Mitch McConnell had the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump all planned out, but once the trial began he lost control of the process, and that clearly has Trump terrified.
After laying out a process on Monday evening that allowed no evidence or witnesses and relegated the House impeachment managers just two days of presenting their case — at 12 hours a day — things started to unravel today as soon as McConnell began talking to members of the Republican caucus.
Two days suddenly became three days at eight hours a day. And then all of the testimony was allowed to be entered into evidence, meaning that much of the damaging information that came to light during hearings conducted by the House Intelligence Committee will now be also be allowed, according to Josh Lederman of NBC News:
At the last minute, a change to this provision: House evidence now will be admitted automatically unless there’s an objection, rather than requiring a pro-active vote to admit it https://t.co/F0O1c6jg0o
— Josh Lederman (@JoshNBCNews) January 21, 2020
And that means that witnesses are probably going to be allowed, too, because it’s now clear that McConnell no longer has the ability to prevent them. Too many in the GOP caucus have let the majority leader know they want no part of a show trial with a predetermined outcome:
.@burgessev reports that McConnell revised organizing resolution for trial after some objections from some GOP senators, including Susan Collins, Rob Portman & others
— John Bresnahan (@BresPolitico) January 21, 2020
As a result, the president, who is in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, realized that McConnell had failed in his attempt to steer the trial to safe waters and bring it to a speedy end. All Trump could do is helplessly tweet out this:
READ THE TRANSCRIPTS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 21, 2020
What the president conveniently neglected to mention is that we still haven’t seen the transcripts from his calls with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. All the White House allowed the public and Congress to see is a summary of the transcript. Now, however, we may get a chance to see the full transcripts, and that could be very bad news for Trump.
This impeachment trial may wind up being exactly what both McConnell and Trump fear most: A search for the truth. Because the truth is not on their side.