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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Trump can sound bold knowing the GOP Senate will fix his mess for him 

So far the White House seems to be offering a no-defense defense.

What at first may sound like bold defiance from President Donald Trump seems on second thought like complacency.

"If you are going to impeach me," he said in a tweet Thursday, "do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business." 

Trump says so with the comforting assurance that "a fair trial in the Senate" really means a forum rigged in his favor — one that will void the House proceedings tilted against him.

The approach is less than daring.

For Wednesday's legal showdown before the House Judiciary Committee, Trump didn't even send his own attorneys to put up a fight as Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon did when they faced impeachment.

Rather than fuss over facts and law in a relevant forum, the President left it to the committee's Republicans to interrupt for roll-call votes, complain about bias and make angry speeches.

Once again Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will be relied on to rescue the Trump presidency.

The President and his team don't even seem to be working at making the case that his famous Ukraine push was anything other than a grab for personal electoral advantage.

Trump called the famous July 25 conversation with President Volodymyr Zelensky a "perfect phone call," but didn't reveal how it achieved such perfection. Clear or consistent explanations have not been the president's strong suit.

White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney's famous "get over it" admission of a quid pro quo — and declaration that "there’s going to be political influence in foreign policy” — never resulted in denunciation or firing by a President willing to ditch aides depending on circumstance.

McConnell on Thursday predictably blasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's directing committee chairs to proceed with articles of impeachment. Trump's constitutional violations "leave us no choice but to act," she said.

Anticipating this, McConnell last month said the Senate “would have no choice but to take it up. How long you’re on it is a whole different matter.”

That was widely read to mean the Senate trial would amount to a quick open-and-shut case. 

On Tuesday McConnell said if he cannot agree with Senate Democrats on the rules for the trial he'd try to do it only with GOP votes.

It's McConnell's house. Unless he and colleagues suddenly decide it best for their party that Vice President Mike Pence become President before 2020, the outcome is fixed. 

 “All of you know your Constitution," McConnell said in a Facebook campaign ad before last month's elections. "The way that impeachment stops is a Senate majority with me as majority leader. But I need your help. Please contribute before the deadline.”

So Trump's passive reaction to the House becomes an easy route to take. 


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