First Day Victory

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President Trump has thus far managed to keep Senate Republicans in line, albeit early in the process. Today, by a party line vote of 53-47, the Senate rejected an opening effort by Democrats to compel the Trump administration to hand over documents related to the delayed Ukraine aid.
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Dims offered three amendments over roughly six hours to the rules resolution that would have required the administration to turn over documents. All three were tabled, meaning the requests were blocked. All three votes failed to pass by a 53-47 count.
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Cryin’ Chuck Schumer argued that the documents were critical to the trial, as they would relate to conversations between President Trump, his top administration officials and their counterparts in Ukraine on the delayed funding.  
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“The documents are of equal importance. People should understand that the documents can shed as much light on why the aid was cut off, who did it and how it evolved as the witnesses,” Schumer said. “We feel very strongly that we need documents, and that’s why it’s our first call,” Schumer said.
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What Schumer neglected to mention was that the House had every opportunity to subpoena these documents during the impeachment process. When President Trump informed them that the White House would not be handing over any documents or witnesses, they could have gone to court to challenge the administration’s claim of executive privilege. That is the very type of scenario for which the judiciary was designed. Instead, Adam Schiff and the crew decided to parlay the White House’s refusal to participate as another impeachable offense, namely “obstruction of Congress.” Now, conveniently, Dims want to challenge for documents again, all so they can create the narrative of a cover-up.
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As to the amendments themselves:
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The first amendment specifically requested documents from the White House related to the Ukraine aid from after Jan. 1, 2019, including calls between Trump and the Ukrainian government and any communications between White House staff about trying to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden.
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The second amendment focused on State Department documents, including communications about the decision to hold the Ukraine aid and documents related to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, former chargé d’affaires in Ukraine William Taylor and Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. As part of the second request, Dims also wanted copies of communications with Rudy Giuliani. 
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The third amendment, meanwhile, required the administration to hand over communications from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), including communications involving Michael Duffey, the associate director of national security at OMB. Duffey is reported as having emailed officials saying, “Clear direction from POTUS to hold” the Ukraine aid. That particular bit of info would not necessarily be incriminating even if true, as the mere act of withholding aid isn’t necessarily a nefarious act. It would, however, undermine the president’s own narrative about not being directly involved in what was happening in Ukraine during this whole episode. The president has sought to portray himself as being in the dark as to the operation Giuliani was running, which strains credulity.
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So, in the battle of the President vs Documents and Witnesses, the President has won vs Documents. Next, we’ll see if witnesses can be blocked.
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Rules Going Forward

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Turtle McConnell’s initial resolution, released yesterday, allowed the Dim House managers 24 hours to argue their case across two session days. Trump’s legal team would also have up to 24 hours over two session days to make their arguments. For those keeping score at home, that’s a couple long, 12-hour days to get ‘er done.

But today, following incessant whining by politicians who have never worked a 12-hour day in their respective lives, McConnell amended the resolution to allow each side 24 hours for presentation over three session days. McConnell also changed a second rule, allowing evidence collected during the House’s impeachment inquiry to be automatically admitted into the official record unless someone objects to the addition.

Now, the focus turns to McConnell’s resolution not guaranteeing that any witness testimony will be allowed. The rules state that following opening statements and questioning, senators will decide if they want to call forth any new witnesses, documents or any form of new evidence. The evidence will be allowed if a majority of senators agree it can be considered.

McConnell’s plan is to follow the outline of the Clinton impeachment trial. During Slick Willy’s trial, senators ultimately heard video excerpts from three witnesses, including Monica Lewinsky, who were subpoenaed to appear for taped off-site depositions. Vernon Jordan Jr. and Sidney Blumenthal had also testified.

So, even if witnesses were to be called later on in the trial, which is far from a given at this point, it may not be a primetime TV moment. John Bolton, for example, could be deposed behind closed doors for national security reasons. The president could also invoke a great deal of executive privilege, seeing as how Bolton worked at the highest levels of national security.

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What the changes means for Trump

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If the Senate votes to leave out testimony from new witnesses or documents, the impeachment trial for Trump could move ahead without any new evidence. Considering it’s the House’s job to compile this sort of stuff, that wouldn’t be some crazy unprecedented act, despite what the media will say.

Fifty-one votes are required to allow new witness testimony per the Dims’ request, meaning four Republican Senators would have to vote in favor of it. Although moderate Republican Senators like Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney have signaled they may be open to hearing from witnesses, the current whip count is in the president’s favor.

And as was covered here in last week’s analysis, even in the worst case scenario, which would be multiple RINOs joining together to approve every witness Dims wanted, the likelihood of them actually removing the president even with damning testimony is extremely low. While I understand those who are nervous about the Romney wing of the party, I feel confident about the boundaries in which they’ll operate. I haven’t been wrong yet.

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Big Picture

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Politics is all about narratives and no one is more adept at the game than Democrats. Propaganda is all they do, after all, and who can blame them. They have the entire mainstream media doing their bidding, so we’d be foolish not to expect them to wield a weapon that formidable.

The new narrative going forward will be all about the GOP cover-up. Of course no large media outlets will point out the job of the House to gather evidence and construct the case for the Senate to try. No one will ask why Schiff and co. opted not to go to court to challenge the president’s invoking of executive privilege. The reason being, the media was exactly what Dims had in mind when they chose to manufacture an obstruction charge in lieu of challenging the president in court. They knew the media would go along with the cover-up narrative, and the cover-up narrative could not exist if Dims had actually gone through the proper channels to subpoena the necessary evidence.

Are you starting to see how the game works?

Fortunately, the American people continue to be a little smarter than our Dim friends have reckoned.  Thus, the cover-up narrative will mainly appeal to the same crowd that has pushed this impeachment nonsense from Day 1: the far left and the global elites who use them. For people with real lives and real problems, this stuff became white noise long ago.

So while Schumer and Schiff can scream “Cover-up!” from the top of their respective lungs until the cows come home, this charade will ultimately go the way of the Russia investigation and every other stunt that’s been pulled since Trump came down the escalator.

Bottom line: We’re on track for a speedy trial that will be forgotten inside of two weeks. Let’s hope that trajectory holds steady. Schumer is threatening to hold continuous amendment votes in order to delay oral arguments and thus deny Republicans a chance to vote down witnesses, the idea being he can wear them down until they agree. It resembles Pelosi’s recent withholding strategy and will likely be every bit as effective (not at all).

Either way, President Trump isn’t going anywhere.

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