Today is the second day of impeachment questions from senators to the House managers and the president's defense team. That means the end of this sham process is finally in sight!
Just one more potential hurdle remains – whether Democrats will succeed in their demand to call more witnesses, prolonging the investigation and the harassment of this president.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated earlier this week that he didn't have the votes yet to stop Chuck Schumer from calling witnesses. That was terribly disappointing to hear. So today, I joined dozens of conservative leaders in an open letter to the Senate urging opposition to additional witnesses in the impeachment trial. You can read our letter here.
Thankfully, it seems some senators are getting the message. There are encouraging reports that GOP senators are closing ranks and McConnell may now have the votes to block additional witnesses.
Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) have indicated that they see no reason to prolong this process. Last night, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) pressed the House managers as to why they did not seek to enforce subpoenas for the witnesses they now insist on calling. The response was dismissive and insulting. She also met privately with McConnell yesterday, and is expected to stand with the party.
But there are a couple of holdouts.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who is facing a very tough reelection battle, has said from the beginning that she supported hearing from witnesses, a position she held during the Clinton impeachment trial. So at least she's consistent.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) has said he wants witnesses, and has aggressively pushed for them during regular caucus meetings. He's not up for reelection for four more years, but polling shows that Utah conservatives are not happy with him. (Here and here.)
Who knows what is motivating the former GOP standard-bearer. Perhaps it's anger that he wasn't selected for a Cabinet position.
An interesting personal note: In 2012, Romney met with me and other evangelical leaders to assure us that he would be a president we could comfortably endorse and encourage others to support. Naturally, there were some skeptics in the room. Romney's description of himself as "severely conservative" – a phrase no conservative would ever use – wasn't helpful.
A few weeks after our meeting, many of us received an unsolicited gift, a wooden chair with a plaque that read, "There is always a place for you at our table." It was a nice gesture. But, frankly, I didn't know what to do with it.
I hoped that he understood that giving me a chair would have no bearing on my decisions. Today, I can say without any hesitation that I not only do not want a seat at his table, I'm trying to figure out how to return the chair to him!
Bribery & The Whistleblower
There were a number of bizarre exchanges during yesterday's question time. At one point, Adam Schiff went on a rant, accusing the president of bribery and extortion.
Deputy White House Counsel Patrick Philbin responded by noting that Schiff's outburst would result in a mistrial in any courtroom in America. Philbin added that it was "totally impermissible" and a "fundamental violation of due process" for Schiff to accuse the president of crimes not even mentioned in the articles of impeachment.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) repeatedly attempted to ask questions about the so-called "whistleblower," Eric Ciaramella. But Chief Justice John Roberts refused to read them.
This is a disturbing development because it appears that Roberts is accepting left-wing talking points regarding the necessity of shielding the "whistleblower's" identity. There are serious questions as to whether Ciaramella is even covered by the whistleblower statute or whether he's just another Deep State leaker.
According to Reuters, there are limited protections for a whistleblower's identity while a complaint is under review by the intelligence community inspector general. But the complaint was dismissed by the director of national intelligence and the Justice Department's Criminal Division.
Moreover, Reuters notes that once the complaint leaves the inspector general's control "the law does little to guarantee the whistleblower anonymity."
Why Is Hillary Hiding?
As you may know, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is suing Hillary Clinton for defamation. The former secretary of state bizarrely suggested that Russian agents were "grooming" Gabbard for a third party presidential campaign. Clinton also alleged that both Gabbard and environmental activist Jill Stein were "Russian assets."
Unfortunately, Gabbard is having a tough time getting her day in court. Her lawyers have twice attempted to serve legal papers to Clinton and have been rejected both times. In one case, Clinton's Secret Service agents at her Chappaqua home refused to accept the papers.
It is the job of the Secret Service to protect Clinton from physical jeopardy. But I have a serious problem with these taxpayer-funded public servants shielding her from self-inflicted legal jeopardy!
Children At Risk
Several recent developments around the country caught my attention, and they speak volumes about the state of the culture war in America today. Men and women of faith cannot sit on the sidelines because our children are caught in the crossfire.
In Virginia, progressives have passed several radical bills, including banning "conversion therapy," establishing a "Transgender Day of Remembrance" and forcing the transgender ideology on every public school across the state.
In New York, preschoolers – three and four year-olds – are being told that they can change their gender. Just imagine what will happen the first time a four year-old tells a teacher that his parents disagreed with his "choice" to be a girl.
Politicians in South Dakota appear to be bucking the trend. The state House passed a bill protecting children under 16 from the extreme medical procedures associated with "gender transitioning."