A Leap or Perpetuating Evel? A Response To Sen. Chris Coons

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I have long respected Sen. Chris Coons (D, Del.) as a highly intelligent and effective senator.  I was surprised today to be watching Michael Smercomish (who I also respect greatly) to hear Sen. Coons following the party line in arguing implausibly that Hunter Biden is not a relevant witness in any trial despite his centrality to the Trump defense.  I previously addressed how Biden would be deemed relevant in a conventional trial and Smercomish quoted one of my Washington Post column at length to offer the opposing view. Sen. Coons responded not by addressing the relevancy argument but by dismissing such arguments as clever lawyering and “a stretch . . . a leap of logic worthy of Evel Knievel.”  I should note that this analogy was lost on my youngest son, Aidan, who immediately asked “who is Evel Knievel?” When I explained, he responded, “isn’t that a good comparison?”

No, it was not meant to be a positive comparison.  Putting aside that he broke every bone in his body, Sen. Coons was trying to say that I was leaping over logic and law to reach this conclusion. On the eve of the Martin Luther King Day, I can only paraphrase that “He who passively accepts [Evel] is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.” The truly impressive Knievel-like leap is to call your witnesses and then vault over the witnesses requested by the defense.

The position of the Democrats seem to take the position that only prosecution theory witnesses are relevant — in other words, their witnesses.  There are defense witnesses allowed under the federal rules who are called to support alibis or defense theories.

As I previously noted, under Federal Rule of Evidence 401, courts will often review possible testimony under the standard of whether “it has a tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence.”  Even before the adoption of the Bill of Rights, Congress enacted a statute reaffirming the right of the “defense to make any proof that he can produce by lawful witnesses” in cases of treason and capitol cases.  This right to present a defense has been repeatedly reaffirmed by the Supreme Court including in the 1967 opinion in Washington v. Texas, where the Court ruled that “the right to offer the testimony of witnesses and to compel their attendance, if necessary, is in plain terms the right to present the defense, the right to present the defendant’s version of the facts  . . . Just as an accused has the right to confront the prosecution’s witnesses for the purpose of challenging their testimony, he has the right to present his own witnesses to establish a defense.”

What is curious is that, if the Democrats are successful in calling the witnesses that they want at trial, it is inevitable that the White House will be allowed its own witnesses.  Why not take the high road and maintain a consistent, coherent position that each side will be allowed such witnesses? Instead, Coons and others struggle to explain why witnesses wanted by the House are essential but those wanted by the White House are mere “distractions.”

Sen. Coons is too smart not to see the hypocrisy in that position. Besides, the last thing any of us want to see . . . is me in a skin tight, Knievel bodysuit.


72 thoughts on “A Leap or Perpetuating Evel? A Response To Sen. Chris Coons”

  1. If the testimony of Joe and Hunter Biden is considered “irrelevant” as so many have argued, then why protest so vigorously against it? Would not an “irrelevant” testimony from the Biden’s serve to undermine the case against Trump? OR, could it be that the testimony IS NOT irrelevant, as argued?

  2. Turley claims that Hunter Biden is “central” to Trump’s defense. No, he isn’t, and any reasonable lawyer would know better, but I’m becoming less and less shocked at the extent to which Turley will go to try to put lipstick on that pig known as “Trump”. His advocacy for this crook is disturbing, but now we see where Kellyanne gets it from, and it is disturbing. What logical explanation is there for the “centrality” of Hunter Biden to Trump’s withholding of military aid to Ukraine for purely political purposes? Some after-the-fact pivot as a means to smear the Bidens? The evidence is overwhelming that the motivation for delaying aid was purely political. Trump tried to leverage aid to Ukraine to coerce Ukraine to announce that it was investigating Hunter Biden, and, as a side effect, Russia stood to benefit, too. Even if Hunter Biden did commit crimes, and there is no clear actual evidence that he did, how does this implicate his father? What crimes did Joe Biden commit? How do any alleged crimes, of which Trump has no evidence, exonerate Trump for violating the law on holdilng up funds appropriated by Congress? Soliciting assistance from a foreign government is a violation of the law, regardless of the reason. Delaying aid appropriated by Congress is a violation of the law, regardless of the reason. And, if Trump wanted to have the Bidens investigated, there were legal ways to do it, just like he had Hillary Clinton investigated, again, and again, the finding was no criminal conduct. Why did he only become interested in investigating Biden after polls showed his father beating Trump?

    Team Trump is going to try to use the impeachment trial as free campaign publicity, to smear Joe Biden by attacking his son, and Turley is providing cover. This is disgusting.

    1. Natasha accurately sums up the obvious reasons Hunter or Joe Biden’s testimony would be irrelevant to the charges against Trump. JT is embarrassing himself and deserves the implied ridicule of Sen. Coons. The only reason Trump might want to try and call either Biden as a “witness” to events which they have zero knowledge of is as a political stunt, not a legal argument.

      1. The only reason Trump might want to try and call either Biden as a “witness” to events which they have zero knowledge of is as a political stunt, not a legal argument.
        It may well be an effective political stunt if the Bidens act like they are reluctant to talk about their involvement (or lack of involvement).

    2. Turley claims that Hunter Biden is “central” to Trump’s defense. No, he isn’t, and any reasonable lawyer would know better, but I’m becoming less and less shocked at the extent to which Turley will go to try to put lipstick on that pig
      let us suppose you are right. What is the problem with having hunter testify a show the whole world you are right?

      if Hunter Biden is not “central” to Trump’s defense, then what better way to get that point across than having him testify?
      Some after-the-fact pivot as a means to smear the Bidens?
      The Bidens have been smeared and smeared. That ship has sailed. I would think Hunter would want to clear his name. Not testifying will just magnify the smears.

      1. Sure and I agree that he’s not likely to break down and confess to starting the Benghazi siege, but we’re not talking about reality TV but what should be a formal and respectful legal proceeding.

        If Trump wants defense witnesses, why doesn’t he call Mulvaney and Bolton?

        1. but we’re not talking about reality TV

          How is this any different from reality TV?
          If Trump wants defense witnesses, why doesn’t he call Mulvaney and Bolton?
          I’m pretty sure the defense witnesses that will exonerate Trump are coming, but to be effective they need to come closer to the election. Pelosi screwed the timetable up by ramming the impeachment through in record time.

  3. I believe President Trump has every right to call defense witnesses. In addition to Hunter Biden, he should call Eric Ciaramella.

  4. I believe President Trumps team of highly qualified Attorneys and Constitutional scholars will decide who the witness list will be…. not the media…and any witnesses called will be one’s who exonerate the President and show the country how dishonest and partisan the Democratic’s are ….

  5. “It’s Mitchell That Matters!”

    If we want “highly intelligent,” we’ll take a run down to the Theoretical Physics Dept. The American Founders expunged the dictatorship of the British monarchy and distributed its power to the representatives of the People. The power of the British King went to various elected officials in America. Mitch McConnell is the “King” with reference to the impeachment trial. The Senate, therefore its leader, Mitchell McConnell, after concurrence among 100 Senators, has the “sole Power to try all impeachments.” No other entity in the United States government has even a scintilla of power to effect an impeachment trial, understanding that the Chief Justice shall preside. Sen. Chris Coons aside, whatever, I say again, whatever Mitchell wants, Mitchell gets.

    Article 1, Section 3

    The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

  6. The Republicans can not call witnesses because Trump would block them, which would set up a constitutional crisis about the President obstructing Congress. This would be quite bad for a President on trial for obstructing Congress. It is the one scenario that could get Trump convicted.

    Personally, I want both sides to call their witnesses and let’s see what happens.

    1. Just an FYI .. President Trump is a republican; so I doubt he will block witness called by republicans since it will be his legal defense team calling these witnesses.

  7. What do people think Hunter Biden will say if he testifies.
    Do you expect he will say he asked his father to fire the prosecutor who was investigating his company?
    What he will probably say is he never even heard of this prosecutor when he was on the Burisma board. And where’s the evidence that is not a fact?

    Why are the Democrats opposing his testimony?
    When his testimony turns out to be a nothing burger it will make Trump look bad. You would think the Democrats would want that unless they are trying to help Trump.

  8. Why not take the high road and maintain a consistent, coherent position that each side will be allowed such witnesses?

    Because in their mind, what’s fair is what gets them what they want. Democrats do no have procedural principles anymore. The residue of same evaporated around about 1987.

    1. Why not take the high road and maintain a consistent, coherent position that each side will be allowed such witnesses?

      Because in their mind, what’s fair is what gets them what they want.
      Why would the democrats not want Hunter Biden to testify? There is no evidence he violated any law. I suppose if he denies any wrong doing lots of people will still think he is lying but those people will be stuck in that belief regardless of what happens.

      At this point you would think the Democrats would welcome his testimony because it would destroy what trump is putting up as a defense. Same with the whistle blower. Let the Republicans brow beat him for a couple hours and the Democrats praise him for his courageous service. Its not like we are throwing people to be eaten by real lions. If this is what people want their entertainment to look like – so be it. Its better than bombing poor people in mud huts for entertainment.

  9. George Bernard Shaw said that “only lawyers and mental defectives are automatically exempt for jury duty.” Unless, of course, it is the Senate, where you can be both of those and still be a required member of the jury.

  10. The underlying members of Congress involved in this entire affair act with such prejudice that any attempt to portray the process as legal or proper will be definitively lacking in credibility.

    Rather than utilizing a fair and legitimate process to ascertain truth, they are simply manipulating the legal framework to suit their own political agenda. There never was, nor will there ever be, justice as a pursuit or an outcome. It will simply be whoever wields the greater power according to their station and the outcome is predictable to all. The democrats wielded the greater power in the House, resulting in the impeachment, and the republicans control the Senate which will not convict.

    The main purpose was to discredit the president as a result of a process in the hope of hindering his reelection and to provide democrats with reason to remain relevant in the face of their own failings.

    But at least when politicians are attacking or defending the president, they are not attacking ordinary people, their liberty, or their property. For that we owe the president at least a measure of gratitude. He acts as a receptacle for politicians’ need to punish someone for simply “being”. He is tough enough to handle it, and in fact seems to thrive under it. Better he gets the bad end of the stick than us

    1. I think we, as voters, can put the other end of the stick up the Democrats a..! Bring on the election, wherein we get to speak and show our disgust with these clowns.

  11. I believe you’ve somehow fallen under the spell of Trump. Would a bank robber be excused if his enemy’s son had worked for the bank?

  12. Hunter Biden is absolutely not relevant in this impeachment proceeding or the trial for removal! The reason for this is that the President is being removed for violating Article 2 Sections 2, 3, and 4 of the Constitution, as well as Article 1 Section 1 of the Constitution, which states that Congress is vested with All decision making Powers granted in the Constitution and that the President only has conditional powers to faithfully execute those decisions made by Congress. The President is a manager, not a leader or decision maker. So the President has been impeached and should be removed by unanimous consent of the united States, in Congress assembled, the Union, for this act of insubordination and defiance of the Powers and Authority of the States as the Union to make all decisions of their Union.

    Now when you figure out what all that means then write an article addressing the States as a Union’s power and authority over their own Union, and how Parties and their President don’t have Power and Authority over the Union, or even equal with the Power and Authority of the united States, in Congress assembled.

    1. bla bla bla … if we get back to talking plain sensible english … just because some lost clueless clown throws his name into the hat to run in the Democratic primaries does not make him or his entire crime family immune from investigation. It is the President’s duty to the country to ensure tax payer dollars do not go to some foreign only to be laundered through corrupt companies and back into the shady investment companies run by the Biden crime family.

      1. Agreed. I couldn’t care less about Hunter Biden or his fees from being on the board. It’s Quid Pro Quo Joe we need to hear from. It’s his actions (and they go far beyond getting a prosecutor fired) that may prove Trump’s concerns about corruption are well-founded. Call him first and the rest may be unnecessary.

        1. Joe Biden hasn’t been impeached for malfeasance in his government capacity, Trump has, and its Trump who is under scrutiny, and none of these feeble excuses can overshadow the fact that Trump contacted a foreign government In his official capacity as President without the advice and consent of the Senate, that is a violation of Article 2 Section 2 Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, I don’t care his reasons or what he talked about!

      2. Sorry, but that is not one of the President’s duties. The President has no control over any budget, and he also has no control over any foreign policy, if the States as the Union as they are assembled in the Senate want to give money to a foreign country, for any reason, then there is absolutely nothing the President can do to stop them and must immediately provide the funding as the Senate specifies. Have you actually read Article 2 of the Constitution? The Senate has Control over all Foreign policy, and they act unilaterally without any input for the House or the President.

        You might actually try reading Article 2, but I would suggest you take off your Partisan glasses first. By and with means Before and during, and advice and consent means that the Senate sets the parameters for all Foreign agreements and what constitutes and agreement, the President’s role is that of the messenger, to carry the Senate’s position, not to make a deal according to his agenda.

        You really need to read Article 2 of the Constitution, the Senate is in control of all decisions made by our country both Foreign and Domestic through their power of concurrence. There are no decisions which can be made except by the States as the Union, and the Senate is the Supreme Legislative and Governing Authority of our Country.

        I actually don’t think you can read!

  13. Isn’t “Hunter/Joe Biden” the reason the DemoKKKrats filed Articles of Impeachment

    Trump [allegedly] withheld aid to Ukraine in exchange for dirt on the Biden’s corruption?

    So then how could Coons believe that Hunter Biden is “not a relevant witness”

    Or did the Russians hack yet something else? 😉

    …and the spin begins!

    1. I agree. Too much fuss over Hunter. The witness we need to hear from is Quid Pro Quo Joe. It’s his actions that need to be questioned, and they go far beyond just getting a prosecutor fired.

  14. It is amusing to watch the Left contradict what they previously held as gospel,twist themselves as contortionists of logic and espouse obvious silliness as symptoms of TDS. This will not end well for them.

  15. JONATHAN YOU ARE VERY WISE. BEYOND YOUR YEARS. Why are you not on our Presidents team .He needs your input on honesty and knowledge.

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