Lots of talk yesterday about Democrats caving and failing by not calling witnesses after a vote to call witnesses. I respect those opinions but disagree. I was happy they handled it just like they did. Here is why.
1. We were never going to get 17 votes
If bringing in witnesses would have led to a conviction, then it would have been worth it but there is zero chance of that. Democrats had been told by Chris Coons (D) that they already had every vote that was there for the getting on the R side. And he was right. Everyone else was willing to take the cowardly way out by claiming that the trial was unconstitutional. The delay would have brought nothing in terms of more votes. Trump could have come on the floor and admitted that he wanted them all to die and they still would have hid behind process and voted to acquit. Anyone who thinks otherwise has not been paying attention to the Republican party for the past four years.
2. The Witnesses they wanted would not have come willingly
Democrats made calls to the people from the Trump WH and Pence’s office to see if they would testify willingly and the answers were discouraging. To get them to come would have involved subpoenas and court cases and months of efforts.
3. New Witnesses May Not Have Been Good Witnesses
You never want to bring someone in to a trial and not know exactly what they are going to say. New people (who didn’t want to testify) might have given the Trump team more to hold onto.
4. The Democrats got what they really wanted
In negotiating, the Democrats got what they really wanted — the new information from Herrera Beutler read into evidence. And despite what some pundits said on cable news, they would not have been allowed to enter that information in without approval from the Rs. We know because they tried to enter in information about Pence and were shut down. Closing arguments are not the time for new information. So this was a big victory.
5. More time is not necessarily good
What we saw in the first impeachment trial was that more time is not necessarily good. The further we moved away from that phone call, the more time right wing media had to spin it as something ok. That would be a risk here too.
6. This is not over
Many of the insurrectionists will be brought to trial over their actions over the next years. This is not over. We will hear these tales again and again and many of those people are directly blaming Trump for their having been there. There is also a chance of Trump facing criminal charges for all of this.
7. We have other things to do
Yes, we can chew gum and walk at the same time, but holding this trial is not chewing gum and saving the economy and fighting COVID is not walking. Democrats won’t succeed in 2022 because they held a long trial over Trump’s role in the insurrection. They will get reelected by focusing on the issues people care about and getting things done.
8. We will make them own their votes
This should be the easiest vote in the world. That it isn’t speaks volumes about them and we will use that to show the American people who they have been voting for. We will use their votes to win future elections and increase freedom, equality, truth, justice and prosperity for all.