Anchor Maria Bartiromo of “Sunday Morning Futures” on Fox News welcomed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) — who articulated what will go on in the weeks ahead as the impeachment push against President Donald Trump intensifies after the holidays.
“[House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi said, after the impeachment, that maybe she’ll sit on the articles of impeachment before sending it over to you and your colleagues in the Senate,” said Bartiromo.
“Can she do that?” she asked.
“You can’t make this up,” responded Cruz. “Listen, I think this is a sign of weakness. This is a sign she understands just how weak these articles are. And these [two] articles of impeachment that they actually voted on were really an admission of failure. The House Democrats haven’t alleged any high crimes and misdemeanors, much less proven any. And so now, Pelosi is in a situation that she knows when it goes to the Senate, it’s going to be a fair trial. We’re going to give both sides the opportunity to present their case. We’re going to protect due process.”
“But she also knows the result of a fair trial is these impeachment claims are going to be thrown out, because they haven’t met the constitutional standard,” added Cruz.
Bartiromo asked if he envisioned witnesses in any such trial in the Senate.
“I would,” replied Cruz. “But let me tell you how I think it’s likely to play out. The trial will start in early January. It’ll start with the chief justice of the United States swearing in all 100 senators. It will then shift to the House managers presenting … their case. That will probably take several days.”
“They’ll stand up,” he added. “They’ll walk through evidence. They’ll make arguments. Then [the action] will shift to the White House, to the defense team for the president [to make] their case. And the president is going to have a full and fair opportunity to defend himself. It then will shift to questions.”
“Now, here’s where it’s a little weird,” said Cruz. “I think some people, having seen what happened in the House — they’re expecting in the Senate to see a bunch of senators asking questions … Well, the Senate impeachment rules prohibit any senator from speaking in open session — in other words, when the TV cameras are on. So, you’re not going to see [Sen.] Elizabeth Warren [of Massachusetts] and me going 15 rounds on the Senate floor — because that’s not allowed.”
Cruz further explained, “We’re both going to be sitting quietly at our desks. Now, we can submit questions, but the questions have to be in writing. And so, we can write out the question[s]. We hand them down. And the chief justice asks the questions from the senators. I think, at that point, we’re likely to recess and have a discussion.”
“I think one of two things will happen. One, it is possible that a majority of the Senate will be prepared. ‘Let’s move forward, let’s vote. They haven’t met their threshold. They haven’t come close. Let’s reject these claims.’ I think that’s an outcome that could happen.”
Added Cruz, “Secondly, there could well be a procedural fight. ‘Do we need more evidence? Do we need more witnesses?’ — in which case, that question is decided by 51 senators. Every legal question — the chief justice can rule in the first instance, but the chief justice can be overruled by 51 senators. I think John Roberts is very likely to follow the Rehnquist precedent and … defer the procedural questions to the Senate, which means if 51 Republicans agree, we can resolve any legal issue.”
“And to me,” he also said, “that means [that] if the president wants to call Hunter Biden, if the president wants to call the whistleblower, due process mandates that we allow the president to defend himself, to make his case. And so, I think we should do so, but that’s a decision, in the first place, for the president and the White House legal team.”
Regarding the notion of whether any GOP senators will vote to impeach, Cruz noted that he didn’t know of any.
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“It is certainly possible,” said Cruz. “There are a couple that could vote that way. But I think anyone voting on the facts, anyone voting on the law — this is a very easy vote. What they [the Democrats in the House] have alleged is not a high crime or misdemeanor … The first article is just this amorphous ‘abuse of power’ — which, by the way, is maladministration. It’s literally the term that was rejected in the Constitutional Convention. That’s what they’re alleging. That plainly doesn’t meet the constitutional threshold. The second article, though, is orders of magnitude weaker. So, the second article is obstruction of Congress. And interestingly enough, people are used to obstruction of justice.”
Bartiromo said, “I’ve never heard of obstruction of Congress, but I’ve heard of obstruction of power or … obstruction of justice.”
Cruz pointed out, “Obstruction of justice is a crime. It’s a felony. It’s a serious felony.”
“But they named it ‘obstruction of Congress,'” said Bartiromo.
“Because they couldn’t prove obstruction of justice,” explained Cruz. “The basis for their so-called obstruction of Congress claim is that the president and aides in the executive [branch] asserted privileges. That’s it … Their assertion,” he added, “is simply claiming a privilege is an impeachable offense. If that were true, all 45 presidents — going back to George Washington — every one of them would have committed impeachable offenses. That’s just laughable.”
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