Is Ohio Rep Rob Portman a Stand-Up Guy?

Washington’s impeachment hearing circus is in full bloom and the Dem’s need four votes to impeach President Donald J. Trump!

During the impeachment proceedings the day-to-day focus will be on House prosecutors and the White House’s defense team, not necessarily the Senators casting the final vote. But Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican, along with a substantial number of GOP Senators, pressed Mr. McConnell to spread out 24 hours of opening remarks over three days instead of two, according to reports. This is the first indication that he is more concerned with what is right for the people he represents, as opposed to business as usual up at the big house in Washington D.C.

Mr. Portman joined colleagues at a GOP lunch and stated a desire for the change to better model President Bill Clinton’s 1999 impeachment trial, according to a person familiar with his thinking. Throughout the impeachment proceedings, Mr. Portman has maintained that he hasn’t seen evidence to warrant removing the President from office. But some observers believe Mr. Portman is more persuadable than GOP hardliners to vote with Democrats on the rules shaping the trial. “Rob supports a fair and thorough trial process that follows the only precedent in the past 150 years, the 1999 Clinton impeachment trial. That process was supported by all 100 Senators in the last Senate trial,” his spokesman Emmalee Kalmbach said.

While the Senators are a constant presence throughout the trial, they won’t have the opportunity to grandstand during the proceedings filmed exclusively by government-controlled cameras that will limit what viewers see and hear inside the chamber. While on the floor, Senators also won’t have access to cell phones or electronics, and they’re limited to drinking water or milk. The Senate Impeachment trial will tell us more about the Republican party and its future than about President Trump. We already know how he operates, but Senate Republicans will be put to the test. Will they defend our Constitution, our Republic or will they accede to an imperial presidency envisioned by many in their once Grand Old Party?

While most of the Senate members may not be convinced that there is sufficient evidence that the president engaged in these acts, the American people and the House Judiciary Committee disagree (Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York).

When a president systematically blockades congressional subpoenas and instructs current and former aides not to provide documents and testimony, that is another basis to impeach, argued another witness, Michael J. Gerhardt, a University of North Carolina law professor and author of “The Federal Impeachment Process: A Constitutional and Historical Analysis.”

“In this situation, the full-scale obstruction of those subpoenas, I think, torpedoes separation of powers and, therefore, your only recourse is to, in a sense, protect your institutional prerogatives, and that would include impeachment,” Mr. Gerhardt testified.

We live in an age where the news cycle has been accelerated to just minutes, in this case by the velocity of tweets, which in many cases, are coming out in response to events in real time. The president knows this and is just trying once more to manipulate the situation to his own favor, knowing that there are academics who will point out, as you did, the importance of discretion and full development of the facts, a laudable aim. Unfortunately, this is not a criminal investigation and such standards do not clearly apply. There has never been a president as indiscreet and unwilling to consider facts as this one, and sadly, that works in his favor.

Mr. Portman, time to pick sides!

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