Bob Stannard: The fix was in
"Everything I do during this [trial] I'm coordinating with the White House counsel. There will be no difference between the president's position and our position as to how to handle this." Sen. Mitch McConnell, Dec. 12.
The majority of the members of the United State House of Representatives knew they had to do something. A whistleblower had come forward to tell his/her side of a phone conversation between the President of the United States and an ally president from Ukraine. It was clear to the whistleblower that the call was inappropriate abuse of power. The US president was trying to leverage our ally, who was under attack by Russia at the time, and needed the financial aid that Congress had previously appropriated. "I need you to do us a favor, though" were the words that resulted in only the third impeachment of a United States President in our history; the first to ever be impeached in his first term.
The Speaker of the House was very reluctant to move forward with the impeachment process. In spite of powerful findings implicating the president of wrongdoing the Mueller Investigation fell flat. Mueller indicted 34 individuals and 3 Russian companies and had this to say: "Our investigation found multiple acts by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, including the Russian-interference and obstruction investigations. The incidents were often carried out through one-on-one meetings in which the President sought to use his official power outside of usual channels. These actions ranged from efforts to remove the Special Counsel and to reverse the effect of the Attorney General's recusal; to the attempted use of official power to limit the scope of the investigation; to direct and indirect contacts with witnesses with the potential to influence their testimony."
Mueller, however, refrained from recommending prosecution, saying that there were "difficult [legal] issues that would need to be resolved," in order to reach a conclusion that the crime of obstruction of justice was committed by Trump.
Factoring into his decision not to weigh in on prosecution, Mueller wrote, was an opinion issued by the Office of Legal Counsel finding that "the indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would impermissibly undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions" in violation of "the constitutional separation of powers."
"Because we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President's conduct," Mueller wrote.
Mueller emphasized, however, that his analysis of the evidence did not clear the president of obstruction. "If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment."
The day after Mueller was done the now emboldened president placed the now historic phone call with President Zelensky. The evidence against Mr. Trump was overwhelming. He hired high-profile lawyers who argued against positions they previously held when Bill Clinton was impeached and did so with straight faces. The lead counsel for the president, Pat Cipollone, appears to be implicated in the scandal, but that didn't stop him from participating in what was arguably the most corrupt trial in our history.
McConnell rigged the trial ensuring that no witnesses testified and no relevant documents were forthcoming. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski summed it up best: "Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate. I don't believe the continuation of this process will change anything. It is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed." She concluded that the trial was unfair and then voted to support the man, Mitch McConnell, who made the trial unfair.
One of the main, distracting arguments was that this was nothing more than an attempt by the Democrats to undo the 2016 elections. Nothing could be further from the truth. The president was impeached because he was trying to rig the 2020 elections! That was, and still is the urgency to remove this scoundrel.
Everyone knew that the president was guilty as charged and that there was never going to be a fair trial. We knew it when Sen. McConnell declared it to be so. Sen. McConnell has corrupted the United States more than any other human being. He and his Republican Senators violated an oath of impartiality that they swore to uphold. He may have achieved his goal of "acquitting" the president, but because of the perpetual cloud hanging over this rigged trial he will never exonerate him.
The vote to acquit will occur on Wednesday, February 5, 2020. Thanks to the majority of the US Senate that is the day the rule of law in America will be obsolete.
Bob Stannard writes a regular column for the Banner.
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