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Impeachment Diary Day 2: Quantity Does Not Equal Quality

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Senate Television via AP

It’s as if the House Managers think that their case suddenly becomes airtight if Adam Schiff and his colleagues take forever to lay it out and add some audio-visual aids.

There is not a shred of a new angle to their arguments. It is the same litany of assertions that peppered the House hearings, filled with the same attempts at mind-reading. They somehow magically know that President Trump’s interest in Ukraine was not a justifiable curiosity over that nation’s worthiness for hundreds of millions in foreign aid, despite the curious presence of Hunter Biden on a crooked company’s board; they cite as fact the conclusion that he was attempting to strong-arm a foreign leader in an attempt to meddle in the 2020 election.

Never mind that these same accusers have badgered him for insufficient concern over meddling from Russia. Ukrainian meddling was amateurish and slight by comparison, but that was the country seeking aid, and a President skeptical of such aid under the best of conditions had some things he wanted beforehand.

In a trial that drips with mentions of “fairness,” here is a dose: I do not magically know that Trump’s motives were wholly pure. But I have no reason to believe that they were not. Joe Biden’s role as a “rival” does not warrant turning a blind eye if he was a sitting vice president with an untalented son siphoning millions from a country that might have been currying favor with the Obama administration.

So Trump has his side, his opponents have theirs. At no point in this tedious exercise will this matter be settled. There is no witness who can settle it, no document that can settle it, no unseen revelation waiting to be unearthed. What we have is a classic example of a matter best left to voters. Convinced Trump’s Ukraine call was sinister? Great, don’t vote for him.

But that will never be enough for Democrats who have now cast their fate with this quixotic crusade. Thursday and Friday will now bring echoes of these now-familiar imputations, amplified with the lament that a conclusion is somehow unreachable unless we open the gates on an interminable witness rodeo.

It is here that the Managers’ detailed displays today work against them. They had no shortage of content, and wlll surely bury us in more over the next two days. This does not appear to be a pursuit starved for source material.

Knowing that utter failure is at hand, look for more calls for “impartiality.” Sen. Amy Klobuchar called on Republicans to “act like jurors,” an attempt to draw equivalency to citizens evaluating testimony in a court trial.

This is not a judicial exercise, it is a political exercise. Sen. Klobuchar has never seemed alarmed at her Democratic colleagues who have obviously found him guilty for months. Returning to the concept of mind-reading, I do not know if the Democrats who will vote to remove him are doing so because they objectively believe he deserves it or because they despise him. Do Republicans who will vote to acquit really believe Trump’s version of events, or are they rallying to protect a President they support?

All I can share is my own objectivity test: If some future Democratic president finds the son of a Republican rival who was formerly Vice President, inexplicably pocketing millions from a suspicious country seeking foreign aid, I will not call for his head on a platter if he looks into it.

With the window for each side widening to three days, it now looks like the Trump defense may actually begin on Saturday. The buzz is that they will wrap up far more quickly, believing that brevity will serve them well. As Democrats look at rolling out two more days of oratory and slides, they might consider doing some editing of their own.

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