Because of limited word count, I can only address a few points of the Trump impeachment process so I chose to address the following:
1.The Trump impeachment process was not fast-tracked. Trump’s impeachment inquiry began Sept. 24. The judiciary committee voted on the impeachment articles 80 days later, and it will likely be after the first of the year when the Senate finally votes on impeachment. From the date Bill Clinton’s impeachment inquiry launched to the date he was acquitted by the Senate, 127 days had passed. For President Nixon, the process lasted 184 days before he resigned. And for President Andrew Johnson, the impeachment process lasted 94 days until he was acquitted by the Senate.
2.Trump is the first president to refuse to honor a congressional subpoena. The wheels of justice do turn slowly. To litigate the issue of the congressional subpoenas could take months, if not years, because even if the Supreme Court ruled in the favor of Congress, the president could come back and make other arguments regarding why the subpoenas should not be honored, requiring additional litigation. Both Nixon and Clinton agreed to let staff testify and produced requested documents. Where time is of the essence, refusing to produce people and documents is a litigation strategy that drags-out the process.
3.There is no more evidence to be received. With the president refusing to facilitate the provision of evidence, there is little more that the House Intelligence Committee can investigate. If Trump had the evidence to exculpate him, it would have been produced, either before the committee or to the court of public opinion.
4.Hearsay and inferences are commonly used in the administration of justice. Hearsay is defined as an out-of-court statement offered for the truth of the matter asserted. There are many exceptions to the hearsay rule. For example, I had a client convicted of beating his girlfriend based upon the hearsay testimony of the paramedic and nurse to whom the girlfriend made the claim, as the girlfriend was unavailable to testify. Inferences are simply conclusions based upon the facts. An example of this would be waking up in the morning and seeing snow on the ground. While you did not see the snow fall, you infer that it did snow. In this case, Trump admitted he asked for a favor, and based upon the testimony and evidence presented, the house intelligence committee inferred an abuse of power.
5.The only defense presented is indignant table pounding. As all lawyers know, if the law is on your side, argue the law, and if the facts are on your side, then argue the facts. If neither the facts nor law are on your side, pound the table. Arguing loudly and indignantly against hearsay and inferences while failing to provide facts refuting the testimony of the witnesses is a textbook table pounding.
Actions have consequences but it appears that Donald Trump will not be learning that lesson. As of this writing, Senate President Mitch McConnell has indicated that the Republican senators will be voting to acquit and is coordinating Trump’s defense with the White House. In the meantime, Trump continues to talk about his “perfect” phone call with the president of Ukraine.
It appears the only lesson Trump will take from all this is that the rule of law does not apply to him, which is what he has maintained all along.•
Celestino-Horseman is an attorney and represents the Indiana Latino Democratic Caucus on the Democratic State Central Committee. Send comments to [email protected]