Ahead of the opening arguments in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial that are set to begin later this week, Republican Senators are hunkering down with desperate, last ditch defenses of the president’s behavior. This weekend on ABC’s This Week, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) defended the president’s public demands for other countries to investigate his political opponents as “just statements.” In other words, the president standing in front of reporters and insisting something on camera is not enough for this Republican. What does he have to do to get Republican Senators to admit he was wrong? Is there even anything that would spark that?
Host George Stephanopoulos asked the very straightforward question of whether or not Shelby thinks it’s acceptable for the president to “solicit foreign interference in our election,” and like in the name of political expedience, he has just completely disconnected himself from reality at this point, the Senator replied that he doesn’t “know that has been actually proven.” Trump did it on camera!
Shelby continued his conspiratorial rant:
‘That’s all in dispute of what happened, whether Russians were involved in it, whether Ukrainians were involved in it, who was involved in it, and to what extent. But I’ve never seen anything where Trump was actually involved in it.’
Stephanopoulos pointed out that Trump had called for foreign interference on camera. According to a record of a phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that the White House has not disputed, the president also called for interference privately, too.
‘Well, those are just statements, political. They make them all the time… I didn’t say it was OK. People do things, things happen… Well still, the president of the United States is human, and he’s going to make mistakes of judgment and everything else. They have historically — both parties, from the beginning of our Republic… I don’t believe that it rises to the standard of an impeachable offense, but I still think that we should wait and see what comes out in the trial itself.’
Shelby on Trump soliciting foreign interference: "Those are just statements, political"@GStephanopoulos: "So it's OK?"
Sen. Shelby: "I didn't say it was OK …"
GS: This is the president of the U.S.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) January 19, 2020
Shelby’s assessment of the situation is ludicrous. The best he’s got in response to abuse of power perpetrated by the president of the United States is to say, oh, well, people make mistakes. The argument well exemplifies how empty handed that the president’s defenders really are when it comes to countering the actual facts of the situation.
Besides this argument that well, Trump actually didn’t do what we all saw him do, the president’s defenders have also claimed that if he did, it wouldn’t be an impeachable offense. New Trump defense team addition Alan Dershowitz’s idea is that “abuse of power” even if proven, is not appropriate to be impeached over, but that’s ludicrous. The Constitution gives Congress the power to determine what is and is not impeachable. If they can’t impeach a president over abuse of power, what can they impeach him over? Again — is there anything that would get these Republican partisans to admit that President Trump did something wrong? Maybe not!