Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., front left, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, right, and other Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee, speak to members of the media as they conclude the testimony of U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, during a public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump’s efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Last week, the Democrat-mismanaged House of Representatives announced the appointment of so-called ‘impeachment managers’ for the baldly partisan attempt to overturn the result of the 2016 election and, failing that, to aid their electoral chances in 2020. To the accompaniment of kazoo music, those worthies–Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, Hakeem Jeffries, Zoe Lofgren, Val Demings, Sylvia Garica, and Jason Crow–marched to the Senate to deliver the product of their labor.
Yesterday, the White House announced its selection to be their counterparts.
The White House announced Monday that President Trump appointed several prominent Republican House members to advise his impeachment defense team ahead of the Senate trial set to begin this week.
GOP Reps. Jim Jordan (Ohio), John Ratcliffe Texas), Mike Johnson (La.), Mark Meadows (N.C.), Debbie Lesko (Ariz.), Lee Zeldin (N.Y.), Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) and Doug Collins are set to play leading roles.
A statement from the White House said the lawmakers “have provided guidance to the White House team, which was prohibited from participating in the proceedings concocted by Democrats in the House of Representatives” throughout the House proceedings and would continue to do so in the Senate.
President Trump would have to look long and hard to find a better group of House Republicans to defend him than these. All have been very zealous in pushing back on the Democrat sham hearings and giving the public the opportunity to see just how silly the entire impeachment case is.
This team will act as advisers to the legal team conducting the actual defense and not as participants.
Some Senators don’t like the idea:
[Representative Mike] Johnson noted ahead of the announcement that there was some reluctance to have House members participate in the Senate trial, with GOP lawmakers in the upper chamber citing concerns the optics of adding House members could be detrimental to the seriousness of the trial.
“There was some resistance or concern in the Senate that it would become more of a show than a trial and I tried to make very, the people that have been involved in the discussion on this are very serious about this, I mean I was a litigator for 20 years in federal court on constitutional law cases, so this is within my wheelhouse and something I have great interest in,” Johnson said. “And the others that I have mentioned feel the same way, so it would be exactly the opposite of the concerns that’s been expressed on the other side.”
Key Republican allies in the Senate have also warned against such appointments, warning that the addition of Republican House members would cast the Senate trial in a partisan light.
“I don’t think it’s wise. I think we need to elevate the argument beyond body politics, beyond party politics and talk about the constitutional problems with these two articles,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters earlier this month.
As we’ve been reminded over and over, impeachment is a political act. And, in this day and age, it is actually a political reality show.
What is in the Senate’s interests is not necessarily what is in the best interests of President Trump. While Trump’s acquittal is virtually guaranteed, what is up for grabs is the public perception of the proceedings. While the Senate has an institutional interest in this being a dignified and solemn event and descending into farce, Trump has no such interest. All the Republicans added to the defense team as advisers have a high media profile and can be relied upon to push their perception of the Senate trial on television, radio, and on social media. While President Trump’s legal team is winning the trial, his House defense team will be winning the public perception battle. The Senate GOP will keep President Trump in office, but the House GOP defense team will reelect him in 2020.