Susan Collins Sets New Olympic Record For Susan Collins-Ing
We covered extensively yesterday the corrupt, underhanded shadiness unearthed in texts from Giuliani pal Lev Parnas, about the scheme to pressure Ukraine into meddling in the 2020 election on Donald Trump's behalf that's landed the president in impeachment. The House Intelligence Committee dropped the bomb Tuesday, and Senator Susan Collins -- famed Senate "moderate" -- wants to know why she's only hearing about this evidence now and not earlier or, even better, well after she's voted for Donald Trump's acquittal.
She'd probably planned to spend the summer chilling on a beach, drinking pina coladas, and softly caressing piles of Republican donor cash. But House Democrats spoiled all that with their revelation of inconvenient truths.
Look at Collins throwing shade on Nancy Pelosi's impeachment raiders! We predicted Susan Collins would eventually Susan Collins about this, but she certainly Susan Collins-ed earlier than we assumed she'd Susan Colins. All she needs now is for some anti-Trump protestors to sass her and she'll have every excuse she needs to hop on the Mitch McConnell Sham Trial Express.
Collins is simultaneously accusing Democrats of both deviousness and incompetence. They either held onto incriminating evidence until the last possible moment -- for reasons most foul! -- or they just can't impeach themselves out of a wet paper bag. Collins grades impeachments on a pass/fail basis. There are no incompletes.
Law-talking person Teri Kanefield pointed out on Twitter that Collins's argument is stupid sauce. Even if you assume the House did a bad job, that doesn't mean the Senate should. Senators aren't just jurors, quietly playing mental solitaire during the dull parts of the trial. They also can function as the judge, deciding whether or not to admit new evidence. This is why McConnell's open cooperation with the White House is so corrupt. A judge can't refuse to admit new evidence into a trial solely to protect the defendant. Kanefield argues that the House's new evidence supports its conclusion that Trump is "Guilty! Guilty! Guilty," which means the House actually did its job and Collins should consider doing hers.
Thing is, there was a time Collins loved new evidence. During the impeachment trial for Bill Clinton's fellatio offenses, Collins, then in her first term, declared, “I need witnesses and further evidence to guide me to the right destination, to get to the truth."
Collins has reportedly been trying to negotiate with her colleagues to hear from witnesses. But Trump hand towel Ted Cruz countered with a demand for “reciprocal witnesses," where Republicans can call any random member of Joe Biden's family for every relevant witness Democrats call. The whole reason Trump got impeached was because he extorted Ukraine's president in hopes of damaging Biden politically, and it seems Republicans want to use Trump's trial to help him commit the actual crime. That's certainly novel if repugnant.
Collins says it's too soon to say whether Hunter Biden should testify at Trump's trial, which would only benefit the president and hurt Joe Biden just before his primary race. (At least that is their theory, we think? It's just as likely to hilariously blow up in Republicans' face.) When asked if Hunter had relevant information for the trial, Collins could only answer, “How can I tell? You're asking me to pre-judge the evidence." Of course, Hunter Biden didn't withhold aid from Ukraine in exchange for dirt on his father. It's not “pre-judging" the evidence to say he's not relevant to charges against Trump. At least Hillary Clinton's emails weren't a living person that the GOP used as a political cudgel.
If you're somewhat cynical or just familiar with Republicans, you might think Collins is part of a scheme to turn the impeachment trial into a circus with Hunter Biden as the unwilling clown for the defense. They'd love the spectacle of Joe Biden himself on the stand. Maybe Collins and Lisa Murkowski will make their plea for witnesses to corner Democrats into giving up the Bidens in exchange for John Bolton or something. Sure why not!
This brings us to the best Susan Collins story of the week. Tuesday, she reportedly took a left turn at Albuquerque and wound up in the Senate Press Gallery. She tried to flee all those folks seeking the truth and just wound up back in the Senate chamber. Dig her response.
COLLINS: I'm trying to find my secret pathway and I've really messed up ... in the worst way.
Yes, senator, yes, you did, and you'll have to live with it.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.