By Robert A. Vella

“No witnesses, no documents in an impeachment trial is a perfidy. It is a grand tragedy. One of the worst tragedies that the Senate has overcome. America will remember this day, unfortunately, where the Senate did not live up to its responsibilities, where the Senate turned away from truth and went along with a sham trial.” – Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

Yesterday was a dark day in American history.  One-half of the nation’s two-party system capitulated to a thoroughly corrupt dictatorial power in the megalomaniacal figure of Donald Trump.  The United States is now clearly heading down the path of fascism just like Italy, Spain, and Germany did in the 1920s and 1930s.  Only the looming presence of the 2020 presidential election can reverse this course;  and, with an unrestrained self-serving autocrat at the helm, there is no guarantee that the democratic will of the people would prevail.

To those who scoff at this warning, I would expect them to remember it vividly when the rights they all took for granted burn away in the fires of authoritarianism.  White Christian conservatives and others may see themselves as immune today, but they are most certainly not immune.  Totalitarianism demands loyalty from everyone, but it gives no loyalty to anyone.  As its grip on political power becomes tighter and tighter, all peoples are eventually oppressed.

“First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me”

– German theologian and Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller

For some Republican senators at least, the ramming through of a sham impeachment trial was no victory.  They realize how negatively this will be perceived by the American people and how it will affect their political careers.  They also felt boxed-in by Trump.  Had they stood up to him, the retribution would have been immediate and painful including being ostracized by the party (such as what Mitt Romney is experiencing now), getting primary election challengers, and receiving a barrage of hostile campaign ads.  When the White House reportedly threatened to put their “head[s] on a pike” recently, Republican senators definitely felt the heat.  They also understood that had Trump been seriously wounded by the impeachment trial (even if not removed from office), his fanatical base of supporters would exact revenge at the ballot box.

For Democrats, who are vowing to continue congressional investigations of Trump, the stakes are even higher.  They find themselves in the unenviable position as the last defenders of democracy and the rule of law.  I say “unenviable” because Democrats are themselves conflicted over those principles as evidenced by centrists’ continued animosity towards the party’s progressive base (see:  DNC members discuss rules change to stop Sanders at convention and Clinton jabs again at Sanders, says he didn’t unite party).  If they remain divided going into this election, they will have no chance against a smaller but unified GOP.  Such stupidity only makes logical sense if centrists see progressives as a worse enemy than Donald Trump.

Finally, there is the unlikely example of Trump’s former National Security Advisor.  John Bolton is a warmongering neoconservative and a longstanding fixture in Republican foreign policy ranks since the Reagan administration.  He would’ve been the last person I’d expect to directly confront President Trump.  But, that’s exactly what he is doing.  I’m not sure if he is doing it as a matter of principle (i.e. opposing tyranny), as an act of retaliation (i.e. for being fired), or to make money (i.e. from his new book).  Regardless of his motives, Bolton is exhibiting some much welcomed courage which is completely lacking among moderate Republicans and generally lacking among Democrats.

Bonne chance, I say to all who are willing to fight this madness.  To those unwilling, I say shut up and get out of the way!

GOP’s sham impeachment trial

Republicans Block Impeachment Witnesses, Clearing Path for Trump Acquittal

Why four key Republicans split — and the witness vote tanked

‘The center of the orbit’: Endangered Republicans go all-in on Trump

Senate ushers final phase of Trump impeachment trial without witnesses

John Bolton and John Kelly

From:  Trump Told Bolton to Help His Ukraine Pressure Campaign, Book Says

WASHINGTON — More than two months before he asked Ukraine’s president to investigate his political opponents, President Trump directed John R. Bolton, then his national security adviser, to help with his pressure campaign to extract damaging information on Democrats from Ukrainian officials, according to an unpublished manuscript by Mr. Bolton.

Mr. Trump gave the instruction, Mr. Bolton wrote, during an Oval Office conversation in early May that included the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, who is now leading the president’s impeachment defense.

Mr. Trump told Mr. Bolton to call Volodymyr Zelensky, who had recently won election as president of Ukraine, to ensure Mr. Zelensky would meet with Mr. Giuliani, who was planning a trip to Ukraine to discuss the investigations that the president sought, in Mr. Bolton’s account. Mr. Bolton never made the call, he wrote.

From:  Bolton faces potential legal battles in standoff with White House over his book

Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” is still scheduled to be released in March, even after the National Security Council warned his attorney last week that it will have to be revised because it contained “significant amounts” of classified material. Bolton’s lawyer has disputed that.


As Trump and his GOP allies have lambasted Bolton, the former national security adviser has sounded a defiant note. During a private appearance in Austin on Thursday, he defended administration officials who testified during the impeachment proceedings.

“The idea that somehow testifying to what you think is true is destructive to the system of government we have — I think, is very nearly the reverse — the exact reverse of the truth,” Bolton said, according to Austin’s KXAN television station.


A person familiar with the discussions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the dispute, said Bolton’s team expects a lengthy fight over the issue but appears determined to see it through.

John Kelly: Impeachment trial without witnesses is ‘a job only half done’

In Kyiv, Pompeo does not dispute allegations in Bolton’s book

Trump attorney Jay Sekulow

From:  Charities steered $65M to Trump lawyer Sekulow and family

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jay Sekulow, one of President Donald Trump’s lead attorneys during the impeachment trial, is being paid for his legal work through a rented $80-a-month mailbox a block away from the White House.

The Pennsylvania Avenue box appears to be the sole physical location of the Constitutional Litigation and Advocacy Group, a for-profit corporation co-owned by Sekulow. The firm has no website and is not listed in national legal directories. The District of Columbia Bar has no record of it, and no attorneys list it as their employer.

But Sekulow, 63, is registered as chief counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice, a non-profit Christian legal advocacy group based in an expansive Capitol Hill row house a short walk from the Senate chamber.

A half dozen lawyers employed by the non-profit ACLJ are named in recent Senate legal briefs as members of Trump’s defense team — including one of Sekulow’s sons. The ACLJ, as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, is barred under IRS rules from engaging in partisan political activities.

More news

From:  Coast Guard officer who had hit list sentenced to over 13 years

A former Coast Guard lieutenant who was accused of compiling a hit list of Democratic politicians and media personalities was sentenced Friday to more than 13 years in prison, according to a statement from the Department of Justice. The decision comes after 50-year-old Christopher Hasson pled guilty to four felonies in October.

U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel sentenced Hasson to 13 years and four months for charges including possession of firearms by an addict to and unlawful user of a controlled substance, and possession of a controlled substance. He has been detained since his arrest on February 15, 2019.

“Mr. Hasson held racist and hateful views, and he spoke racist and hateful speech,” said United States Attorney Robert K. Hur, who announced the decision.”But Mr. Hasson crossed the line between racist thoughts and racist speech, he crossed the line into racist and violent action.”

New emails show how President Trump roiled NOAA during Hurricane Dorian

Trump administration expands travel ban to Nigeria and 5 other countries

WHO declares coronavirus global emergency; State Department raises travel warning to highest level

Border restrictions intensify as coronavirus takes root around China and across globe

Farm bankruptcies up 20% in 2019, even with billions in aid

17 thoughts on “GOP’s Sham Impeachment Trial: No witnesses, no evidence, no justice, and maybe worse to come

  1. Let’s be clear about this.

    The Republican Party is the party of criminals and traitors.

    They have long pretended to be the law and order party, and the party of patriotism. But we never believed this, because we always knew that other groups, not tied to the Republicans, also were for law and order and were patriots.

    Now the Republicans are unmasked as the party of criminals and traitors.

    Liked by 4 people

    • It was apparent from the beginning that the House of Representatives would impeach Trump and that the Senate would not remove him from office. But, that’s not what is so disturbing and dangerous here. When Republicans prevented all witness testimony and documentary evidence of Trump’s crimes, they sent a clear message to the nation and to the world that: 1) facts are irrelevant, 2) the law is irrelevant, 3) the U.S. Constitution is irrelevant, 4) professional ethics are irrelevant, and 5) Trump can do whatever he wants as president.

      IMO, the Trump/Pence comparison is a false equivalence. Not so much in terms of public policy or ideology, but in terms of temperament. Trump is a classic megalomaniac. He is psychologically unhinged and unbounded. His narcissistic impulses are wildly erratic, and there are few people around him now to act as a restraint. Sitting atop the enormous power at his disposal makes Trump an existential threat to humanity as Adolf Hitler was 80 years ago.

      Liked by 4 people

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