Is this a fair question from Chris Wallace?

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  1. Don W profile image82
    Don Wposted 16 months ago

    Wallace asked a Trump aide:

    ". . . before an impeachment trial, all senators have to raise their right hand and take an oath to do impartial justice. How impartial can it be when McConnell says, quote, he is taking his 'cues' from the White House?"
    https://twitter.com/FoxNewsSunday/statu … wsrc%5Etfw

    The oath Wallace referred to to is:

    "I solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of ------ ------, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God".
    https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CDO … sdoc33.htm (rule xxv)

    Is that a fair question from Wallace, and how do McConnell's comments about coordinating with the White House, and his subsequent comments that imply the Senate will allow no witness to be called, reconcile with an oath to do "impartial justice"? I don't think the aides reply addresses that point.

    1. wilderness profile image97
      wildernessposted 16 months agoin reply to this

      I would be more curious how 5 Senators, all hoping for a win in the next election, could sit in the Senate and vote (either way) on removing their primary opponent from the election.  How can that possibly be considered "impartial"?

      1. Don W profile image82
        Don Wposted 16 months agoin reply to this

        Have any of those Senators said their verdict will be based on anything other than their own personal view of the evidence presented? If not, then we can only speculate about how impartial their deliberations will be. In contrast, McConnell has explicitly said: "Everything I do during this, I'm coordinating with the White House counsel", and  "...in total coordination with the White House counsel’s office and the people who are representing the president in the well of the Senate".
        https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archi … al/603658/

        To quote Rep. Val Demings: "No court in the country would allow a member of the jury to also serve as the accused’s defense attorney. The moment Senator McConnell takes the oath of impartiality required by the Constitution, he will be in violation of that oath."
        https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/13/us/p … trial.html

        While I think we need to be careful not to equate a Senate impeachment trial with a court trial, I think she and Chris Wallace make a valid point. McConnell has explicitly stated his intention not to be impartial before the trial even begins. Even more concerning is that he has implied there is a possibility that there will be no witnesses allowed on either side, and the Senate will immediately move to a vote.

        I don't think speculation about how some Senators might not be impartial, is comparable to the Senate Majority Leader explicitly saying he definitely will be coordinating with the counsel of the accused, and the suggestion that the Senate will be called to vote without hearing from any witnesses.

        1. wilderness profile image97
          wildernessposted 16 months agoin reply to this

          I get that, but is there a reason you simply ignore the very obvious conflict of interest?  Demings makes a valid statement, I believe, concerning juries (and by extension, judges in this case) - no jury member, or judge, would ever be allowed to sit on a case where the outcome benefits (or harms) them personally...yet we seem to be requiring 5 Senators to do exactly that. 

          Do not our legislators occasionally recuse themselves from decisions wherein they would benefit personally?  How is this any different?  That removal of Trump from the office, and thereby the election, would most definitely aid them in the election - that they stand to gain personally from voting to remove is undeniable.

          We seem to be in the position of encouraging, even requiring, acting with an obvious conflict of interest with the hope that that conflict will not be engaged - that a vote will be true and without bias.  That's unacceptable, IMO, even though it is highly unlikely that any vote from those 5 will have any effect.

          1. Don W profile image82
            Don Wposted 16 months agoin reply to this

            Again, I can't move away from the fact that there is a significant difference between a completely speculative lack of impartiality, and McConnell's explicitly declared intention not to be impartial. Suggesting these are the same is a false equivalence.

            Although a Senate impeachment trial is a political process, and political considerations will be made as part the Senate's deliberations, it isn't only a political process. There is still the matter of evidence, and the establishing or refuting of facts to be attended to.

            McConnell is effectively declaring that the non-political aspect of a Senate trial doesn't matter. He's essentially saying that establishing the facts, regardless of what they are (there might be evidence available that clears Trump) simply doesn't matter.

            Worst of all, by throwing the trial to Trump's legal counsel, McConnell is effectively surrendering the Senate's constitutional authority to the White House. So while it's reasonable to express concern about the possibility of partiality among a handful of Senators, that doesn't outweigh the fact that the Senate Majority Leader is going to fix the trial in favor of the president, before it even starts.

            Not only is that not "impartial justice", it's also anti-constitutional.

            1. wilderness profile image97
              wildernessposted 16 months agoin reply to this

              I see.  You aren't concerned about an obvious conflict of interest, assuming that the conflict will be resolved by fact rather than partisan politics.  As the impeachment process, and result, was.

              Because you don't like having the tables turned on Democrats that exhibited "impartial justice" to the nth degree.  As just a tiny bit of that impartiality, you might review the minority leader's speech just before the vote; he brought out very clearly that the process actually began 2 1/2 years ago (or earlier), before there was even any reason to talk about it.  Even Pelosi agreed with that, stating herself that it started 2 years before the supposed "high crime and misdemeanor" occurred.

    2. GA Anderson profile image91
      GA Andersonposted 16 months agoin reply to this

      It does seem like a fair question to me, but without the qualifiers. If the trail is to judge the validity of the charges based on evidence provided by the Democrats I don't see the 'requirement' that more witnesses be called in order for it to be deemed fair.

      Without the illusion that this impeachment is a bi-partisan effort, I don't have a problem with the Republicans' position. If the Democrats haven't made their case, beyond their own party, to support their charges, then I don't think 'fairness' dictates that the Republicans help them.

      Since I anticipate a response concerning those that have so far refused to testify, I would say that the Democrats had the avenues and opportunities to go after those testimonies if they were more interested in fairness and justice than they were in speed and political benefit. Their past history and statements don't them the cover of claiming to be seeking justice now.

      GA

      1. Randy Godwin profile image60
        Randy Godwinposted 16 months agoin reply to this

        GA, the constitution doesn't require the House to go to the courts to get records and witnesses from the WH, and besides that, Trump hasn't stated he was using EP to do so. His attorney wrote they were not going to do anything the house wanted, simply ignore the inquiry.

        And how long do you think it would've taken to get the courts to act? One such Clinton court case took 7 months just to get on the slate for review, not to mention heard.

        Meantime, Trump is on the loose. yikes

        1. wilderness profile image97
          wildernessposted 16 months agoin reply to this

          Isn't that much like the D's suing such things as a legal travel ban and some border actions taken to enforce the law?  Put it off until the problem goes away by itself?

          Same thing, right?  But as it's on the other foot now, completely unacceptable.

          1. Randy Godwin profile image60
            Randy Godwinposted 16 months agoin reply to this

            You don't want to see a trial at all, Dan. I don't blame you...

            1. wilderness profile image97
              wildernessposted 16 months agoin reply to this

              Nice deflection! lol

              1. Randy Godwin profile image60
                Randy Godwinposted 16 months agoin reply to this

                Is that a " 'deed I do?" tongue

        2. GA Anderson profile image91
          GA Andersonposted 16 months agoin reply to this

          I don't think the Constitution says 'anything' about that part of the process Randy. As for the time frame? That sounds a lot like an excuse. "We can't afford to wait and do it right, so we'll just do it any way we can."

          GA

          1. Randy Godwin profile image60
            Randy Godwinposted 16 months agoin reply to this

            Well Gus, Bill Taylor--the long respected diplomat who testified at the hearings--has been fired by Pompeo. What a great reward for telling the truth and doing his duty.  But then, I'd expect no different from his Administration.

            You didn't answer what other option they had, Gus. As I said, Trump never asserted Executive Privilege, simply ignored the subpoenas.

            1. GA Anderson profile image91
              GA Andersonposted 16 months agoin reply to this

              The other option has been mentioned: They could have gone to court as they did for the Nixon subpoenas.

              GA

      2. Don W profile image82
        Don Wposted 16 months agoin reply to this

        For me it's not so much about the calling of witnesses. I think there is ample evidence from the impeachment inquiry to make the case that the president, more likely than not, abused his authority.

        The issue for me is the fact McConnell is fully coordinating with the White House defense counsel. I think that is a betrayal of the solemn responsibility of the Senate, and a subversion of its constitutional authority. It reduces the Senate to no more than an extension of the White House defense counsel.

        I can't accept that is what the framers of the Constitution had in mind when they established the impeachment process. In fact I'm certain it's not based on the discussions they had about it at the time. I also can't accept that placing the Senate at the disposal of the accused complies with the requirement to do "impartial justice".

        1. GA Anderson profile image91
          GA Andersonposted 16 months agoin reply to this

          I tried to think of a witty response Don, but failed. Beyond the reality that this is our current political environment, I agree, it will not be an impartial trial.

          GA

          1. Randy Godwin profile image60
            Randy Godwinposted 16 months agoin reply to this

            Mitch will take the oath of impartiality anyway. What a guy!

 
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