Politics

Van Der Veen Owns Impeachment Trial Fourth Day

He tore the Democrats apart.

Image Credit: YouTube/ABC News

In the senate impeachment trial the Democrats have generally won the show and tell with video, as the Republicans will win the case. Although, the Republican lawyers were better on Friday. This is likely due to the advice of Senators Cruz, Lee, and Graham.

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Standouts on Friday were the performances of Trump lawyer David Schoen and Michael van der Veen. Bruce Castor was better on Friday, but continues to disappoint, as when he referred to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger as Ben Roethlisberger, an NFL quarterback.

The Republicans did suffer, as has been widely noted, from a disadvantage on comms. The Democrats have had a slick and persuasive media presentation, albeit a tad redundant, while Republicans have relied on one short video clip, produced with bizarrely inappropriate music in the background, that they played over and over again without respite. Perhaps it is because Democrats enjoy broad support amongst entertainment types that they were able to put together a superior show. As someone who produced and directed GOP media for twenty years I can tell you, Republicans really need to up their game in this department.

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The Democrats proved Friday they are good reading presentations but are horrible extemporaneously, as van Der Veen ripped them apart piece by piece and Schoen nailed them on hypocrisy, as did van der Veen, numerous times. Democrats Plaskett and Castro especially were more than once the victims of their own missteps, savagely pounced upon by van der Veen.

As for the chronology, the Republicans opened up the day aggressively. They challenged Democrats on every point of law and common sense and got surprisingly personal with the Democrat House managers, showing them engaged in exactly the same type of behavior they accuse Trump of, hence the accurate charge of hypocrisy. But the fun really didn’t start until the question and answer period.

Senators sent one sided questions to the advocates on their side of the aisle, some senators sending a question to both sides to try and illustrate a point or trip up the opposition.

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One thing must be said at this juncture. Despite earlier concerns, Democrat Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont played it right down the middle as judge. He has behaved honorably and professionally.

The Republicans overwhelmingly won the Q&A, as Democrats lied, stumbled, and tried to spin their way out of trouble, to no avail. Bill Cassidy, Republican of Louisiana, interestingly sent a question up that helped the Democrats. He’s probably a solid vote for conviction, though he may just be protecting his moderate flank.

Van der veen, taking a major page out of the message control handbook, responded to Democrat questions by going back to his own script and almost ignoring the questions. Well played.

So while the Democrats win on comms points, the Republicans clobbered them during question and answer. On to Saturday and the conclusion of the trial. Our guess? 44-56 for acquittal. 11 short of the vote needed to convict. That’s give or take a Republican surprise or two.

That will give the immediately former president two senate impeachment exonerations in about 13 months. There could also be later votes on censure and disqualification for office. Those are simple majority votes and Trump could be in trouble there.

David Kamioner
meet the author

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army Intelligence and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland's European Division. He also served with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked for two decades as a political consultant, was part of the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort in Louisiana, ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia, and taught as a college instructor. He serves as a Contributing Editor for LifeZette.

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