When President Trump sought to block oversight by Congress in the Mazars case, by the courts in the McGahn case, and by the states in the Vance case, he argued that only Congress could hold him accountable – through their power of impeachment.
When President Trump stonewalled the Ukraine scandal investigation, the House of Representatives impeached him, to hold him accountable, just as he had argued in court they could do.
But in the Senate trial, President Trump made two arguments. First, he said that no witnesses had testified to seeing him commit the offenses.
This is where the shell game comes full circle. To answer the argument about witnesses, there were indeed witnesses, but President Trump refused to let them testify, which he did consistent with his view in the McGahn case. When this was pointed out to his legal team, their response was that the impeachment investigators must not have thought witnesses were important because they refused to go to court to fight for them. But this directly contradicts their view in McGahn that courts are not able to help Congress in a dispute with the president.
The second argument from President Trump’s legal team was that, even if he had done everything he was accused of doing, he still could not be convicted because the alleged wrongdoings were not severe enough to meet the Constitutional bar for impeachment. But this directly contradicts their position in the Mazars case. They argued there that Congress could impeach the president if he was obstructing them. If President Trump can obstruct Congress from investigating impeachable offenses and Congress is not allowed to impeach the president for this obstruction, then the impeachment process would become toothless and irrelevant.
If Trump is not accountable to the federal government through impeachment and not accountable to the states at all, as President Trump argued in the Vance case, then the president would be accountable to nobody. He would be above the law. This is why Trump’s arguments must be exposed. The people of the United States cannot play Trump’s shell game.
Inquiry Announced: September 24, 2019
Impeachment by House: December 19, 2019
Acquittal by the Senate: February 5, 2020