January 30, 2020

Mitch McConnells rare blunder
Mitch McConnell is reportedly furiously trying to whip the votes necessary to avoid calling witnesses in the Senate's impeachment trial of President Trump.This seems like a rare case where McConnell is making a politically substantive error.Calling witnesses, after all, could be used to legitimize the GOP's acquittal vote, in the same way the cursory "investigation" of Brett Kavanaugh was used as a shield to justify his confirmation. Plowing through this farcical trial, on the other hand, gives Democrats a permanent argument against the trial's legitimacy and, more importantly, leaves the president and all elected Republicans vulnerable to damaging, election-eve revelations.None of this has any bearing on how Republicans will vote. Like the film version of Titanic, everyone knows how the impeachment saga will conclude. The ship sinks. The president is acquitted. And as with the film, the real question is how the audience will react. So far, impeachment has had the curious dual effect of inflating the president's approval ratings to the highest of his presidency while also convincing, in many polls, a slim but real majority of the country that he should be removed from office immediately. More significant majorities believe the president abused his power and witnesses should be called and heard from in the Senate. But that sentiment hasn't budged elected Republicans, because they believe, with ample precedent in recent history, that voters will forgive their trespasses by November.Remember that polling showed, in the spring of 2016, two-to-one majorities in favor of giving Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, a hearing in the Senate. Fifty-two percent wanted him confirmed. McConnell, staring down the maw of a massively unpopular position, gambled that voters ultimately wouldn't care enough to cast ballots against Republicans. He held the seat open and was proven right. Emboldened, Republicans abandoned the very idea of taking broader public opinion into consideration when plotting their next act of procedural destruction.Republicans simply have a much better sense of what they can get away with than Democrats, who remain terrified of engaging even momentarily in escalatory or norm-breaking behavior. Knowing this, Republicans in the House and Senate have refused to take the process seriously. House Republicans conducted a made-for-Fox trial-within-a-trial of Joe and Hunter Biden and used their allotted time to browbeat viewers with ludicrous conspiracy theories about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The House strategy was to completely deny that any wrongdoing had taken place, not by seriously disputing the fact accounts of the witnesses, but by shameless misdirection.Many Senate Republicans announced in advance that they would acquit the president no matter what they heard or saw in the House or in the Senate trial. Despite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's apparent effort to hold onto the impeachment articles until McConnell cracked and agreed to witnesses, McConnell successfully called the bluff. The trial was always going to be whatever he wanted it to be: brief, with a conclusion so inevitable that the audience tunes out.Until Sunday, it was all going according to plan. The president's other lawyers responded to the House managers' meticulous presentation with an impressive-in-its-scope hodgepodge of preposterous constitutional arguments, Federalist Papers mad libbing, and, remarkably, the same nonsense about the "perfect call" and Biden and Burisma that the House stuck with until the bitter end.It's remarkable because, while there genuinely seem to be dozens of House Republicans who are credulous enough to actually believe the president's absurd spin, there aren't more than a handful of true Trump believers in the Senate, where the off-the-record frustration with the president's non-stop, presidency-warping antics are a badly kept secret. They are voting to acquit not because, in their hearts, they think the president did nothing wrong, but because they share the widespread belief that convicting him would cripple the party heading into the 2020 elections and they don't want to cross a man who has no compunction about knifing wavering Republicans.Party over country, every single time.That, you see, is a difficult logic to convey to the public, and to reporters. And it's awkward, because the president's attorneys are laying down the last layer of icing on a B.S. cake that most Senate Republicans will not be able to bring themselves to eat in public. The president's infamous refusal to ever admit that he has done or said anything wrong or improper is now a burden that every elected member of the party must carry. And some of them, including Susan Collins (Maine), Martha McSally (Ariz.), and Cory Gardner (Colo.) are fighting uphill battles for their political lives in November. They long ago gambled that they'd rather fight the general election than the primary, which explains why they will vote to acquit. But they would almost certainly prefer to be saying something along the lines of "While the president committed an abuse of power, it doesn't rise to the level of removal."Sunday's news about former National Security Advisor John Bolton's forthcoming memoir was therefore disruptive not because the GOP is all that terrified of calling witnesses in this trial, but because it makes it that much harder to square the needs of vulnerable Republican senators with the absurd narrative the rest of the party is rolling with. The president's lawyers are up there saying, in essence, that this whole thing is a hoax, and here comes his most senior foreign policy advisor saying not only that Trump did it, but that Trump explained it to him personally.What's done is done though. That's why McConnell's effort to evade witnesses is not only morally wrong, but also especially politically puzzling in the wake of the Bolton manuscript leak. It's not even clear that Republicans should have any genuine substantive fears about what will happen if witnesses are called. Mick Mulvaney and Rudy Giuliani and Rick Perry would just lie. Bolton would describe his incriminating conversations with President Trump. The right-wing media machine, which has already begun the task of delegitimizing Bolton, would package up a neat little narrative so that Republican voters can sleep well after voting to re-elect the president.Much has been made of the need to acquit the president before the State of the Union on Feb. 4, but has anyone thought through that logic? What will happen if the trial isn't wrapped up by then? Will the president spontaneously vaporize? Will his millions of minions suddenly abandon him? Surely not.Why not just rip the band-aid off today and get all of the damaging information that exists out into the open, rather than closer to the election? Now that Bolton's story is out there, rushing a witness-free trial benefits no one in the Republican Party. It doesn't help the purple state senators who have to explain both Bolton's charges and the decision not to call him as a witness. It certainly doesn't help the president. It gives Democrats a cudgel with which to assail their adversaries from now until November. And it will give the spotlight right back to Democratic primary contenders currently starved of media oxygen.McConnell though, presented with the extremely rare opportunity to do the right thing and also to benefit from it politically, looks dug in. We'll find out on Friday whether he has his votes.Want more essential commentary and analysis like this delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for The Week's "Today's best articles" newsletter here.More stories from theweek.com John Bolton just vindicated Nancy Pelosi 7 witheringly funny cartoons about the GOP's John Bolton problem
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Julia Fox defends viral ‘Uncut Gems’ interview moment: ‘I was stoned’ | Page Six Celebrity News
February 17, 2022
4m-p0_-ePd8
Alexia Echevarria pushed ‘RHOM’ producers to show more of son Frankie’s recovery | Page Six
February 17, 2022
E-wTaN9NfkI
Pete Davidson rejoins Instagram amid Kanye West drama | Page Six Celebrity News
February 17, 2022
SsC3dmsI6t4
Aaron Rodgers And Shailene Woodley Reportedly Break Up | TMZ LIVE
February 17, 2022
FoErdRE8Qe4
Chet Hanks Done Talking About Famous Parents, Becoming Personal Trainer | TMZ
February 16, 2022
5_UrULOkQ6o
Woman Stabbed at Foot Locker During Nike Shoe Release
February 16, 2022
TfuXMs1JdVg
Steph's Freaky Side, "Summer House" & "Love During Lockup"
February 17, 2022
9W_raO0zlA8
Tay or Nay, Offset's Sushi Anxiety & Nick on Monogamy
February 17, 2022
PauYHpJRA6o
Kim Kardashian & North West TWINNING in Matching Pajamas | E! News
February 17, 2022
b-_Oib6R108
Adam McKay - Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony
February 17, 2022
tYtzsHoOZzo
Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, and the Cast of 'Uncharted' Talk Most Challenging Stunts
February 15, 2022
d3ksX-SKi8c
Ryan Reynolds and Walker Scobell on ‘The Adam Project’, ‘Deadpool’, and Possible ‘Star Wars’ Role
February 16, 2022
5TxJsbJr9Dk
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
04
May
CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Playoffs
Seattle Sounders - Pumas
04
May
USA: Major League Soccer
FC Cincinnati - Toronto FC
03
May
ENGLAND: Championship
Bournemouth - Nottingham Forest
02
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Brentford
02
May
ENGLAND: Championship
Fulham - Luton
02
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Real Betis
02
May
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Eintracht Frankfurt
02
May
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Monchengladbach - RB Leipzig
02
May
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Salernitana
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Leicester City
01
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Mallorca
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Bologna
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Arsenal
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Chelsea
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Udinese - Inter Milan
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Fiorentina
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Venezia
01
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Rayo Vallecano - Real Sociedad
30
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Mainz - Bayern Munich
30
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Bochum
30
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Newcastle United - Liverpool
30
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Athletic Bilbao - Atletico Madrid
30
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leeds - Manchester City
30
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Madrid - Espanyol
30
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Sassuolo
28
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Chelsea
27
Apr
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Semifinal
Liverpool - Villarreal
27
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Inter Milan
26
Apr
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Semifinal
Manchester City - Real Madrid
25
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Sassuolo - Juventus
24
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Rayo Vallecano
24
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - AC Milan
24
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Everton
24
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - West Ham United
24
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Empoli - Napoli
23
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brentford - Tottenham Hotspur
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.