Now that President Donald Trump has been formally impeached by the U.S. House, attention has turned to the trial that’s been teed up in the Senate, where Republicans have explicitly refused to cede to basic Democratic demands for fairness including testimony from witnesses whose accounts of the Ukraine scandal have previously been blocked by the president. Now, the advocacy group Republicans for the Rule of Law is launching another ad campaign targeting the president and his defenders. This time, with eleven billboards and five video ads, the group is demanding that sought after witnesses be actually called for testimony.
The visuals that the group is employing are powerful. Their billboards feature images of personal Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and former Trump national security adviser John Bolton with duct tape over their mouths. Before the trial stage arrived, Democrats were seeking their testimony, and now, they are continuing their simple, straightforward demands.
The national ad among the group’s latest crop of video pushes includes the message:
‘These witnesses must testify. Call your Senators now.’
The national video ad will air during Fox & Friends and Lou Dobbs Tonight, and the other video ads will run during Fox & Friends and Hannity and target constituents of perceived moderate Republican Senators including Mitt Romney (Utah), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Susan Collins (Maine), and Lamar Alexander (Tenn.). Collins is up for re-election in a race that the Cook Political Report calls a toss-up, and Alexander has announced he won’t be seeking re-election in 2020, but it’s still unclear if they will heed the calls of the grassroots push for basic fairness in the Senate trial.
The organization’s spokesperson Chris Truax commented:
‘Proper trials are seldom comfortable for the accused, but that’s no reason not to hold one, even if the accused is President Trump. Impeachment is the ultimate check on abuse of power by the president, and future generations won’t thank us if we weaken it by treating it as just an exercise in partisan politics.’
While Democrats and Republicans have battled it out over the parameters of the impeachment trial, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has delayed transmitting the impeachment case to the Senate, thereby paralyzing the Trump cover-up operation and forcing them to confront the facts.
The president is not taking that well. On Monday, he tweeted:
‘Pelosi gives us the most unfair trial in the history of the U.S. Congress, and now she is crying for fairness in the Senate, and breaking all rules while doing so. She lost Congress once, she will do it again!’
She is not breaking any rules. There is no legal provision for exactly how quickly the House must transmit its case.
Pelosi gives us the most unfair trial in the history of the U.S. Congress, and now she is crying for fairness in the Senate, and breaking all rules while doing so. She lost Congress once, she will do it again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2019
That’s not about to stop the president. He has gone so far off the rails that — besides claiming this past weekend that he’s, uh, never understood wind — he claimed recently that he’s been treated worse than the targets of the Salem Witch Trials, who were hung. His egomania knows few, if any bounds.