What's Tony Thinking

X Factor in Impeachment and 2,000


Impeachment Update

I may be becoming an impeachment addict. I don’t watch the hearings, except for what’s on while I’m plugging along on some machine at the gym or highlights broadcast on the Newshour program. But I do follow news reports closely and noticed something approximating withdrawal, on my part, after the first set of hearings concluded.

I am also an impeachment pessimist. It does seem the most likely outcome is that Trump is impeached in the House, but acquitted in the Senate, with the possibility of straight party-line votes that allow the Trump/ Republican narrative of “partisan witch hunt,” to sound plausible and Trump to once again claim, “total exoneration.”

But there is an X-factor in the Senate trial. The presiding officer is the Chief Justice, John Roberts. I don’t get the impression he’s a big fan of the President. But that is not the X-factor.

The real X-factor in the Chief Justice’s role. It is my understanding that he is able to call witnesses and compel them to testify. Normally, the party in the majority, which will shift from Democrats in the House to Republicans in the Senate, determines who will testify.

But according to the Constitution, the presiding judge — would be the Chief Justice — can call witnesses to testify. So what would happen if — long shot I know — Roberts insisted that John Bolton testify?

That could throw a spanner, at least potentially, in the Republican works and challenge another element of their narrative, that all the testimony has been “hearsay.” Which isn’t true, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue that Trump toadies are bothered by.


Now, on to a bit of “inside baseball.” I started this blog two years ago this week, the first week of December, converting my website to what you see now.

Let me take the occasion of this second anniversary to note that we have now passed the 2,000 number for subscribers, that is those of you who get updates sent directly to your email in-box.

I am not quite sure where all of you have come from, but thank you for showing up and signing up. Some of you occasionally use the site’s contact form to be in touch, with comments, corrections or an idea for a post. I really appreciate those notes.

Actually, I do know a little about where you have come from. The monthly Google Analytics report shows what countries my readers live-in. The lion’s share are of course in the U.S. But there’s a substantial cadre of Canadians (O Canada!), as well as a U.K. unit. Smaller but significant readerships exist in Australia and India, and recently, South Korea.

I was with a pastor friend yesterday, also no longer serving a congregation. He said the thing he most dreaded was the weekly or monthly pastor’s column for the church newsletter. I guess I’m sort of the opposite. That was one of my favorite tasks. I like to write.

So thanks so much to each of you for being among my readers.


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