World Stacey Plaskett Says Impeachment Trial Needed ‘More Senators With Spines’
Trump’s impeachment trial is imminent. GOP senators are working to cast it as a Democratic plot.
Republicans claim the trial is constitutionally illegitimate. Most scholars disagree.The dismissals and distraction tactics suggest that after a brief period of uncertainty about whether to censure Trump, Republicans are poised to present a fairly united front in rejecting the case that Trump should be convicted for his role in inciting the January 6 insurrection.
House impeachment manager Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) defended the Democrats’ decision to cave on calling more witnesses at the Senate impeachment trial, declaring that what they really needed was “more senators with spines.”
During, Democrats won a vote to call additional witnesses after lead manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) motioned for additional testimony. In the end, both sides agreed to merely enter GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler’s statement that Trump told House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) during the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection that the mob was “more upset” about the election than McCarthy was.
Jonathan Turley: Trump impeachment trial – No, impeachment is not insulated from free speech arguments
The Framers saw impeachment as reserved for cases of constitutional clarity. That clarity is achieved by comparison to the conduct of others – both as criminal and protected matters. As a secondary argument, the scholars insist that "The First Amendment … does not grant the president the freedom to engage in a willful dereliction of duty." The statement is again conclusory. DR. ROBERT JEFFRESS: IMPEACHMENT – WHY AMERICA MUST LET GO OF BITTERNESS TO HEAL Trump is accused of seeking to incite an actual insurrection or rebellion, not just the "willful dereliction of duty.
With Trump securing his second impeachment acquittal later that day, despite a surprising seven Republican senators joining Democrats in voting to convict, the House Democrats have taken heat for backing down over additional witnesses and testimony. During his interview with Plaskett on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, anchorpressed the Virgin Islands delegate on the issue.
Playing a clip of Beutler discussing the phone call between McCarthy and Trump, Tapper noted that the call essentially revealed Trump “siding with the terrorists” as they attacked the Capitol.
“You also wanted to subpoena her notes of that call,” he added. “Ultimately Democrats did neither of those things and accepted the public statement she made. Why did you back down?”
Welcome to Trump Impeachment Part II: Everyone Hates It Here
This week, the U.S. Senate will do something it has never done before in its 230-year history: hear a second impeachment trial for one president, charged with incitement of an insurrection that threatened the lives of the trial’s own jurors, and broke through to the very chamber where the trial will unfold. Despite it all, the latest impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump will open Tuesday afternoon in a room full of people who wish they were anywhere else, from the 100 jurors who will hear the case to the team of Trump lawyers arguing it.
Insisting that Democrats “didn’t back down,” Plaskett said that they got what they wanted by entering Beutler’s statement into the record. She also pointed out that witnesses in the trial would have needed to be deposed, with their statements videotaped and then played back before the Senate.
“So I know that people are feeling a lot of angst and believe that maybe if we had this, the senators would have done what we wanted,” Plaskett continued. “But, listen, we didn’t need more witnesses. We needed more senators with spines.”
The CNN anchor pushed back, wondering aloud why Plaskett felt they didn’t need more witnesses, especially considering that there were still “unanswered questions” about Trump’s actions as the deadly riot raged out of control.
“Were you being pressured by Senate Democrats because they wanted to get on with confirmations and the COVID relief bill?” Tapper further asked.
Legal Scholar Thinks GOP Acquitting Trump Would Be Harder if Dems Spent More Time Building Case
House legislators could have easily garnered more bipartisan support for impeachment, partly by gathering witness testimony, argues Jonathan Turley.Turley is one of four scholars who testified during the House's impeachment hearings in late 2019, the first time Trump faced impeachment. Turley, who is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, was invited by Republicans to appear before the House Judiciary Committee's impeachment hearings in 2019 and also testified during former President Bill Clinton's impeachment hearings in 1998.
Plaskett went on to say that fighting over subpoenas to compel additional testimony could have dragged out over a period of months and even years. Furthermore, she said that the Democrats already presented “sufficient evidence” to prove that Trump incited the insurrection in an effort to retain power.
“I think that all Americans, when we rested our case, believed that we had proved our case and the nonsense that the defense put out did not dispute that,” Plaskett said. “As you heard from [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell, his closing statement was what we said, he agreed with us.”
“They all agreed,” she added. “They just decided that they wanted to give him a walk and they found a technicality that they created to do so.”
In a Senate floor speech after voting to acquit,and slammed the ex-president for a “disgraceful dereliction of duty.” McConnell, however, claimed that time had passed for Congress to hold Trump accountable as he was no longer in office—something McConnell assured by delaying the start of the Senate trial.
The debate over whether Democrats should call witnesses at Trump’s trial, explained .
Both parties’ leaders appear to want the trial over quickly.And the question now is whether they will stop there — or whether they will try to advance their case that Trump incited an insurrection further, by asking the Senate to allow testimony from witnesses.