Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., gives his opening statement as former special counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on his report on Russian election interference, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, July 24, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
I suppose we were naive to believe that a Senate vote of “not guilty” actually meant that President Trump had been acquitted. Democrats, unwilling to accept the Senate’s decision, have signaled they plan to pursue their probe into President Trump’s alleged “quid pro quo” with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Following the vote, reporters asked Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler (D-NY) if they intend to continue their investigation.
He replied, “I think it’s likely, yes. I think when you have a lawless president, you have to bring that to the fore and you have to spotlight that.” He added, “You have to protect the Constitution, whatever the political consequences. As more and more lawlessness comes out, I presume the public will understand that.”
Nadler said that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already given approval for a subpoena to former National Security Adviser John Bolton.
The House is likely waiting for a decision from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on whether or not former White House counsel Don McGahn will be forced to testify. When McGahn was subpoenaed last year by the House, President Trump (appropriately) asserted executive privilege to prevent him from testifying. Fox News reports that the Court “heard oral arguments in that case in early January, and a ruling could come as soon as Friday.”
One day after Trump’s legal team began presenting their defense, The New York Times reported leaks from Bolton’s forthcoming book, which indicated that the President had allegedly held back $391 million in U.S. aid to pressure the Ukrainians into opening an investigation of the Bidens and that Bolton had referred to the discussions between Trump and Zelensky as a “drug deal.”
This was mitigated by a video of Bolton speaking to a reporter from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, recorded in August 2019 in which he describes the conversation between Trump and Zelensky as “warm and cordial.” My colleague, Nick Arama, posted on this story here.
What do we have here….
John Bolton in an interview describing the conversation between President Trump and Ukraine President Zelinsky as warm and cordial in August 2019. pic.twitter.com/c0C1r1oInm
— Go Trump 🇺🇸 (@GKeile) January 29, 2020
When asked if the House planned to subpoena Bolton, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), one of the House impeachment managers, said only that it was a “question for further discussion.”
Democrats are in deep denial over Wednesday’s Senate decision. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters, “Now that our Republican colleagues have rejected a fair trial — truth — there’s a giant asterisk next to the president’s acquittal. The asterisk says he was acquitted without facts. He was acquitted without a fair trial. And it means his acquittal is virtually valueless.” He added, “I believe the American people will realize that this was one of the largest cover-ups in the history of our nation…Make no mistake, the drip drip drip of evidence is going to keep coming out.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also rejected Wednesday’s verdict calling Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a “rogue leader.” She said that Trump and the Republicans had “normalized lawlessness and rejected the system of checks and balances.” She continued:
Our Founders put safeguards in the Constitution to protect against a rogue president. They never imagined that they would at the same time have a rogue leader in the Senate who would cowardly abandon his duty to uphold the Constitution.
By suppressing the evidence and rejecting the most basic elements of a fair judicial process, the Republican Senate made themselves willing accomplices to the President’s cover-up.
Sadly, because of the Republican Senate’s betrayal of the Constitution, the President remains an ongoing threat to American democracy, with his insistence that he is above the law and that he can corrupt the elections if he wants to,” she said. “The House will continue to protect and defend the checks and balances in the Constitution that safeguard our Republic, both in the courts of law and in the court of public opinion.
They can do or say whatever they would like. However, after 3 1/2 years of failed hoaxes, the American people are on to them by now and their efforts to continue the Ukraine investigation, or to start a new one, will only help Republicans win back the House in November. Their irrational behavior is making the case that, if Americans don’t want to see the government bogged down for another two years, they should vote for GOP candidates.
What Nancy Pelosi considered a great idea at the time, tearing up Trump’s speech on national television, was actually a great gift to Republicans. And it will keep on giving.