New York Times columnist David Brooks and political analyst Mark Shields joined PBS’s Judy Woodruff to discuss the Senate impeachment trial. This was going way into enemy territory I know, but it’s important to hear how the other half thinks. I knew it would be bad, but I didn’t count on a trip to fantasyland.
In one exchange, Brooks says Adam Schiff will just walk all over Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz and former Independent Counsel Ken Starr because Schiff has the evidence on his side.
DAVID BROOKS: I’m, frankly, struck by the number of people who have joined his defense team, Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr. I wouldn’t do this.
I mean, there’s not — like, whatever you think of Trump or not, there’s like not a lot of good arguments on your side. Like, why would you want to go to a movie where you got nothing but bad lines? And so I think they’re all going to hurt them. I mean, I think they will get through this. But I wouldn’t say it’s a career enhancer for anybody. I don’t know why they’re all signing up for this.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You mean because you think they will say things that will hurt the case?
DAVID BROOKS: Schiff will just — he will just walk all over them, because he has the evidence on his side. So, it’s not a debate you want to have when you’re on a losing side. And this is basically a political game to get through it.
What evidence might that be? President Trump’s decision to challenge the Democrats’ subpoenas in a court of law just as President Nixon and President Clinton did when they received House subpoenas? Or did Nadler go through the Mueller Investigation documents and finally find proof that Trump colluded with Russia to win the election?
Maybe Schiff will produce another handwritten “to-do” list from the legally challenged Lev Parnas? Oh that’s right, not even the Ukrainians trust him.
Vadym Prystaiko, Foreign Minister of Ukraine: "Frankly, I have not spoken with [Lev Parnas], and again, frankly, I don’t trust any word he is now saying." pic.twitter.com/bRUm3mleqN
— The Hill (@thehill) January 16, 2020
Woodruff then asks Brooks if he thinks more information will come out during the trial? He replies, “Yes, no, I have learned to never underestimate the ability of Trump to self-sabotage. So, I assume that he did more, and there’s probably more — even within hours, there might be more Parnas evidence and elsewhere. And so that will continue to come out. In my view, frankly, when we saw the phone call transcript of day one on this whole deal, to me, he was 99 percent guilty at that moment. And now he’s risen to 99.9 percent guilty.”
Shield was asked if he believed Pelosi’s decision to hold the Articles of Impeachment for an extra month was a wise move. Yes, of course it was. He then enumerated all the new information and “evidence” that had come out since the impeachment vote.
1. John Bolton has agreed to testify if subpoenaed.
2. Further Russian hacking of Burisma of Ukraine.
3. We’ve learned about, allegations at least, of the President’s more deep involvement all the way to the point of charges that operatives friendly to the Trump campaign, a candidate for Congress, was physically surveilling, in a hostile manner, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and sending messages of the sort that we, for a price, can get something done.
Brooks agreed. Yup. The Democrats have got this case sewn up alright.
This spin never stops on the left.
In a CNN article announcing that Dershowitz and Starr had joined Trump’s legal defense, a reporter wrote, The White House did not mount a formal defense during the House’s investigation as it refused to cooperate with the Democratic-led probe.
That statement is an out and out lie.
The National Review’s always rational Andy McCarthy was interviewed on Saturday by WMAL radio host Steve Malzberg. He said that Schiff is an able prosecutor, but he believes that he will “behave” in front of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. I suppose that means no “parodies” on the Senate floor. McCarthy says the Democrats know this will not result in the removal of the President, but they just want to bruise him ahead of the election. He believes that the House Democratic leaders will work with their Senate counterparts with that goal in mind.
Able prosecutor or not, Schiff, Nadler and the rest of the House managers will be in over their heads with the likes of White House counsel Pat Cipillone, Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow, Alan Dershowitz, Ken Starr, Robert Ray, Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Trump’s longtime personal counsel Jane Raskin. Team Schiff will be up against some pretty formidable legal talent this time unlike the proceedings held in the House where they were calling all the shots.
But the main reason why I don’t think it will go well for Democrats is this: President Trump did not commit an impeachable offense.