Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, every other elected Democrat on cue, and every Democrat operative in the legacy media are DEMANDING a “fair trial.” How many times have you heard one of them use that euphemism over the past month? And sure enough, just as I am writing this, I glance up at the TV and see Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) making the Democrat case for a “fair trial” on FNC’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto.” The Democrats are nothing if not predictable – and relentless in their use of Democrat poll-tested phrases.

In the 1980s movie “The Princess Bride,” the evil Sicilian Vizzini repeatedly used of the word “inconceivable” as the movie’s hero, the “Dread Pirate Roberts,” continually overcame obstacles placed in his path. Vizzini’s hireling, Inigo Montoya, eventually responded to Vizzini: “You keep using that word; I do not think it means what you think it means.” Likewise, the euphemism “fair trial” as used by the Democrats doesn’t mean what they seem to think it means. Let’s explore the real meaning and give the Democrats a taste of what a REAL fair impeachment trial in the Senate would entail.

The Democrats insist that a “fair trial” has to do with ensuring that the prosecution (the House managers) is afforded the opportunity to call whomever they wish as witnesses and present any and all documents that they think need to be produced regardless of legal protections. They conflate the meaning of fair trial in service of their partisan politics, hoping to convince enough of the public that what they are claiming is reasonable. But what does a “fair trial” real mean?

First of all, the US Constitution ensures all accused parties of the right to a jury trial, but the Constitution is silent on the meaning of a “fair trial.” Here is what the Sixth Amendment says:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Over the 239 years since the Constitution was ratified, the concept of a “fair trial” has been defined and evolved from case law and legal consensus to include the following rights afforded to the accused:

  • The right to an impartial jury
  • The right to due process of law
  • The right to confront accusers and evidence against him and to call witnesses in his defense
  • The right to legal counsel

In short, a fair trial is intended to protect the accused against legal excesses by an all-powerful state, which is just the sort of situation that the partisan Democrats have foisted upon the President and the rest of us – a sham impeachment based on no impeachable crimes cited (an historical first) and hearsay evidence and personal opinions of witnesses. If the Democrats’ definition of “fair trial” were to rule the day, then the rights of the accused (the President) would be violated many times over as concept of “fair trial” is commonly understood. Let’s look at the four characteristics of a fair trial in terms of what they would really mean in a Senate impeachment trial.

  1. The right to legal counsel. This is a no-brainer. The President will have legal representation (to be determined) during the Senate trial. So far, so good.
  2. The right to due process of law. Due process in a Senate impeachment trial is whatever a majority of senators agree to. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) isn’t going to roll over and let the Democrats call the shots on process and procedures. Regarding the introduction of new witnesses, let’s see if the Democrats are willing to go down the path of “witness reciprocity” as proposed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (Republicans would be free to pick any witness in exchange for whomever the Democrats demand). Somehow, I don’t think the Democrats want the American people to listen to testimony by the fake whistleblower or Hunter Biden. So this characteristic isn’t a “slam dunk,” but it is pretty close to one.
  3. The right to confront accusers and evidence against him and to call witnesses in his defense. Now it starts to get really prickly from the Democrats’ point of view. I can’t wait for Mitch McConnell and the Republicans to throw this characteristic in the Democrats’ faces. The President should be allowed to confront the accusers directly, to challenge testimony associated with the presentations of the House impeachment managers, and to call witnesses in his defense that counter the Democrats’ case. Do the Senate Democrats want to open that Pandora’s box in their insistence on calling new witnesses not deposed during the House impeachment star chamber hearings? They risk directly experiencing Trumpenfreude when/if they walk that plank. While this characteristic is “to be determined” at this point, I cannot imagine the President’s constitutional rights being violated by denying him the ability to confront witnesses and their testimony, as well as to call his own witnesses in defense.
  4. The right to an impartial jury. Finally, we get to the “big enchilada” that the Democrats and legacy media do not wish to discuss. What does an impartial jury entail? Many Americans have served on various types of juries over the years as part of their citizenship obligation, and those who have done so understand the jury selection process from PERSONAL experience. They know exactly what is involved in jury selection – the removal of people from the jury pool with conflicts of interest and inherent and/or overt biases against the accused. How might that apply in a Senate impeachment trial, which by definition is a POLITICAL trial? Let’s look at those considerations.

First of all, any Democrat senator who was or is a candidate for the Democrat presidential nomination by definition has a “conflict of interest.” In fact, most of them have even publicly clamored for President Trump’s removal for office before, during and after the House Democrats’ impeachment show trial. That means that the following Democrat senators should immediately recuse themselves from the Senate impeachment trial:

  • Michael Bennet (D-CO)
  • Cory Booker (D-NJ)
  • Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
  • Kamala Harris (D-CA)
  • Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
  • Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
  • Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

Then there is a list of Democrat senators who have flooded the airwaves since the House Democrats passed their two articles of impeachment and claimed that the “body of evidence is overwhelming against the President” and other such completely biased statements. Those Democrat senators include: Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Dick Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris  Coons (D-DE), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and others. The notion that these senators have signed oaths on Thursday that they will serve as “unbiased jurors” is patently absurd. They should recuse themselves forthwith (and maybe face ethics charges for falsifying those signed oaths in the interest of “fairness”).

But we’re not done yet with Democrat senators and their conflicts of interest. An excellent article appeared at AmericanThinker(dot)com back in October that highlighted conflicts related to Ukraine(!). Here are a couple of excerpts (the article cited other direct sources):

David Leiter, John Kerry’s former chief of staff, … registered as a Burisma lobbyist in mid-2014. But in the year leading up to that, he gave close to $60,000 to Democrats, including a select group of U.S. senators who would later be instrumental in pushing cash towards Ukraine’s energy sector, directly in line with Burisma’s interests. He donated to Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., four times and to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., three times.

[I]n May [2018], CNN reported that Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) wrote a letter to Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Yuriy Lutsenko, expressing concern at the closing of four investigations they said were critical to the Mueller probe. In the letter, they implied that their support for U.S. assistance to Ukraine was at stake.

That adds five more Democrat senators to the list of those with conflicts of interest (not to mention corruption and hypocrisy) regarding the upcoming Senate impeachment trial which, by my count, brings the total to at least 20 Democrat senators who need to recuse themselves from the Senate impeachment trial immediately. That’s nearly half of the Democrat caucus in the Senate!

What does a REAL fair trial look like in the Senate? Here’s a short summary with which Inigo Montoya would probably agree in principle as a correct interpretation based on the above discussion points:

  • Recusal of 20+ Democrat senators for blatant political conflicts of interest (and in the interest of “fairness,” toss in the few Republican senators who have openly declared for acquittal)
  • Witness reciprocity as a due process condition if/when the Democrats seek new witnesses not deposed by the House
  • Direct confrontation of the President’s accusers, e.g., fake whistleblower Eric Ciaramella, House Intelligence Committee staff with whom Ciaramella coordinated before coming forward, Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson (to explain how and why the IC whistleblower rules were changed), Hunter Biden (to establish the basis for the President’s concern about Ukraine corruption), and other fact witnesses such as Adam Schiff himself as desired by the President’s legal team.
  • Recusal of Supreme Court Justice John Roberts for the reasons discussed here.

Let’s have that “fair trial” about which Democrats have been caterwauling, but let’s do it consistent with long-held principles and definitions that all Americans understand, not under the Democrats’ false premises. Under these terms, I like the President’s odds of acquittal – and vindication!

The end.

Stu Cvrk
Stu Cvrk served 30 years in the US Navy in a variety of active and reserve capacities, with considerable operational experience in the Middle East and the Western Pacific. An oceanographer and systems analyst through education and experience, Stu is a graduate of the US Naval Academy where he received a classical liberal education which serves as the key foundation for his political commentary. He threads daily on Twitter on a wide range of political, military, foreign policy, government, economics, and world affairs topics.
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