We will keep giving a few tidbits on the previous day’s impeachment proceedings. Today we are going to focus on few highlights from Monday with a brief preview of what will happen tomorrow. The bottom line is an impeachment over policy differences or for partisan reasons cannot be legitimate.
As President Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow explained yesterday:
Sekulow on Monday invoked the House testimony of White House Ukraine adviser Alexander Vindman, who told lawmakers he opposed Trump’s actions on the July phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“He himself said he did not know if there was a crime or anything of that nature. He had deep policy concerns,” Sekulow said. “And I think that’s what’s this is really about: It’s deep policy concerns. Deep policy differences. But we live in a constitutional republic.”
The defense attorney said, “It is our position as the president’s counsel that the president was at all times acting under his constitutional authority, under his legal authority, in our national interest and pursuant to his oath of office. Asking a foreign leader to get to the bottom of issues of corruption is not a violation of an oath.”
The elephant in the room is the Bidens. Another defense counsel, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, stated:
Bondi pointed to numerous news reports raising questions about Hunter Biden’s appointment to the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma. The move "looks nepotistic at best, nefarious at worst,” Bondi said, speaking on the Senate floor during the impeachment trial.
"When the House managers gave you their presentation when they submitted their brief, they repeatedly referenced Hunter Biden and Burisma… They referenced Biden or Burisma over 400 times. And when they gave these presentations they said there was nothing to see, it was a sham," Bondi told the Senate. "This is fiction." . . .
"All we’re saying is that there was a basis to talk about this, to raise this issue, and that is enough," Bondi explained. "Burisma was so corrupt that George Kent said he intervened to prevent USAID from cosponsoring an event with Burisma."
As Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James noted:
The partisan nature of this particular impeachment will end up weakening not just Mr. Trump, but the office of the presidency. Every future president — Democrat and Republican — will be second-guessing his or her decisions to avoid crossing members of Congress and being threatened with impeachment based on the flimsiest of evidence.
Tomorrow the Senate impeachment trial will proceed to the next phase:
- The Republicans will alternate submitting questions with the Democrats (Clinton trial format)
- Questions can be directed to House managers/President’s counsel
- Questions must be submitted in writing (Senators still cannot speak) and will be read by the Chief Justice
- Senate Pages will deliver the questions to the Parliamentarian who will give them to the Chief Justice
- A question must be signed by the Senator asking the Q
- Questions can be from multiple Senators (reduce duplicative Q’s)
- Senators can expect 10-12 questions per side before a break
- While there is no official time limit for managers or counsel to respond to a question, the Clinton trial showed that then-Chief Justice Rehnquist requested both sides to keep responses to 5 minutes
- Finally, Senators cannot challenge answers (Senators must remain silent)
RNLA members can listen to briefing calls by Alan Dershowitz and House Minority Counsel Steve Castor. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy of the recordings. Also, check out this op-ed by RNLA Co-Chair Harmeet Dhillon.