Note that Iowa’s Joni Ernst is right there with McConnell as he declares Trump will be acquitted
Well, here it is. Presidential election year. Many of us have been waiting for this year since Nov. 9th, 2016.
As Iowans we all know we have the caucuses directly ahead of us in another month.
However before that happens we will be immersed in the continuing drama of the Republican Party doing all they can to destroy constitutional government in this country in the pursuit of one man’s fantasies of being above our laws and being effectively the King of America. I am speaking of course of the current president, Donald Trump.
As the drama of the impeachment moves from the US House where Trump was impeached to the US Senate where there will be some sort of trial. The big question of the moment is just what that trial will look like. The constitution provides only a sketchy framework for the trial in the senate:
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present.
Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States; but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
Article II, Section 2 provides:
[The President] … shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.
Article II, Section 4 provides:
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Many folks think that since the Senate will be acting as a jury, they should be bound by the rules that juries would in in any trial. However, since there is nothing in the constitution that states that, there is really nothing to hold the senate or senators to any such rules. Therefore Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has long since declared that his party will hold a mockery of a trial and that they will acquit the president.
This has stirred the anger of citizens for many reasons. Once again in this country where everyone is supposed to be equal under the law, we have special rules for those with power. Or actually we have no rules for those with power. The Senate Majority Leader has stated unequivocally he has no intention of having a real trial.
If there were a real trial, one would think that recordings of the president seeking help from foreign leaders to interfere in the presidential election would be pretty convincing of guilt.
McConnell may think he has pulled a real fast one on the voting public by taking away what most of us thought were constitutional protections against an out of control president. But there will be more at work than the senate conducting a show trial. While Republicans will be performing almost as if in a play, the US public will be acting as a jury on Republicans in the senate.
America has had its fill of power grabs by the Republican when they are in power. From voter suppression to the now kangaroo court that McConnell has announced, the in-your-face-America brand of ruling has played it course. Americans will be watching Republican senators closely. If McConnell sticks to his plan expect Americans to judge Republicans harshly.
Among those who can be expected to be judged most harshly will be Iowa’s Joni Ernst. Ernst has made little secret that she is in the bank fro Trump and McConnell. She has made some very tepid remarks about a fair trial, yet her action – such as being by McConnell’s side when McConnell announced his plans for a kangaroo court – speak much louder.
After three years where Iowa farmers have been pawns for Trump to bargain with that have hurt them badly plus having Trump break promises to them along with the Trump atrocities at the border and his breaking of long alliances while Ernst has mostly stood by silently has really frayed her relationships with Iowans. It has been very clear that Ernst is not working for Iowans, but for the big dollar donors to her campaign.
And as an extra in-your-face kick from the Republicans, Trump has been raising money for Joni Ernst’s campaign. Why, if Joni Ernst were say a juror in a trial in which Trump was the defendant – look at that! She is a juror in a trial with Trump as the defendant – one could accuse her of taking bribes.
On Wednesday, the Trump reelection campaign sent a fundraising appeal to its massive email list urging donors to provide a contribution that would be divided between the president and Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis. Each of the senators are supporting the anti-impeachment resolution despite being endangered in 2020.
“If we don’t post strong fundraising numbers,” the message warned, “we won’t be able to defend the President from this baseless Impeachment WITCH HUNT.”
Will Ernst do the right thing and reject that money? Don’t hold your breath.