At the beginning of an impeachment trial, senators swear an oath to “do impartial justice.” Most Republican senators have made clear throughout both of Donald Trump’s impeachment trials that this was a lie—at best, a fig leaf they used to get out of answering questions about how they saw the evidence. Then there’s Lindsey Graham, Mike Lee, and Ted Cruz. Those three met with Trump’s defense lawyers Thursday evening to offer advice.
The “very friendly guys,” according to Trump lawyer David Schoen, were making sure Trump’s lawyers were “familiar with procedure.” Probable translation: Wanted to be sure these clowns didn’t screw this thing up too badly for even Republicans to ignore. Was that ethical, though? “Oh yeah, I think that’s the practice of impeachment,” Schoen claimed.
How badly do Graham, Lee, and Cruz think Trump’s lawyers are going to screw up their defense arguments? Alternatively, how worried are they that some Republicans were persuaded by the House impeachment managers’ case? All but six Republicans already voted against holding an impeachment trial at all on the obviously false grounds that it was unconstitutional, giving them an excuse to vote to acquit without engaging the substance of what Trump did at all.
Sens. Roy Blunt and Marco Rubio are sticking with that claim, for instance. “My view is unchanged as to whether or not we have the authority to do this, and I’m certainly not bound by the fact that 56 people think we do,” Blunt said. “I get to cast my vote, and my view is that you can’t impeach a former president. And if the former president did things that were illegal, there is a process to go through for that.”
And Rubio: “The fundamental question for me, and I don’t know about for everybody else, is whether an impeachment trial is appropriate for someone who is no longer in office. I don’t believe that it is.”
Do Cruz, Lee, and Graham think Schoen and immediately notorious idiot Bruce Castor need their advice to get through what’s forecast to be a very abbreviated day of arguments? Or are they still trying that pathetically hard to suck up to Trump? They do seem to have gotten the attention of his inner circle, with sleazeball adviser Jason Miller repeatedly mentioning their involvement on Newsmax, making absolutely clear the senators were there to build the case for Trump. “It was a real honor to have those senators come in and give us some additional ideas,” he said.
Republican senators have that “not constitutional” sham to hide behind, and they are energetically doing so. They have state parties ready to attack them the minute they step out of line. Donald Trump has his own defense lawyers, albeit not exactly the prime talent of conservative law. And as of Thursday, he officially has three of the people sworn to do impartial justice actively strategizing to help him get off.
The House impeachment managers, on the other hand, had the truth of what happened, and it was too powerful for Republicans to fully ignore. But that is unlikely to be enough.