It is hard to imagine a Republican having a moment of conscience when assessing Trump’s execution of his oath of office. Listening to Senator Baker from 1974 describe the moment he realized he may not know all the facts regarding Nixon and John Mitchell’s involvement in the break-in at the Democratic Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel was moving. Baker’s actions were in sharp contrast to efforts by Republican Senators of today. They make excuses for Trump’s unlawful behaviors. They show no curiosity or concern for the truth. Senator Baker’s moment of conscience reminded his pursuit of the truth was his duty. There is nostalgia for those days when, despite intense partisanship, doing the right thing and defending the Constitution prevailed over defending a corrupt president.
Listening to Senator Baker, I was also struck by the emotion he showed when recalling how he and other Republicans conducted themselves when suspecting wrongdoing on the part of Nixon and his Administration. There was pride in his voice as he retold the story of the investigation and the corruption they discovered. I hope the Senators serving as jurors in the Trump Impeachment trial saw this taped interview and were awakened to the responsibility they have to uncover the truth, even if it puts their party’s power in jeopardy. Trump has contaminated the morals of Congress by using fear tactics to control the government for his personal and political gain. One can only imagine the kind of incriminating information Trump might be threatening to expose about such Congress members as Lindsey Graham, Devin Nunez, Ted Cruz, and many others. Why else would these politicians have gone from saying, “he is a kook, a cancer on democracy and a horrible human being” to defending everything he does and says?
During the Senate Impeachment trial, The White House Counsel could not produce government officials to contradict the incriminating testimonies against Trump given by State Department officials Dr. Fiona Hill, Ambassador Marie Yovanovich, and Ambassador Gordon Sondland during the impeachment inquiry. Instead, Trump’ s attorney’s presented distractions to the central question of whether Trump’s withholding of Congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine for his own political gain should result in removal from office. Instead, they whined about the House needing more witnesses, accusing them of not doing their job. Their argument ignored the president’s blocking of witnesses the House requested during their investigation.
White House Attorney Alan Dershowitz argued if a president believes actions he takes on his own behalf will also benefit the country, then that action cannot be impeachable. After extreme backlash from the legal community, Dershowitz clarified he did not mean a president could engage in an illegal act. However, the OMB has declared Trump did break the law by withholding the military aid from Ukraine. Dershowitz seems to selectively ignore facts that prove Trump’s wrongdoing.
The majority of Senate Republicans admit they oppose allowing witnesses or documents into the trial. If they succeed, this will be the only impeachment trial in history without witnesses or documents introduced as evidence. If Trump is acquitted in a sham trial, he will falsely claim exoneration. Democrats will make sure to remind the country that the acquittal was based on party majority, not on facts and truth. Republicans are rejecting the idea of a fair trial for Trump, but were proponents of evidence and witness in the Bill Clinton impeachment trial. Has hypocrisy become the norm in our politics?
If Republican Senator’s revisit Senator Jim Baker’s perspective of his role in investigating Nixon in the Watergate scandal, maybe they will realize their allegiance should be to the truth, not a president.