Wednesday, January 29, 2020


I've long believed that Republicans got close enough to steal the 2000 presidential election because they successfully spread the message that an immoral Democrat had evaded justice in the failed impeachment of 1998-1999. Bill Clinton polluted the Oval Office, they said, so the solution was to elect a clean-living born-again, George W. Bush, to the presidency. He won and Republicans retained control of both houses of Congress, despite peace, prosperity, and Clinton's high job approval numbers, none of which were enough to give Clinton's vice president a comfortable margin of victory.

Right now, Republicans seemed determined to enrage Trump opponents as much as they possibly can. It now appears that they're likely to block witness testimony, in order to end the impeachment trial as quickly as possible:
It was clear to Senate Republicans on Wednesday after a morning meeting between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) that the question of having additional witnesses is settled, and the Senate will vote Friday to wrap up the impeachment trial of President Trump.

There was no discussion of witnesses at a Senate GOP lunch meeting Wednesday, which was held a couple hours after McConnell and Murkowski met for about 20 to 30 minutes.

That was seen as a sign by several senators that Democrats will fail to convince four Republicans to join them in calling for witnesses. Without a vote to hear from witnesses, the trial could end as soon as Friday.
They're also advancing arguments that are manifestly outrageous. The latest is this:
Alan Dershowitz ... argued that Trump cannot be impeached for pressuring Ukraine for investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden because doing so would be aimed at helping his reelection chances. Dershowitz said Trump's motivations would ultimately be fueled by the public interest because he believes his reelection is what's best for the country.

"Every public official that I know believes that his election is in the public interest," Dershowitz said. "And mostly you're right. Your election is in the public interest."

"And if a president did something that he believes will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment."

Here are a few responses:

It's as if Republicans want Trump-skeptical Americans to feel that the trial is even more monstrous an injustice than they anticipated it would be. It's as if they want us to loathe Trump more than we already did. It's as if they want us determined to double and triple our efforts to drive Trump from office, out of fear that in a second term he really will become the dictator his enablers say he's entitled to be.

The anti-Trump ads write themselves -- or, more precisely, they've already been written, by Alan Dershowitz and other Trump allies.

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