Sentence First! Verdict Afterwards”: Senators Signal Their Votes Before Actual Impeachment

I often remark that my Senate trial defending Judge Thomas Porteous has a jury that I would normally strike for cause en masse. An impeachment jury composed of politicians can be akin to a maritime inquiry with a jury composed of the Pirates of Penzance. This week, Senators in both parties seemed to signal their votes before an actual impeachment has occurred, let alone a trial,. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) declared “I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here.” While the media focuses on Graham’s statement, Democratic senators have also made comments indicating that they have made up their minds. Indeed, yesterday, Sen. Chris Coons (D., Del.) declared that “if the Senate Republican majority refuses to discipline him through impeachment he will be unbounded.” It smacks of the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland: “Sentence first! Verdict afterwards.”

Both comments (and many others) undermine the integrity of the system and the legitimacy of any final decision. The Constitution often asks more from members than they are willing to give. In this case, they are expected to offer the House managers and the defense a fair hearing. To pre-judge the evidence before an actual impeachment signals to the public that this is simply a partisan muscle play and not a constitutional process.

Graham stated

“This thing will come to the Senate, and it will die quickly, and I will do everything I can to make it die quickly” and when confronted on the propriety of making such statements before a trial, Graham responded “Well, I must think so because I’m doing it . . . I am trying to give a pretty clear signal I have made up my mind. I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here . . . What I see coming, happening today is just a partisan nonsense.”

For his part, Sen. Coons express how “gravely concerned” he is with even the prospect of acquittal:

“The only reason that Speaker Pelosi changed her position and supported moving ahead with an impeachment inquiry was because what Donald Trump is alleged to have done, and all evidence points to him having done it, which is to invite foreign interference in our next election.”

Obviously, both states only fuel the partisan concerns that each is voicing about the other side. Of course, the Clinton impeachment did not have a single Democrat breaking ranks. Thus, the “profiles of courage” shown by senators in the Andrew Johnson case remain the exception rather than the rule in impeachment. It is possible however for senators to transcend such impulses . . . just not recently.

164 thoughts on “Sentence First! Verdict Afterwards”: Senators Signal Their Votes Before Actual Impeachment”

  1. Graham’s “I’m not pretending to be a fair juror” is perfectly reasonable in light of the Schiff/Nadler kangaroo court. What goes around comes around.

  2. No the house managers are not entitled to any hearing at all
    Just as the house is free to decide anything constitutes an impeachable offense
    The senate is entitled to decide the house has not brought forward an impeachable offense
    In this case that is. appropriate

    You argued that the house should not impeach without further developing the case democrats are now demanding additional witnesses
    They are agreeing they have moved forward with a poor case

    The right answer is to send this back to the house
    Frankly the senate should do so strongly
    Saying they will not try a case where the house does not fully develop the case and provide the opportunity for real cross examination and the introduction of exculpatory witnesses and evidence and that the house should follow the rules of criminal procedure in hearing evidence

    What occurred in the house was a circus
    And the senate should not bless it with a hearing

    Prosecutors are shot down at the courthouse doors (not often enough) when they attempt to use the court to fix their sloppy ness

    This is no different

    It is not improper or biased to demand due process and an actual crime from the house

    It is a means of restoring sanity

    I do not think there is a legitimate basis to impeach in this

    As Horowitz has just taught us
    The bar to ask for an investigation is low
    And was trivially met
    It does not matter if trump benefits politically
    It does not matter if there is a quid pro quo
    It does not matter that one of his many targets was a political opponent
    What matters is whether there is a basis to ask for an investigation

    Horowitz also got that right sort of
    The potential political biases are a reason For heightened scrutiny
    But the perception of bias on the part of a prosecutor is ultimately not dispositive
    What matters is did they act within their legitimate powers and the law
    The fbi did not
    Trump did
    Their is no immunity from investigation because of politics
    And there can not be

  3. “President Trump’s United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is finally up for a vote this week — just in time for Christmas.” After a long delay from House Democrats, the NAFTA replacement will mean more high-paying jobs and lower prices on many goods, Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James writes in The Washington Times.”

    Schumer effectively removes himself from jury eligibility while Pelosi’s Resistance capitulates on USMCA . Why include Schumer? Why not. He’s the other current reason DINO Duo And the DNC are headed to oblivion and replacement by something on the order of the independent constitutional democrats ICD.

    As for the GOP same fate as the Constitutional Republic Party takes charge of what use to be the Hill Republicans.

    Let’s hope their propaganda machines are jettisoned as well.

  4. Don’t see a problem here.

    Barry Goldwater told Nixon he might get 4 votes in the Senate to acquit — if he got any votes at all. That was before a formal impeachment vote in the House as well.

    So Nixon resigned.

      1. Punishment first! Trial later, if at all. Better, don’t bother…

        Realisticly, The Donald is good at skirting the edge of the law without personally being indicted.

        So far.

    1. For what? Nothing verified or it would have been included and everything suggested was dropped as it too closely followed the criminal activities of the current Speaker.



    It was against this backdrop that Mr. Trump’s July 25 conversation with Mr. Zelensky unfolded. The president told Mr. Zelensky that the United States had done much for his nation and raised the “favor” he wanted: the inquiries into the 2016 election and the Bidens.

    Mr. Eisenberg quickly shunted the official summary of the conversation to an electronic storage system normally used for the most sensitive classified information. Later, he instructed Colonel Vindman not to discuss the phone call with others.

    Nonetheless, a Central Intelligence Agency officer detailed to the White House got wind of it. On Aug. 12, he filed a whistle-blower complaint, which slowly made its way to Congress.

    After the July 25 phone call, Mr. Sondland, Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Volker worked to draft an announcement for Mr. Zelensky that would satisfy Mr. Trump’s demands. Mr. Giuliani rejected one draft because it failed to mention the targets of the investigations. “If it doesn’t say Burisma and it doesn’t say 2016 what does it mean?” he asked Mr. Volker in a text.

    But the Ukrainians were hesitating. Mr. Yermak, Mr. Zelensky’s aide, said the White House should set a date for Mr. Zelensky’s meeting with Mr. Trump before the Ukrainians released a statement.

    Only after an American official explicitly told the Ukrainians that the military aid depended on that announcement did their resistance finally crumble.

    Colonel Vindman, the national security aide, had drafted a memo for Mr. Bolton to give Mr. Trump in a meeting on Aug. 16. It said that the National Security Council, the Defense Department and the State Department all agreed that the aid should be released to Ukraine. But Mr. Trump rejected it, Colonel Vindman testified.

    Timothy Morrison, a National Security Council regional expert, told Mr. Taylor: “The president doesn’t want to provide any assistance at all.”

    Mr. Taylor protested in phone calls, text messages and in person. He complained to Mr. Bolton when the national security adviser came to Kiev to meet Mr. Zelensky in late August. On Mr. Bolton’s advice, he sent a rare first-person cable to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Aug. 29 describing the hold on the funds as “folly.”

    On Sept. 1, an anxious Mr. Zelensky asked Vice President Mike Pence about the money during an event in Warsaw to commemorate the outbreak of World War II. Mr. Pence said only that he would raise it with Mr. Trump.

    But Mr. Sondland, who also was at the event, took Mr. Yermak aside to deliver an explicit message: The Ukrainians should not expect the money if Mr. Zelensky did not publicly announce the investigations.

    “It kept getting more insidious,” Mr. Sondland testified. Mr. Taylor, who took notes of his conversations, said the ambassador told him that “everything was on the line,” unless Mr. Zelensky put himself “in a public box.”

    In Kiev, all but one of Mr. Zelenksy’s senior advisers argued that he had no choice but to give in. If left frozen, the military aid would expire at the end of the American government’s fiscal year on Sept 30. Mr. Zelensky scheduled a Sept. 13 interview on CNN to deliver an announcement designed to satisfy Mr. Trump.

    But the ground was suddenly shifting in Washington. The hold on the aid, first reported by Politico on Aug. 28, had surprised and angered members of Congress.

    Word of the whistle-blower complaint had also reached the top echelons of the National Security Council. As soon as Congress learned of it in early September, three House committees opened investigations.

    In the meantime, Mr. Taylor was still pushing Mr. Sondland to lobby Mr. Trump to change his mind. “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” he texted the ambassador. Mr. Sondland called Mr. Trump on Sept. 7 to see if there was any wiggle room.

    Edited from: “Turmp, Ukraine: The Inside Story Of How We Got Here”

    The New York Times, 11/11/19

    1. Regarding Above:

      This part stands out an particularly obnoxious:

      “In Kiev, all but one of Mr. Zelenksy’s senior advisers argued that he had no choice but to give in. If left frozen, the military aid would expire at the end of the American government’s fiscal year on Sept 30. Mr. Zelensky scheduled a Sept. 13 interview on CNN to deliver an announcement designed to satisfy Mr. Trump”.

      This is sad, Zelensky felt like his back was against the wall. At that moment he actually scheduled time on CNN to parrot the talking points Trump wanted.

      1. Rejected for lack of verifiable sources and no identifiable human presence. Ad Machina Another programmer bites the dust.

    2. Sondland gave his guess on what Trump was thinking. Later he agreed that no linkage between anything ever happened and Trump even told him, no quid pro quo. You need to read everything, not just pull quotes from fake news

  6. Well, well:

    □ is shorthand for empty-blockhead
    ■ is shorthand for dense – blockhead
    • is shorthand for bullet – head and
    ● is shorthand for …

    1. Impeachment is not a trial, but more like an indictment. The “trial” is in the Senate.

      1. And the results of the indictment coming from the leader of The Resistance are more than just a little bit suspect insofar as obstructing government as are the obstructing congress charges for the same reason.

        Once again. how are you going to convict someone with that can of nothing when all any 1st year law student acting as defense attorney has to quote is the Presidential Oath of Office and the fact that the majority of the voters did not want an insider but an outsider. But the main comment in asking for immediate dismissal are those pesky six words “to the best of my ability.” Same ones Obama paraphrased when asked to describe his Presidency. .

  7. How about: decide to impeach first. Then hold a vote on something or other later.

    “The effort to impeach Donald John Trump has begun.”
    The Washington Post
    January 20, 2017

    Hence a pathetic case and abuse of the impeachment process.

    Something akin to summary judgment is in order.

      1. Of course you don’t see any abuse. You probably saw no abuse with Fast & Furious, Lois Lerner, HRC destroying her server, FBI actions in Crossfire Hurricane, etc., etc.

      2. I don’t see any abuse.

        Maxine Waters approves of your myopia.

        Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) admitted that the more egregious claims she makes against President Donald Trump are based on her belief, and that she doesn’t have any facts to prove them.

    1. Welcome to post-factual journalism. Doesn’t need to be accurate or verifiable. Just “truthy”.

      After lampooning GWB over “truthiness”, that’s all the Democrats and their cheering section in the press have to show for all the ballyhoo leading up to impeachment.


    What President Donald Trump wanted most from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had nothing to do with Joe Biden and everything to do with exonerating Russia from 2016 election meddling and pinning the blame on the Democrats and Ukraine. In the context of telling Zelensky about American assistance to Ukraine and a lack of reciprocity, Trump said on their July phone call, “I would like you to do us a favor though.” He did not first ask for an investigation of his political rival and the business deals of his son. Trump asked for an investigation of the 2016 election.

    Trump did not want Zelensky to probe isolated criticisms of his campaign by a few Ukrainian officials. As former National Security Council official Fiona Hill testified last week, one could find similar comments in many nations, including some American allies. Trump instead appears to have wanted Zelensky to do him the favor of investigating the debunked conspiracy theory that Russian intervention in the 2016 election on his behalf was actually a hoax fabricated by the Democrats and Ukraine.

    This conspiracy theory would serve the dual purpose of clearing Russian President Vladimir Putin from responsibility for intervening in the 2016 election and proving that Trump won the White House without Russi. No matter that the theory has found zero traction in the investigation of foreign interference in the 2016 election conducted by the American intelligence community, the special counsel investigation, and both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    Trump told Zelensky on the call, “I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine. They say Crowdstrike.” That cybersecurity firm was first to uncover the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee. The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian military and the Russian Internet Research Agency hacked the Democratic National Committee emails and arranged for their public release. Special counsel Robert Mueller indicted those foreign entities.

    The National Republican Congressional Committee also hired Crowdstrike to look into an attempted hack during the 2018 midterms. But to Trump, the Democrats allegedly used Crowdstrike to penetrate a computer server and link the crime to the Russians. Trump followed up with Zelensky by saying, “I guess you have one of your wealthy people.” He added, “The server. They say Ukraine has it.” Supposedly, the Democrats shipped their server to Ukraine as part of their plan to fabricate the Russian hacking.

    The call with Zelensky was not the first time Trump mongered this absurd theory. In a media interview two years ago, Trump called the narrative of Russia collusion a “faux story.” Before the world at a press conference after the Helsinki summit, Trump said, “I really do want to see the server.” He continued last week after the public impeachment hearings ended by insisting it was Ukraine and not Russia that interfered in the 2016 election.

    It is not just conservative fabulists who have fed Trump this nonsense, but as Hill testified, backed up by the American intelligence community, it is also Putin and the Russian intelligence services. In a press conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban two years ago, Putin said that the Russian invasion of Ukraine “was provoked by the Ukrainian side.” Putin then pinned intervention in the 2016 election on Ukraine in support of Hillary Clinton. “As we know, during the presidential campaign in the United States, the Ukrainian government adopted a unilateral position in favor of one candidate. More than that, certain oligarchs, with the approval of the political leadership, funded this candidate,” he said.

    The mythology of a political plot between the Democrats and Ukraine to frame Russia for election interference and help Clinton feeds the Moscow propaganda machine, encourages efforts to destabilize democracies, and weakens the alliance between the United States and Ukraine. For Trump, it validates his false narrative about what happened in the 2016 election and gives him a club to wield against the Democrats. It also opens wide the door for new Russian intervention in the upcoming 2020 election.

    Edited from: “What Trump Really Wanted From Ukraine Was Not About Enemies”

    The Hill, 11/25/19

    1. Peter – the FBI relied on a report from Crowdstrike. They were never allowed access to the servers or to make copies of the servers. So, when Crowdstrike said the Russians did it, the Russians dood it. Now, considering the activities of the FBI during the Mueller Report and the Horowitz Report, do you really think you should take their word that the Russians dood it, just because Crowdstike said they did?

      1. Paul, ‘all’ our intelligence agencies said Russia did it. And just last week a top intelligence official briefed the Senate to reiterate that Russia did it. But Trump keeps insisting, with no proof, that Ukraine was partly responsible. It illustrates how Trump just wantonly disregards facts while encouraging supporters to repeat his lies in public forums like this.

        This is the ‘real’ scandal regarding Ukraine. Trump was trying to pin election interference on Ukraine and he keeps doubling-down on the lie. To our NATO partners this must look discouraging, to say the least.

        1. Peter – just last week James Comey said he was pure as the driven snow. We both know that is BS and so does Comey. See Richard Jewell and then get back to me.

          1. Paul, you’re just mindlessly asserting that Trump ‘could be right’ because the FBI didnt do everything completely by the book. And this is what logic has come to in the Trump era: What Abouts substituting for truth.

            1. Peter – neither the Mueller or Horowitz prob found wrong-doing by the President or his campaign. They did find wrong-doing by the FBI and the DOJ.

              1. Paul, Mueller ‘never’ exonerated Trump. And that’s another example of how Trump doubles down on lies and expects supporters like you to amplify them.

                1. Seig us no heils kamerad you serve The Party we have the Constitution no matter what your programmer of The collective writes for you to repeat. What happens when machines parts get to post as if they were real human beings. Ad Machina

            2. Typical Collective Programming claiming to be truthful and logical. so much for the machine parts Ad Machina.

        2. all like the NRO which spied on Russkies stuffing ballots in Iowa with their satellites right?

          do you guys ever tire of repeating the same lies peter?

        3. Our NATO partners understand a lot of things which you clearly dont

          one of which is that the free gravy train is over thanks to Trump, they’ll have to pony up more for the alliance’s benefits.

          maybe they don’t like Trump for that reason eh. nor do the war pigs I’m sure.

          i wont bother to elaborate, it’s all talking points from you guys anyways

        4. All of that was refuted years ago but the left doesn’t know when to quit lying and has no idea of what truth means to decent people. But then what do you expect of machine parts? Programmers running out of ideas so switch to repeating nonsense? Ad machina for lack of facts, sources and proofs.

  9. Democrats campaigned on impeaching Trump, beginning the day after he was elected. They cast their vote before any allegations, let alone an investigation.

    This is about getting Trump out, or destroyed prior to 2020, by any means possible.

    This is about who picks the next one or two seats on the Supreme Court.

    1. Good point to remember for all Constitutional Republic Party and Constitutional Centrist Coalition supporters to remember. 2016 combined the two for a 55% to 45% unexpected win… unexpected by the left wing extremist socialists. But everyone’s vote is needed to cement our saving the USA from going over the cliff including at least one if not two more Supreme Court Constitutionalists.

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