The impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump finds Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the self-proclaimed Grim Reaper, standing with his fellow Senate Republicans on the banks of the River Styx.
If they choose to follow Moscow Mitch in defying the United States Constitution along with their oath to be impartial jurors in the above-mentioned trial, they will drive the final stake through the heart of the Grand Old Party and cross that river. The deal with the Devil will be complete and America's most corrupt and incompetent president will crow that he has been "exonerated" in a Senate show trial designed for just that purpose. It's a safe bet that Republican monarchist William Barr will extol the acquittal as a great day for American justice from his perch atop the Department of Justice, while the majority of Americans wonder what justice in America means anymore.
Four Republican Senators can stand up to Mitch McConnell and join their Democratic colleagues in allowing witnesses to be heard and documents entered as evidence at the trial of Trump. The testimony of relevant witnesses and the presentation of relevant documents are essential to any trial that purports to be fair and impartial. Although we have listened to cries of "unfair" from our president every time things don't go his way, the last thing Trump wants is a fair trial in the Senate before one hundred impartial jurors sworn to uphold the Constitution.
Trump wants nothing but assurances from his enabler and protector, Mitch McConnell, that the fix is in. The Democrats in the House have done their Constitutional duty under the exquisite leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi in bringing Articles of Impeachment against the president. We can be confident the Democratic House managers will execute their duties with honor in the the Senate but where are those four Republican Senators needed to avoid a sham trial? These are the Republican Senators who rubber-stamp the unqualified to lifetime seats on the federal bench, confirm Brett Kavanaugh to a seat on the Supreme Court as he passionately declares he likes beer at his Senate confirmation hearing, and install William Barr as attorney general as he ducks and weaves around questions from Democratic Senators who cannot stop his appointment, de jure as the nation's attorney, de facto as Trump's attorney. Are there four among the Republicans who will step forward and save their own party from the cult of Trump? We are fairly certain not enough Republican Senators will vote to convict and remove Trump from office but four could bring evidence of his abuse of power to light in front of the American people, where it belongs.
It is not up for argument whether or not Trump has transformed the Republican Party into a cult of personality centering on him. What is difficult to understand is why McConnell and fellow Republicans have sacrificed their political party to him. Trump is a woefully ignorant immoral man lacking the skills to perform even as a mediocre president. He will not listen to those who are capable of teaching him and guiding him to skillful decision-making. His drive to autocracy is evident to all, yet the Party of Lincoln is his.
His domestic policy is backwards-looking and denies progress of all sorts. His foreign policy is dangerous and self-serving. Trump's willingness to extort assistance from a foreign government to smear a political opponent by withholding money he was bound by law to provide that nation got him impeached and, unless one contorts the facts beyond recognition, should earn him conviction in the Senate. He has destabilized the Middle East and brought us to the doorstep of war with Iran because he assassinated a member of the Iranian government on Iraqi soil. Trump and his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, cannot justify this action to Congress, the nation, and the world. Trump, now surrounded by "yes men" including Vice President Mike Pence, fearing their own Benghazi after so much accusation and finger-pointing at President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, acted on impulse without thought to consequence. The House quickly passed a War Powers Resolution to check Trump's use of military force against Iran.
On November 3, 2020 the majority of American voters will not reelect Trump as president of the United Sates. We will sit through the night waiting to see if voters in battleground states decide to give him another Electoral College win just as they did in 2016, by only 79,646 votes in three states. We will wait to see if they bought his lies and false smears against his Democratic opponent with the help of cohorts foreign and domestic yet again, and we will wait to see if Mitch McConnell holds on to the Senate. This year is the year of final consequences and we await the direction our nation will take, a decision in which each vote cast in the presidential election does not have equal weight. Let's hope we don't cross that river.
Susan SurfTone is a musician, former FBI agent, and regular contributor to The Advocate.