Any juror who falls asleep during a trial and thereby misses or ignores crucial evidence in a criminal case would be ejected from the jury expeditiously.
Unfortunately, no such mechanism exists to remove jurors who refuse to evaluate the evidence in an impeachment trial of the president of the United States by the members of the Senate.
If it did, then the statement made by the Trump-boot-licking Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today — regarding the admission of a quid pro quo with Ukraine by U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland in his “revised” testimony today to the House impeachment inquiry — would immediately disqualify him from the serving as an impartial juror in the president’s trial, as unrealistic as that expectation may sound.
According to a tweet quoting Senator Graham via CBS News reporter Alan He, the South Carolina Republican chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee apparently has already made a judgment about Donald Trump’s innocence and doesn’t feel the need to look at any of the actual evidence being uncovered by the House committees hearing testimony from crucial witnesses and participants in the matter of the president’s extortionate withholding of military assistance to Ukraine in exchange for political “favors.”
Graham’s refusal to read the transcripts of the testimony and to accept the sudden reversal of Ambassador Sondland’s testimony — in which he initially denied knowledge of any quid pro quo efforts with the Ukrainian government until the sworn testimony of others made it apparent that Sondland was at risk of a criminal perjury charge of lying to Congress — just screams “tainted jury” to even the most casual observer and indicates the depth of the political rot in the GOP.
The senator has now written off the House’s impeachment process — the equivalent of writing off the U.S. Constitution which enables that process as well as the impeachment procedures that were drawn up by the Republican majority at the time of President Clinton’s impeachment over considerably less crucial matters of state — and has dismissed the impeachment efforts as “a bunch of B.S.” with a phony calculated indignation that emulates that of the president.
However, by doing so, he not only shirks his oath of office to protect the Constitution but ensures that he will be regarded as a partisan hack rather than a serious and impartial legislator and juror.
Of course, Graham’s entire intent in painting the House Democrat’s investigations as a politically-motivated exercise rather than a serious inquiry into the Trump administration’s criminal behavior is to support the president’s narrative that the probe is a useless “Witch Hunt” rather than a long-overdue accounting for Trump’s violation of the very concept of the rule of law.
Let’s hope that the Democrats succeed in making the case for Trump’s impeachment so airtight that when Graham is called to judge the evidence against the president, his insistence that “blind justice” requires him to ignore the testimony of duly-sworn witnesses to the enormous malfeasance of Trump and his administration will be revealed to all to be the product of the same type of corrupt extreme partisanship that landed the president in this mess to begin with.
No judge would allow a juror who expressed their judgment before seeing a bit of evidence. No senator who has prejudged the question of Trump’s innocence —or of his guilt —without hearing the testimony presented should be allowed to vote on the outcome of the trial phase of the impeachment.
Factor in the “dark money” flooding Republican coffers — potentially from foreign sources if the recent arrest of Rudy Giuliani’s Russian-born associates proves to be justified — and you have a recipe for the most tainted jury pool one could ever imagine.
Hopefully, Republican senators will have the sense to convince Trump to resign before they are placed in the position of permanently undermining their credibility and their commitment to democracy by choosing partisan political gain over the good of our country and its rule of law.
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Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.