Ethics, political, and legal experts were stunned Thursday night when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he was effectively handing over control of the Senate’s impeachment trial of President Donald Trump to the president and the White House. One legal expert is now speaking out, explaining why this is problematic.
In short, as Lawfare founder Benjamin Wittes alludes to, all Senators become jurors in the trial of the president — impartial jurors. And Wittes reminds the Republican Majority Leader there is an actual special oath they are required to take when fulfilling this solemn constitutional duty.
It will read: “I solemnly swear … that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald J. Trump, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God.” https://t.co/jnH7It51SM
— Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) December 13, 2019
McConnell Thursday night told Fox News’ Sean Hannity, “Everything I do during this, I’m coordinating with White House Counsel,” emphasizing he was working “in total coordination with the White House Counsel’s Office.”
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‘Uninterested in Evidence’: Embattled Susan Collins Blasted for Dismissing Threats to Ukraine Ambassador Yovanovitch
U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) is once again under fire, this time for discounting and dismissing just-revealed threats to then-Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. The House of Representatives was just given intensely disturbing texts from indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, which allegedly show him and a Trump donor now running for Congress.
Those texts are being described as threats to Yovanovitch. Some are saying they appear to be threats to her security, illegal surveillance, and even possible discussion of a “hit job” against her.
The evidence also includes handwritten notes by Parnas, and documentation that President Trump knew of and approved of additional efforts to pressure Ukraine to manufacture dirt on Joe Biden.
Many believe the new evidence should be incorporated into President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial.
Collins pooh-poohed the revelations.
“I wonder why the House did not put that into the record and it’s only now being revealed,” she said, according to CNN’s Manu Raju, who described Collins’ response as throwing “cold water” on the new evidence.
He adds that when she was told the new information was just handed to the House, she said: “well doesn’t that suggest that the House did an incomplete job then?”
This sums up what some are saying:
The Parnas document dump happened yesterday and Susan Collins is blaming Democrats for not including it in their impeachment inquiry that ended in December.
For the umpteenth time, she’s the same as the rest of them. https://t.co/oatQneokLG
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) January 15, 2020
Many are furious with the Maine Republican who is facing a challenging Senate re-election bid.
Yet another reason why it was Susan Collins, more than Trump, who convinced me the GOP was dead and should be driven from power. https://t.co/qcyoH5vY4b
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) January 15, 2020
Collins here previewing the Republican plan to stick fingers in ears and scream LALALALA through the presentation of all evidence that surfaced since late December. https://t.co/wJMAtI2ygk
— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) January 15, 2020
Collins is uninterested in evidence about the monitoring and threats against a U.S. ambassador.
Collins apparently isn’t following things very closely.
She believed this evidence was previously available when it was just released YESTERDAY. https://t.co/25XwL9kgrJ
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) January 15, 2020
The Collins logic is that the more incrimating evidence emerges the more innocent Trump becomes. https://t.co/WZPPleeX3W
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) January 15, 2020
Here’s the context that Collins is ignoring: DOJ seized Parnas’ phones and other materials when he was arrested in October, before he got the House subpoena. Parnas only recently got his devices back from the DOJ and secured permission from a judge to give this stuff to Congress. https://t.co/lod777byFX
— Marshall Cohen (@MarshallCohen) January 15, 2020
The original reason these gentlemen didn’t turn over evidence was their lawyer’s claim that they were ***part of the president’s legal team*** https://t.co/H3whYzIdUe
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) January 15, 2020
After all, it’s an old rule of criminal procedure that a defendant cannot be convicted based upon additional evidence that came out between the indictment and the beginning of the trial.
(There is, in fact, no such rule, and it would be pretty remarkable if there were.) https://t.co/DvseQxNkkh
— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) January 15, 2020
She’s got to go. Just a cog in the Trumpist machine. https://t.co/GMXhcX9HA2
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) January 15, 2020
This is like watching @SenatorCollins on #Kavanaugh all over again, occasional feints toward independence that don’t deviate. In the process, she’s likely tying her fate to Trump even more tightly than she has already. How many Trump disapprovers will vote for her in 2020? https://t.co/YlVIeNDN10
— Ronald Brownstein (@RonBrownstein) January 15, 2020
Image: DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton via Flickr
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