Yesterday, my colleague, Mike Ford, dispelled every possible rumor and stereotype about the relative intelligence of Infantry colonels* when he wrote Time to Enter the Pursuit Phase of the Battle: McConnell Must Make the Conspirators Testify in a Senate Trial. Mike’s thesis is that Trump should treat this as the pursuit and destruction in detail of an enemy force. The only way that this sham impeachment benefits the Democrats is if the Senate Republicans dismiss the allegations out of hand. Then the President’s exoneration will be written off to a partisan vote. If the Senate carries out a lengthy trial, then the veracity of the House witnesses and their ability overhear the incoming side of one telephone conversation in a restaurant and not hear any others will be tested. There will be no friendly backstop to prevent tough questions. Hearsay and opinion will be severely limited. And the real movers behind this coup attempt will be called to their reckoning (though not, unfortunately, of the up-against-the-wall variety).
I think the Democrats know this because they have been spreading rumors that the White House wants a very quick process. Here is a quintessential “dear diary” tweet from Jim Acosta:
Trump is listening to his lawyers who are cautioning him that shorter trial, without witnesses, may be better in Senate and he's not ruling it out, source familiar with discussions said. Lawyers advising Trump that lengthy trial is risky, with potential for unforeseen bombshells.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) December 12, 2019
Today, President Trump hosted Paraguayan President Mario Abdo at the White House and afterwards took questions. This happened.
Trump says he wouldn't mind a long Senate trial pic.twitter.com/Azm63eY2tO
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) December 13, 2019
I’ll do whatever I want, look we did nothing wrong, so I’ll do long or short. I’ve heard Mitch, I’ve heard Lindsey, I think they are pretty much in agreement on some concept, I’ll do whatever they want to do, it doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t mind the long process because I’d like to see the whistleblower, who is a fraud. The whistleblower wrote a false report and I really blew it up when I released the transcript of the call.
This seems to indicate that President Trump, being, well, President Trump, may be out to settle some scores and do some real damage. Last night, Mitch McConnell did say that the Senate would move in lockstep with the White House Counsel and it would be much easier on weak-kneed GOP senators, like Susan Collins, to go for a longish trial so they could say that they thoroughly examined the charges rather than summarily dismissing them.
A long trial will ensure that the “whistleblower” is forced to testify. Hunter Biden and probably Joe Biden will have to talk about Hunter’s nice, cushy job with a Ukrainian gas company…ideally, Hunter will be asked to testify in Ukrainian to demonstrate his language proficiency. Adam Schiff will be asked to testify about his contact with the whistleblower. He’ll decline, of course, and that will be epic. I don’t think his staffers will be allowed to refuse. Day in and day out, the nation will get a chance to see just what kind of a fraud has been perpetrated upon it. I don’t think it will like what it sees.
*A close friend of mine was an instructor in the Tactics Department at the US Army Infantry School. They had a British exchange officer (a lieutenant colonel, if memory serves me). One day the Brit officer is talking to my friend and says, “I just don’t understand it. Your Army has great captains. The lieutenant colonels may be some of the best in the world. Your generals are nearly all capable and brilliant. But your colonels are idiots.”