In my dreams Counselor Cipollone rises to conclude the President’s defense as follows:
“Chief Justice Roberts, Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer, distinguished Senators, I want to thank you for your patience in listening to our defense of President Trump. As our team has outlined, there is no basis in law or fact for a vote to remove the President. Regardless of how passionate the president’s accusers may be, the Constitution gives this body the solemn duty to apply its provisions to the question of impeachment and removal. We have outlined the factual and legal deficiencies in the case presented by the House Managers.
“The Constitution is a contract with and amongst all of the American citizens since 1789. It has provided a stable government for this country for over 230 years. During that time there have been strong internal disagreements in this country, most particularly a civil war that claimed the lives of over half a million Americans. And yet we have persevered. As Abraham Lincoln said ‘From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never. All the armies of Europe and Asia…could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide.’
“And so it is that this body has the solemn duty to come together and conclude this matter. It is a time to set passions aside and ask whether the House has made the case that two elections must be rectified, 2016 and 2020, and the people’s expressed will be ignored in the past and choice denied in the future. Could there be a more momentous decision than that?
“This body has tabled decisions with regard to gathering additional evidence that the House failed to gather, to create a record that the House did not create, to perfect a case that the House has not made. In a perfect world, we would know what House Manager Schiff, his staff, and the unacknowledged individual who has been called a “whistleblower” discussed prior to the press reports and claims that led to the impeachment “inquiry” and the Articles of Impeachment adopted without bi-partisan support. In a perfect world, we would know what Vice President Biden and his son Hunter Biden were doing in Ukraine and the reality behind suspicions and concerns that were discussed in the White House between Obama Administration officials and Ukrainian officials in January 2016. You’re curious. I’m curious. But we have to ask ourselves how the answers to those questions change the case against the President that the House has brought for your determination?
“If you believe that there was nothing amiss in the conduct of the House proceedings, that the President was not improperly precluded from participating in the House impeachment inquiry, that Vice President Biden, notwithstanding the concerns discussed in the White House in 2016, did nothing wrong, then use your own presumptions to fill in the factual gaps that exist in the record and vote your conscience. If you believe that, as we have outlined in our defense, that the House process was defective, that the allegations made do not rise to impeachable offenses even were they were to be true, that the President had honest concerns about Ukraine’s role in the 2016 election and the potential for corruption of a sitting Vice President, and that separation of powers in the Constitution justifies the manner in which the President has engaged the Congress in this process, then any testimony regarding the conduct House Manager Schiff, his staff, and the unacknowledged individual who has been called a “whistleblower” will be irrelevant. There is no assertion of first-hand knowledge to contradict the President’s stated honest concerns about possible corruption. And evidence gathered from former Vice President Biden, his son Hunter Biden, and participants in the January 2016 White House meeting between Obama Administration officials and Ukrainians, even if they support the President’s honest held concerns, will not change your vote on the Articles of Impeachment. Accordingly, the witnesses can satisfy our curiosity and can confirm or reject our assumptions about facts unproved, but they cannot address the fundamental question of whether the Articles of Impeachment state impeachable offenses and whether obstruction of Congress for asserting separation of powers provisions in the Constitution is a real thing.
“In sum, the House has implemented a devious strategy to embroil the Senate in a policy disagreement dressed up as a constitutionally authorized impeachment and to deny the voters their right to decide who will be the President of the United States. To use Lincoln’s words: the House’s designs for the Senate is to be the “author and finisher” of the destruction of our Constitutional order where the people are sovereign. The Senate’s constitutional duty is to reject the House’s attempts to so embroil it. The calling of witnesses will satisfy curiosity and may actually put some facts in the record that the House declined to obtain. But it will not result in any change in the fundamental constitutional question in front of you: to deprive the voters of their decision in 2016 and their candidates in 2020.
“The President did nothing wrong. And the people deserve to make their own decision regarding who shall be President of the United States. Thank you.”Published in