Fairly judging the facts

In ordinary criminal trials, the jurors have to stay where they are and listen. They’re not allowed to just get up and wander off when they get bored.

Republican Senators not so much.

Despite making public assurances that he would fulfill their Constitutional obligations as impartial jurors in President Trump’s impeachment trial, Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy joined a large number of GOP Senators in leaving the Senate Chambers for prolonged periods of time, while crucial evidence was introduced against the President.

I guess the thinking is that he doesn’t need to listen to the evidence because nothing is going to make him vote to remove Trump from office.

But you wouldn’t think he would want to advertise that in advance…except I guess you would, because the targeted consumer is Trump.

Last week, all one hundred United States Senators were sworn in as jurors by the Chief Justice for the United States Supreme Court. Senator Cassidy, taking this oath, swore that “in all matters appertaining to the trial of the impeachment” of the President, he would be impartial.

Which is to say he swore an oath to do something he had every intention of not doing.

Senator Cassidy made a statement in a press release in December, affirming that “the Senate will offer President Trump a fair process” and that he looked forward to “fairly judging the facts.” Yesterday he tweeted: “I intend to be a fair and impartial juror and consider the facts, not let partisan distractions get in the way.”

But also get up and leave while important evidence is being presented.

Newsweek noted that while the oaths of impartiality are not legally binding, the Senate could elect to impeach one of its own for violating the rules. The rules do not explicitly require the Senators to be seated during the trial, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) both told their camps they needed to be in attendance at all times – which Senator Cassidy failed to do.

Why? Performance, is my guess – performance of contempt for the process, contempt for the rules, contempt for the laws, contempt for everyone and everything that doesn’t help Donald Trump enrich himself and smash everything he doesn’t like.

Why that? I don’t know. I don’t understand the depth of cynicism here.

T he fact that Senator Cassidy and other lawmakers were absent during a crucial part of the trial was not ignored by legal blogs. Law & Crime remarked that one-third of all GOP Senators missed the same crucial evidence in the President’s trial. They also contrasted Senator Cassidy’s absence with his promises to “listen to both sides with an open mind.” Bradley Moss, a national security attorney, observed that, of all jurors in all trials, only in the Senate can “‘jurors’ get to stand up and walk out during the prosecution’s presentation of the case.”

Conservative pundit Bill Kristol likened the behavior of Senators like Cassidy to endorsing a mockery of a trial. “I grew up reading about show trials in authoritarian nations abroad,” Kristol said on Twitter.” “I didn’t expect to see one of our two major parties endorse a show trial here in the U.S. Capitol.”

But her emails.

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