Dems unload ‘overwhelming’ impeachment case on the Senate — even as they press for more
Instead, they decided to hammer senators with everything they had: an all-day torrent of intricate information, peppered with screenshots of deposition transcripts, emails, text messages and about 50 video clips — nearly three times more than House Republicans used during the entirety of their arguments in the 1999 Clinton trial.
It was a presentation that seemed designed to demonstrate what Democrats have long professed: that the facts of the Ukraine scandal threatening Trump’s presidency are so overwhelming as to be almost infallible. As Republicans harangued Democrats for failing to “do their homework,” the House managers were intent to emphasize just how much “homework” they did.
“We have some very long days yet to come,” Schiff warned the Senate as he kicked off the House’s arguments on Wednesday. He added, “Over the coming days, we will present to you and to the American people the extensive evidence collected in the House’s inquiry into the president’s abuse of power, overwhelming evidence … despite his unprecedented obstruction into that misconduct.”
What followed was a painstaking chronology of Democrats’ case that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rivals and obstructed Congress’ investigation of the alleged scheme.
The Democrats included lengthy reconstructions of the April ouster of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who Trump’s associates viewed as an obstacle in their quest to launch the investigations. They picked apart Trump’s decision in May to cancel Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to Ukraine, which Ukraine had sought as an important gesture of support.
The House lawmakers also dissected a two-week stretch in July during which administration officials agonized over Trump’s decision to withhold military aid from Ukraine amid his call for investigations. And they recounted at length the turmoil this hold on aid provoked in the diplomatic corps in August and September.
To one Senate Republican, the firehose of evidence was an education in itself, for him and his colleagues.
“Nine out of 10 senators will tell you they haven’t read a full transcript of the proceedings in the House,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) quipped. “And the 10th senator who says he has is lying.”
Some Republicans even sounded envious of the Democrats’ use of multimedia during the trial and wished Trump’s defense team would follow suit. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), one of Trump’s top defenders, said Democrats have been presenting their case to the public like it’s “cable news” — but lamented that the defense team’s case presented more like “an 8th grade book report.”
“Actually, no, I take that back,” he added, because an 8th grader would actually know how to use PowerPoint and iPads.