February 14, 2021

Allow me to vent my spleen.

I am sick and tired of armchair impeachment managers and pseudo Constitutional scholars kicking and disrespecting these brilliant and tireless advocates for democracy and victims of Donald Trump's crimes. The House Impeachment Managers did an absolutely STELLAR job bringing about a speedy impeachment charge against the Orange Menace, and putting together an irrefutable, compelling, dramatic, and — yes — mind-changing case against him for inciting insurrection against the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Their decision to not call witnesses in person, or on video call, despite having voted in favor of the right to do so, was a legitimate let down to most Democrats and liberals who wanted to make it as difficult as possible for the spineless GOP to acquit Trump. (I'm giving ALL of us credit for understanding the ultimate outcome would not have changed.) Live witness testimony could have given us even more ammunition, fodder for campaign ads, evidence read into the record, a heavier albatross to hang around the necks of Republicans running in 2022 and 2024, including anyone with the surname "Trump."

I get the disappointment, frustration, despair, I really do.

What I do NOT get is the need to blame the DEMOCRATS for this. Especially in the immediate aftermath. Bring your ear close to my mouth so that I can whisper very slowly these small words.

"You. Don't. Know. All. The. Facts."

Can you please give these Impeachment Managers — fighting a fight they knew they would lose, but were already executing with passion and super-human skill — credit for having more information at their disposal than you did? Might we give them grace while having to make a possibly agonizing, multi-faceted decision in a very short time, with consequences that reverberate out for 350 million Americans, and credit for having more experience and knowledge about the right thing to do than we did? Even though they are Congresspeople?

You might say, "Oh, it's not the Managers we're mad at. It's the Democratic Senators who pressured them compromise so they could get home for Valentine's Day!" and I would close my eyes and exhale and say, "Don't believe Politico headlines, EVER."

You might say, "But Ari Melber said THIS thing!"

And I would dig my nails into my palms and respond,

and this,

and this.

And if you paid any attention at all to the reporting while negotiations were going on, you'd have heard Nicolle Wallace say that her sources close to the Impeachment Managers were saying ALL of the potential witnesses friendly to the prosecution had gone cold, INCLUDING Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. You'd be wondering why THAT was. Might there be witness tampering going on? We know there were threats to Rep. Beutler just the night before made by Marjorie Taylor Greene. Can you direct your bile and frustration towards THOSE things, please?

Listen to what Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), one of the brilliant and riveting House Managers, had to say about these things on Jonathan Capehart's show this morning. "We at the last minute got information about our colleague, Jaime Herrera Beutler's statement and what was said to her by Kevin McCarthy. And we wanted to get that in. So the strategy was, do the motion for witnesses at the time that the motion of witnesses were allowed. Negotiate and get that statement in, and we were able to do that," she said. Summing it up nicely, she said, "At the end of the day, it wasn't more witnesses we needed. We needed more senators with spines. They lacked the fortitude."

Then Congresswoman Plaskett reminded us that we are STILL waiting for the courts to settle whether or not Don McGahn must testify in the case of Donald Trump's FIRST impeachment. Do we really think hostile witnesses in this impeachment trial were going to help? She laid it on the line. "And these are not honest people. Kevin McCarthy has changed his story numerous times. Vice President Pence, his own president came after him and tried to assassinate him and we still haven't heard from him. What does that tell you about their fortitude, their loyalty, not only to the Constitution and the American public, but to their own sense of honor and manhood?" THAT is the question you need to ask. THOSE are the things that should be enraging you.

Even now, more reporting is coming out about GOP threats to hold up all of Biden's nominees and initiatives if the Managers called witnesses. If anything, this is reason to kill the filibuster, but as it stands, the filibuster still lives, so, how is that the Managers' fault, or even the Democrats' fault at this point, one month into Biden's presidency?

None of this is to say that Democrats are above reproach or criticism. Ever. But in this case, I truly believe this outrage was pre-mature and misplaced. Not because their decision was necessarily the right one — maybe it was not — but because the choice was no easy slam-dunk. Because no one had more information than these particular Impeachment Managers. And because I also don't believe anyone has more integrity than the people on this team.

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