Was the rule of law meant to apply equally to everyone in our republic? Or, is it permissible that it apply to only the “little people” while the wealthy and well connected may cast it aside? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he has made up his mind that the President has done nothing that warrants impeachment.
Unbelievable as it may seem, as impeachment trial “jury foreman” he tells us he has worked cheek to jowl with the Presidents council, which is council for the defendant, to develop a trial strategy. He has no intentions of carrying out a fair trial in the Senate forsaking, his oaths both of office and as an impeachment “juror”, as well as the Constitution, and above all the rule of law. He has indicated he will call no witnesses and needs no further evidence to determine the president's innocence, justifying his duplicitous trial approach with disingenuous assertions that during the House impeachment investigation Democrats never permitted Republicans to call witnesses or provide exculpatory evidence that would have vindicated President Trump.
Let us examine the pretext of his claim. Mr. McConnell understands full well the impeachment process, which means he knows the time for establishing the Presidents innocence or guilt is yet to come. The House of Representatives only conducted an investigation that they are constitutionally mandated to do. The investigation is just that, an investigation, not a trial. If House members believe the investigation has revealed enough evidence to warrant charges of an impeachable offense(s), the charges, known as articles of impeachment, are forwarded to the Senate where the impeachment trial is to be conducted in a fair and open manner before the American people. If the charges are unfounded, then the facts shall absolve the President of any wrong doing.
Why then is Senator McConnell arduously attempting to limit, if not prevent, witnesses that are germane to determining the truth from testifying? When asked, two thirds of Americans want a Senate trial in which both sides may call witnesses. What are the Republicans afraid of? Surely the Presidents Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and National Security Advisor John Bolton, know exactly what happened as well as the intent. Shouldn’t these men and various documentation subpoenaed by the House, but stonewalled by the President, provide the daylight, the antiseptic to cleanse those grievous wounds the President and his men claim were so unjustly inflicted. If witnesses or evidence existed that might exonerate the President and clear the air of any malfeasance does it not follow that such an unjustly accused soul would leap at the opportunity to clear their name — unless additional testimony and evidence would only serve to aggravate his already dreadful predicament.
Mr. McConnell’s mendacious assertion that the Democrats had their turn to call witnesses and now it’s his turn to decide who if anyone should testify is a boldfaced lie. Shakespeare might have had Mr. McConnell in mind when he penned, “O shame, where is thy blush." House committees conducting impeachment investigations did not have access to the most relevant witnesses and information. The President refused to comply with Congressional subpoenas forcing court action that is intended to delay justice. In America the rule of law, one of cornerstones of our republic, requires a fair trial where both the defense and the prosecution may call witnesses and access information relevant to determining the innocence or guilt of the accused.
That said, the rule of law is not like the law of gravity. It is a construct of a developed civilized society but unlike the law of gravity it doesn’t work everywhere. If an object is dropped in Venezuela it falls to the earth just like it does everywhere else. However, the rule of law doesn’t work in Venezuela. The rule of law is a construct of the people and only works because people assent to it. This begs the question — do we assent to the rule of law as it pertains to all or is it only a construct for managing us, the great unwashed? What’s next to go? Democratic representation? Freedom of speech? Do we care? If so, it would be prudent to raise your voice before you haven’t one.
As far as Senator McConnell and they whom he bows to are concerned; see no evil, hear no evil, do a lot of evil.
Leroy Renninger is a resident of Chalk Hill.