Mind you, it still may not end as early as 10 PM, because there will be lunch breaks and temporary adjournments, so it might end far deeper into the night, as late as 3 AM. But even at that, it's still only midnight here on the West Coast. At worst I'll have to cut out the late-night snack.
And that, it seems, is just the starting point of the Trump trial rules that Mitch McConnell will likely be proposing. So much for going by the Clinton Rules, eh?
The thing is, I think if they do follow what McConnell wants, this will backfire on Republicans. Yes, it will allow them to avoid much public attention for the trial -- 12 hours of watching, and no cable news shows analyzing the days events -- and keep as much evidence against Trump out of the public eye as possible. But -- people actually know what a trial is supposed to be like. Many, if not most have served on a real jury. Most, if not all, have seen a TV show or movie about a trial. People will really, truly, honestly know that when you have only the third impeachment trial of a president in U.S. history and you cram it all in a short space of time and make it run so that things go until 3 o'clock in the hidden hours of the morning and hide as much evidence and witnesses as possible -- then you're trying to hide something really bad. And being unfair to the American public. Especially since about 55% of Americans say that they think Trump should be convicted.
Further, as many reporters and lawyers have said as panelists on cable news, new details will become public in the next 10 months before the November election. They always do. Look at all the news that has come out in only the few weeks since the House impeachment vote. And we know that John Bolton's book will be published before the November election -- right before it, I believe -- and you can rest assured that there will be a detailed chapter about Trump and Ukraine and Bolton leaving the White House, because if there wasn't then no publisher would give Bolton a $2 million advance. (Far, far better for Republicans to deal with it now and hope it gets forgotten after 10 months than have it burst into the public mind weeks before the election as a massive "October Surprise.") it And when all of this additional information does become public over the next 10 months, then the Republican Party is going to look terrible for rushing this Trump impeachment trial and hiding all of this information.
In addition, what appears to be the Trump defense plan seems really bizarre -- basically not refuting any of the facts of Trump's corrupt actions for which he was impeached, but just saying that they aren't impeachable.
Forgetting for the moment that that argument flies in the face of the U.S. Constitution and 150 years of precedent, it also misses a much, much larger point. Winning an acquittal of Trump in the Senate trial may be the result of this strategy -- but Republicans have the votes, and Trump is not likely to be convicted under almost any condition. Indeed perhaps the only situation under which Trump would be impeached is if Trump's lawyers acknowledge that Trump abused the power of his office, which is something his lawyers are on the edge of doing. But far worse, there two juries that Republicans have to be concerned about -- one is the Senate, but (as noted) they are near-certain to acquit Trump there. The other jury, though, is the American voting public. And if they watch a trial where there is virtually no defense put on for the charge of Trump's extortion and abuse of power, it seems that that is the kind of thing that plays really poorly with people.
Keep in mind, 71% of the American public has said they want there to be witnesses. And this from a starting point of 55% of Americans saying already that they think Trump should be convicted. And the Republican Party is doing everything in its power to offend them.
To be clear, you don't need everyone outraged and up in arms. Just offending three percent of voters in the middle turns a tight 51-49 race into a 54-46 route. And besides Trump, this whole process -- hiding the impeachment trial of a president in the wee hours of the morning -- as more and more hidden information is made public over the next 10 months is going to make the Republican Party look absolutely terrible, as they all face the November election.
Further, what is counterproductive about this strategy is that Trump has specifically said he wants to be "exonerated." And only the most devout Trump acolytes will see a rushed trial without, without evidence and without witnesses to allow Trump to be actually "exonerated." Of course Trump will claim that when acquitted, but then Trump would likely claim that if he was convicted. But with the starting point being that 55% of the American public already thinking Trump should be convicted, a rushed trial with no evidence and witnesses will do the very opposite of "exonerating" Trump. It will keep Trump guilty in the majority of public's mind, will likely only serve to increase that number (since it certainly won't be lessened) and paint the Republican Party as participating in a cover-up.
And in the end -- and this is where the two years of saying this all comes to a head -- this is not about Trump. We all know who he is. This is about the elected members of the Republican Party, who enable Trump and are complicit.