Fri Jan 17th, 2020 at 08:46:26 AM EST
Until yesterday it seemed likely that the best possible outcome of Trump's impeachment would be that the evidence would be presented and widely known and that this might make his reelection less likely. That the Senate would convict seemed very unlikely. The question was whether the Senate would even hear from witnesses, other than those already deposed by the House Intelligence Commitee.
The two part interview of Lev Parnas by Rachael Maddow, aired Wednesday and Thursday night has had impact. Parnas revealed that Jay Sekulow from the White House Office of Counsel, who was presented as one of President Trump's Trump's defenders in the Senate proceeding, had reluctantly directed Parnas in some of his endeavors for Rudy Guiliani in Ukraine. This likely presents a conflict of interest for Sekulow. This is likely a problem for Trump, as he wants an attorney he can trust - a mouthpiece.
Parnas also stated that John Dowd, formerly a legal adviser to Trump in the Mueller probe, had tried to convince him to be a fall guy when he came to 'help' Parnas after Parnas was arrested in the fall. Parnas fired him on the spot. Parnas claimed that his motive for going public while under federal indictment was that he feared what William Barr, Attorney General, and Barr's Justice Department might do to him more than he feared conviction under existing charges. Parnas also implicated Barr in the Ukraine affair.
Already, three Republican Senators, Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, have indicated that they favor calling additional witnesses. Even if there are no more Republican Senators forthcoming, this might result in a tie vote which Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts could break, possibly in favor of additional witnesses. John Cornyn of Texas has noted that the Senate is the jury and should not be deciding how the trial is conducted. Michael Bennett of Colorado has been critical of Trump over withholding funds illegally, per the General Accounting Office memo, and in violation of his oath to faithfully execute the laws of the nation.
I suspect that the dam has broken and that many more may sign on to having a full and fair impeachment trial. This inherently brings into play the ambitions of some Senators to be the next Republican Presidential Nominee. First Trump has to go. In situations like this Senators find safety in numbers - herd instinct. It looks like the herd is getting spooked.
Interesting times. Stay tuned.