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Really? Senate Republicans Credit Trump For Infrastructure Bill He Opposes

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

The Senate slogged away through the weekend, inching toward an agreement on the $1.5 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which was delayed by one Republican senator's refusal to sign off on an amendment to speed things up. Tennessee Republican Sen. Bill Hagerty refused to allow unanimous consent to forego 30 hours of time-wasting on Saturday, requiring the Senate to be in on Sunday and running the clock out. That sets up a vote for around 3:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, unless somehow Hagerty can be convinced to give in and allow it to move faster.

Hagerty had been on the phone with the former guy, according to sources to AP, who had been egging him on in obstructing the bill. Previous to his election to the Senate, Hagerty had been Trump's ambassador to Japan, and is one of his staunchest allies in Congress. Efforts by Senate Republicans to appease Trump apparently fell on deaf ears.

On Friday, chief Republican negotiator Sen. Rob Portman even went on national television to give all the credit to Trump for this bill. Literally. "I have encouraged President Trump to take credit for this," Portman said on CNN. "President Trump's effort to raise the level of awareness about the need for infrastructure improvement should help us get this done. He proposed a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill. He's a developer, he understands the need for infrastructure."

The slobbering over the former squatter in the Oval Office continued on the Senate floor.

The delay also highlighted a growing dispute on amendments. Hagerty, in fact, tried to bring up 17 amendments on Sunday by unanimous consent. More than 20 have already been considered so far. That self-appointed paragon of bipartisanship, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, objected to his request, pointing to the fact that he was just wasting everyone's time.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer got a little testy about it, as well. "I'd repeat that Democrats are ready and willing to vote on additional amendments to the bill before moving to final passage," Schumer said Sunday one the floor. "Once again, that will require the cooperation of our Republican colleagues." He added, "I said yesterday that we could do this the easy way or the hard way. Yesterday, it appeared that some Republicans would like the Senate to do this the hard way. In any case, we'll keep proceeding until we get this bill done."

There's a possibility that more amendments will be considered as the Senate moves toward a Tuesday (sometime) vote, including a problematic cryptocurrency proposal that has created bipartisan tension. It was apparently resolved by mid-morning Monday, helping to clear the way toward finalizing the bill.

The bipartisan infrastructure package includes $550 billion in new federal spending, about $110 billion for roads and bridges including $40 billion for bridges—rebuilding, replacing, and repairing. There's a relatively paltry $39 billion to modernize public transit—a $10 billion cut from the original agreement the senators had worked out with President Biden and less than half of the $85 billion Biden included in his original proposal. It includes $73 billion to repair the electrical grid, and $55 billion for water system upgrades, enough to replace just 1 in 4 lead drinking water pipes in the country.

There's $66 billion split between passenger and freight rail, and $65 billion in expanding broadband networks. Another $42 billion goes to ports ($17 billion) and airports ($25 billion), and $7.5 billion will go to zero- and low-emission buses and ferries. There's also $7.5 billion to build electric vehicle charging stations.

As of now, it looks like there will be Republican votes to pass it, with more than a dozen ending the filibuster on moving it forward. They've apparently decided that being able to go back to their home states and tout this accomplishment is worth helping Democrats. It will mollify some of the anti-Trump Republicans in the key states they need to keep in 2022, and it will give them the excuse to let absolutely nothing else pass for the rest of Biden's first term.

They can point to the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill and scream holy hell about the awful Democrats to resist doing anything else to help the country. In fact, they're already doing that.

Republicans Block Infrastructure Bill That Promises 500K New Manufacturing Jobs

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

A new analysis shows that bipartisan infrastructure legislation could result in the creation of 100,000 new high-wage equipment-manufacturing jobs by 2025, and nearly half a million new manufacturing jobs overall. But Senate Republicans are still refusing to allow debate on the bill to begin.

According to data released Tuesday by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, a trade group, the $579 billion in new infrastructure investment contained in the plan, combined with funding in another bipartisan surface transportation bill pending before Congress, would be a huge boon to manufacturing.

The association represents the interests of construction and agriculture equipment manufacturers.

"The bipartisan infrastructure framework agreed to by the White House and a group of Senators, coupled with a five-year surface transportation reauthorization, is vital for the 2.8 million men and women of the equipment manufacturing industry, for their families and communities, for the U.S. economy, and for bipartisanship in this country," Kip Eideberg, the association's senior vice president of government and industry relations, said in a press release.

"The data shows that it would also create nearly 500,000 new manufacturing jobs overall, generate over $2 billion in new federal, state, and local tax revenue from the equipment manufacturing industry, and result in an additional $27 billion in overall economic output," he noted.

The report predicts that the jobs created would be "highly-skilled and will have an annual income of over $88,000 that is more than 35% above the national average for all employees."

A bipartisan group of senators agreed in June to a framework for infrastructure investment, focusing on transportation, broadband, and water systems, with 11 Republicans pledging to back the proposal. President Joe Biden endorsed the plan and has been pushing Congress to enact it.

But on July 21, every single Republican in the Senate voted against beginning debate on the framework.

Several of the Republicans who had agreed to the deal but refused to debate it said then that they just needed a few more days to work out the legislative text.

"We're a no today because we're not ready," explained Ohio Sen. Rob Portman. "We're saying we do want to take up this bill as soon as we are, and we think that'll be Monday."

But as of Tuesday morning, the group is still refusing to move ahead to debate the legislation.

One key sticking point has been how to pay for the investments. Though the initial bipartisan agreement included a major crackdown on wealthy tax cheats, Republicans have since abandoned those provisions, caving to what Portman called "pushback" from other GOP senators who refused to give more funds to the understaffed Internal Revenue Service for tax code enforcement.

Recent polling shows strong support for the investment package. A Navigator Research survey released on July 22 found 66 perecent of registered voters support the framework. It had support from 86 percent of Democrats, 59 percent of independents, and even a 46 percent plurality of Republicans.

In addition to manufacturing jobs, climate advocates say many of its provisions would help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change while creating numerous clean energy jobs.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

GOP Senators Torpedo Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal They Endorsed

Reprinted with permission from American independent

Senate Republicans used the filibuster rule on Wednesday to block consideration of a bipartisan infrastructure deal — weeks after several of them endorsed the $579 billion package.

Every member of the Democratic Senate majority backed beginning consideration of H.R. 3684, a procedural step needed to debate and pass the bipartisan framework, but because Senate rules require a three-fifths supermajority for this type of legislation, the Republican minority was able to block it.

President Joe Biden proposed a $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan in March, asking Congress to improve the nation's transportation, water systems, broadband, clean energy, climate change, and caregiving infrastructure.

On June 16, after lengthy negotiations, a bipartisan group of senators agreedon a deal, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, to invest $579 billion in "core infrastructure" programs only, including transportation, broadband, and water systems.

Republican Sens. Richard Burr (NC), Bill Cassidy (LA), Susan Collins (ME), Lindsey Graham (SC), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Rob Portman (OH), Mitt Romney (UT), Mike Rounds (SD), Thom Tillis (NC), and Todd Young (IN) all signed onto a joint statement with 10 members of the Democratic majority, affirming their support for the deal.

"We support this bipartisan framework that provides an historic investment in our nation's core infrastructure needs without raising taxes," the statement read. "We look forward to working with our Republican and Democratic colleagues to develop legislation based on this framework to address America's critical infrastructure challenges."

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) endorsed the plan later that day.

On June 24, Biden signed on to the bipartisan plan and has been urging its passage since.

"We should be united on one thing: passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, which we shook hands on," he said on Monday. "We shook hands on it."

But not long after the agreement, some Republicans began to have second thoughts.

Some objected to acknowledgements by Biden and Democratic leaders in Congress that they would later try to pass some of their other priorities — including the omitted climate change, child care, and caregiving "human infrastructure" provisions — through a separate budget reconciliation process, without any GOP support. Graham complained that this plan amounted to extortion.

They then abandoned one of the key provisions that financed the bipartisan agreement: a crackdown on wealthy tax dodgers who are not currently paying their fair share. Portman said Sunday that they had dropped the provision due to "pushback" from Republican senators who did not want to give more money to the understaffed Internal Revenue Service to enforce the tax code.

Again, Graham protested the deal he'd backed, telling Axios on June 30, "There's some people on our side who don't like empowering the IRS; I don't mind empowering the IRS if it's a reasonable thing to do. But I mean, how much uncollected taxes can you gather with $40 billion?"

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer moved to bring up the framework on Wednesday as a way to speed up the bill writing process. "I understand that both sides are working very hard to turn the bipartisan infrastructure framework into final legislation, and they will continue to have more time to debate, amend and perfect the bill once the Senate votes to take up this crucial issue," the New York Democrat explained to colleagues on Monday. "But they have been working on this bipartisan framework for more than a month already, and it's time to begin the debate."

Republicans said they were not ready to move forward.

Senate Republican Whip John Thune — who memorably ran for his seat in 2004 by lambasting the Democratic incumbent for using his position "to slow down, to obstruct, to stop" then-President George W. Bush's agenda — opposed even beginning debate on the bipartisan infrastructure framework. "I can't say we will have every Republican, but he [Schumer] is not going to get 60," he vowed Monday.

On Wednesday, all of the 11 Republican backers who supported the bipartisan deal previously — along with the rest of the Republican minority — voted against debate on the matter.

Schumer voted "no" as well, for procedural reasons.

"At the end of the vote, I changed my response [from a yes] to a no so that I may move to reconsider this vote at a future time," the majority leader explained, moments after the vote failed, 49 to 51.

Due to Schumer's last-second maneuver, the Senate is still able to reconsider the vote in the future. Alternately, the Democratic majority could simply add the provisions to a budget reconciliation package and pass it with a simple majority, if they can remain united.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Republican Senate Negotiator Now Ready To 'Move Forward' On Infrastructure Bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A lead Republican negotiator on an infrastructure deal on Sunday welcomed President Joe Biden's withdrawal of his threat to veto a $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill unless a separate Democratic spending plan also passes Congress. Ohio Senator Rob Portman said he and his fellow negotiators were "blindsided" by Biden's comments on Thursday after he and senators announced a rare bipartisan compromise on a measure to fix the nation's roads, bridges and ports. "I was very glad to see the president clarify his remarks because it was inconsistent with everything that we had been told al...

Infrastructure Deal Hinges On Additional Climate And Social Spending

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

UPDATE: President Joe Biden hosted the bipartisan Senate group at the White House to confirm the infrastructure deal on Thursday afternoon. "Neither side got everything they wanted in this deal," Biden said. "That's what it means to compromise, and it reflects something important, reflects consensus. The heart of democracy requires consensus." He also said the deal is "in tandem" with an additional bill funding clean energy and human infrastructure programs, to be passed solely by Democrats under budget reconciliation rules -- and that he won't sign one without the other.

A bipartisan group of 10 senators said it had reached a tentative deal with the White House on an infrastructure plan. But while their verbal agreement includes hundreds of billions of dollars in new investment in transportation and water infrastructure, several Democrats are saying they will only support it if it is paired with investments in omitted infrastructure priorities such as climate and caregiving.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) announced on Wednesday, "Republicans and Democrats have come together, along with the White House, and we've agreed on a framework and we're gonna be heading to the White House tomorrow."

"We have a framework and we are going to the White House tomorrow," said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA).

The group also includes Republicans Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and Rob Portman (OH), as well as Democrats Joe Manchin (WV), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Jon Tester (MT), and Mark Warner (VA).

In a statement released by the White House, press secretary Jen Psaki said, "White House senior staff had two productive meetings today with the bipartisan group of Senators who have been negotiating about infrastructure. The group made progress towards an outline of a potential agreement, and the President has invited the group to come to the White House tomorrow to discuss this in person."

According to Axios, the plan would call for either $974 billion in infrastructure spending over the next five years or $1.2 trillion over the next eight. About $559 billion of that would be new spending, $20 billion less than was included in the group's earlier proposal.

The senators have not yet announced how it would be funded but claim it is fully paid for.

In March, Biden proposed the $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan, which would significantly boost investment in roads, bridges, water systems, clean energy, broadband, transit, climate, child care, and caregiving infrastructure. Congressional Republicans unanimously opposed the plan, with many complaining that only roads and bridges really count as infrastructure.

The bipartisan group's plan omits virtually all funding for clean energy, climate, child care, and caregiving infrastructure.

The package would require a three-fifths supermajority in the Senate and a majority in the House. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) suggested on Thursday evening that most Democrats have not yet signed off on the plan. "My sense is that deal right now has 20 votes, not 60 votes. We are going to have to take a deep dive into the agreement they have reached, and, you know, square it with the needs of our voters," he told CNN's Anderson Cooper.

Several of his colleagues have objected to the lack of clean energy and climate investment in the proposal and have said they will only agree to back it if enough Democrats agree to address caregiving and the environment in a separate package that could be passed through budget reconciliation without any GOP support.

Such a deal would likely also include investments in health care, paid leave, child care, pre-K programs, and other priorities included in Biden's original $1.9 trillion American Families Plan.

"We have made our position clear, that the possibility of a bipartisan deal depends on a commitment to move forward on reconciliation," Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) told Politico on Tuesday.

"One can't be done without the other," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters on Wednesday. "We can't get the bipartisan bill done unless we're sure of getting the budget reconciliation bill done. We can't get the budget reconciliation bill done unless we're sure to get the bipartisan — and I think our members, across the spectrum, realize that."

"No climate, no deal," vowed Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) on June 9.

The need for investment in both transportation and climate infrastructure was illustrated this week by major news stories across the country.

In Washington, D.C., a pedestrian bridge collapsed on Wednesday onto an interstate highway. Several people were injured.

On the West Coast, climate change has fueled massive heatwaves and drought.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

The Press Keeps Chasing — And Never Finding — Those ‘Moderate Republicans’

Reprinted with permission from Press Run

Busy pursuing the mythical creature known as the Republican "moderate" — that rare species of conservative who's willing to work with Democrats— the Beltway press recently announced a key sighting. A gaggle of influential "moderates" were willing to work with President Joe Biden to pass a sweeping infrastructure bill.

Those handful of GOP senators include Shelly Capito (R-WV), Patrick Toomey (R-PA), John Barrasso (R-WY), and Roger Wicker (R-MS), and they've been eagerly portrayed in the press as middle-of-the-road deal-makers in search of bipartisan compromise. Slight problem, there's nothing "moderate" about these Republicans, all of whom were Trump loyalists for four years and served as his lapdogs in the Senate. Also, the comically small infrastructure "compromise" they offered up last week was deeply unserious.

This kind of misleading coverage has been a long-running staple of the Beltway media, which loves the idea of "moderate" Republicans stepping forward, in part because journalists have been ceaselessly harping on the idea that all legislation in the Biden era needs to be bipartisan because the Democrat had promised to "unite" the country during the campaign. Also, because the press embraces the narrative that there's a group of thoughtful centrists at the heart of today's GOP — pragmatic do-gooders, happy to occupy the middle ground.

The media bar is set so low for Republicans that apparently the simple act of being willing to discuss a pressing piece of lawmaking with a Democratic White House makes GOP senators "moderates." But are the Republicans actually "moderates"? Do they hold a worldview that places them in the middle of the political spectrum, and do they often work with both sides of the aisle?

No, no, and no. In fact, it's not even close. The so-called moderates spent the last four years voting with Trump 80 and 90 percent of the time. There's nothing centrist about their views, not when they were in bed with the most radical player in modern American politics. Still, the press loves to tell a pleasing tale about Republicans.

Just look at how the press treated Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) when he announced in February that he's retiring from the Senate. A Republican who served as a reliable rubber stamp during four years of Trump insanity, voting with the White House nearly 90 percent of the time, Portman was lauded in the press at the time of his retirement announcement as being "pragmatic," "serious," and a man who privately bristled at Trump's dangerous behavior.

Yet just days after announcing his looming retirement, and without facing the political pressures of running for re-election, Portman voted to acquit Trump of inciting a deadly insurrectionist mob at the U.S. Capitol, because he said the Senate impeachment trial was "unconstitutional." (It clearly was not.) So that's how "moderate" Rob Portman actually is.

Speaking of impeachment, during Trump's first Senate trial, the New York Times tried to present Rep. Peter King (R-NY), as a "moderate" while he ferociously defended Trump's attempt to help a foreign country interfere with a U.S. election.

If the current infrastructure "compromise" looks familiar, it's because we just saw this same off-base coverage surrounding the Covid relief bill. When ten Republican senators reached out to the Biden White House this winter to discuss a possible compromise on the Democrats' proposed $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package, the media quickly identified the players as "moderates," and pushed the idea about a possible bipartisan deal. The Associated Press singled out Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) as a key "moderate" who hoped for a bipartisan deal — Katko sided with Trump eight out of ten times in the House.

Over the winter, the Times stressed that, "Moderate Republicans in competitive districts are navigating a careful balance in addressing the coronavirus crisis, eager to put some distance between themselves and a president whose response has been criticized." That's simply not true — not one Republican member of the House voted for Covid relief.

And the "compromise" they offered was laughable, just like the recent GOP "compromise" proposal on infrastructure was laughable. On Covid, the so-called moderates backed a $600 billion relief package, compared to the $1.9 trillion pandemic bill Biden signed into the law. Being the party out of power and urging the president to strip away 70 percent of his Covid and infrastructure bills simply did not represent a sincere negotiating position. And that's why Biden ignores Republican offers. (On infrastructure, Biden wants to spend $2.3 trillion; Republicans are backing a $568 billion proposal.)

But for news consumers, the story presented by the media is that there's an honest back-and-forth negotiation going on, because "moderates" have offered a "compromise." The press constantly plays along with the charade. Weeks ago, Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) signaled Republicans would support a comically small $800 billion infrastructure plan, compared to the $2.3 trillion one Biden supports. Yet the Wall Street Journal, among many, treated the offer as being legitimate, claiming the minuscule counter-proposal underscored the "GOP interest in a bipartisan fix for the nation's aging roads and patchy broadband service," and that "Republicans are seeking a compromise on infrastructure."

Spoiler: They're not. A serious, GOP counter-proposal for Biden's $2.3 trillion proposal would be in the $1.6 billion range.

This media trend isn't new. When Jeb Bush ran for president in 2016 and was a contender before the arrival of Trump in the GOP primary field, the campaign press worked overtime positioning him as a "moderate" — a pragmatic label Bush embraced as he eyed a general election against a Democrat. Yet when he served as governor of Florida, the Sunshine State became one of the nation's most pro-gun states, with a variety of laws that lessened restrictions on ownership. After leaving office, Bush remained a far-right politician regarding taxes, climate change, abortion, repealing Obamacare (it's "clearly a job killer"), civil rights, right-to-die, gun control, relations with Cuba, and legalizing marijuana.

Why on earth was the press touting him as a "moderate" in 2016? Same reason they're scrambling today to describe some Republicans who voted with Trump 95 percent of the time as "moderates." In the hands of the Beltway press, it's become a meaningless compliment.

These 14 GOP Senators Supported Clinton’s Removal, But Not Trump’s

Donald Trump is expected to to be acquitted in his Senate impeachment trial on Wednesday, with most Republicans predicted to vote in his favor.

Among those standing steadfast with Trump are 14 current GOP senators who voted to impeach or remove President Clinton from office in the late 1990s. Many of those senators have since shifted their reasoning on why a president can’t  be removed from office.

Seven Republican senators serving today voted in 1999 to remove Clinton from office: Sens. Mike Crapo of Idaho, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Pat Roberts of Kansas, and Richard Shelby of Alabama.

An additional seven Republican senators were members of the House of Representatives who voted to impeach Clinton: Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Rob Portman of Ohio, John Thune of South Dakota, and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.

All 14 senators who attempted to oust Clinton voted in January to protect Trump by preventing additional witness testimony during the Senate trial, and all are expected to vote against removing Trump from office.

Perhaps the most high-profile among them is Graham. Graham not only voted to impeach Clinton, but was one of the House managers attempting to persuade senators to remove him from office. During the Clinton impeachment, Graham called for witnesses to come before the Senate, demanded senators not make up their mind before the trial, and criticized past presidents for ignoring congressional subpoenas.

Two decades later, Graham reversed course.

“I am trying to give a pretty clear signal I have made up my mind,” Graham said in December 2019, weeks before the impeachment trial started in the Senate. “I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here.”

Others who voted previously to oust Clinton have also had a change of heart.

Crapo for his part released a statement last month arguing that the founders “expressly rejected a system in which the President serves at the pleasure of the legislative branch.”

And Shelby, who once declared that the charge of obstruction of justice against Clinton was proven “beyond a reasonable doubt,” concluded in January that Trump’s actions “[were] not worthy of removal from office,” and announced he would not vote to remove him from office.

Trump was impeached in December on two counts, abuse of power related to his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, and obstruction of Congress for his decision to block crucial witness testimony and hide evidence from House investigators.

Blunt made a similar case against Clinton, stating in December 1998 that “no president can be allowed to … thwart the investigative responsibility of the legislature.” He argued that true punishment was warranted and warned that a simple “censure” was not strong enough. Yet this time around, Blunt has indicated he will be voting to acquit Trump, declaring the outcome of the trial “virtually certain” despite mountains of evidence showing Trump wanted to use his office for personal gain.

McConnell, who voted in February 1999 to convict Clinton and remove him from office, accused the former president at the time of lying deliberately to the American people. He claimed his vote was one of “honor,” “principle,” and “moral authority.”

In Trump’s impeachment trial, McConnell has openly admitted to coordinating with the White House on Trump’s defense and said in December he had no intention of being an impartial juror. He, too, has implied that he will vote to acquit.

Others have pledged similarly that they will stand by Trump, claiming that the impeachment proceedings against him have been solely politically motivated by Democrats seeking to overturn the 2016 election. Many of those same lawmakers previously said the opposite during Clinton’s impeachment trial, with a few arguing that overturning the will of the people was necessary for justice to prevail.

Thune stated in December that he had no intention of voting to convict Trump and accused Democrats of “overturning an election where they didn’t like the outcome.” Yet when he voted to impeach Clinton in 1999, Thune had no such misgivings, stating there was “one standard of justice that applies equally to all, and to say or do otherwise will undermine the most sacred of all American ideals.”

Burr, a former congressman who voted to impeach Clinton in 1999, echoed Thune’s thoughts at that time, saying he could not “ignore the facts or disregard the constitution so that the president can be placed above the law.”

In January, Burr also said he had no intention of convicting Trump because “the American people [had] duly elected” him.

Inhofe is also among those who voted to convict Clinton previously but has called the impeachment process against Trump “a political sham” and declared before the beginning of the Senate trial that Trump was “not going to be removed from office — period.”

Portman for his part concluded that Trump’s actions were “wrong and inappropriate,” but has said he will refuse to vote to remove Trump from office because it would entail “taking him off the ballot in the middle of an election.”

Portman voted to impeach Clinton based on “evidence of serious wrongdoing,” saying, “I believe the evidence of serious wrongdoing is simply too compelling to be swept aside … I believe the long-term consequence to this country of not acting on these serious charges before us far outweigh the consequences of following what the Constitution provides for and bringing this matter to trial in the United States Senate.”

Wicker also voted to impeach Clinton, but when the House impeached Trump, he released a statement critical of the House investigation, adding he anticipated Trump would be acquitted in the Senate.

“House Democrats made a historic mistake today,” he said at the time. “… Their effort has never been about the facts or accountability. It was always about politics and damaging a president they cannot tolerate.”

Some of the senators involved in the Clinton impeachment episode, like Enzi, Moran, and Roberts, have not made public statements about their intentions in the Trump trial.

Grassley, for instance, falsely criticized the House impeachment as partisan, but pledged to “examine the evidence of the charges presented before the Senate and uphold my oath and duty as a juror.”

The Senate is expected to hold a final vote on Wednesday to determine if Trump should be removed from office. There is little expectation that proponents of removal will attain the 67 votes necessary to do so.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Republicans Falsely Claim To Have Heard Witnesses In Trump Trial

The Senate Republican majority is all but set to vote to acquit Donald Trump in his impeachment trial, without hearing any witness testimony whatsoever.

Despite this, many senators have been misleadingly suggesting that witness testimony was in fact part of the trial.

The Senate Republican Communications Center, part of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office, posted a list of “Senate Trial Facts” Friday afternoon, intended to demonstrate why the GOP believed it was “time to move on.”

“13 witnesses testified,” they claimed in an infographic, adding that there were also “179 Senator questions.”

While testimony from fact witnesses from the House impeachment inquiry was presented as part of the impeachment managers’ and defense lawyers’ cases, no one testified as part of the Senate trial. And none of the senators’ questions were directed to any of those fact witnesses.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) made a similar misleading argument in a video Friday. “I’m a no vote on additional witnesses,” she said. “We’ve had the testimony of 17 people.”

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) also announced in a video that she would vote no when the Senate considers “whether we have a need to have more witnesses.” She reasoned, “We’ve already had 17 witnesses.”

In a written statement, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) agreed, saying he did not believe “additional witnesses are needed.”

Poll after poll has shown overwhelming popular support for a fair Senate trial that would include witness testimony.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.