The House of Representatives on Wednesday morning voted to appoint managers to prosecute the impeachment trial of Donald Trump and prepared to send the two articles against him, one for abuse of power and another for obstruction of Congress, to the Senate.
Within hours, several Republican senators had made it clear they had no intention to giving those articles a fair hearing.
The House impeached Trump in December, alleging he had abused his office when he pushed Ukraine to investigate his political rivals and impeded congressional efforts to investigate those actions. Those articles will now be passed along to the Senate where members, who effectively act as jurors, will be asked to weigh the charges and decide whether to remove Trump from office.
At the start of an impeachment trial, each senator takes an oath in which they “solemnly swear” to “do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already made it clear he will be anything but impartial. “House Democrats may finally stand behind the rushed, unfair, and nakedly partisan impeachment that they themselves delayed for four weeks,” he tweeted on Wednesday.
In a floor speech that same day, McConnell (R-KY) dismissed the charges as the result of “the least thorough and most unfair impeachment inquiry in history.”
Other Republicans have similarly piled on.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (TN) insisted the Senate would “not resort to the petty politics of the House” but would “give President Trump the fair trial he deserves.” However in that same tweet, Blackburn called the House impeachment inquiry “a hoax,” arguing that senators could not “trust anything in the House Democrats’ impeachment* report” because House Intelligence chair Adam Schiff had once paraphrased a conversation between Trump and the president of Ukraine.
Sen. Jim Inhofe (OK) was more blunt, promising to “take this process seriously” before immediately acknowledging “the president is not going to be removed from office – period.”
Florida Sen. Rick Scott claimed that “impeachment is just a circus,” telling Fox News that the impeachment trial was the result of Democrats’ hatred of Trump. He claimed Democrats were “trying to change the 2020 election. That’s all this is.”
Texas Sen. John Cornyn shared a tweet in which right-wing talk show host Hugh Hewitt called the impeachment trial “close to criminal assault.” Cornyn added his own comments above the tweet, quoting Romans 5:3-4, which reads, “[W]e rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”
The impending trial comes as the charges against Trump continue to gain steam. House Democrats released new evidence Tuesday night suggesting a Trump donor and close associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani may have spied on the former ambassador to Ukraine. Trump ousted the ambassador last year after a coordinated smear campaign against her by Giuliani and his associates.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.