which is part of the reason why impeachment is a legislative function. The Senate, with its actions, nullified the impeachment power of Congress to a good extent.

It’s one thing to acquit but it’s another thing to short circuit the process which is exactly what the Senate has done. 

This leads to the question of what is the Senate hiding? 

To suppress witnesses and new evidence is in another way of covering up Trump’s questionable actions. This sets a dangerous precedent and could potentially have long lasting consequences, ones that Trump could abuse. 

By giving Trump this blank check that what is in his interest is also in the public’s interest, he has the freedom to overreach again with no worries of any repercussions. 

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