At the end of its first argument, the Senate trial was thrown into chaos when a “juror” like a scene from Perry Mason stood up to challenge the “prosecutors” statements of truth. That moment came as the Senate prepared for the end of the day and Senator Mike Lee (R., Utah) stood up to complain that a quote from property manager Rep. David Cicilline (D., RI) was incorrect. Lee should know. It was supposed to be his words. After a frenzy on the floor and a delay in the process, the senior property manager, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D., Md., Announced that he would withdraw Cicilline’s statements and that “this is much ado about nothing because it is ours anyway case is not critical. “In reality, it had a lot to do with the manager’s case and points to a glaring problem in his case. The House decided to break this incitement to insurrection mainly on circumstantial evidence and using media reports instead of It is more of a process of innuendo and implication than direct evidence of what Trump knew and intended on Jan. 6.
Raskin added, “We are happy to be withdrawing it on the grounds that it is not true and we will be withdrawing it tonight, without prejudice to the ability to resubmit if possible, and then we could discuss it if we need it. It is not clear whether the House will continue to dispute Lee’s argument on the second day of the argument. However, such issues arise when you choose to litigate a case based on news reports rather than actual statements.
Lee was saddened when Cicilline quoted him as Trump said in an interview with Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) On Jan. 6. Trump mistakenly called Lee, who handed the phone to his colleague. Here’s what Cicilline said in part: “Sen. Lee described it … Sen. Lee then confirmed he was ready when Senator Tuberville and President Trump spoke on the phone. On that call, Donald Trump allegedly asked Senator Tuberville to raise additional objections to the certification process. “
That does not seem to be true if the suggestion is that Lee confirmed the content of the appeal in the article. The source for the property manager was a story in Deseret News this just describes the wrong and uncomfortable moment before Lee got his cell phone back. Tuberville said he didn’t remember much of the brief call, but the article also states that Lee told the newspaper when, “Lee said later, when he asked Tuberville about the conversation, he got the impression that Trump was nothing knew about the chaos going on in the Senate Chamber. “The caretakers left out the part that directly contradicts his story that Trump knew and enjoyed the uprising when he asked for the electoral certificate to be delayed further. If so, the house’s timeline argument would lose coherence if it didn’t completely collapse. The House repeatedly argued that Trump wanted the uprising and then used it to delay the trial. That call came “just after 2 p.m.” and, according to Lee, Trump seemed unaware of the extent of the chaos to the Senator. A few minutes later, at 2:38 am, Trump tweeted, “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. You are really on our country’s side. Stay peaceful! “
The main problem with the Lee objection, however, is that it highlights what is missing in the House case: testimony. I have been a critic of the House for using what I have termed a “quick impeachment” without a day of hearings, investigations, or a formal opportunity for the President to respond. It could easily have taken a couple of days of impeachment and still indicting Trump before stepping down. The House had time to do this from January 6th to 20th. Even more disturbing, however, is what came next. Nothing at all. The House had weeks to call witnesses to lock up their testimony and keep the public records missing from his impeachment. As with the first impeachment, it went through the vote urgently and then did nothing. She did not send the article to the Senate or witness any committee. Even if the impeachment was justified, the failure to create a record after the vote was not justified.
The House knew it would be difficult to find witnesses in the Senate. After all, such witnesses were denied in the first trial, and even with Clinton (with the Republicans under control) few testimony were allowed by the Senate.
In the meantime, former officials gave public interviews about what Trump said and did during those critical hours. They could clearly be asked to testify because they were already speaking in public. These include witnesses who may speak to request National Guard assistance, such as former Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller and his two closest associates, Kashyap “Kash” Patel and Ezra Cohen, and US Capitol Police chief Yogananda D. Pittman. (Pittman did not give public testimony about the uprising itself). There are at least a dozen such officers who could have been called in to include their testimony and give direct testimony of the underlying facts. The House could also have asked for confirmation of statements ascribed to Senators Tuberville and Lee. Yet the house let weeks pass without calling these witnesses in the house. Why?
I honestly don’t see why the property managers wouldn’t want to make a more solid and conventional argument for incitement when these witnesses are available to dispel doubts about these issues. With acquittal very likely, one would think that the House would seek tough testimony to force senators to reconsider their positions.
Instead, the property managers have referred to media reports in which witnesses said, including unidentified “senior aides”. Much of the first day reiterated a report that Trump was delighted with the scenes of the riot, while managers like Cicilline left out statements in such articles that Trump may not fully realize the situation until shortly before his 2:30 p.m. tweet in which he told people to stay peaceful and obey the police.
In reality, most of us have little idea what Trump knew or how he reacted at those critical moments. Such evidence is vital in the Senate case. Trump was not charged with negligence. He was charged with instigating an actual uprising or rebellion against the United States. However, the house appears not only uninterested, but intentionally blind to the existence of witnesses who could provide this evidence. If Trump actively delayed the deployment of National Guard troops or celebrated the uprising, it would have a direct impact on the case. It is for this reason that the property managers keep referring to news he seemed to have fallen from the scenes. However, it could have confirmed these reports by calling these witnesses rather than relying on anonymous sources in media reports.
The Lee Kerfuffle wasn’t harmful because it forced the property managers to retract Cicilline’s words. It was harmful because it highlights what is not in the case of the house. It has “a lot to do with the credibility of the House case”. Senators might conclude that the decision to rely on media reports rather than witnesses leaves the case inclusive and speculative about Trump’s state of mind or purpose. We know the public case against Trump, but we don’t know whether a lawsuit can be brought against him. Or to paraphrase Shakespeare: “We know what [the case is]but don’t know what [the case] can be “with direct evidence.
This column was displayed on Fox.com.