In the space of less than 72 hours, congressional Democrats called for witnesses to be heard in the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump, then agreed not to interview witnesses and conclude the trial on Saturday, then announced on Monday a new investigation to include witness interviews. What exactly are they trying to accomplish?
The Journal’s Alex Leary reports on the current position that more investigation is needed:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday said Congress will establish an independent 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and “relating to the interference with the peaceful transfer of power.” She also called for new funding to keep lawmakers safe and secure the Capitol.
Mrs. Pelosi had previously enlisted retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré to lead a review of the security infrastructure, interagency processes, and command and control. In a letter to House members on Monday she said, “It is clear from his findings and from the impeachment trial that we must get to the truth of how this happened.”
Getting to the truth is surely a laudable goal, even if Saturday’s action in the Senate made one wonder whether truth-seeking was really the priority. Burgess Everett, Heather Caygle and Marianne Levine reported in Politico on what happened after senators agreed to call witnesses:
During the Senate break after the witness vote Saturday, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) twice came into the managers’ room off the Senate floor, according to multiple Democratic sources. Coons pressed House Democrats to relent, saying their quest for witnesses would cost them Republican votes to convict and maybe even some Democrats.
“The jury is ready to vote,” Coons told the managers, according to a senior House Democratic aide. “People want to get home for Valentine‘s Day.”
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night could stay lawmakers from their solemn impeachment duty. But observance of a marginal unofficial holiday seems to have done the trick.
Whether or not one believes in a senatorial duty to honor the sanctity of Valentine’s Day, James Downie of the Washington Post argued on Sunday that it’s a little early for Congress to be demanding time off. “Less than a full month into Joe Biden’s presidency, Congress is already entering a week in recess,” noted Mr. Downie.