Fresh off their defeat in the impeachment battle, Senate Democrats entered into full spin mode on the Sunday morning media circuit. Various impeachment managers attempted to smooth over their embarrassing loss to former President Donald Trump’s legal team.
During an appearance with NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet The Press,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the lead impeachment manager said Democrats have “no regrets at all” when it came to their failed effort to impeach Trump after he is already out of office. Todd asked Raskin if he believed Democrats could have persuaded more Republican senators to vote for conviction if they added a dereliction-of-duty article.
Raskin responded: “[W]e have no regrets at all. We left it totally out there on the floor of the U.S. Senate, and every senator knew exactly what happened. And just go back and listen to McConnell’s speech.” The lawmaker was referencing Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) criticism of Trump before voting to acquit him.
Raskin added, “Everybody was convinced of the case we put forward, but, you know, as the defense lawyer said, just pick any one of these phony constitutional defenses, and then you can justify it.”
“It could be First Amendment, it could be bill of attainder, it could be due process. I mean all of them are nonsense,” Raskin continued. “I thought that I successfully demolished them at the trial but, you know, there’s no reasoning with people who basically are, you know, acting like members of a religious cult and when they leave office should be selling flowers at Dulles Airport.”
Despite the Democrats’ loss, the representative insisted that the trial was “a dramatic success in historical terms,” due to their ability to get lawmakers who already dislike Trump to vote for conviction.
The Maryland congressman called the trial “a dramatic success in historical terms,” noting the seven Republican votes for conviction in the Senate and 10 House Republicans who voted for impeachment.
Del. Stacey Plaskett, who served as one of the impeachment managers, insisted in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” that she believed their arguments were sound and that Republican senators who voted to acquit did so only because they were afraid not to. She argued that her team had actually convinced most GOP senators that Trump was responsible for inciting the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Plaskett, like Raskin, also cited McConnell’s criticism of the former president as proof showing other GOP senators believed Trump to be guilty of causing the riots and intimated the problem was that they were too afraid to vote against Trump. “He agreed with us, they all agreed with us,” Plaskett said Sunday. “What we needed we more senators with spines, not more witnesses.”
Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) also chimed in, blaming McConnell for the failure to convict Trump. In an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” he echoed the sentiments expressed by Raskin.
“As lead manager, Jamie Raskin recognized right after the trial [that] they could have had 500 more witnesses. It wasn’t going to change the outcome,” Coons said. “Once Mitch McConnell made it clear he intended to acquit, even despite the compelling evidence, what the House managers needed wasn’t more witnesses or more evidence. What we all needed was more Republican courage.”
“I do think that we need to spend months and months unearthing all the evidence that can possibly be gotten to through a 9/11-style commission,” he added. Several other Democratic lawmakers have also called for such a commission.
The senator indicated that he believed calling witnesses would not have changed the outcome.
However, like Plaskett, Coons asserted that the impeachment case was solid and that GOP senators were convinced that Trump had incited the riot. He stated that if the votes had been made in secret, they would have had the 67 votes necessary to convict the former president.
“I’m fairly certain there would have been a vote to convict with a secret ballot,” he said, referring to McConnell’s criticism of Trump’s conduct.
It is difficult to tell whether Democrats are being delusional, or deceptive in their statements. It is difficult to imagine that they believe their case was so solid that everyone involved was convinced by it. But these are the same people who sought to impeach a president after he is already out of office, so it is not hard to imagine.
On the other hand, they could be making these assertions because they believe it will convince the public that their case was only rejected for political reasons and that it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that their arguments were fatally flawed from the beginning. Either way, this fiasco was an objective failure for the Democrats by any objective measure, and no amount of spin can cover it up.