Last week, Sen. Ted Cruz came up with a brilliant proposition. If Democrats were so desperate to call all-new witnesses for the impeachment trial, then perhaps they could be accommodated by a “witness reciprocity” deal: For every witness Democrats call, Republicans get one of their own. In other words, if Democrats want to call John Bolton, that’s fine. Republicans will call Hunter Biden. If they want to call Mick Mulvaney, so be it. Republicans will call Joe Biden. In an impeachment process that has been characterized by partisan nonsense, this was one of the fairest propositions we’ve heard.
Naturally, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), one of the House’s impeachment managers, has rejected the deal out of hand.
“Is there any circumstance in which Democrats would consider, for reciprocity, having Hunter Biden come and testify?” asked CBS Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan.
“You know, the question of witnesses in any trial, in any trial, all relevant witnesses must be heard,” Nadler replied. “Whether if- if you’re accused of robbing a bank, testimony that I saw him rob the bank or he was somewhere else, he couldn’t have robbed the bank, is admissible. It’s not negotiable whether you have witnesses. And this whole controversy about whether there should be witnesses is really a question of does the Senate want to have a fair trial or are they part of the cover up of the president? Any Republican senator who says there should be no witnesses or even that witnesses should be negotiated is part of the cover up.”
Pause the tape for a second. Focus on the way Democrats want this trial both ways. On the one hand, they argue that there’s no constitutional reason for them to accuse President Donald Trump of a crime. Okay, fine. But you can’t fail to meet that minimal bar and simultaneously pretend that this is a criminal trial. What possible sense does that make? The articles of impeachment are wholly partisan, and the House impeachment process was wholly partisan. But now that it’s in the Senate, House Democrats want to flip the script and start doing things by the book. Jerry, no one is falling for this.
“So, you’re saying no way would Hunter Biden ever be called to testify?” Brennan asked.
“Well, I’m saying that Hunter Biden has no knowledge of the accusations against the president,” Nadler said. “Did the president, as we said- as the evidence shows that he did, betray his country by conspiring with a foreign country to- to try to rig the election? Hunter Biden has nothing to say about that.”
This is the kind of weaselly reply that is technically correct while also far afield from the point. If Hunter Biden and his father are guilty of wrongdoing, then Trump did not betray his country. He protected his country by refusing to give military aid to a nation that is rife with corruption. Indeed, that IS what he did, irrespective of whether or not the Bidens are actually guilty of anything sinister. But the testimony of Hunter Biden could certainly help clarify it for even the dumbest people in the Senate.
Bafflingly, Nadler, Pelosi, and Schiff have yet to realize that they aren’t running this trial. They could have called any witness they wanted back when this process was still in the House. Instead, they chose to rush to a vote. Now they want to go back and do it all over again on Mitch McConnell’s time? Sorry, guys, it doesn’t work that way.