Impeachment Day


today eighteen December twenty nineteen is an historic day for the United States. We gathered today under the Dome of this Temple of Democracy to exercise one of the most solemn powers hours that this body can take the impeachment of the president of the United States. One hundred forty six days after president trump called up Ukrainian presidents alinsky and asked for a favor one hundred twenty eight days after an anonymous whistleblower filed a complaint accusing the president of using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country into the twenty twenty election after weeks of congressional hearings witnesses. A week after the house drew up articles the the House of Representatives is preparing to impeach the forty fifth president of the United States. Donald John Trump. If we do not act now we would be derelict. Elect in our duty. It is tragic that the president's reckless actions make impeachment necessary. He gave us no choice. But as Fox's Andrew Andrew procup explained to me the house isn't quite finished with this impeachment business yet so the next move is for the house to name. It's impeachment managers yes. They will be members of the House of Representatives who will go over to the Senate and actually try and make the case against trump sort of like prosecutors shooters do at an ordinary trial when Republicans impeached Clinton back in one thousand nine hundred ninety eight. They picked out thirteen impeachment managers who went over in for several days presented their arguments to the Senate wants. The trial began so Democrats will now have to pick their own lineup. This is really you gotta be up to Nancy Pelosi. And she has a lot of Democrats in her caucus who would like to have this high profile role for themselves and do the Republicans get to pick some manages and just to note. The House majority has voted to impeach trump and Pelosi is the speaker of the House and she will make the call You know though in theory this is an institutional move by the house and are more partisan system which wasn't really anticipated by the founders The houses houses controlled by a majority party and they call all the shots. You mentioned the founders. Does the constitution spell out exactly what happens next so the constitution says is that the Senate will now hold a trial on the impeachment so trump will of course remain president until the Senate it decides on his guilt or innocence and that trial is expected to happen in January when the heads over to the Senate in January what happens I so first off. The Senate has to decide on the procedures that it will use for for this impeachment trial and there's already a back and forth about that between Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell and democratic ignoring leader Chuck Schumer Senate Democrats believe strongly that the trial must be fair. A fair trial is one where senators get all the facts and one that allows them to adjudicate the case impartially the Republicans to commit really early to call four specific witnesses acting White House chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney former national security adviser John Bolton White House aide Robert Blair and office management and budget official Michael Duffy four witnesses we propose have direct knowledge of why the aid to Ukraine was delayed. We don't know what kind of evidence they will present. They might present exculpatory evidence that it helps president trump it may be incriminating against the president. But they should be heard. And how did Mitch McConnell respond to that. So McConnell on Tuesday morning announced that he wanted to follow the precedent set by the bill. Oh Clinton impeachment trial in nineteen ninety nine instead of a tried and true nineteen ninety nine model start the trial and then see how senators wish to pursued food Democrat later to write a completely new set of rules for president trump. So McConnell is saying we don't have to decide had this witness issue right now we can postpone it until the trial is actually underway and then see if people actually want to hear ear witnesses and that was the Republican controlled Senate during the impeachment proceedings of Bill Clinton. Yes it was but you know that was a Republican Senate that was reviewing an impeachment case presented by a Republican House. This time around. We have a Republican Senate reviewing an impeachment case presented by Democrats against a Republican president. So McConnell has sort of you know. He's taking refuge in precedent but he has also made his own political objectives clear. He went on Fox News last week. And everything I do during this. I'm coordinating with White House. Counsel there will be no difference between the president physician and our position. Listen as to how to handle this to the extent that we can W- and he declared that there's no way that the president is going to be removed from office in this trial so he is saying President President President but he also wants to get his way however to get his way he will have to keep a handle on his Republican majority. It takes fifty one one votes to pass anything related to the impeachment trial. So it's really going to be up to the senators who are Republicans from competitive states for those who have shown a willingness to criticize trump. They will have to decide what they want to do with this witness issue. People like Mitt Romney of Utah. Susan Collins ends of Main Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Maybe Cory Gardner of Colorado and Those are the people who are going to be the really key votes when they do get got to. The question of witnesses is there. Any guarantee of this process is going to be fair. If Mitch McConnell the Senate Majority Leader is already saying before the trial even begins there will be no daylight between the Senate and the White House well. McConnell's argument is that it's in fact the house that's being completely unfair. He said they rushed to impeach trump with a slapdash process. They barely even tried to get some of these witnesses to testify. Who Senate Democrats are now asking for for? But you know. Impeachment is a political process but Mitch McConnell's argument is that Democrats barely tried to get the witnesses that the Senate Democrats rats now want the same witnesses that the White House forbade from testifying. Yes the White House has blocked them from testifying but McConnell has reportedly made clear in private private that he wants no witnesses to be called at all in part this is because president trump has been making various extreme demands That he's uncomfortable. Uncomfortable with trump wants to call hunter biden as a witness. He wants to call Adam Schiff. The Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is witness and Republicans. Don't really I love that in the Senate they think. These requests are kind of ridiculous on trump's part but their solution to this may be to simply simply called no witnesses al which means we won't get to see the president himself directly testify in his impeachment trial. Reportedly trump trump has mused about perhaps wanting to testify in his own defense but his lawyers and his Political people seem to think that would be a very bad idea idea and that the best approach for him is to just get this over with if the Senate holds a relatively brief trial that quickly resulted in his acquitted than he can. Just move onto other stuff rather than making a big show a spectacle of him. You know going in arguing his innocence before the Senate it sounds like a lot of the disagreements between Republicans and Democrats and even the White House have been whether witnesses called which witnesses are called. Have there been any other major sources of contention here the length of the trial. Who Democrats eventually call to be there the so called impeachment managers stuff like that? I think the major issue is how the senators should view their own roles in this process whether they are merely passive jurors whether they're supposed to keep an open mind whether they're allowed to come to conclusions in advance and so on. According to the the standing rules of Senate impeachment trials the members of the Senate are supposed to take an oath beforehand. Saying that they they will solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the impeachment trial they will do impartial justice according to the Constitution Shen and laws and so Democrats have been arguing that for McConnell to say. He's working with the White House and for other senators. Like Lindsey Graham to say hey that I am clearly made up my mind. I'm not trying to hide the fact that I have disdain for the accusations in the process so I don't need any witnesses. Democrats Kratz having crying foul saying you know you should really take this process and these accusations more seriously tried to weigh the evidence and arguments ends that are presented to you and make up your minds in that way wall. We're on the rules. The senators will play. I mean Mitch. McConnell is the Senate majority leader but he's not he's not the judge in this trial Z.. So we will see chief justice John Roberts making an unusual appearance in the Senate floor chief justice of the Supreme Court presides over a presidential impeachment trial but the chief justice if he follows the example set by chief. Justice William Rehnquist in nine hundred ninety nine will not actually do much rehnquist kind of sat back and let the Senate run the trial as they saw fit he said afterward I did nothing in particular and did it very well. That's a great self-assessment their quizzed so we've got C.. J. John Roberts is the the judge we've got the democratic impeach managers from the House as the prosecutors who is defending Donald. So there's also discussion about that going on in the White House Trump will at some point designate lawyers to make his case and that'll be interesting because he decided not to do that in the house. He didn't engage in the house process at all. Aw so we will finally see. Trump's legal team show up in the Senate to make their own arguments. And what should we expect from his legal team. An an actual defense of the president's actions like we got in the letter. He sent Nancy Pelosi last night. Or just more of the witch hunt which hunt that we also got in the letter. He sent to Toposa last night. Maybe both pretty again. There are a lot of speeches speeches in grand proclamations being made during the impeachment hearings in the House. Is it going to be a similar scene in the Senate or will this be a a more sort of solemn affair the really interesting thing about how the process plays out in the Senate is that if the example of the Clinton trial is followed senators. Don't actually get to speak during the trial. They have to sit there and listen as the house. Impeachment managers make their case and then as the defense lawyers I for the president make their case very different from what we're used to seeing at a congressional hearing with a ton of bloviating from the senators McConnell has indicated that he is going to follow this example and he said may maybe it would be a good change of pace for some of his colleagues to have to be quiet for a bit and sit back and listen rather than talking is he. Talking about Lindsey Graham. He's probably telling him at the Democrats mostly. Will this be televised. The House hearings were yes. C. Span two probably all other major networks will be covering this. I wonder you know we watched the house. Intelligence Committee Committee hearings and that seemed more like an investigative process. Then we watched the judiciary committee hearings which seemed like Total circus is there a risk here that when this goes to the Senate and you've got the president's attorneys in the room you've got multiple candidates for president in two thousand twenty the room you've got the chief justice of the Supreme Court in the room and the rest of the Senate that if this doesn't look like functional American democracy you that it could harm this process in the future. I don't think there's any way to make an impeachment. Trial looked pretty. This is an effort to remove an elected president from office for alleged high crimes and misdemeanors. That's serious stuff. And naturally the president and his defenders are fighting back against it while how the prosecutors are arguing that these high crimes and misdemeanors did in fact happen and meriting his removal. So it's GONNA BE NASTY Steve for sure. I do think that the Senate trial will be an interesting change of pace from what we've seen in the house just because of some the matters we've discussed. How senators won't get to speak? Had the president's lawyers will be participating so maybe there will be a bit more dignity to the proceedings than and we've seen so far but don't expect our sunshine and rainbows and inspiring examples of democracy in action. Okay great well I look forward to discussing whatever the opposite of sunshine and rainbows is with you in the New Year Andrew Thank you aw. Aw that's pro. He's a senior correspondent covering politics. Vox Locks I'm John Rama's firm. This is Ukraine explained Doc.

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