Whitaker: We know the outcome of Senate trial, don’t know how we’ll get there


BALL ONE BIT.>>Laura: ALL RIGHT, GENTLEMEN. THANKS SO MUCH. GREAT TO SEE YOU BOTH TONIGHT. SO WHAT’S NEXT? WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT WEEK? FIRST, SENATORS WILL VOTE ON TUESDAY ON THE RESOLUTION WE HAVE BEEN DISCUSSING THIS WEEK ALMOST EVERY NIGHT, AND THAT RESOLUTION WILL GOVERN THE RULES OF THE SENATE TRIAL, SO SET OUT LENGTH OF QUESTIONING, REBUTTAL, AND SO FORTH. AT THAT POINT, SENATORS WILL BE ABLE TO VOTE ON WHETHER INDIVIDUAL WITNESSES WILL BE CALLED. THERE WILL BE A DEBATE THAT HAPPENS. AND THAT IS AND THINGS GET VERY DICEY. DEMOCRATS GET THEIR WAY, THEY WILL DO EVERYTHING IN THEIR POWER TO EXPLOIT THESE WITNESS VOTES.>>THE PRESIDENT IN IMPEACHMENT TRIALS IN THE SENATE IS TO HAVE WITNESSES. TO HAVE NO WITNESSES WOULD BE A DRAMATIC BREAK WITH PRECEDENT. IT WOULD MEAN THE FIRST IMPEACHMENT TRIAL OF A PRESIDENT IN HISTORY WITH NO WITNESSES. THE FIRST IMPEACHMENT TRIAL OF ANYBODY THAT WENT TO COMPLETION AND THE SENATE’S 200-SOME-ODD YEAR HISTORY.>>Laura: JOINING ME NOW IS MATT WHITAKER, FORMER ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL. ALL RIGHT, HOW EASILY COULD CALLING WITNESSES DEVOLVE INTO A POLITICAL CIRCUS NEXT WEEK?>>THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT MITCH McCONNELL IS TRYING TO AVOID, BUT AS YOU MENTIONED, IT TAKES 51 VOTES TO DO ANYTHING, AND WE KNOW THE OUTCOME OF THE TRIAL, WE JUST DON’T KNOW HOW WE’RE GOING TO GET THERE RIGHT NOW. AS I LOOK AT WHAT THE SENATE IS TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH, IT IS TRYING TO KEEP A SOLID GROUP OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS TOGETHER THAT KEEPS THE STRAIN ON THE TRACKS. IF THEY CAN’T, THEN WE COULD HAVE HUNTER BIDEN. WE COULD HAVE A WHOLE HOST OF FOLKS BE WITNESSES, AND THAT IS WHEN I THINK THE CREDIBILITY OF THE SENATE COULD TAKE A SERIOUS HIT.>>Laura: THERE IS NO UNDERSTANDING AT THIS MOMENT HOW THAT DEBATE ABOUT WITNESSES WILL ENSUE AND UNFOLD. WE DON’T KNOW IF IT WILL BE, YOU GET TWO, WE GOT TWO. ONE AND ONE? WITNESSES, PERIOD, YES, THUMBS UP? THERE’S NO SENSE. THERE IS CONCERN THAT JUST THE DEBATE, MAPPED, ON THAT FACT, COULD JUST THROW THE WHOLE THING — MORE LIKE THE HOUSE THA THING — MORE LIKE THE HOUSE THN THING — MORE LIKE THE HOUSE THT THING — MORE LIKE THE HOUSE THE SENATE. IN OTHER WORDS, A LOT OF CHAOS. ARE WE INFLATING?>>THE MEDIA THAT’S OWING TO COVER THIS, THEY WANT FIREWORKS, THEY WANT FOLKS ARGUING, THEY WANT A LOT OF CONTROVERSY. MITCH McCONNELL DOESN’T WANT THAT, AND A LOT OF SENATORS ON BOTH SIDES, QUITE RIGHTLY, DON’T WANT THAT. THEY HAVE A CONSTITUENCY BACK HOME THEY NEED TO BE IMPRESSIVE TO AND TO GET REELECTED. BUT FUNDAMENTALLY, THE DEMOCRATS IN THE HOUSE HAVE THE BURDEN OF PERSUASION, AND IF THEY CAN’T PROVE THEIR CASE IN THE INITIAL 24-SO HOURS THAT THEY GET, I DON’T EXPECT THERE WILL BE AN APPETITE FOR MOST SENATORS TO GO FURTHER WITH DOCUMENTS OR WITNESSES.>>Laura: THE CLINTON IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION INCLUDED A PROVISION FOR A MOTION TO DISMISS BEFORE THE WITNESS VOTE TOOK PLACE. NOW, IT ULTIMATELY FAILED, BUT IT WAS AN IMPORTANT POINT. IT’S A REALLY WEIRD THING. IF THEY THINK IT IS ABSOLUTELY GOING TO BE DEFEATED, SO WHAT? JUST PUT IT IN ANY WAY.>>THE CLINTON IMPEACHMENT PRECEDENT IS PROBABLY WHAT WE SHOULD FOLLOW, BECAUSE IT WAS DURING A SANER TIME, WHERE THE SENATE DIDN’T HAVE THESE PARTISAN INFLAMMATIONS LIKE WE HAVE CURRENTLY IN OUR COUNTRY.>>Laura: I LIKE THAT PHRASE, “PARTISAN INFORMATION.” “NEW YORK TIMES” MICHAEL SCHEER HAD THIS TO SAY ABOUT THE PRESIDENT’S DEFENSE THUS FAR.>>WE HAVE STILL NEVER SEEN WHAT THE PRESIDENT’S LEGAL DEFENSE OF ALL OF THIS IS. WE HAVE SEEN HIS POLITICAL DEFENSE, RIGHT? WE HAVE SEEN LETTERS FROM PAT CIPOLLONE, WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL, WHICH ARE LARGELY POLITICAL ARGUMENTS, AND WE’VE SEEN THE HOUSE MEMBERS, THE GYM JORDANS OF THE WORLD, MAKING LARGELY POLITICAL RESPONSES. WOULD NEVER SEEN AN ACTUAL LEGAL DEFENSE.>>Laura: I DON’T KNOW IF MICHAEL HAS BEEN WATCHING, BUT IT HAS BEEN REPEATEDLY NOTED THAT THERE IS NO UNDERLYING CRIME, SO WHAT DO YOU REALLY HAVE TO ARGUE HERE? THERE’S AN EXCULPATORY TRANSCRIPT THAT IS NO WAY RISES TO THE ARRIVAL OF IMPEACHABLE CONDUCT, SO I DON’T KNOW WHEN HE’S TALKING ABOUT.>>THE FIRST TIME A PRESIDENT HAS BEEN IMPEACHED WHERE THERE IS NO UNDERLYING CRIME AT A PURELY PARTISAN VOTE. WE HAVE NO COMPARISON WITH THE FACT THAT WERE DEVELOPED IN THE HOUSE. AND THIS IS WHY IT IS A VERY TROUBLING TIME IN AMERICAN HISTORY, IF YOU TAKE A STEP BACK AND UNDERSTAND, WE HAVE ENTERED A NEW ERA OF PARTISAN — AND I HOPE THE SENATORS CAN UNDERSTAND THAT A NOT TURN THIS INTO A PARTISAN CIRCUS, WHICH IS WHAT WE SAW IN THE HOUSE.>>Laura: WERE YOU SURPRISED PELOSI STARTED SAYING THINGS LIKE “YOU ARE IMPEACHED FOREVER.” THIS IS LIKE “MEAN GIRLS.” YOU ARE ACQUITTED, IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU ARE CHARGED.>>HER RHETORIC, SHE CALLED THE ATTORNEY GENERAL ROGUE AGAIN, SUGGESTED HE IS A PUPPET OF THE PRESIDENT.>>Laura: MOSCOW MITCH.>>THAT HAS NO PLACE FROM THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, AND IT IS

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