On Friday, House impeachment case managers convened to deliver the closing end of their opening arguments against President Donald Trump. A brief introduction came from impeachment lead House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who explained that throughout the day, they’d be “applying the Constitution and law” to issues including both Trump’s usage of delayed military aid as leverage to try to pressure Ukraine to investigate his opponents and his obstruction of Congressional investigation into that scheme.
Fellow impeachment case manager Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) eventually took the spotlight and proclaimed:
‘We are gathered here not as Democrats or Republicans, not as the left or the right, not as progressives or conservatives, but as Americans, doing our Constitutional duty during this moment of presidential accountability.’
Yet, will Republicans actually listen? By and large, Republican Senators have actively avoided the publicly available evidence against their Dear Leader. Just this Friday afternoon, shortly before formal arguments got underway for the day, Republican leader Sen. John Barasso dismissed a literal recording of the president advocating for the removal of Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. His reasoning was that:
‘There will be new evidence every day. There will be something that comes out every day… I don’t believe that there are any Democrats who need additional information to make a decision on how they’re going to vote, and I can’t imagine there are many Republicans in the same situation.’
So his response to increasing levels of evidence implicating the president is… to metaphorically throw his hands up and give up?
As Vox’s Aaron Rupar summarized:
‘Republicans have moved the goalposts from “Trump did nothing wrong” to “welp, it’s just inevitable that there will be unceasing new revelations about Trump’s abuses of power and that’s fine with us”‘
Republicans have moved the goalposts from "Trump did nothing wrong" to "welp, it's just inevitable that there will be unceasing new revelations about Trump's abuses of power and that's fine with us" https://t.co/nTcUnFQ6TT
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 24, 2020
Meanwhile, no matter the obstruction from Republicans, House impeachment case managers still worked to present their case.
Jeffries continued from the above:
‘At the heart of article two, obstruction of Congress, is a simple, troubling reality. President Trump tried to cheat, he got caught, and then he worked hard to cover it up… The actions of President Trump and high-level White House officials allowed his abuse of power to continue.’
In a brief press conference before the day’s arguments got underway, Schiff insisted that the precedent of Trump being allowed to get away with his Ukraine bribery scheme without consequences would be terrible. Where is the rule of law? Why is this debatable?
‘If we’re prepared to say that a president of the United States can… coerce or extort help to cheat in the next election than it is just.. an open invitation for this president to continue… efforts to solicit foreign interference in our elections.’
Trump and his Republican allies have fought a fair trial every step of the way. They’ve repeatedly voted against witnesses getting called for the trial, and they have refused to acknowledge that there’s anything wrong with the president deciding to secretly bribe another country into investigating his opponents. There’s a lot on the line!
"The precedent [that blocking subpoenas/witnesses] would set would be terrible. In terms of the obstruction, the precedent it would set would be equally devastating…It would mean that the impeachment power is essentially a nullity, it's unenforceable." —@RepAdamSchiff pic.twitter.com/uWNLmSNBAS
— CAP Action (@CAPAction) January 24, 2020