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Patriots Impeachment Weekly Wrap-Up: Solemnity — But With Souvenirs

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Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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After weeks of delay, the two articles of impeachment adopted by the House were finally delivered to the Senate on Wednesday, January 15.

The delivery followed a press conference during which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi named seven impeachment managers, as reported Wednesday:

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff is set to be the lead manager. The other managers include House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, Democratic Colorado Rep. Jason Crow, Democratic Florida Rep. Val Demings, Democratic Texas Rep. Sylvia Garcia, and Democratic California Rep. Zoe Lofgren.

The selected managers spoke in turn about the gravity of the situation and the seriousness with which they would undertake their sworn duty. Later that day, they officially delivered the articles to the Senate in a solemn processional. Only at a brief signing ceremony, during which Speaker Pelosi handed out souvenir pens made especially for the occasion, did any of the Democrats appear to celebrate the occasion.

The delivery of the articles prompted the start of President Donald Trump’s trial in the Senate, and it is not yet clear just how long and drawn out that trial might be.

The question of witnesses has been raised by multiple sources — mainly by House Democrats who have insisted that the Senate call witnesses they either could not get or chose not to go through the courts to compel. But Republicans have also suggested that — especially if the House is granted the requested witnesses — the Senate should also call former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff.

As always, the Daily Caller wades through the most recent stories to break down the most important details and new information.

The key players:

  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has been at the forefront of the call for witnesses, often attacking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for conceding that he would not be politically unmotivated as a juror. However, Schumer was quick to say in 1998 that the Senate was not to act as a typical jury and that all of them likely had political bias going into the trial.

  • Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley made it clear even before he received the articles that he planned to ensure fair and transparent proceedings. Grassley also appeared to suggest that the Supreme Court ought to move toward allowing cameras to further support transparency and accountability.

  • Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul issued an ultimatum to Republicans and Democrats alike, saying that if the trial brought in any of the new witnesses requested by the House, he would force a vote to call Hunter Biden.

  • Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz echoed Paul, saying that if the Democrats wanted to hear from former National Security Adviser John Bolton, Republicans would call Hunter Biden as well.

The White House response:

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham criticized Pelosi for handing out impeachment souvenirs.

President Trump himself has continued to refer to the entire process as “a hoax.”

Trump also accused Democrats of forcing a trial in the lead up to the Democratic Primary — particularly the Iowa caucuses — in an effort to quash the rise of independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. He called the move “very unfair” but “a lot of fun to watch!”

The hot takes:

  • New York Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin laid out the reasons he believed the proceedings in the House had been unfair to the president.

  • Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy voiced his confusion at the Trump team’s decision to add Ken Starr, the special prosecutor in the case against former President Bill Clinton, to the defense.

  • CNN panel including Dana Bash called the souvenir signing pens “unusual” and “jarring.”

Public response:

The latest RealClearPolitics average includes eight reputable polls which combined show that support for impeachment and removal is underwater by just under half a point. According to those polls, which range from December 10 – January 14, 46.9% support impeachment and removal while 47.3% oppose.

FiveThirtyEight has been tracking support for impeachment over time, and while the numbers among Republicans and Democrats have remained somewhat consistent, independents have shown less and less support —particularly when it comes to the Senate removing the president from office — in recent weeks.

According to a Morning Consult poll taken January 10-12, 47% of independents would approve and 42% would disapprove of the Senate removing Trump from office. A Civiqs poll taken January 11-14 with a similar partisan breakdown showed 45% of independents in favor of removal while 51% opposed.

Check back next week for the latest up-to-the-minute information, commentary and related content.

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