In remarks to the media and their own advisers, the GOP senators who will have the biggest say over how President Trump’s impeachment trial is handled have indicated that they want to see a swift process, a quick acquittal, and anything OTHER than a controversial circus-like stunt show.
In making these remarks, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham have irritated some conservatives, including their colleagues across the Capitol. House Republicans are all but begging their Senate counterparts to pour gasoline on the fire and turn the trial of Donald Trump into the trial of Adam Schiff, the Ukraine whistleblower, the Bidens, and the Democratic Party.
In a letter to Graham, Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) urged the Senate to go hard or go home.
“It is urgent we fight fire with fire and tell them enough is enough,” Banks said. “House Republicans have done all they can to push back and expose their motives to the American people, soon it will be at your doorstep. We need to take our time and figure out exactly how Congress found itself in the current situation: poised to impeach a president on a completely partisan vote with no evidence and flimsy charges just before his re-election bid.”
Banks wants Senate Republicans to pull out all the stops: Subpoena the phone records of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, call Joe Biden to testify, bring the whistleblower’s attorney before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and generally go on maximum offense against the Democrats. Banks and other supporters of the president see the Senate trial as a glorious opportunity to turn the tables on Democrats, who have had the spotlight for more than a month.
Banks pointed out that Graham has been aggressive in investigating the FBI for their Russia probe.
“With all respect Mr. Chairman,” Banks wrote, “I urge you to apply this same philosophy to the upcoming impeachment trial.”
On the one hand, it’s understandable that Graham and McConnell want to preserve the Senate’s “deliberative body” reputation, avoid the stunts, and move impeachment off the table as soon as humanly possible. On the other, Banks has an excellent point: If Democrats want to push for a phony impeachment, they should reap the consequences. A quick acquittal does not begin to punish them sufficiently.
We’ll see soon enough which path McConnell and the Senate Republicans choose.