So Moscow Mitch McConnell has made it all but official: The Republican Senate will acquit Donald Trump in his impeachment trial. He may as well just have the vote to dismiss the charges and not even bother with the trial, since the outcome is already assured.
Republicans have already decided among themselves that it’s not worth hearing from witnesses, likely because they can find no witnesses who can effectively defend Trump. The only testimony they would hear would undoubtedly be damning; better to avoid it entirely. And they admit that freely.
“Witnesses would be a double-edged sword,” Sen. Mike Braun, an Indiana Republican, told The Washington Post. Calling witnesses would be “mutually assured destruction,” McConnell reportedly told his conference in a meeting this week. He’s not positive, says the Post, that he’s got 51 votes to arrange the hearing so that only Trump’s witnesses get to speak, and if he had to get any Democrats to get to 51, then they’d have leverage to call their witnesses. So Trump won’t be getting his wish—hauling Rep. Adam Schiff and the Bidens and the anonymous whistleblower before the Senate.
McConnell dismisses the idea of needing to call witnesses because he’s sure the majority will decide “they’ve heard enough and believe they know what would happen.” Meaning acquittal. Meaning everyone’s minds are made up and he’s going to have a sham hearing and none of the witnesses who have firsthand knowledge of what Trump did vis-a-vis Ukraine will have to talk. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, White House counsel Don McGahn, former national security adviser John Bolton, and Vice President Mike Pence won’t have to spill the beans or perjure themselves.
All pretense of the Republican Senate under Mitch McConnell doing its constitutional duty is out the window. It’ll have a completely sham hearing with a foregone conclusion, merely because dismissing the impeachment charges without one would be hard for vulnerable Republicans to defend in their reelection bids. Never mind that the outcome is the same: an abdication of their oaths of office and full acquittal for Trump.
And so McConnell’s systematic destruction of this 230-year-long experiment with a constitutional republic continues apace.