On both articles of impeachment, Republicans are arguing that President Donald Trump shouldn’t be convicted and removed from office because he’s guilty. It’s certainly an odd legal tactic, but it shows the degree to which Republicans are clamoring for ways to excuse the president’s crimes.
In the charge of an abuse of Congress, Republicans have argued that what Trump did in his call to Ukraine was wrong and maybe even illegal but not worth removing him from office. Even Trump’s own lawyer made the argument on ABC’s “This Week” and CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday
“I’m making what could be the most important argument on the floor of the Senate, namely that even if everything that is alleged by the House managers is proven, assuming it’s true, they would not rise to the level of an impeachable offense,” Dershowitz said on CNN.
Impeachment has already been voted on and it passed in the House, despite Dershowitz’s wording. The Senate will now decide whether Trump should be removed.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) made a similar argument on ABC, saying that Trump’s actions are merely accidents.
“I didn’t say it was okay, I said people make them. People do things. Things happen,” he said.
“Well this is the President of the United States,” said host George Stephanopoulos.
“Well still, the president of the United States is human and he is going to make mistakes of judgment,” the senator replied.
Other conservatives have argued that even if Trump did something wrong, the people should decide what happens to him on election day in November.
In the second article of impeachment Trump is accused of obstruction of Congress.
Republicans have attacked Democrats for being unable to bring first-hand witnesses to Congressional hearings or documents to confirm their case. Ironically, the argument proves the Democrats’ case for them. Without first-hand witnesses or White House documents, Trump has obstructed the investigation and Republicans admit they need such information to more forward.
During an interview with CNN, Trump shill Jim Schultz attacked Democrats for not being able to get any information out of first-hand witnesses.
“But they are claiming obstruction of Congress, which means the White House barred people who were being subpoenaed to show up or documents that were subpoenaed from being handed over. So, hence, the Article of Obstruction of Congress,” CNN host Fredricka Whitfield hit back.
“That’s a made-up crime, quite frankly,” was the only response Schultz could come up with.
Even Trump complained about there not being any first-hand witnesses. He even complained that the people called are all Never-Trumpers. Yet, Trump’s allies had ample opportunity to appear. They’ve all been subpoenaed, but Trump still hasn’t authorized any to testify.
Why is such a focus put on 2nd and 3rd hand witnesses, many of whom are Never Trumpers, or whose lawyers are Never Trumpers, when all you have to do is read the phone call (transcript) with the Ukrainian President and see first hand? He and others also stated that there was…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2019
When Republicans called Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley to testify as their legal expert, he too admitted that Trump was obstructing by refusing to turn over documents, he just claimed it wasn’t actually an obstruction of justice because Trump went to the court when he refused to turn over documents and barred people from testifying.
“On obstruction, I would encourage you to think about this. In Nixon, it did go to the courts, and Nixon lost. And that was the reason Nixon resigned,” said Turley.
Nixon was being charged with obstruction of justice by Congress for doing that.
It appears Republicans are at a loss for how to justify Trump’s behavior. They’ve tried every excuse possible, but have been slapped in the face by the president’s outright admissions of guilt on social media and on the White House lawn when talking to reporters. Even Trump’s chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters that Trump committed a crime, but asked, “so what?”