(Former) President Trump left office in due course, yet the Senate is set to take up his second impeachment trial this afternoon at 1:00 p.m. (Eastern). The first item on the trial schedule is debate over the constitutionality of trial of a former president. Byron York reviewed the issue of constitutionality in his Daily Memo yesterday. The correct answer is “no.”
After the arguments, the Senate will vote on whether it has the jurisdiction to try a former president. The threshold to pass is a simple majority of 51 votes. The number of Republican Senators who vote that the trial is unconstitutional will presage Trump’s acquittal at the end of this “travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of two mockeries of a sham,” to borrow the formulation of Fielding Mellish in Woody Allen’s Bananas.
My favorite among the seven House impeachment managers is Rep. Eric Swalwell. Swalwell is a member of the House Intelligence Committee who formerly made it with the Chinese spy Fang Fang, a/k/a Bang Bang. Swalwell perfectly represents the farcical nature of the proceedings. Those of us who remember Trump’s first impeachment trial are left to wonder. Where have you gone Jerry Nadler? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.
Where have you gone, Adam Schiff? We’d like to know a little bit about you for our files. Schiff, you may recall, is the man who pioneered the twilight zone between direct and circumstantial evidence in retailing the Russia hoax while President Trump was in office.
Where have you gone, Chief Justice John Roberts? The Constitution provides that you are to preside over the the Senate trial of the president. Oh, yeah, Trump isn’t the president anymore.
Where have you gone, Senator Patrick Leahy? What are you doing up there presiding over the trial? Oh, yeah, Chief Justice Roberts checked out. Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you too, while we try to make out what the heck you are mumbling.
The second impeachment trial of President Trump marks the regularization of impeachment in our politics as a tool of partisan warfare. It extends the maniacal Trump hatred that gripped the Democrat/media axis for the four years of the Trump presidency. This second trial is in a sense a fitting coda to the Trump presidency. It is also a sad day for the United States. As the song puts it, every way you look at this you lose.