Unfortunately for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, too many moderate Republicans have sided with Democrats in insisting that the impeachment trial proceed. If the shoe was on the other foot, and McConnell was able to win over more conservative and moderate Democrats, President Trump's legal team would be able to easily win a vote to dismiss at the outset of the trial, effectively ending it before it could really begin.
But prtisan rancor aimed at the president and his allies in Congress remains at an all-time high. Even as Democrats bash the president for allegedly putting politics above doing what's right for the country, they are proceeding with the impeachment charade, despite being doomed from the start.
After a frenetic holiday weekend of dealmaking, McConnell is apparently nearly finished drafting the rules of engagement for the impeachment trial.
According to a leak that was picked up by Axios and Brietbart, among others, McConnell is still planning to include a "kill switch" in the impeachment trial rules that would allow the president's legal team to call for a dismissal if Democrats try to violate the rules or engage in any "shenanigans."
The provision will allow Trump's team to quickly push for a summary judgment or dismissal at any time. It comes after some Senators tried - and failed - to change the Senate rules to dismiss the charges because of Pelosi's decision to delay transferring the articles of impeachment.
According to Breitbart, if McConnell succeeds in including the kill switch, he will have outmaneuvered Democrats and proved once again that he's a better leader than Pelosi. Even though a few moderates tentatively sided with the Democrats and insisted there should be a trial, Republicans still have the upper hand - because the minute the Dems start to push the envelope, the moderate Republicans will return to vote with McConnell to dismiss.
The Republican leadership and President Trump himself have assented - and at times even welcomed - a trial. At this point, the American people have already seen the transcript of Trump's July call with his Ukrainian counterpart, they've been told that the aid was eventually released, and even heard it from Zelensky himself that there was no quid pro quo involving opening an investigation into the Bidens.
And now, if the Dems try to do something extreme like include even more alleged "bombshells" from Lev Parnas or anyone else outside the framework for the trial, McConnell will be able to shut them down.
"If Schiff or the Democrats try anything untoward like they did in the House, the president and the Senate have the option to shut the whole thing down and blow it all up on them. That means Republicans hold the upper hand, and should things get crazy—while there are not currently enough votes to dismiss the trial or outright off the bat acquit Trump—after Democrat partisan gamesmanship there likely would be enough votes to dismiss the whole thing."
Meanwhile, as the two sides battle over whether witnesses will be called, at least one of the lawyers who will be pleading Trump's case to the Senate - Harvard's Alan Dershowitz - told the Hill that he plans to argue that the articles of impeachment are invalid because they don't include truly impeachable offenses, which would justify a Senate vote to end the matter.
Alan Dershowitz: "If my argument succeeds, there's no need for witnesses." pic.twitter.com/JVmuF1sb99— The Hill (@thehill) January 19, 2020
But will Democrats see it that way? We're not so sure.
So far, at least, the Dems and their supporters in the press have tried to imbue the proceedings with a dramatic flair. The media lapped it up when Cheryl Johnson, a black woman and the clerk of the House, delivered the articles of impeachment against President Trump on Martin Luther King Jr.'s real birthday.
A Black woman is delivering the articles of impeachment. For the white supremacist president. That’s all.— Tiffany Cross (@TiffanyDCross) January 15, 2020
Most of these reports neglected to point out that the entire impeachment process will mostly be managed by Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler, two old white men.
At least if McConnell has his way, the Dems will mostly be limited to transparent and ham-fisted melodrama. There's plenty of evidence that the public's perception of the president has been very little affected by the whole circus. If anything, the Dems excoriations of the president and his team have soured the public against them.
Even though Democratic strategists bet the farm that impeachment would help them defeat Trump in 2020.