Why Didn't Democrats Immediately Subpoena Mike Pence for the Impeachment Trial?

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

One of the pieces of evidence that has come out of the impeachment trial in the Senate is just how eager the crowd was to get their hands on Mike Pence and do him harm.

We already knew the crowds were chanting for him, but video evidence released by the impeachment managers shows them calling for him so they could kill him. They also showed how close Pence was to getting caught up in the scene before security led him away.

We now know there were people reading Trump’s tweet about Mike Pence out loud while they were in the building, riling them up further.

Trump was reckless with his rhetoric, and whether intentional or not, his actions after the election played a huge role in the ensuing chaos at the Capitol. Democratic aides were telling the media they “had the goods” and, so far, they are not doing a terrible job of delivering.

But it also seems clear that the Democrats aren’t actually taking this all that seriously. Why didn’t they push for witnesses? It seems pretty clear that Mike Pence, of all people, should be questioned in this trial. His life, the life of the Vice President of the United States, was the life most directly in danger during the riot. He has been very silent in the aftermath. There were reports he was the one who gave the orders to deploy the national guard and that Trump was not responding to anyone during and after the riot.

So, why didn’t they push harder on calling him in as a witness?

Chuck Schumer came to an agreement with Mitch McConnell, and part of that agreement was “No witnesses.” That makes zero sense if the Democrats are as serious about this as they claim to be. But if the Democrats are just trying to put on a dramatic show for their base and the media, and trying to rush to the end for political reasons, then why should any of us take this any more seriously than they are?

This seems like bad lawyering, which is hilarious for a body of politicians made up largely of lawyers.

Mike Pence
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool

It’s not as though the courts would let a subpoena for something like this stall. They would expedite, as they did for various investigations the Democrats put on in the last two years, rather than let it get tied up. So there’s no excuse there. It just looks more and more like the Democrats just didn’t want to put in the time and effort.

Whether Trump incited the riot — intentionally or not — the Democrats have a lot of video evidence showing just how much danger people were in during the riot, particularly Mike Pence, who was being actively targeted by the mob. Pence is still largely respected by his colleagues in and out of Congress. This evidence would really affect them if he were brought in to answer questions from that day.

But the Democrats are also not doing everything they can to win. Despite the less than admirable performance of Trump’s lawyers, the Democrats seem to not want to win.

Maybe it’s a Schumer problem. He is probably the weakest Majority Leader in American history, and not fighting for witnesses makes this at least appear to be a sham.

And if he’s not going to put all his effort into the trial, and the Democrats aren’t going to try their hardest to win a conviction and a ban from public office for Trump, then they don’t deserve to win.