Both Democratic members and various media outfits have continued to castigate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Lindsey Graham for saying that they will not pretend to be unbiased as jurors. I have been critical of such statements treating the Senate trial as simply a political exercise. However, I am concerned over the striking lack of media coverage of Democratic members who continue to signal that they also have made up their minds on the verdict before an actual trial has even begun. I recently discussed the statement of Senator Chris Coons on the dangers of failing to convict and remove Trump. The latest such examples were evident last night at the Democratic debates where Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Amy Klobuchar pronounced the guilt of Donald Trump before any trial. None of those comments yielded the shock and disgust over their failure to reserve their judgment. Klobuchar declared that the impeachment was nothing less than “global Watergate.”
They are of course not alone. Many of the Democratic Senators have declared the guilt of Trump on the merit of the impeachable offenses as well as other claimed crimes.
For example, Senator Richard Blumenthal wrote in a Washington Post op-ed on Dec. 3 declaring Trump’s guilt and has previously said that Trump was guilty of a host of other impeachable and criminal offenses.
Likewise, Sen, Chris Murphy has declared “President Trump preyed on a vulnerable foreign nation, dependent on the U.S. for its survival, and used taxpayer money as leverage to get that nation to work for the personal political benefit of the president.”
Sen. Jack Reed has declared “The president essentially was trying to shake down the government of Ukraine for a political favor.”
Sen. Brian Schatz stated “The framers established impeachment for a person like him and for a time like this. What remains to be seen is whether or not the Republican Party swallows the republic.”
Sen. Ed Markey declared “Donald Trump, by his words and deeds, has left Congress with no choice but to begin an impeachment proceeding in order to protect our national security, our election security, our rule of law, indeed, our very democracy. There is no place for Donald Trump to hide.”
Jeanne Shaheen declared “It appears that the president of the United States is using his public office to extract a political ‘favor’ and interfere in our elections.”
I strongly believe that senators should reserve their judgments and expressly decline to speak to the merits on both sides. To his credit, Senator Robert Casey has maintained that position:
“If the House votes to impeach the President, I would be required as a U.S. Senator to vote in a Senate trial that would determine whether the President should be convicted and removed from office. Should such a situation arise, I will keep an open mind.”
However, if the media is going to experience collective vapors with every comment by Republican senators, it can at least acknowledge that such comments have been the rule not the exception among those jurors. We might then be able to encourage other senators to follow the more principles line of waiting for the trial before announcing the verdict.