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Integrity of Senate is at stake in impeachment trial

I’m wondering how the Senate trial of the Trump impeachment might end.

New evidence has appeared that Trump did withhold foreign military aid directed to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian-supported Eastern Ukrainian warfare.

That new evidence is offered by Rudy Giuliani’s indicted associate Lev Parnas, the actual “bag man” used to make direct demands of the Ukrainian government on behalf of Giuliani and Donald Trump.

Regarding the president, Parnas said, “President Trump knew exactly what was going on. He was aware of all my movements. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani, or the president… Why would President Zelenskiy’s inner circle, or Minister Avakov, or all these people, or President Poroshenko meet with me? Who am I? They were told to meet with me.”

Indeed, why would the highest Ukrainian government officials listen to threats from Parnas if not his support by the president?

Parnas went on to say that his efforts for Trump were always about the Bidens, Joe and Hunter, and never about Ukrainian corruption.

As for who knew what and when, Parnas echoed EU U.S. Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s claim that “everybody was in on it.”

Parnas cited Giuliani, Trump, Attorney General William Barr, Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Rep. Devin Nunez as those involved in the effort to help Trump cheat in the upcoming US 2020 presidential election.

Now, Parnas is not a perfect witness. Far from it.

But if you want to hear directly about a criminal act, who better to tell you than the criminal?

The White House and it’s “see no evil” supporters in Congress have argued against the ever-mounting facts in the impeachment case, that the case has lacked direct evidence that there was a quid pro quo, or that the president himself was aware if there was such a deal with Ukraine. The Parnas statement refutes both those claims.

So, what next?

Does the Senate hold a one-day trial and vote to dismiss all charges, ignoring Parnas’ statements, ignoring all the evidence the House of Representatives have collected?

Maybe.

Certainly, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has said he gets his marching orders from the White House, might want that outcome.

And every Senate Republican has multiple reasons to be blind to the criminal acts of Donald J. Trump, including an instant loss of Republican money support for their next election campaign should they waver in support of ignorance of the facts as their mantra.

And if the loss of campaign money is not enough to sway their vote to ignore a high crime against the American people, there is the Trump Tweet machine, designed for one purpose and one purpose alone, to destroy his critics.

Just ask Jeff Flake, ex-senator, how effective the presidential tweet is to a sitting senator.

Then there is the John Bolton factor.

Bolton, ex-national security advisor for Trump, has expressed a willingness to testify before the Senate should they subpoena him.

Given Parnas’ statement this week, Bolton’s testimony would seem absolutely essential if the senate had any interest in the truth.

So, too, would the testimony of Mick Mulvaney, White House temporary/permanent chief of staff, who told news reporters, of course, the president held back funds to Ukraine for dirt on the Biden’s saying, “We always do that.”

Mulvaney later claimed his direct statement was incorrect, as if the words slipped out of his mouth from another brain.

So, how will it end?

Trump is as guilty as a pie-faced boy is guilty of stealing and eating a pie.

On trial this week will be the integrity of the U.S. Senate.

Let’s hope they surprise us.

Jim Crawford is a retired educator, political enthusiast
and award-winning columnist living here in the Tri-State.