Publisher's note: This informational nugget was sent to me by Ben Shapiro, who represents the Daily Wire, and since this is one of the most topical news events, it should be published on BCN.
The author of this post is Josh Hammer.
This week is the second week of the U.S. Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump for allegedly committing the "high crimes and misdemeanors
" of "abuse of power" and "obstruction of Congress
." The president's legal defense team, led by White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and Jay Sekulow, have jointly led the effort. They have been joined in doing so by other high-profile attorneys, including former Clinton-era independent counsel Ken Starr and vaunted Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz. That legal defense wrapped up earlier in the week, and the past couple of days have featured back-and-forth questioning between the two sides. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, as he has been doing all along
, continues to preside
It seems that the thrust of the president's legal defense has now completed its journey from "no quid pro quo" to conceding the "quid pro quo" nature of President Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky, but also arguing that the nature of the president's motives does not turn an otherwise-legal interaction into an impeachable offense. Constitutional law professor Josh Blackman recently made this argument
in The New York Times, and Dershowitz actually read from Blackman's op-ed earlier this week on the Senate floor. The GOP-friendly Wall Street Journal editorial board has also been relentlessly hammering home
this point. I saw this coming myself, arguing back in November at both The Daily Wire
and the New York Post
that the concededly "quid pro quo" nature of Trump's phone call, in the context of him exercising his constitutionally delegated authority over foreign affairs
, amounts to constitutionally protected free speech that cannot possibly be construed as impeachable conduct. I reiterated and expanded upon that argument in a Daily Wire op-ed yesterday
In other news, the Senate will vote later today on whether to call additional witnesses. Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has waffled this week, as to whether or not he currently has the necessary Republican votes to blockadditional witnesses. Of course, the key prospective witness generating headlines, at this point, is former National Security Advisor John Bolton. The mustachioed man's upcoming tell-all manuscript will, according to New York Times reporting last weekend, allege that Trump's Ukraine money hold-up was done in anticipation of the 2020 election - and not in retrospective fashion to root out past corruption. If true, Bolton's testimony could directly implicate which of the two plausible theories of impeachment, as outlined at National Review
in October by Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro, is actually true. Not to be outdone, though, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), a lead Trump defender on impeachment, has also introduced a motion
that would subpoena 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), and the Ukraine "whistleblower."
It's all rapidly unfolding right before our eyes. We'll know by the end of today whether Bolton and Hunter Biden might be called as witnesses before the Senate. It's a great time to be a political nerd.