In a real U.S. Senate, there’d be a fair impeachment trial. Pat Toomey isn’t serving in that one | Friday Morning Coffee

December 20, 2019 7:26 am

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., speaks during an event at the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg, Pa., on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019 (Capital-Star photo).

Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

What is U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey doing in that picture up there?

Is he:

A. Holding a news conference in the Dauphin County courthouse?
B. Averaging out the economic impact of the USMCA trade agreement?
C. Hoping that if he keeps his eyes closed long enough he’ll wake up in a U.S. Senate where Mitch McConnell is not the Emperor Palpatine of the Blue Grass State and will actually hold something approximating a fair impeachment trial?

Based on a statement that Toomey’s office released in the wake of Wednesday night’s historic, but depressingly pro forma, vote to impeach President Donald Trump on charges of abusing power, obstructing Congress, and saying utterly classless stuff about the late U.S. Rep. John Dingell (Okay, not a charge. But it should have been), we have no choice but to conclude that the correct answer is “C.”

Here’s the text of the statement:

“[Wednesday] marks the culmination of a highly partisan process that achieved a longstanding goal of many House Democrats: impeaching President Trump.

“It is my hope that the process in the Senate will be fair, unlike the process in the House where the controversial tactics used by Speaker Pelosi and Chairmen Nadler and Schiff broke with bipartisan precedent and denied the president the due process rights afforded to past presidents.

“In a Senate trial, House impeachment managers should be permitted to make their case, and the president’s lawyers should be able to make their defense. At the conclusion of these presentations, the Senate can then decide what further steps may be necessary.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky (Image via Flickr Commons)

Unfortunately for Toomey, he’s not serving in the Bizarro World Senate, where, oddly enough, there’s fairness and transparency. He’s stuck in this one, where McConnell has thrown any semblance of legislative independence to the wind and vowed to collaborate with the White House in making a mockery of the U.S. Constitution’s ultimate sanction.

On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that McConnell had been pushing back against White House requests for witnesses, pointing out if would gum up the works and deny Trump the swift acquittal he’d been looking for. At the same time, House Dems were still deciding whether to withhold the impeachment articles so they could extract a fairer trial in the Senate.

All this led Toomey’s Rust Belt BFF, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to lament that the Senate process had been “preempted by Mitch McConnell colluding with the defendant.” Manchin wants such current and former senior White House advisers as John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney to testify.

On the one hand, we’ll credit Toomey for pushing for witness testimony and other judicial ephemera that might signal the Senate is serious about fairness. On the other hand, his scorn for the House proceeding seems like a bit of a tell on how he might eventually fall on a potential vote to convict.

So maybe he’s exactly where he should be after all.

A Morning Coffee Exclusive:

With Honor, a 501(c)(4) dedicated to elevating veterans issues, is launching a print and digital ad buy thanking U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-6th District, for her support for language, included in a defense spending bill, that provides 12 weeks of paid leave for federal employees. The measure is expected to affect about 2.1 million people nationwide.

“We would like to thank Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan for working tirelessly on this important
legislation because no one should have to choose between their family or their paycheck. An Air Force
veteran, Congresswoman Houlahan fought for our country and she continues to fight for American families in Congress,”
 the group’s CEO Rye Barcott said in a statement obtained by the Capital-Star

A copy of the digital ad follows. Yes, the publication cited looks hauntingly familiar.

(Submitted image)

Our Stuff.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has warned of ‘disastrous’ consequences if Pennsylvania ever banned fracking, Stephen Caruso reports.

Two GOP House members from the Lehigh Valley, Reps. Justin Simmons, of Lehigh County, and Marcia Hahn, of Northampton County, have joined the 2020 Retirement ClubCaruso has the details there, too.

U.S. House Dems decried President Donald Trump’s food stamp cuts: ‘Ebeneezer Scrooge would be proud.’ Washington Bureau Chief Robin Bravender has the story.

‘People’s lives are on the line,’ Pa.’s top insurance official said Thursday, the day after a federal court struck down the Obamacare mandate.

And in a holiday interlude, you can watch two Pa. House Republicans play a piano duet of ‘O Holy Night,’ in the shadow of the Capitol Christmas Tree.

From our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune: City officials won’t complete 2019 assessment appeals by year’s end.

On our Commentary Page, opinion regular Lloyd Sheaffer would really appreciate it if you kept up that holiday giving all year long. And a University of Washington scholar looks at the 2020 Dems’ focus on public education issues.

Photo via pxHere

Asbestos has prompted the closing of two more Philadelphia schools. They’re the 5th and 6th to close this year, the Inquirer reports.
Pittsburgh and Allegheny County could make ‘a historic turn’ in the next Census, the Post-Gazette reports.
The push for a higher minimum wage is getting plenty of ink — with little movementPennLive reports.
Northampton County’s election board is calling for new voting machines in 2020, the Morning Call reports.

Here’s your very snowy #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

With welfare payments stuck at 1990 levels, Pennsylvania’s poorest families are struggling through the holidaysWHYY-FM reports.
Residents in one Dauphin County community are opposed at an attempt to build four warehouses in their backyards, WITF-FM reports.
A new suicide prevention hotline is expected to lead to a surge in reports. 
The U.S. Senate has passed its final spending package, wrapping up its work for 2019Roll Call reports.

Gov. Tom Wolf
 has no public schedule today.

What Goes On.
10 a.m., Main Rotunda: Wolf administration
 officials discuss mental issues and resources ahead of the holidays.

Heavy Rotation.
Our Christmas countdown continues this morning. It’s Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

Friday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
rallied in the third, with the Canes’ Jacob Slavin scoring a tie-breaking goal, to beat the Avs 3-1 on Thursday night. 

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.