Re: Impeachment Proceedings
There’s more that goes on behind the scenes that is not shown in the media. Here’s my take on the Court of Impeachment proceedings of January 31. Note: I am an American civics educator, not a trial or an appellate lawyer. Most of us are not lawyers. I try to understand these things from a common-sense perspective as a citizen. I invite you to join me.
The Senate voted 51-49 not to call more witnesses. What does this mean for the future of the presidency? Inquiring minds want to know. If President Trump was called to testify in the Senate, he could claim executive privilege. If he did not claim executive privilege, it is possible that this would affect every future president’s ability to claim executive privilege. The Senate would be put in the position of deciding executive privilege and not the court, according to Article III (Their job is to discover and apply the law). You also have a president who was impeached without the opportunity to offer a defense in the House. That also figures into all of these proceedings.
Every very vote was crucial in the Senate. If you were listening to the proceedings, you could tell by the aye’s and no’s that the vote would be close. It came down to two senators’ votes. It is my understanding that Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is a moderate who is independent in her thinking. The way to approach an independent thinker, who must answer to her constituents as to why she didn’t vote to call witnesses, is not by force. It is by a logical, legal presentation of the facts. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) wanted to insure for his part that the Senate remained open-minded and fair. So, no “whipping” (it’s what it is called when you try to strongly convince another member of Congress to join the party ranks in your vote) occurred. Instead, a careful, methodical rebuttal took place on breaks and in the Republican cloakroom (Democrats have a cloakroom too ). This is as it should be. The Senate, after all, is called “the world’s greatest deliberative body.”
If you only listen to or read the media coverage, it seems like all politicians are “evil.” Being a senator or congressman is not a walk in the park on a Sunday afternoon. I was greatly encouraged to see deliberation, decorum, and thoughtful voting during the January 31 proceedings. After all, this Court of Impeachment is making history. How they conduct themselves affects you and me for years to come.
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.??