My oh my. Write this date down in your calendar, because it’s not every day that a Kentucky newspaper goes on record lauding the actions of Chuck Schumer and castigating home boy Mitch McConnell. Whew doggies. Louisville Courier Journal:
Sen. Charles Schumer, the chamber’s Democratic leader, is hitting the correct tone. He has called for the Senate to take its obligations seriously. He has called for the Senate to subpoena the documents Trump is hiding. He wants the trial to allow the time necessary for serious and sober evaluation of the facts. And key witnesses such as Mick Mulvaney and John Bolton should be called to testify.
Contrast that with the newspaper’s comment that the GOP’s “line that the whole process is based on hearsay — not even accurate as an evidentiary matter — could be easily ameliorated by hearing from more people who have direct knowledge of Trump’s mendacity, abuse of power and attempts at cover-ups.” This is patently obvious and has been since day one. It’s refreshing that it’s being articulated so clearly by a major newspaper in McConnell’s own state. The paper feels the same way the rest of us do about McConnell acting as both defense attorney and juror in the same action.
The Constitution does not set out the text of the trial oath, but the Senate rules do. Senators will ‘‘solemnly swear … that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald J. Trump, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God.’’
The presidential oath and the senatorial oath to be taken before an impeachment trial are kin. The president must act faithfully and without corruption. In those (presumably) rare situations in which the president has failed to be faithful, the Senate is required to be faithful in its adjudication of the case against him.
But we have already seen indications that McConnell has no intention of doing impartial justice. He has said that he does not consider himself an “impartial juror.” He is coordinating strategy with the White House. He has already called the case against the president “thin” and “incoherent.”
This is a most encouraging sign. It may come down to this, when Trump is finally defeated and all the dust settles: in the light of the conscious default of elected officials, with whom the country’s well being was entrusted, America was finally saved in the end by the rest of us. In all events, this op/ed, speaking truth to power right in McConnell’s home state, is a great sign. As a matter of fact, it’s a sign of the times.