Like I Said, Uncharted Waters


Greg Sargent, How GOP senators are already pre-spinning their coverup for Trump

Sargent has a different take from Jennifer Rubin.

Sargent thinks the Republicans’ cynical strategy will be (1) to reject Trump’s call to dismiss the charges before hearing any arguments—which is supposed to make them look “fair”—then (2) hear arguments of counsel, and then (3) vote to acquit without hearing any witnesses.

Cuter than Bambi

I share Sargent’s assessment of their utter shamelessness, but my overall reaction: it’s too clever by half.

Whenever your client is in deep doodoo, there’s often someone sitting in the conference room who comes up with a really clever proposed stratagem. I call it the “cuter than Bambi approach.”

It’s never a good idea.

OK, So What Will Trump’s Argument Be?

In addition to the general Bambi problem with this alleged strategy, there’s the more specific question, What will Trump’s lawyers argue?

If they argue that the House case is too indirect and too circumstantial, then anyone who votes to acquit without hearing the direct testimony looks really bad.

On the other hand, they might deep-six the “too indirect/too circumstantial” claim and go for the “not impeachable” argument, and try to draw all manner of purported comparisons with purported bad acts of Obama and other past presidents that did not result in impoeachment efforts.

At that point, the vote to acquit becomes the analogue of a judge’s granting summary judgment under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again, if that’s the game the Republicans want to play, just fine by me. We will have had a nice national debate about what’s impeachable and what isn’t impeachable, and we’ll see them in November.