Posted by Curt on 21 January, 2020 at 6:31 pm. 60 comments already!


The Senate continued to debate Democrats’ proposed amendments concerning document and subpoena requests as the proceedings dragged on Tuesday night, as Republicans methodically continued voting them down one by one in a series of party-line votes — an early win for the White House, even as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made some tweaks that were likely to assuage Democrats’ concerns over scheduling.

The chamber handed President Trump a win by voting 53-47 four times to effectively kill a series of proposals from Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to subpoena White House, State Department and Office of Management and Budget documents, as well as acting White House Chief of Staff Mike Mulvaney, respectively. Fox News was told to expect three or four more amendments — including potentially similar amendments to subpoena officials such as former National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Eventually, once Democrats’ amendments are all defeated, the Senate is expected to vote sometime Tuesday night or Wednesday morning on McConnell’s underlying rules resolution in order to set the ground rules for the trial.

“It’s getting late,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone said late Thursday night, adding that he “would ask respectfully” that the chamber get on with oral arguments

As Democrats’ amendments were summarily shot down, reports emerged that some Democrats were privately considering something of a compromise: calling for the testimony of Hunter Biden in exchange for the appearance of some key administration officials. Biden obtained a lucrative board role with a Ukrainian company while his father, Joe Biden, was overseeing Ukrainian policy as vice president. Trump had asked in his now-infamous July 25 call with Ukraine’s president for a look into Joe Biden’s admitted pressure campaign to have Ukraine’s top prosecutor fired.

Republicans have sought to portray Trump’s push for a probe as a legitimate request given the Bidens’ dealings in Ukraine, while Democrats have alleged that senior administration officials would testify that the administration withheld military aid to Ukraine in order to secure a politically motivated probe.

Meanwhile, the barrage of amendments Tuesday night put into doubt whether the senators would have time to meet in a closed session to converse — which would be a valuable opportunity, given that the senators were legally barred from having any sustenance other than water or milk at their desk all day, and could not communicate verbally with one another during the proceedings.

The restriction on cellphone possession and oral interaction led some members to pass and flash written notes to each other like students in a classroom, as Democratic House impeachment managers and the president’s legal team traded lengthy legalistic arguments.

At one point during the proceedings, former Bill Clinton press secretary and CNN political analyst Joe Lockhart wrote on Twitter that Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz could go to “prison,” noting that Cruz’s Twitter account was posting tweets during the trial. Lockhart was quickly mocked by social media users pointing out that it’s common for senators’ Twitter accounts to be run by staff, and Cruz’s representatives confirmed to Fox News that Cruz had not sneaked his phone into the chamber.

Indeed, even Cruz’s couldn’t resist poking some fun at Lockhart, writing “COME AND TAKE IT,” with an image of a cellphone.

It was a moment of levity in an otherwise emotionally charged day, with Democrats accusing the president of “high crimes and misdemeanors” and Republicans calling out what they see as a transparent partisan stunt.

“It’s a partisan impeachment they’ve delivered to your doorstep in an election year,” Cipollone thundered early in the day, pointing out that Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, and others, were being pulled off the campaign trail. “Some of you should be in Iowa.”

“They’re not here to steal one election, they’re here to steal two elections,” Cipollone added.

Trump attorney Patrick Philbin said Democrats’ document requests were a “stunning admission” that House prosecutors, who had full rein to conduct their own impeachment inquiry, were now essentially asking the Senate “to do their job for them.”

Read more

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x