What Constitutes a Fair Trial?

Reasonable balance – if possible.

A fair trial is one in which both sides have – to the extent possible—equal opportunities to present their cases to both sides in such a way that both sides can see all points of view relevant to the issues in controversy.

The fact that a Senate impeachment trial may not be an exact replica of a traditional, standard legal trial does not and should not modify the fundamental elements of fairness required in all trials under our Constitutional system.

The fact that the Majority Leader simply and arbitrarily prevented a Presidential appointment to the Supreme Court from even being considered does not justify a similar prevention of access to evidence in an impeachment trial.

The whole country is frustrated — and even bored! — by the current impeachment trial. The reason is obvious and simple. The outcome was obvious even before it started. Virtually no one expected the Senate would deliver 67 votes – the 2/3rds threshold required for removal from office.

Yet, the House, in its judgment, proceeded to vote out Articles of Impeachment because they believed it was important to put before the Senate and the country ALL the facts of the President’s misconduct. Whether or not it turned the tide in the Senate, the idea was to help inform the whole country in advance of the 2020 election. Election campaigns, after all, are notoriously not conducted with fairness in mind.  

It may appear on the surface at the moment that the House Democrats overreached in their effort to hold the President accountable for his misconduct [no need to say “alleged” here] as even the President isn’t denying the basic facts of the case – only their meaning.

But, that initial perspective may be about to be revealed to be wrong.

Former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s upcoming book evidently currently is available in drafts in the hands of both the White House and the publisher. From today’s NY Times reports, Bolton confirms the quid pro quo and the President’s direct involvement in holding Congressionally-authorized military aid for Ukraine hostage to the President’s demands for a public announcement of a Biden investigation.

If that testimony becomes available under oath for the Senate trial [again as the New York Times suggests perhaps at the initiative of Justice Roberts]  it would be HIGHLY relevant to the questions before the Senate and whole country at this very moment.

And, even if the Senate should now still dismiss the Impeachment without hearing this essential new evidence, the country at large will have learned in a vivid and convincing way of the cover up and Presidential misconduct.

If that proves to be the eventual case, the momentary concerns of the eventual predictable outcome of the Senate trial, will prove fleeting.

 It was always a long shot to put one’s faith in the Senate.

 I have more confidence in the American people in November 2020.


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