While the press is full of accounts this morning of Republican senators livid at the White House for blindsiding them over the bombshell incriminating revelations contained in former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s upcoming memoir that leaked yesterday in The New York Times, at least one GOP legislator seems more eager to simply go ahead with the pre-planned acquittal than to hear any additional testimony that could elucidate the truth underlying the charges against Donald Trump.
Politico’s Jake Sherman reports that Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) seems anxious to keep to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) original truncated trial schedule that allowed each side to spend only 24 hours presenting their cases, presumably followed by a rapid vote with a foregone result of a not guilty version, given the 2/3rds majority needed to remove the president.
Kennedy prescribed his own remedy for the anxiety over both the sudden turn of events disrupting the GOP’s strategy of a quick termination of the impeachment proceedings and the potential collapse of Trump’s defense against the charges he faces.
Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy says we’re halfway through the trial so we should “pop a Zoloft” and take our meds.
He said he isn’t sure whether he believes Parnas and Bolton. Allegations, he said, would be more believable if they were coming from someone else.
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) January 27, 2020
Senator Kennedy’s “Just say yes” approach to pill-popping might be related to the fact that the Health industry is the fourth largest source of his campaign contributions, but his vision of a jury of sedated, zombified partisan senators deciding the fate of the president — and consequently the nation — seems less than optimal for a true determination of justice, to say the least.
Perhaps we will need to ask our elected representatives to take drug tests to determine if they are mentally fit to serve as jurors in this trial of supreme constitutional importance. Now those courtroom artist renditions of senators sleeping in the chamber during the impeachment proceedings are making much more sense.
Kennedy’s comments about his uncertainty about the credibility of Parnas and Bolton actually only add urgency to the need to call them as official witnesses in the trial, since neither has testified under oath to date and been subjected to cross-examination and an in-person assessment of their truthfulness.
Moreover, one must ask exactly how Senator Kennedy and his GOP colleagues can even measure the credibility of others given the fact that they are accepting the denials of guilt from a president who is not only a proven liar but who has set a likely insurmountable record for the sheer number of lies he tells on a daily basis.
While it’s understandable that some people would have trouble trusting Lev Parnas — who is, after all, under indictment for illegal campaign contributions to GOP candidates and seeking leniency in exchange for cooperation with the impeachment investigations — the dubiousness about Bolton’s claims is surprising given that he has been a conservative Republican luminary since the Reagan era and usually only considered with skepticism by those on the progressive end of the political spectrum.
With the Bolton revelations creating an earthquake of shifting grounds for the GOP defense of the president, Senator Kennedy may need to advocate something considerably stronger than Zoloft which is typically used to treat depression, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and social anxiety disorder — all symptoms Republicans are likely to be suffering from in the wake of Bolton’s incriminating evidence.
Luckily for the Republicans, the United States does not have the tradition of ritual suicide when faced with the overwhelming shame of failure and publicly harmful scandal. Instead of requesting a new prescription, perhaps GOP Senators can simply choose the honorable path by resigning en masse. Then they can take all the Zoloft they want.
Vinnie Longobardo is 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.