SPONSORED:

Pavlich: The Senate defends its integrity

Pavlich: The Senate defends its integrity
© Getty Images

As President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Trump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Pence's chief of staff tests positive for COVID-19 MORE’s impeachment trial comes to a close, with an inevitable acquittal on the horizon, political opponents continue to claim the process was incomplete and unfair due to a lack of witnesses.

First, to say the Senate trial did not have witnesses is inaccurate and misleading. Seventeen people testified in the House impeachment inquiry, which was put into the Senate record upon the start of the trial. Video clips of testimony were repeatedly used by both sides, the White House and House impeachment managers, to make their arguments. Testimony from an 18th witness, intelligence community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, is still being held from the Senate by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffGreenwald slams Schiff over Biden emails on Fox Hillicon Valley: DOJ accuses Russian hackers of targeting 2018 Olympics, French elections | Federal commission issues recommendations for securing critical tech against Chinese threats | House Democrats slam FCC over 'blatant attempt to help' Trump Federal commission issues recommendations for securing critical tech against Chinese threats MORE (D-Calif.).

Second, the issue throughout the Senate trial was not “witnesses” but rather new witnesses who did not testify in the House before articles of impeachment against Trump were transmitted to the Senate.

ADVERTISEMENT

During the Clinton impeachment trial, witnesses who testified in the Senate had done so before the House voted on and transmitted articles to the upper chamber. All three witnesses who testified in the Clinton trial, including Monica Lewinsky, had been previously interviewed.

That is not the case here.

In Trump’s Senate trial, Democrats, joined by Republican Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyWill anyone from the left realize why Trump won — again? Ratings drop to 55M for final Trump-Biden debate Bipartisan group of senators call on Trump to sanction Russia over Navalny poisoning MORE (Utah) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTrump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report Murkowski says she will vote to confirm Barrett to Supreme Court on Monday Biden's oil stance jars Democrats in tough races MORE (Maine), demanded former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonJohn Kelly called Trump 'the most flawed person' he's ever met: report Bolton: North Korea 'more dangerous now' Demand for Trump-related titles sparks expected record year for political books MORE be subpoenaed to testify. The issue wasn’t bringing witnesses to the Senate who had already testified during the House inquiry (Fiona Hill, former Ambassador Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchGrand jury adds additional counts against Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and and Igor Fruman Strzok: Trump behaving like an authoritarian Powell backs Biden at convention as Democrats rip Trump on security MORE, etc.), but instead was about calling new individuals.

This is not the Senate’s job and would have broken the Clinton precedent. Democratic senators still in office today voted against new witnesses and subpoenas in the Clinton case. This includes Sens. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerTrump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report Trump announces opening of relations between Sudan and Israel Five takeaways on Iran, Russia election interference MORE (N.Y.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenators battle over Supreme Court nominee in rare Saturday session McConnell tees up Barrett nomination, setting up rare weekend session Bipartisan group of senators call on Trump to sanction Russia over Navalny poisoning MORE (Ill.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDemocrats to boycott committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination The Senate should evoke RBG in its confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Pelosi, Mnuchin push stimulus talks forward, McConnell applies brakes MORE (Calif.), Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayPlaintiff and defendant from Obergefell v. Hodges unite to oppose Barrett's confirmation Overnight Health Care: Trump takes criticism of Fauci to a new level | GOP Health Committee chairman defends Fauci | Birx confronted Pence about Atlas Government watchdog to investigate allegations of Trump interference at CDC, FDA MORE (Wash.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedOvernight Defense: Armed Services chairman unsold on slashing defense budget | Democratic Senate report details 'damage, chaos' of Trump foreign policy | Administration approves .8B Taiwan arms sales Overnight Defense: Famed Navy SEAL calls Trump out | Yemen's Houthi rebels free two Americans | Marines fire commander after deadly training accident Trump slight against Gold Star families adds to military woes MORE (R.I.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenPlaintiff and defendant from Obergefell v. Hodges unite to oppose Barrett's confirmation Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing House Democrats slam FCC chairman over 'blatant attempt to help' Trump MORE (Ore.) and Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahySchumer says he had 'serious talk' with Feinstein, declines to comment on Judiciary role Durbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein MORE (Vt.).

Attorneys for the White House effectively explained why new witnesses, not witnesses already in the record, would destroy the integrity of the Senate.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Onto the point of whether this chamber should hear from Ambassador Bolton and I think it’s important to consider what that means because it’s not just a question of, ‘Well, should we hear from one witness.’ That’s not what the real question is going to be,” White House attorney Patrick Philbin argued. “For this institution, the real question is, ‘What is the precedent that is going to be set for what is an acceptable way for the House of Representatives to bring impeachment of a president of the United States to this chamber and can it be done in a hurried, half-baked, partisan fashion … they didn’t even subpoena John Bolton below.

“They didn’t even try to get his testimony to insist now that this body will become the investigative body, that this body will have to do all of the discovery and that this institution will be effectively paralyzed for months on end because it has to sit as a court of impeachment while now discovery is done.”

“This would drag on for months and then that’s the new precedent. Then that’s the way all impeachments operate in the future. The House doesn’t have to do the work. They do it quick, they throw it over the transom and this institution gets derailed and has to deal with it,” he continued. “And that should not be the way — that should not be the precedent that is set here for the way this body will have to handle all impeachments in the future because if it becomes that easy for the House to do it they’ll be doing it a lot.”

But it wasn’t just White House attorneys making this point about discovery. Democrat Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDurbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing MORE (Hawaii) did as well and expressed frustration about the lack of discovery before the trial started.

“If we were following the Clinton precedent, there would have been all of this discovery done at the House level, and that’s not what’s happening at all,” she told CNN.

Republican Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report Sunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day Lou Dobbs goes after Lindsey Graham: 'I don't know why anyone' would vote for him  MORE (S.C.) strongly refuted the accusation witnesses who were not previously compelled to testify were being “blocked.”

“Of all the insane things being said about this impeachment debacle - and there is a lot to choose from - one of the most ridiculous is to say Senate Republicans are ‘Blocking Witnesses.’ This is an outrageous claim,” Graham tweeted. “FACT: It was the House of Representatives who refused to pursue the testimony of the witnesses because they wanted to impeach the President before Christmas. Only in Washington would someone call that decision ‘Blocking Witnesses.’ In most of America it’s called: #YourOwnFault.”

The final arguments in Trump’s impeachment trial are over. White House attorneys have effectively and rightfully convinced senators that they must preserve the integrity of their institution. By rejecting new witnesses, Republican senators are holding House Democrats accountable for submitting a sloppy, rushed and weak impeachment case for trial.

Pavlich is the editor for Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor.