Worth posting if only because it’s not something we see every day.
Although, given how this process has and will inevitably normalize impeachment, it’s something we’ll probably see every four years or so going forward.
It’s also worth noting because it’s rare to watch a bunch of public officials swear an oath and know that every last one of them will violate it. The oath, as you’ll see, calls for “impartial justice.” There are no impartial people in that crowd of 100. Not a one.
Well … maybe Kyrsten Sinema.
Marsha Blackburn asked a fair question yesterday. How the hell can senators who’d directly benefit from Trump’s removal possibly rule impartially on his guilt? They have a gross conflict of interest.
“Tomorrow, one hundred United States Senators will be sworn in to serve in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. Four of those Senators must recuse themselves for their unparalleled political interest in seeing this President removed from office,” Blackburn said in a statement.
She added that Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) “cannot sit in judgment of the very President they seek to replace.”
Of course, it’s not like those four votes will matter to the ultimate verdict. Recusing them would only make the decision in Trump’s favor a bit more lopsided. It could even backfire. If you think Bernie-style populism is a bigger threat electorally than Biden-style centrism then the last thing you should want is to give Sanders an excuse to skip the trial and head back out to campaign.
Democrats have their own grievances about impartiality, of course. Val Demings, one of Pelosi’s new impeachment managers, wants to know: How the hell can Mitch McConnell possibly rule impartially on Trump’s guilt when he’s already on record as saying he’s not impartial?
“The moment Senator McConnell takes the oath of impartiality required by the Constitution, he will be in violation of that oath,” she said [on December 13]. “He has effectively promised to let President Trump manage his own impeachment trial. The Senator must withdraw.”
Following the press conference announcing impeachment managers on Wednesday, when asked if she still holds that position, Demings told McClatchy, “I certainly do.”
“I’m disappointed,” she continued. “As I said before, the senators and we have been given a tremendous responsibility, as well as the president. For the Senate Majority Leader to publicly announce that he has no intentions on being impartial and, as a matter of fact, he’s coordinating every step with the White House and there will be no difference between the White House and his views, is absolutely shameful. It’s hard to take that one back and put that toothpaste back in the tube.”
McConnell had an answer to all that back in December: “Do you think Chuck Schumer is impartial? Do you think Elizabeth Warren is impartial? Bernie Sanders is impartial? So let’s quit the charade. This is a political exercise.” When the man’s right, he’s right.
How can we single out one political hack when they’re all political hacks?
Chief Justice: "Do you solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, president of the United States, now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help you God?"
Senators: "I do." pic.twitter.com/3WAornlLPR
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 16, 2020