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a fair trial, if you can ensure it – “a republic, if you can keep it.”

4 min read

For the habitual liar who whines weekly of the unfairness of the truth confronting his follies. fairness should be what Trump wants from his “rigged” Senate trial.

Reading Lawrence Tribe’s tweet stream is now more fun, complete with references to Wittgenstein and Rawls, as well as Marbury v. Madison (1803).



To have a fair trial, both sides must be allowed to subpoena witnesses and documents. The House managers, as well as Trump, should be permitted to call witnesses and present documentary evidence. McConnell seeks to violate that right.

Trump took actions that denied the House committees valuable evidence. In an unprecedented move, Trump ordered all executive branch employees to defy committee subpoenas and refuse to testify in the impeachment inquiry. He also refused to turn over any subpoenaed documents, another contrast with prior impeachments. Trump asserted that subpoenaed witnesses who declined to testify would receive “absolute immunity” from criminal or civil prosecution. That doctrine is a creation of the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel. No court, statute or constitution has ever recognized it.

Nine witnesses followed Trump’s order and refused to testify. Nevertheless, 17 witnesses provided depositions and 12 witnesses testified in the House proceedings. They were members of the Trump administration and they provided overwhelming evidence of Trump’s impeachable conduct.

The article of obstruction of Congress was based on Trump’s blanket refusal to provide documents and allow subpoenaed witnesses to testify before the House of Representatives, to whom the Constitution grants “the sole power of impeachment.”

If witnesses are not allowed to testify at the Senate trial, it “would be the first impeachment trial in history that heard no witnesses,” Schumer stated on the Senate floor in response to McConnell’s remarks. The Senate has never “prevented House managers from fairly prosecuting their case,” Schumer added. If, as McConnell insisted, the House’s case for impeachment is so weak, why is he “so afraid of relevant witnesses and documents?”, Schumer asked. All four proposed witnesses are top Trump officials and Schumer said he doesn’t even know if their testimony would incriminate or exculpate Trump.

McConnell favors a pro forma trial with no witnesses that leads to a rapid acquittal of Trump. On Fox News, McConnell told Sean Hannity there was “zero chance” Trump would be removed from office. McConnell pledged “total coordination” with the White House and Trump’s defense attorneys. The senators, who will sit as jurors at the trial, must take an oath of impartiality. But McConnell didn’t even pretend to be impartial, declaring, “I’m not an impartial juror … I’m not impartial about this at all.”…




The first record of the anecdote appears in a 1787 journal kept by one of the delegates to the convention, James McHenry of Maryland. He wrote: “A lady asked Dr. Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy. A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it.” McHenry added a footnote to the text: “The lady here alluded to was Mrs. Powel of Philad[elphi]a.”



Tracing its twists and turns over the centuries, we see Elizabeth Willing Powel, a politically active, influential patriot in her own time, shaped to mold expectations about the history of women and politics. The story shifts — from her own assertion that she couldn’t possibly remember all the many important political conversations that took place within her home, to one in which she is simply an “anxious” lady “accosting” Franklin, to the recent omission of women at all.

As we consider how and why America continues to elide the history of founding women from its collective origin story, we should take note that in 2019 we actually give less credit to this politically savvy woman than men did during the founding era. Recognizing women’s leadership in the past, as well as the present, might make it easier to keep a republic.…

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