The Senate leaders struck an agreement Friday in President Trump’s impeachment trial that set up a vote Wednesday to acquit the president.
The deal will keep the impeachment vote hanging over Mr. Trump’s head as he delivers the State of the Union address Tuesday in the House chamber, though he is all but guaranteed acquittal in the GOP-run chamber.
The president’s team welcomed the agreement.
“The President is gratified,” said Eric Ueland, the White House liaison to Congress. “We do not believe that that schedule interferes with his ability to deliver strong and confident State of the Union in the House Of Representatives.” The final arguments from both sides in the impeachment case are expected Monday, followed by floor speeches by senators Tuesday and a final vote on acquittal Wednesday, said Republican senators.
The deal sends senators home for the weekend after a nearly two-week trial.
“Monday there’ll be some time for final arguments. I think that’s four hours equally divided,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, Missouri Republican.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, negotiated the impeachment endgame after the chamber struck down Democrats’ bid to extend the trial with more witnesses and documents.
House Democrats impeached Mr. Trump without any Republican support Dec. 18. They passed two articles of impeachment, abuse of power for pressuring Ukraine to investigate a political rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, and obstructing Congress for not cooperating with the impeachment inquiry.
The vote to extend the trial failed in a 51-49 vote, with two Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah, joining the entire Democratic caucus in voting yes.
Marisa Schultz Democrats signaled in the runup to the looming conclusion ofPresident Trump's impeachmentproceedings that they'll simply refuse to accept his all-but-certain acquittal because his "sham" trial lacked proper witnesses and evidence.
Signaling how they will message the saga in the coming months on the campaign trail, top Democratic leaders in the House and Senate argued Trump can never erase the stain of impeachment because the trial wasn’t legitimate.
"The president's acquittal will be meaningless," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., declared Friday, "because it will be the result of a sham trial. If there are no witnesses, no documents in this trial, there will be a permanent asterisk next to the acquittal of President Trump written in permanent ink."
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. said Republicans may get what they want -- a speedy end to the trial -- but it won't have any value.
"There will be no true acquittal if there is no fair trial," Harris, a former White House hopeful, said Friday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who for weeks held onto the two articles of impeachment to try to force the Senate to commit to witnesses, said she won't accept a not guilty verdict in the Senate as vindication.
“He will not be acquitted,” Pelosi said Thursday. “You cannot be acquitted if you don't have a trial, and you don't have a trial if you don't have witnesses and documentation and that.”
Pelosi has already been gloating that her House of Representatives gave Trump a black mark in the history books that can never be erased.
“You're impeached forever," Pelosi said with a big grin in an interview with HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.” "No matter what the Senate does, that can never be erased."
Democrats have hammered that without witnesses testifying, such as former national security adviser John Bolton, the Senate trial amounts to a cover-up.
With Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., refusing to join Democrats in wanting new witnesses to appear, the trial is poised to end soon without any new testimony beyond the 17 witnesses that appeared in the House.
House impeachment manager Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., backed Pelosi’s point in an appearance on CNN Friday.
“I fundamentally agree with her point that in the absence of witnesses, in the absence of documents, in the absence of evidence, in the absence of a fair trial, how can the American people conclude that justice was done?" he said.
Contempt for the average American on display by Don Lemon and his guests CNN anchor Don Lemon attends the 12th annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute at the American Museum of Natural History, Dec. 9, 2018. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) Tammy Bruce ANALYSIS/OPINION:
Well, that didn’t take long. The extraordinary display of bigotry and contempt for Trump voters presented by CNN’s Don Lemon and two guests — New York Times columnist Wajahat Ali and Republican ex-strategist Rick Wilson — aired Saturday night and went viral on social media with one video garnering more than 10 million views, and counting. And now it has been made into a very effective political ad by the GOP.
During the segment, Mr. Wilson began to mock and dismiss President Trump and his supporters as illiterate “credulous boomer rubes,” who were too dumb to understand maps or much of anything else. At one point, Mr. Wilson affected what was supposed to be a Southern accent in a disgusting effort to further belittle conservative voters as idiots.
Fox News reported, “As Lemon began crying with tears of laughter, Wilson went on to depict what he thought a typical Trump supporter sounded like. ‘Donald Trump’s the smart one, and y’all elitists are dumb!’ Wilson said with a heavy Southern accent. ‘You elitists with your geography and your maps and your spelling!’ Mr. Ali chimed in during the mockery. ‘Your math and your reading!’ Mr. Wilson added. ‘All those lines on the map!’ “
We are quite familiar with the contempt and hatred the establishment holds for the average American. It’s one of the many reasons Mr. Trump was elected president. Yet it remains jarring to see such smug and comfortable arrogance on public display; importantly, however, it reminds us how deeply rooted this hatred and contempt really is.
The immediate reactions on social media were swift and clear. For example, Steve Krakauer, formerly of CNN and now of The Blaze, tweeted: “The arrogance, the dismissiveness, the smug cackling, the accents. If Donald Trump wins re-election this year, I’ll remember this brief CNN segment late one Saturday night in January as the perfect encapsulation for why it happened.”
Ivanka Trump, daughter and adviser to the president, responded: “You consistently make fun of half the country and then complain that it is divided. The arrogance, mocking accents and smug ridicule of this nation’s ‘Real Elites’ is disgusting.”
Many predicted the segment would be turned into an ad for the GOP and Mr. Trump, and indeed it has. The ad intersperses the CNN panel ridicule and the now-infamous 2016 Hillary Clinton comment labeling Trump supporters “deplorables,” along with a variety of Democratic presidential candidates and media figures calling Trump supporters racist and dumb. It ends with Don Lemon laughing hysterically as his guests mock and insult the tens of millions of Americans who happen to disagree with them politically.
The ad ends with what may be the most effective call to action against the Democratic Party and its legacy media cohorts: “They think you’re a joke. Prove them wrong in November.”
Mr. Lemon finally came out with a statement about the debacle on Tuesday night. Predictably, it was terrible. Steve Krakauer reported on Twitter, ” ‘I don’t believe in belittling people,’ says @DonLemon tonight. ‘Just to make this perfectly clear — I was laughing at the joke, and not at any group of people.’ In other words, no apology, no introspection or humility, and an excuse that strains credulity. Disappointing.”
Whether it be Mrs. Clinton, media personalities or miserable GOP has-beens, their hatred of people who disagree with them politically is more than an unthinking mistake, it’s a belief system. It’s one thing if someone is sitting at a bar with friends drinking (too much) and is caught on tape making outrageous statements. But this was a trio of men with extensive experience on national television and they were still deeply comfortable with ridiculing half the country with personal insults.
Yet our betters have told us every day, for years now, that’s it’s Mr. Trump who is an evil, bad man because he’s mean to people and devoid of personal decency. How interesting that it is always those accusing Mr. Trump who end up exposed as the hypocritical frauds.
Make no mistake: While the CNN segment is enraging, it’s not a one-off bad night for a few people in media. It is an example of the extent of the contempt the establishment has for the normals. No wonder the country had become a directionless economic dumpster fire, with insane terrorists rampaging freely around the world.
The arrogance, superiority and hatred for the average American now brought to light had to affect political decisions, policy approaches and foreign policy matters when their beloved bureaucracy was in charge. Just look at the 20 years leading to Mr. Trump’s election.
We were too generous with our benefits of the doubt, and 2016 finally offered an alternative to the abuse we had suffered as a nation for far too long.
The gift CNN has given the Republican National Committee is enormous. No longer will the GOP and Mr. Trump have to rely on telling you you’re despised by the establishment. Now, they can show you Mr. Lemon, Mr. Ali and Mr. Wilson confirm it themselves.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., speaks to reporters as he arrives at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) Stephen Dinan and S.A. Miller
Sen. Lamar Alexander said Thursday he doesn’t see the need for more witnesses in the impeachment of President Trump, saying the president’s fate should be decided by voters, not Congress.
Mr. Alexander’s announcement puts Republicans in a strong position to end the Senate trial this week and vote to acquit the president in what could well be a bipartisan vote.
Mr. Alexander did scold the president, saying it was “inappropriate” for him to try to rope Ukraine into assisting him in investigating former Vice President Joseph R. Biden. But he said the matter is beyond the Senate at this point.
“The question then is not whether the president did it, but whether the United States Senate or the American people should decide what to do about what he did. I believe that the Constitution provides that the people should make that decision in the presidential election that begins in Iowa on Monday,” he said.
The Tennessee Republican, who is retiring at the end of this Congress, blasted the “partisan impeachment” that Democrats have run, pointing out that not a single Republican voted for the two articles crafted by the House. He also called the Democratic case “shallow” and “hurried,” and said caving to that kind of effort would “rip the country apart, pouring gasoline on the fire of cultural divisions that already exist.”
Whether the senators put the trial out of its misery this week or drag it on for months, the outcome is a foregone conclusion. Here are the eight big reasons Trump won impeachment.
President Donald Trump will not be removed from office following his impeachment by the House of Representatives and a trial in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has reportedly told colleagues they have the votes to finish things this week.
Whether the senators put the trial out of its misery this week or drag it on for months, the outcome is a foregone conclusion. Here are the eight big reasons why Trump won impeachment.
1. Trump Didn’t Commit An Impeachable Offense
It’s an obvious point, but the most important point.
Impeaching President Trump has been the stated goal of the Resistance since his inauguration. The main effort toward impeachment was through the investigation of a false and dangerous theory of treasonous collusion with Russia to steal the 2016 election.
Even with a limitless special counsel appointed to achieve that end, the Russia collusion hoax ended with not a single American found to have colluded with Russia, not to mention anyone close to Trump, or Trump himself. A mini-effort to get impeachment going — on the special counsel’s murky near-findings that Trump had objected too strenuously to being falsely accused of treason — also fell apart.
Other impeachment efforts for, among other things, mean tweets, went nowhere. With time running out, the Resistance cobbled together what was always a weak theory regarding a phone call with the Ukrainian president.
At first the alleged crime was supposed to be a campaign finance violation, then bribery, then extortion. It ended with two articles of impeachment, neither ofor an actual crime, and one a more or less laughable claim that the president can’t use courts to defend his rights.
The other was a complicated argument regarding abuse of power that required not just hiding all exonerating evidence but the worst possible construction on what remained. It was such a weak argument that not a single Republican in the House fell for it and three Democrats declined to go along with their own party.
The range of opinion outside the Resistance about the phone call between world leaders ranges from it being, in Trump’s words, “perfect” to merely good or fine to not good. Resistance members tried to put forth the claim that the call was none of these things but impeachably bad. Even with the help of a compliant media, there is simply not enough consensus around this extreme viewpoint to justify even censure, much less bipartisan agreement toward impeachment, much less a removal from office.
Trump’s avoidance of a crime or any real break with public trust is the single biggest factor in his acquittal.
2. Terrible Decision-Making By House Democrats
With a histrionic media and political base spending the last few years demanding impeachment, House Democrats surely had hoped that President Trump would do something justifying an impeachment inquiry. They undoubtedly were not pleased when the best they had to work with was Trump asking for help investigating Ukraine’s known 2016 election meddling or investigation into Biden family corruption in Ukraine.
So they started with a weak hand. But they failed to follow a good process. They didn’t have the House authorize an impeachment inquiry until late in the process. This decision made it unlikely that the many early subpoenas they sought would be deemed valid by a court of law if contested.
They refused to have courts validate their subpoenas, refused to let the GOP call their own witnesses, and suppressed information that was not helpful to their impeachment cause. Of the 78 days of the impeachment proceedings, they denied the president any right to counsel or due process for 71 days of them.
In general, the procedure was rushed and information that could have helped them seem more credible was never sought or acquired.
3. Democrats Failed to Get a Single Republican on Board Their Impeachment Scheme
It is nothing short of amazing that not a single Republican member of Congress joined with Democrats in their impeachment effort. There are plenty of Republican members who either dislike or even loathe the president. But even they didn’t find the impeachment to be credible.
The Resistance was also failed by its NeverTrump wing. That wing had pushed Justin Amash to dramatically leave the Republican Party earlier last year. He published his op-ed as to why and promptly lost any sway with anyone other than the tiny NeverTrump movement.
NeverTrump has long demonstrated trouble with strategic thinking and impulse control, so following their advice and leaving the party in a snit was an unforced error. Had Amash stayed with the party, the Resistance in the media and Democratic Party would have been able to make much more use of him.
4. Inexplicable 1-Month Delay In Sending Impeachment to the Senate
A main argument in favor of impeaching President Trump was that the situation, whatever it was supposed to be that day, was so dire that it required his immediate removal from office. The House Democrats couldn’t afford to wait a matter of months until a new election would be held and Americans could decide whether the “perfect” phone call was in fact so bad that it required the first removal from office of an American president in history.
Impeachment and removal had to happen immediately, they claimed. But then after voting to impeach the president, perhaps sensing the problems caused by a weak case and hoping for more information to come to light, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi inexplicably sat on the articles for a month. It killed whatever momentum the Resistance had and made a mockery of the whole process.
5. The Defense Team Was Amazing
Instead of turning things over to the effective Republicans who had handled the impeachment process so well on the House side, President Trump instead opted to put together a powerhouse collection of attorneys uniquely suited to address an audience of senators and the American people.
Even among their class of politicians, senators have an extremely high view of themselves and their office. Every senator’s ego must be stroked. They don’t want to feel upstaged, spoken down to, or lectured.
Patrick Philbin, Trump’s deputy general counsel, exemplified the defense team’s deliberate choice to put in front of senators someone who had encyclopedic knowledge of the law and this particular case, someone not there to make a name for himself. Philbin’s humble and bookish demeanor was neither bombastic nor flamboyant as he calmly explained the facts of the case and their significance. The other members of the team were also well chosen to argue their points.
6. Grating and Juvenile House Managers
By contrast, House Democrats picked impeachment managers who seemed perfectly calibrated to annoy and grate on those handful of senators whose votes were up for grabs. Reps. Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler were the leaders of a group that repeated their highly partisan talking points and used hyperbolic and loaded language. The media loved it, but it went over like a lead balloon with the non-Resistance senators.
The House Democrats accused senators of being cowards who were complicit in a cover-up. They suggested that the senators were unable to vote properly because President Trump would put their heads on pikes if they didn’t vote to acquit. They refused to answer specific and direct questions about whether the whistleblower worked for Biden, was involved in any decisions regarding Burisma, or about his interaction with Schiff’s staff. Even the Washington Post — even the Washington Post — gave Schiff four Pinocchios for lying about his staff’s secret collusion with the whistleblower.
At some point, the difference between the competent and highly skilled attorneys on the White House team and the bumbling and somewhat mediocre team of House managers was so pronounced it was almost embarrassing. It was as if one side belonged in front of the Supreme Court and the other failed to make the finals at a middle school debate tournament.
7. Kavanaugh Smear Operations No Longer Work
Along with the delay of the articles of impeachment, the House managers deployed a slow drip of supposedly damaging information. First they put Lev Parnas out as a “bombshell” witness who would bring Trump down. Parnas is indicted for various crimes and is something of a hustler and influence peddler who worked his way through Washington and supposedly had some type of negative information about Trump.
While the argument that Rudy Guiliani shouldn’t have been working with him in any way has merit, it’s a difficult argument to make while walking hand-in-hand with the same individual. Senate Minority Leader went so far as to invite Parnas to be his guest at the trial, which made the scene look more like a circus than a deliberative effort.
Late this week, House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel issued a press release saying that he had been given information from a disgruntled former employee of Trump’s in mid-September to look into the firing of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, suggesting additional witnesses needed to be called. A good time to release this information — if it needed to be released, that is — would have been four months ago or during the House’s impeachment proceedings.
These tactics of deploying information late to create “bombshell” news stories are losing their effectiveness post-Kavanaugh. Republican senators — perhaps with the exception of Mitt Romney, who didn’t even learn this lesson after he was called a racist, hair-raping woman murderer during his presidential bid — are finally wising up to the operation played by the media and Democrats.
8. Media Malfeasance
The media always owned this impeachment process. Pelosi did her best to avoid impeachment but the media all but forced her into it. They championed it every step of the way and provided help, including the blocking of arguments against it.
For instance, although it’s fairly standard to name whistleblowers and to do journalism figuring out who key players are, many in the media decided to help Democrats keep from having to answer questions about his role with the whistleblower. They steadfastly avoided looking into him and his motivations or how that might have affected the entire proceedings.
Each day provided evidence that the media didn’t just want Trump impeached and removed from office, but desperately wanted that. There are videos of scrums of reporters fighting with Republicans over their case, but none of them fighting with Democrats. Republican senators are hounded by reporters to pressure them to change their vote, but Democratic senators don’t receive the same treatment.
It didn’t help that in the midst of the circus, a CNN host and his panel were openly yukking it up about how Republicans are all stupid.
A predatory child molester and an alleged rapist are among the illegal immigrants released under Mayor de Blasio’s sanctuary-city laws in the last six weeks.
Why doesn’t the mayor look the victims in the eye and tell them how compassionate he is?
Spare a thought for the child, younger than 11, who was the victim of Andres Peña Perez, a 23-year-old illegal immigrant from Colombia.
Perez pleaded guilty in Manhattan Supreme Court last December to sexually assaulting the child and was released, pending sentencing.
That’s when the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency should have picked him up and started deportation proceedings.
ICE officers did their job after Perez’s fingerprints triggered a warning on their database. They issued a detention order so they could arrest him as he left jail.
But, of course, that’s not what happened.
The New York City Department of Correction ignored ICE’s detainer on Perez, because that’s what it has been commanded to do by de Blasio’s sanctuary policies.
So, Perez walked free on Dec. 18 and remained at large for four weeks. That’s how long it took ICE to track him down.
He is currently in ICE custody awaiting immigration proceedings that should see him thrown out of the country.
“It is unbelievable that a city would . . . restrict cooperation between law-enforcement agents in a case such as this, where the offender is convicted of a sexual offense against a child,” says Thomas Decker, ICE’s enforcement boss in New York.
His officers had to go searching for another alleged sexual predator last week, Volodymyr Polovko, a 51-year-old Ukrainian illegal immigrant.
Polovko was facing charges, including sexual abuse in the 1st degree, criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation by applying pressure, forcible sexual touching, and subjecting another person to sex contact without consent.
ICE lodged a detainer with NYPD’s Brooklyn Central Booking. Again, because of the city’s sanctuary policies, the detainer was ignored and Polovko was released.
Again, ICE had to track him down. He is now in custody awaiting deportation.
It was a similar story with Adrian Moran-Torres, a 34-year-old illegal Mexican immigrant, arrested by the NYPD last November on serious assault charges against a child less than 17.
Again, ICE issued a detainer with NYPD’s Brooklyn Central Booking. Again, it was ignored.
Again, two months later, only thanks to the diligence of ICE officers, was he tracked down. He is about to be deported.
But these were the unlucky bad guys. Decker says that, every week, between 70 and 100 criminal illegal immigrants are released under de Blasio’s sanctuary laws, and ICE can’t find them all.
“We have people that are committing sexual crimes against children and they are released to go out and re-commit [the crimes].
“It doesn’t make sense . . . Basically what the sanctuary law is doing is trying to eliminate immigration laws.”
Decker says ICE currently is searching for two more child molesters freed by the city despite being subject to a detainer: in The Bronx, a 42-year-old Mexican with pending charges for rape of a child younger than 13 years old; in Brooklyn, a 39-year-old Frenchman with pending charges for criminal sexual acts on a victim less than 11 years old.
The cops on the street don’t want to defy ICE requests, especially since Albany’s bail “reforms” this year have made it so hard to keep offenders off the streets.
“The police officers, they’re with us,” says Decker, a 57-year-old military veteran from New Jersey. “They risk their lives every day making the community safe and then the bad guys are back on the street.”
But, for the police administration, defying ICE is a “badge of honor” he says.
The NYPD complied with only 10 of 7,526 detainers Decker’s office filed last year.
If it had cooperated with ICE, 92-year-old Maria Fuertes would not have been raped and murdered, allegedly by an illegal immigrant, outside her home in Queens three weeks ago.
After her murder, acting ICE Director Matthew Albence placed the blame on de Blasio: “Make no mistake, it is this city’s sanctuary policies that are the sole reason that this criminal was allowed to roam the streets freely and end an innocent woman’s life,” he said.
ICE now has had to take the extraordinary step of issuing subpoenas against the city for information on other illegal immigrants, including a murderer and a rapist.
But de Blasio doesn’t care, dismissing the complaints as “fear, hate and attempts to divide [which] are signatures of the Trump administration, not New York City.”
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone promised a “top-to-bottom” investigation into why multiple warnings to Child Protective Services were ignored. But the very people who failed Thomas are investigating themselves, so how can we trust the results?
The investigation also should include the judges who stripped Thomas and his brothers from the custody of their mother, Justyna Zubko-Valva, in 2017.
“I told the judges, if you’re not going to remove my children [from their father] they’re going to die,” she told reporters Monday outside the Long Island courthouse where she was awarded temporary custody of her two surviving sons.
Bellone’s office has ignored multiple requests for an interview, so you can only assume he wants the story to go away.