is editor and publisher of TPM.
I didn’t see any of yesterday’s final closing arguments live. I was at an NYPD precinct filling out police reports with a gaggle of middle schoolers. (Long story; everyone and everything is fine.) So I got home at about 1 AM or 1:30 AM to this flurry of puffed up outrage about heads on pikes. It took me a bit to get a handle on exactly what had happened and what the pretended outrage was even about. You probably know all those details already, quite possibly before I did.
But let’s step back from the clamor and nonsense to understand this.
News is out this morning that there’s a tape recording of President Trump ordering the firing of Marie Yovanovitch. On its face this doesn’t tell us dramatically more than we already know. The April 2018 dinner in question, where Lev Parnas and his business partner Igor Fruman met the President, has been reported on extensively. Even the gist of the conversation has been reported.
Obviously the existence of a tape adds some punch and drama. But that’s not the real significance.
I’m late to this. But yes, at Davos yesterday President Trumped bragged that he can’t be convicted because his team is withholding all the incriminating evidence.
Good Lord, I'm late to this one. But yeah, the President actually said he can't be convicted because his team is withholding all the incriminating documents. pic.twitter.com/SpGuF2MEzR
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) January 24, 2020
Much of what we’re hearing in these impeachment arguments against the President really is repetitive. We’ve heard most of it in conversations going back months and in testimony from late last year. But there are key parts, especially in Chairman Schiff’s discussions, which are new or clarifying.
One of the key examples is the issue of the President departing from “US policy” or his prepared talking points in discussions with foreign leaders. This point often did get muddled in the hearings late last year – at least muddled enough to give some opening for tendentious arguments from the President’s defenders.
I haven’t had a lot to add through hours of these House Manager impeachment arguments. But right now I’m watching Adam Schiff and well … he’s making a really convincing, damning set of arguments about all the accusations the President’s lawyers are denying while they simultaneously refuse to release records which would quickly confirm and refute those accusations. These are cases in which we know there are contemporaneous notes or other records. The answers are there. But they refuse to release them. It is a damning indictment not only of the President but even more his Senate accomplices.
The President is stonewalling and his Senate accomplices are backing him up. They’re supposed to be jurors but they want to help him keep the proof secret. There’s really nothing else to say.
This is how to do it: make clear that it is the Senate Republican caucus which is on trial and act accordingly.