BOSTON (CBS) – “This is corruption and abuse of power in its purest form,” said Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries early in the impeachment trial. And while the trial is not yet over, it’s not too early to show you my partial scorecard of how the two parties are doing in several key areas, including:
If a measure of success in a trial is the evidence each side brings to the table, this has been a mismatch from day one. Even without fresh witnesses and complete documentation, the Democrats had prior testimony and all sorts of written evidence.
The White House lawyers were left to argue legal fine points and obscure precedents.
Edge to the Democrats on content, with perhaps more still to come.
John Bolton’s confirmation of the president’s quid pro quo game may persuade a few Republicans to vote for new witnesses, but even so, there is no evidence of a GOP stampede toward presidential removal. Mr. Trump’s eventual acquittal was a slam-dunk before the trial began and it still seems headed that way.
If Democrats thought the televised “drama” of the trial would capture the nation’s attention, they were wrong. The president may be in jeopardy, but Alex Trebek is pulling many more viewers on “Jeopardy.”
And the Republicans are getting what they wanted in this category.
But what about the broader political fallout?
Mass public backlash against impeachment hasn’t materialized, and endangered GOP senators have been forced to take unpopular votes.
For that reason, there’s a good chance the democrats will realize more political benefit from all this as the campaign wears on.
In 1974 when the full evidence against President Richard Nixon was released, public support for him collapsed, followed immediately by his political backing. That isn’t happening here, yet.
But this trial is reminding the solid majority of Americans with a dim view of the president’s character why they feel that way.