In reaction to the Senate’s decision to not call witnesses in President Trump’s Impeachment trial, Bill Kristol made the following declaration on Twitter:
Not presumably forever; not perhaps for a day after Nov. 3, 2020; not on every issue or in every way until then. But for the time being one has to say: We are all Democrats now.
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) February 1, 2020
To start with, 51 of the 53 Senate Republicans voted not to call witnesses or subpoena other evidence despite polls showing strong support. One showed 75 percent support and polling on the issue ranged from mid-60s to the high-70s.
Its rare for politicians to defy that large a percentage of the American electorate. However, a clue as to why the GOP did surrounds John Bolton, President Trump’s National Security Adviser. Mr. Bolton refused to testify without a subpeona during the House Impeachment process, but volunteered to appear before the Senate if called.
Leaks of Mr. Bolton’s forthcoming book indicated the President pressured Bolton to join in his effort to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation into former Vice-President Joe Biden’s son Beau and was further concerned about the President doing favors for autocratic regimes. As reported, Bolton’s testimony would have led lots of people to ask lots of questions for the entire Trump Administration, including one of Trump’s lawyers, who was alleged to be present during a meeting on Ukraine with Bolton.
The Senate short circuited all those uncomfortable questions by barring witnesses. As President Trump’s former Chief of Staff John Kelly said, without witnesses, the trial was a job “only half done.” The Senate took a “see no evil” approach, saying the whole matter should be up to voters, despite the pesky Constitution giving them the power to try an Impeachment.
The White House is making spurious claims the book contains classified information. Even if that charge proves to be inaccurate, it will probably take until after the election to litigate. Thus the Senate has succeeded in assuring the truth of what Bolton and other witnesses know will not become known to the American people. The Senate chose to cover up what they should be investigating.
So does that mean we all need to be “Democrats” and support the Democratic Party this Fall? I think not.
Let’s leave aside all the issues which conservatives disagree with the Democrats on, the Democrats’ lack of effort to win our votes and the fact that the Democratic Party helped build this culture of corruption in Washington. The Democrats’ handling of Impeachment has been far from exemplary, though the President did deserve the impeachment.
The House Democrats were determined to vote on Impeachment by Christmas. As such, they didn’t go to court to fight for these documents or for the testimony of Mr. Bolton and other witnesses who had refused to cooperate without a subpoena.
It would have taken months to go through this process through the courts and it would’ve made it more difficult for the Trump-district Congressmen to vote for impeachment as the election drew closer.
However, they should have done it anyway. If you’re going to prosecute an impeachment trial, particularly before a Senate controlled by the other party, you want every “i” dotted and every “t” crossed. You want to know what John Bolton and other witnesses are going to say. You want to know what the documents the White House is withholding say.
Instead, they made the politically easiest decision for their members and left it to the Senate to find out a lot of key information and the Senate refused. Turning away from strong indications of presidential malfeasance is wrong, but so is rushing the Impeachment case to satisfy your base even if it you didn’t investigate the case properly.
Both parties played politics rather than do their job. Neither are worth our support. What America really needs is to replace both of its major parties with new ones that will do the right thing.