“A massive crowd has filled the Hart Senate Atrium to demand witnesses, documents, and justice in the Senate removal trial of Donald Trump,” reads the Remove Trump #SwarmTheSenate Twitter page. The feed includes a video of hundreds quietly milling around the marble floors of the Senate office building. They hold no signs, presumably for security reasons, but many wear anti-Trump shirts, hats, and orange “Out Now” stickers.
The protest was made up of a coalition of leftist advocacy groups, aiming to pressure senators into allowing witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump. The Center for Popular Democracy Action, Public Citizen, the Poor People’s Campaign, Women’s March, and other activist groups organized the event, according to CommonDreams.org.
CPD Action posted photos of the swarm and tweeted, “Incredible images out of DC where thousands are demanding [an] end to the Senate’s sham trial and a beginning to what every trial must include: witnesses and documents.”
After the groups swarmed the Hart Senate building, they made their way to the Capitol. There the protest went from silent to raucous. Protesters wielded signs and banners, megaphones, drums, and guitars. Some wore masks or costumes, and one man was even on stilts.
Forty-one protesters were arrested, some after sitting on the Capitol steps in an act of civil disobedience, The Hill reported. A witness at the event said the protesters had been warned the steps were off limits, but she believed this was an unreasonable restriction.
“The Republicans are rigging this trial, and the one force that could actually change this equation is the power of the people coming out in the streets and demanding witnesses, demanding evidence, and demanding conviction and removal,” Rafael Kadaris, a protester with RefuseFacism.org, stated.
Democrats Won’t Be Satisfied With Docs and Witnesses
Even if the Senate calls witnesses, would that satisfy the protesters who swarmed the Senate Jan. 29? Are witnesses and documents what they really want? Most know the answer is no. Trump’s detractors will only be happy with his removal. No trial could be fair, just, or long enough to convince activists on the left of Trump’s innocence.
The Heritage Foundation’s Thomas Jipping points out there are plenty of documents and witnesses already on the record. At the beginning of the Senate trial, the entire House record, which runs more than 25,000 pages, was entered into evidence.
Even if the Senate chooses not to call additional witnesses, senators have the option of combing through “the House’s 107-page trial brief and statement of material facts; Trump’s 110-page trial memorandum; 45 pages of opinions from the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel; nearly 40 hours of presentation by the House managers and Trump’s team; and the answers of both parties to senators’ questions,” Jipping says.
As for those witnesses who refused to testify, the House can try to compel that testimony, and they chose not to. They could have gone to the courts to get their subpoenas enforced, but instead they let the matter go and in one case even withdrew the subpoena. Why? They were in a hurry.
According to The Guardian, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered articles of impeachment to be drafted after only two months of investigating. Yet at the time, no leftist activists were claiming the proceedings were a sham or that a cover-up was underfoot.
Chris Gagin recently wrote in The Hill, “Without any witnesses, the president and Senate Republicans up for reelection become vulnerable to claims of a sham trial or, even far worse, an orchestrated cover-up rooted in a fear of the truth.” While this might be true, even if the Senate votes for witnesses, Democrats and activists will still make these claims.
Corruption Means We’re Not Getting Our Way
Let’s not forget that giving in to demands to re-open Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing and then to open another FBI investigation into allegations of sexual assault did not satisfy his detractors. The demands for “witnesses and documents” on Wednesday are reminiscent of demands for the same in Kavanaugh’s hearing.
According to Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino in their book “Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court,” the Senate Judiciary Committee was provided millions of pages of documents relating to Kavanaugh’s career. By comparison, Justice Elena Kagan only provided 173,000 pages of paperwork, and Justice Neil Gorsuch provided 182,000 pages.
Kavanaugh’s detractors didn’t really care about paperwork, and neither do Trump’s. These demands are a means of delay, distraction, and dissension. The left can’t win by the rules of the game, an election in Trump’s case or a confirmation hearing in Kavanaugh’s, so they complain about the process to convince their supporters that the outcome is illegitimate.
As one protester with Refuse Fascism said at the rally in front of the Capitol, “If you think you can solve this in 2020 with the elections, wake up. … [Trump’s] not going to respect the electoral process. … Let’s never forget he lost the last election and he’s still in power. You have to deal with the racist Electoral College. … Banking on 2020 is an illusion.”
As Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court was a foregone conclusion, so is Trump’s acquittal in the Senate. For this reason, the left is using every weapon in its arsenal to convince its base that the process itself is corrupt, that Republican senators are running a cover-up. This is why protesters swarmed the Senate.
Trump’s Impeachment Is Similar to the Kavanaugh Debacle
In a Washington Post article titled, “Impeachment feels a lot like Kavanaugh 2.0,” the author points out that like in the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing, Trump critics “have long been searching desperately for something, anything, with which to take down the designated victim.”
The author of this article, Ruth Marcus, does not believe the motives of Trump’s accusers or prosecutors should matter if Trump indeed abused his power. Understanding one’s motivations, however, is often important in understanding their actions. In this case, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board sees through the Democrats’ call for witnesses and documents:
[H]aving failed to make an adequate case to remove Mr. Trump, Democrats are trying to drag out impeachment to further tarnish his reputation and mousetrap Senate Republicans running for re-election. She demands what she calls a ‘fair trial’ after preventing a fair impeachment probe in the House. This is an abuse of the impeachment power.
Whether or not John Bolton testifies, whether the White House turns over every document that mentions Ukraine, Biden, or Burisma, it won’t matter to those on the left who want to see Trump thrown out of office. To them, this is an existential crisis.
Their entire identity is wrapped up in their hatred for Trump. As long as Trump remains president, activists will continue to disrupt normal political processes, swarming buildings and storming hearings, claiming the system is corrupt, that there is a cover-up, and that the other side is cheating.