Artwork by HOPE GANGLOFF
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: But the greater takeaway on the eve of the president’s impeachment has been just how far the rule of law has broken down in America. McConnell’s abandonment of the foundational notion of the Senate as a check on monarchical power has put a hard stamp on this betrayal, as we watch 243 years of democratic tradition plunge over the guardrails.
Congressional Democrats, who’ve done a mostly skillful job in managing the impeachment process so far, insist there is still leverage to establish rules for a fair trial in which the evidence against Trump can be properly presented and heard. There is hope that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer can work on McConnell to impose a fair framework, or that maybe three or four of the most moderate Republican senators will work with Democrats on the rules — regardless of how they’ll ultimately vote on removing Trump from office. Frankly, that hope seems unfounded. If you don’t believe, you might want to ask a chap named Merrick Garland.
John Dean has a better idea. Dean, you’ll recall, was Richard Nixon’s White House counsel. Caught up in the early days of the Watergate cover-up, Dean became a whistle-blower — initially to his boss, and eventually to the Senate and the nation, and in the 21st century he has burnished his reputation both as a truth-teller and sage commentator. A frequent analyst of Trump’s foibles, Dean is now promoting an outside-the-box solution to the impeachment quandary.
“Let’s impeach him now and NOT send it to the Senate rather keep investigating in the House, and add such supplemental articles as needed!” Dean wrote on Twitter this weekend. “Just let it hang over his head. If the worst happens and he is re-elected, send it to the Senate. But keep investigating!!”
Dean is not alone in suggesting this. There’s a growing sense among those who believe that Congress has a duty — both to the American people and to future presidents — to call out high crimes and misdemeanors that impeachment is actually the be-all-and-end-all sanction, considering that a kangaroo court awaits in McConnell’s Senate. Indeed, people with access to Trump say that — while he believes impeachment will help him in the 2020 campaign (and he may be right) — he also sees the looming vote as a huge humiliation. As it should be. MORE