2020-01-13 19:45:571 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
Donald Trump doesn't seem to get it. But he has proven before that he doesn't know how the U.S. government works. He is defending himself and putting it all on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) regarding his impeachment, calling it a hoax, etc. But he doesn't seem to understand: he's already been impeached. The only question is whether the Senate will remove him from office or acquit him
This is most likely behind Pelosi's pronouncement in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News's "This Week" when she said that Trump was "impeached for life" despite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's attempt at a "coverup."
The House voted mostly along partisan lines to impeach Trump for his actions in asking Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, indicating a White House visit and military aid were on the line. There was an attempt to hide it that followed, and after the House started an inquiry of possible impeachment for the offense, Trump blocked his officials, aids, and diplomats from testifying. He was then impeached on two articles of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
McConnell indicated he was working with the White House on the upcoming Senate impeachment trial and refused Democrats' request for witnesses. Pelosi made the move to withhold the articles and not hand them over to him to highlight the need for fairness and witnesses. She indicated on Friday, though, she will turn them over this week.
On Sunday when speaking to Stephanopoulos, she accused the majority leader of a coverup, as he signed a resolution to allow the Senate to dismiss the impeachment charges if she didn't turn them over within 25 days of them being approved.
She's still challenging him to hold a fair trial, however, that includes witness testimony and is not ruling out that the House may go back and subpoena former national security adviser John Bolton, who has said recently he is open to testifying if the Senate does not.
"Dismissing is a coverup. Dismissing is a coverup. If they want to go that route again, the senators who are thinking now about voting for witnesses or not — they will have to be accountable for not having a fair trial," she said.
The speaker is going to meet on Tuesday morning with House Democrats to discuss when they will vote on impeachment managers. Six will need to be assigned to prosecute the impeachment case and transmit the charges to the Senate. A trial could even start as early as Wednesday, though most believe it won't begin until next week.
Trump tweeted after her appearance, calling for a dismissal. "Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial based on the no-evidence, no-crime, read-the transcripts, 'no- pressure'-impeachment hoax, rather than an outright dismissal, it gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have. I agree!" he wrote.
"We wanted the public to see the need for witnesses, witnesses with firsthand knowledge of what happened, [and] documentation," Pelosi said of why she chose to hold onto the articles of impeachment for three weeks.
Stephanopoulos mentioned that McConnell "didn't budge on witnesses at all," leading to Pelosi saying he will be "accountable to the American people for that," adding, "They take an oath to have a fair trial. ... Now the ball is in their court to either do that or pay a price for not doing it."
Senate Republicans have said they want to model the trial on former President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial in 1999. The impeachment case was argued between the two sides before a decision on calling witnesses was made.
Pelosi dismissed this argument for "at least six reasons ... the biggest one is that the witnesses [who eventually testified] were all deposed" before their public testimony. "The evidence was there," she acknowledged. "It was just a question of bringing it more to the forefront."
However, not all GOP senators are on board with the strategy Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said she is working with a small group of peers to ensure there will be witnesses in the trial. And with Bolton mentioning he "is prepared to testify" after refusing to testify for the House last fall, Pelosi said "We'll see what they do," referring to the Senate's options for having witnesses. She may subpoena him in the House and has also left the option open to draft additional articles of impeachment.
Stephanopoulos mentioned Trump posting about "Crazy Nancy," and she replied, "It's Sunday morning, [and] I'd like to talk about some more pleasant subjects that the erratic nature of this president," said said. "But he has to know that every knock from him is a boost. ... Everything he says is a projection. When he calls someone crazy, he knows that he is. Everything he says, you can just translate it back to who he is."
On Fox News's "Sunday Morning Futures," Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) suggested Hunter Biden, the son of 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden, testify. He is one of the people Trump asked Ukraine to investigate. Hunter Biden was on the board of a Ukrainian energy company when his father, as vice president, worked on getting a prosecutor, who was going after the energy company, removed from office.
With regard to witnesses, however, Scott said it will be decided after the trial begins. "We're going to follow the Senate rules. We're not going to follow Nancy Pelosi's rules," he said. "We're going to listen to both sides, then we'll make a decision."
"Why should I have the stigma of impeachment attached to my name when I did NOTHING wrong?" Trump tweeted after the interview with Pelosi. "Read the transcripts! A totally partisan hoax. ... Very unfair to tens of millions of voters!"
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