Politics and Justice don’t play nicely together. Politics rarely plays by “the rules”. Justice, on the other hand, is a kind of “prisoner” of them. For a moment, we told ourselves yesterday, when it appeared the House Managers would call witnesses before Donald Trump’s Senate trial, that the Truth would, at long, long last, have its day in court. Then, after negotiations with the Senate and Trump’s defense, the House Managers backed off that call. They entered Jaimie Herrera Beutler’s statement — relating GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy’s desperate call to Trump to stop the riot — into the record and let it stand there. In that moment, it certainly felt like, again, Democrats were letting Republicans get away with their corruption. That wasn’t what happened. We need to appreciate the perspective the House Managers had when they sought witnesses (it was their right to demand so they demanded it) and when they chose NOT to actually call any. Perspective is the thing we’ve lost sight of over the last four years. Perspective says that what the House Managers did yesterday was as spot on as pretty much everything else they did.
Trust them, America. TRUST THEM. Trump’s Senate trial was entirely POLITICAL. That’s a vital distinction. Being a political process, Truth was not the goal; appearances — THAT was the goal for Republicans. The appearance of loyalty to Donald Trump. The fact that Trump’s defense could spew so many blatant lies on the Senate floor with zero fear of repercussions speaks volumes. For starters, even when you’re certain you know what a witness will say on the stand — under oath — you cannot control it one hundred percent. The recorded, written statement will not change. For the moment, that sufficed. Appearances and politics were satisfied. But not Justice — because Justice doesn’t live in the Senate. It never has, never will and wasn’t going to start yesterday.
Keep this in mind: the Democrats in the Senate represent 45 million more Americans than the Republicans in the Senate do. The Senate is a variation on the Electoral College theme — where white men get over-represented and everyone else gets under-represented. Ask yourself — why are there TWO Dakotas? Is it because there were way too many Dakotans for ONE Dakota? Or is it because TWO Dakotas adds TWO conservative, white, Christian Senators to the mix. Between the TWO Dakotas there aren’t two million people. 1.7 million Dakotans (North & South) have 4 Senators to represent them. Here in California just south of 40 MILLION AMERICANS get just 2 Senators. See how that gives way more political power to rural Dakotans and their desires over literally every single Angeleno? That’s not a level playing field — and it’s by design. It’s also why it’s essential that we make DC, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands ALL separate states with two senators each and the right to vote for president.
The Electoral College is slavery voting in our elections. The filibuster is slavery interfering with the Congress actually governing America.
Had the House Managers gone down the “witnesses” road, the Senate trial would have gone into a period of recess while the process to interview witnesses began. While the truth would have gotten out into the public record, it would have taken a while to get there — and the Republicans would have used the time to take every bit of wind from the Democrats’ sails, add to the chaos, spew more lies and all without ever opening their minds. The Senate remains a minefield — too unpredictable, too political.
A better idea — and this was the House Managers’ thinking: don’t do this “here”, form a 9-11 style “Truth Commission” give it ample power and oversight. Having a functional Department of Justice with Merrick Garland at its helm will help make it happen. And — an important distinction — while the newly formed and empowered Truth Commission is doing its work, Merrick Garland also will be doing what We The People are paying him to do — seek, prosecute and deliver JUSTICE. Ignore Garland’s well-known moderation. He’s a prosecutor. All we want from AG Garland is for him to FOLLOW the rule of law and FOLLOW the Constitution. If he does that? The Republicans and Donald Trump are screwed.
Even if he sucked as a prosecutor, once Garland pulled the first Republican corruption thread he saw, Republican corruption is so massive, so pervasive, so unavoidable that Garland couldn’t help stumbling over it. We have to stop thinking that four years of Trumpian Justice are “justice”. They aren’t — and bet the ranch that all those dedicated DoJ-ers who hung on for dear life while Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein and Bill Barr ran the department are just aching to set their ship aright. That will mean cleaning house of Trumpian corruption both within their department and everywhere they find it.
The State of Georgia is going to prosecute Trump for election fraud. The SDNY is going to prosecute Trump for HIS role in the same case that sent Michael Cohen to prison. All they have to do there is flip Trump’s status from “POTUS” to “Former-POTUS” and indict away. He’s already on their books as “Unindicted co-conspirator #1”. Then there’s E. Jean Carroll’s civil suit. And all the other civil suits about to rain down on Trump, his company, his former charity, his everything.
And, hey — remember that counter-intelligence investigation we all thought was happening? The one Rod Rosenstein told Team Mueller the FBI was doing but also told the FBI that Team Mueller was doing but that, in reality, NO ONE WAS DOING? That’s back on the menu — and that is the bottomest line there is here. Russia. Russia, Russia, RUSSIA.
It all comes down to Russia. “But for Trump”, there wouldn’t have been an insurrection. “But for RUSSIA”, Donald Trump would NEVER have become POTUS.
Deep breath, everyone. Now, take another. And another. Let go of your cynicism — it’s not serving you. Instead, embrace skepticism. Embrace perspective. Embrace Justice — REAL Justice, not the kind of “justice” the US Senate can “deliver”. Until we use REAL Justice to clean every bit of Republican corruption from the Senate, any trial’s a show trial.
Patience is always a virtue. Just a teensy bit more patience on our part and that virtue will begin to feel deeply satisfying too.