Screengrab from https://youtu.be/lqa0MrzGYTw
As the last day of questions by Senators was winding down, there was a palpable sense of doom in the air. Earlier today, ABC News reported that McConnell had the votes needed to fend off any demand for witnesses and move to acquit the President tomorrow.
ABC News’ Trish Turner caught up with McConnell as he arrived at the Capitol Thursday morning. Asked if he has the votes he needs to win the day Friday on witnesses, he responded, “We’ll see what tomorrow brings.” Then, when asked if he felt confident about the vote, he turned his head and with a sly grin and said, “I always do.”
Still, the Democrats are trying to arrange some kind of 11th-hour voodoo that will put the GOP majority in the position of overruling a decision made by Chief Justice John Roberts. While this would have no material impact on the outcome, it would provide a partisan talking point for House Democrats who looked hopelessly outclassed, outgunned, and ill-prepared during the course of the trial. The imagery of the Chief Justice having a ruling reversed by 51 votes would salve the wounds and allow an increasingly dispirited base to forget the degree to which they have been deceived and lied to by their self-appointed champions.
To that end, no one on the Democrat side has breathed a word about the fanciful Resistance porn tales that Laurence Tribe and Neil Katyal and Walter Schaub and other suddenly minted experts on Senate rules and parliamentary procedure have spun of how Chief Justice Roberts can personally order the Senate to do things because it might offend Roberts or make him look like he was working in concert with the Democrats.
Then Elizabeth Warren showed up:
Sorry, I meant this one:
At a time when large majorities of Americans have lost faith in government, does the fact that the Chief Justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the Chief Justice, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution?
If the GOP could have scripted a single question for a Democrat senator to ask, it would have been something along these lines. If you think it wasn’t the verbal equivalent of a flash-bang grenade in a broom closet, just watch Adam Schiff attempt to whistle and tapdance his way out of that situation. But this is the image that shows Warren’s question might not get the effect she’d hoped:
John Roberts was NOT happy with @EWarren's nasty question about whether the legitimacy of SCOTUS (and Roberts himself) would be sullied if there are no witnesses in the Senate trial pic.twitter.com/60fbiME3Db
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) January 30, 2020
A cynic would say that she knows how the vote tomorrow is going to play out and she’s trying to revitalize a stalled primary campaign by appearing to speak truth to power and calling out the Chief Justice as Mitch McConnell’s stooge. Now Roberts knows that if he acts in a way favorable to Democrats tomorrow not only will he get his butt handed to him by a vote of the Senate, he will look like he was shamed into becoming a Democrat tool. For all of his failings as a Chief Justice, I think he’s smart enough to understand the game that is being played here.