Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate will come in January and it will last for two weeks, just long enough to be taken some semblance of serious, but not long enough to cause the White House undue annoyance.
Obviously, that’s just speculation, but it’s one scenario that was bandied about on Thursday during a meeting between Trump aides and GOP senators Mike Lee, Ron Johnson, John Kennedy, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton.
While House impeachment investigators were busy hearing some of the most damning testimony yet from Fiona Hill and David Holmes, the relative handful of Republican lawmakers commiserated with Mick Mulvaney, Jared Kushner and Kellyanne Conway, as well as White House counsel Pat Cipollone.
Trump, of course, wants the entire ordeal dropped immediately, something he makes abundantly clear on Twitter each and every day.
But that’s not going to happen.
An Ipsos poll released this week showed nearly three quarters of Americans believe the president’s actions in the Ukraine affair were wrong, although “only” 51% believe he should be impeached and removed over the fiasco. That was before everyone heard from Dr. Hill.
Hill and Holmes delivered highly credible accounts on Thursday, which largely echoed their previous remarks to lawmakers, although Hill took things up a notch, imploring the GOP to cease and desist from trafficking in the very same conspiracy theories and propaganda being pushed by the Kremlin.
“Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country—and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did”, Hill chided. “This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves”.
According to sources who spoke to the Washington Post, no final decisions on the trial have been made and “other options, including a longer trial, were discussed, and could still happen”.
Among the topics discussed in Thursday’s private meeting: Whether to call Hunter Biden and whether to even bother with a defense of the president. All scenarios assumed he would be acquitted. Conviction and removal from office is still seen as entirely far-fetched in the GOP-controlled chamber.
“I expect the Senate to conduct proceedings that are fair, that respect due process and that allow both sides to present their case, to present their witnesses, to present their evidence and for the Senate then to render a judgment consistent with the law and Constitution”, Cruz said.
On the other side of the coin, impeachment in the House is now all but assured and will likely come in December.”The evidence is clear that Trump used his office for personal gain”, Nancy Pelosi remarked on Thursday, emphasizing that the inquiry is not complete.
For his part, Trump is seemingly being fed what his advisers know he wants to hear rather than the truth.
“The Republican Party, and me, had a GREAT day yesterday with respect to the phony Impeachment Hoax, & yet, when I got home to the White House & checked out the news coverage on much of television, you would have no idea they were reporting on the same event”, the president marveled on Thursday morning.
If Trump weren’t Trump, you’d almost be inclined to feel sorry for him.