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December 17, 2019 1:18 pm

Zoinks! Gardner (Again) Flees from Questions on Impeachment

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: Gardner is apparently not going to follow Mitch McConnell’s lead and flat-out declare that he is in the tank for President Trump, which McConnell revealed in astonishing fashion on Tuesday. As NPR reports:

“I’m not an impartial juror. This is a political process. There’s not anything judicial about it,” McConnell told reporters on Tuesday. “The House made a partisan political decision to impeach. I would anticipate we will have a largely partisan outcome in the Senate. I’m not impartial about this at all.”


Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) decided long ago that he would tie his political fortunes to President Trump. As such, Gardner really, really, really doesn’t want to talk about impeachment proceedings against The Big Orange Guy.

Gardner has been playing hide-and-seek with media outlets for the better part of five months now. The one time that reporters finally cornered Gardner on Trump and his dealings with Ukraine — at a Chamber of Commerce event in Denver in October — the Yuma Republican melted down like a nazi at the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

The House of Representatives is finalizing its part in the impeachment process this week, which means that all eyes are moving to the U.S. Senate as it prepares for an impeachment trial in early January. Naturally, reporters on Capitol Hill are poking around for information about how the Senate might proceed, all of which makes Gardner extremely nervous. Here’s Bloomberg News reporter Laura Litvan trying to get some sort of comment from Colorado’s Junior Senator:

“We’ll have a trial!” Run!!!

We can only assume that Gardner is totally cool with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s incredible decision to coordinate strategy on an impeachment trial with White House attorneys. If Gardner has a different opinion, he’s keeping it to himself. As Jason Salzman of the Colorado Times Recorder noted on Monday, Gardner is keeping quiet so that he can pretend to be an impartial juror in the Senate:

On conservative KNUS last week, host Steffan Tubbs asked U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) why Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner wasn’t speaking out more on impeachment.

Buck replied with, “I think Cory is absolutely right. Cory will be part of the jury in the near future, and I think Cory is demonstrating that he is entering this with an open mind, that he wants to see the evidence. But Cory is a thoughtful and he is a senator that is well-respected because he holds his cards close to his vest. And I think that that Cory Gardner, when he speaks and when he says, ‘I’ve listened to the evidence and this is my vote,’ it’s much more convincing than if he was a partisan all the way along.” [Pols emphasis]

But while Gardner might not say it directly, he has already betrayed any pretense of impartiality. As Kyle Clark of 9News noted last week:

Gardner’s persistent obfuscation would almost be funny if we weren’t talking about an issue as serious as the impeachment of the President of the United States. Don’t be shocked if he tries to call in sick for the first three months of 2020.


22 thoughts on “Zoinks! Gardner (Again) Flees from Questions on Impeachment

    1. Pegboy Mitch can suggest whatever he goddamn jolly well pleases, but the chief justice presides over Senate impeachment trials of POTUS. 

      Wild Bill Rehnquist was a piece of shit who made the world a measurably better place when he dropped dead, but hey, credit where credit's due. The fact that he had a special robe made for the occasion was a bit creepy and troubling, but Rehnquist ran a pretty tight ship during the Clinton  impeachment trial.

      1. I don’t know that the question is so much one of who presides over an impeachment trial in the Senate, as it is who decides the rules that are to be followed in the trial?

        Anyone know for certain?

        1. Dio — here is an article from Slate that probably answers your question (and much more).

          I found this bit to be particularly intriguing:

          This means that the Senate proceedings will be a very different drama from the repetitive legalisms offered up at the House Judiciary Committee hearings. Instead, the chief justice will almost certainly support the House managers’ demand that administration officials, who have thus far refused to testify, appear as witnesses before the Senate. It is only in this way that the Senate will have all the relevant facts necessary for rendering an impartial verdict. Once they appear in the chamber, they will be interrogated on the crucial issues by lawyers representing the president and those representing the House.

        2. Constitution only says the Senate has a trial and the Chief Justice will preside (rather than the VP/President of the Senate, who might have a conflict of interest). 

          For the rest, rules for the impeachment trial are set by the Senate. Maximum lengths of the House managers' presentation, equal time for a Presidential defense presentation, what materials would be accepted as "evidence" without being repeated, what documents and witness testimony will be allowed, and when Senators can make a motion (such as a motion to dismiss) are likely to be a part of the rules.  Times allotted for final arguments are set by rule. 

          With Clinton's trial, the structure was agreed to with a vote of 100-0.  The later vote on witness testimony was passed a motion by a near-party line vote, calling three witnesses. Those witnesses were deposed and recorded, and only the selected bits played for the whole Senate. 

          The Chief Justice can preside and make a ruling … but a Senator can move to overrule the ruling, and a simple majority (51, if everyone is participating) on the motion wins.

          In short, the Senate can decide to have witnesses or not, allow them to be live or on Memorex, and set limits on the overall amount of time devoted to the testimony.  House managers can make a motion to request testimony from specific individuals, and the CJ could rule in their favor and request or subpoena those witnesses.  And the Senate can overrule if it wants to.  Even if a subpoena is issued, witnesses can ask courts to quash the subpoena.  Even if they show up, there is no binding precedent about what personal or executive privileges should be honored. 

          In the history of the United States, there have only been 19 impeached individuals, and only 15 trials. In three impeachments , there was no trial or a very truncated trial as the impeached person resigned and the cases were dismissed.  In another, the trial stopped on a preliminary motion of jurisdiction, and the Senate determined the House did not have the right to impeach Senators.  Plus, the Senate had already expelled the individual. Trump will nearly certainly be the 20th and the 16th trial.  Trials ranged from 2 days to 8 months, so the "rules" used obviously had to vary extensively.  Results are a near perfect split — 8 guilty, 7 acquitted. 

      2. Actually, wasn't the robe a thank-you gift from the Senators for his service during the trial. An article of clothing as a gift for an impeachment trial that was over a cum-stained dress. Hmmm….

        I don't know what Roberts will do. He may rule against McConnell on some procedural stuff – Roberts is fond of the constitutional in comparison to Moscow Mitch – and then see if Mitt Romney and his gang of four (Murkowski, Collins, Lamar Alexander and Ben Sasse) join with Dems and back up the C.J.

        I actually like Roberts, as far a right wing judges go. Occasionally, he comes down on issues the right way (i.e., as I see the issue) but more often than not he doesn't. But he isn't a Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia type ideologue. 

        1. Roberts is much subtler in his serpentry (hardly a news flash), and probably smarter (again, not newsworthy); he’s nowhere any less dangerous, however.

            1. I’m aware it was that bit of insidious creeping Democratic Party socialism you enjoy, and Roberts part played in upholding that, to which you were mostly referring . . . 


  1. To hell with this Colorado Pols. It doesn't matter what Gardner says, you're going to attack him no matter what. All of the liberal media is trying to corner Gardner because they're taking orders from Chuck Schumer and they smell blood. I'm glad he's not giving Hickenlooper any more free negative ads.

    Trump will be acquitted. He was always going to be.

    1. Trump will be acquitted. He was always going to be.

      So why can’t your heroic Senator Running Weasel be just as brave and awesome as you, and come out and say just that, Fluffy?

      Why are you always so vociferous in defending this obviously limp Klennex? . . . 

      One if these days, just one, wouldn’t you like to see Senator Running Weasel acting and behaving like even half the man that Lindsey Graham occasionally does? . . .

    2. It doesn't matter what Gardner says, you're going to attack him no matter what

      Bullshit, Fluffy. I would commend your boy Gardner this one time if he grew a pair, came out and said, "I find everything that is out there to date very problematic and the president may have committed offenses worthy of removal but I want see a full-scale trial with witnesses, exhibits, and arguments before I will make any firm decision. I will not join Lindsey Graham in covering this up. What Mitch McConnell is doing is tantamount to jury tampering. Mr. Nadler and Mr. Schiff, call your first witness."

    3. Why were more witnesses so important in the investigation phase, but now that we're on to the trial phase, witnesses are irrelevant?

      Could it be the Senate has rigged the process?


      Gardner doesn't say anything, so what's the point?
      Wasn't he the guy who claimed his health insurance was cancelled back when?

      1. Today, we find ourselves divided again – sectionalism in the country and factionalism in government has led to ever uglier examples of how our political system is failing. President Donald Trump and those who sign onto Trumpism are a clear and present danger to the Constitution and our Republic. Only defeating so polarizing a character as Trump will allow the country to heal its political and psychological wounds and allow for a new, better path forward for all Americans.

        They are, in fact, speaking about Moddy and his Vichy Republican cronies.

    4. First, there is no hell, so not sure where Pols can go.  Second, Gardner has the ability to speak for himself, speak to his constituents, etc.  He generally chooses not to, because he is a kept Senator and full-grade coward.

      And yeah, trump will be acquitted in the Senate because the GOP senators are fucking cowards, too.  As are you.  

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