This amendment would allow the Chief Justice John Roberts to determine whether a particular witness should be called. For instance, the Democrats want John Bolton at the very minimum, along with Mick Mulvaney and others. Trump and his Republicans want Joe Biden and his son Hunter to testify.
Keep in mind, if the Republicans (the majority) did not like any of the decisions made by Roberts, it could overrule the most powerful judge in the nation. So, if the Justice decided that Bolton was not relevant, there would probably be no chance for the Democrats to cobble together a majority to override Roberts. However, if the Chief Justice decided that the Bidens must testify, the Democrats would have to live with the results unless they could muster up 51 votes to overrule Roberts, again, an almost impossible event.
Yet, the Republicans and the White House voted the amendment, down. They were not willing to allow the respected Roberts, a Republican and Bush appointee, to adjudicate perhaps the most important issue in the entire impeachment trial—whether there will be witnesses.
They obviously either don’t want any witnesses, which would fit into the plans seemingly best articulated by top jurors Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham. Both have virtually vowed to stop the trial in its tracks. Heavens forbid if Roberts took his job assignment seriously and fairly as he took his oath. McConnell and Graham and the vast majority of the Republican Senators obviously won’t stand for judicial fairness. Why else would they not approve a compromise amendment such as this one being offered when the Republicans could overturn Roberts's decision, but not the Democrats unless somehow, the minority hit the impeachment lottery—a majority vote?
My answer to this question is—it’s obvious. I absolutely believe that John Roberts would never find either of the Bidens relevant to the impeachment trial. Justice Roberts must know that nothing the Bidens could say establishes any proof f relative to the main questions of the moment—what did President Donald Trump do and why did he do it?
Ask yourself, what would the Biden’s testimony prove, if allowed? The only possible answer would be that it would show that President Donald Trump was justified to investigate Burisma, the Bidens and Ukraine’s role in the 2016 election. The only possible explanation can be that the evidence would be used to prove that Trump was justified to want to fight corruption and that the decision he made was for the country, not for his personal protection.
This trial comes down to the president’s own actions and more than anything else, his intent: Why did he pull the assistance to a real investigation? Why did he do this, or do that?
More particularly, when Trump took that July 25 phone call with Zalensky, what did Trump actually know at that time about Biden, Burisma or the Ukraine server?
Nothing else really matters when proving Trump’s intentions than what he knew when he made these decisions. Now, six months or so later, trying to prove that Biden and his son were corrupt has nothing to do with what Trump knew at the time. This would be similar to a bank robber shooting Mr. Jones, a customer and then at trial, the robber wanting evidence to prove that Jones was a corrupt man and had it coming.
How would Jones’s personal history be in any way relevant to the robber shooting a man he did not know?
Proving what Joe Biden actually did, proving Hunter Biden to be a crook, simply is not relevant to the issues at hand.
This is not to say the information would not be relevant in another congressional hearing. Weeks ago, I suggested that Lindsey Graham open an investigation to put America’s concerns at rest. Knock yourself, Lindsey! If you believe there is essential evidence this country needs to know, go at it.
Actually, a couple of days after I threw this out to the public, he actually, on his own, of course, said he was going to open up an investigation. Guess what? He didn’t. Why not? Perhaps he wanted to wait until when he could get a big bang for the bucks, the impeachment audience when it really would matter.
Let us assume that Trump legitimately felt that the Bidens were corrupt and that Ukraine tried to interfere with our elections. The information Trump had to justify his beliefs at that time would indeed be relevant to the discussion to prove his intent. Evidence to prove that Trump was right all along simply proves a retroactive justification which makes for great politics but terrible law.
The White House and the Republican Senators must know this basic principle of evidence, but, that’s is not stopping their game of throwing out the shiny object of deflection.
Logic tells me, they did not want to risk the “The Roberts Rules Of Evidence” proclaiming, “sorry guys, no”. Logic tells me, even if they tried to override the Chief Justice, they would worse than they do right now.
America had a chance for an impartial juror, the presiding officer, the Chief Justice, to use the principles of law that have governed this nation’s history.
It was a gamble that Trump and his enablers simply did not want to take.