Third, the purported objective of withholding the articles is to guarantee a “fair” trial by securing for the Senate relevant evidence that was not available in the House. This would supposedly be accomplished by one of two means: either pressuring McConnell to issue Senate-trial subpoenas to recalcitrant administration witnesses such as Mick Mulvaney or using a period of delay to secure court rulings that would force their testimony. Neither of these approaches has the slightest chance of success.

Mitch McConnell does not want the Senate to subpoena Trump’s associates for two reasons. He knows that their testimony would strengthen the case for impeachment. More important, he knows that, Senate subpoena or not, Trump will continue to refuse to produce them. Defiance of subpoenas from the Republican-controlled Senate would vaporize Trump’s excuse that he has refused cooperation only because the House proceedings were a partisan witch hunt, and thus make the case for impeachment on the ground of obstruction of Congress irrefutable. In no imaginable universe is McConnell dumb enough to paint himself and his colleagues into that corner.

The idea that any reasonable period of delay will produce definitive court rulings on Trump’s refusal to produce evidence is equally fantastic.