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Kennedy: President Trump’s defense making arguments that show they don’t understand impeachment process

It's time for some random observations, local and otherwise.

I am encouraged by the news that Gov. Larry Hogan has included over $7 million in his proposed budget for items that are very important to Carroll County. Now, the trick is to get the Democratic majority in the legislature to go along. I think there might be some reductions in the amounts for the items, but by and large, since much of the money is for education-related purposes and infrastructure, Carroll should do fairly well.

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Our delegation should really push for the enabling legislation that would let the county make the change to allow bars and restaurants to serve alcohol until 2 a.m. We need to be on an equal footing with all of our neighboring jurisdictions, for safety as well as economic reasons.

Having only occasionally tuned in to the opening rounds of the impeachment proceedings in Washington, I have a few observations. Some things puzzle me, some befuddle me, and others I simply find curious.

I’m puzzled that the president’s men keep complaining that the process is “political.” If one reads carefully the part of the Constitution that describes the process, it is meant to be a political one, not a judicial one. The “high crimes and misdemeanors” do not refer specifically to overtly criminal activity, such as bribery, treason or murder, but may also include activities such as overstepping one’s constitutional authority or conspiring with a foreign power for personal gain.

I’m befuddled by the president’s defense team continuing to refer to the proceedings that took place in order to get depositions from witnesses prior to their public testimony as “secret hearings” where Republicans were denied the ability to ask questions. As has been explained — more times that I can remember — there were 100 members of the House of Representatives present for those deposition hearings, including members of both parties who were allowed to question the witnesses. I find it curious that the Republican defense team belies that any group of representatives can keep anything secret, much less depositions of this kind.

As for the things that I find simply curious, for the life of me I don’t understand how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can keep complaining about the “do-nothing Democrats” when he is failing to bring dozens, if not hundreds, of bills that have passed in the House — many in a completely bipartisan fashion — for a vote in the Senate. These pieces of proposed legislation are languishing on his desk when they could have been enacted, or at the least referred to a conference committee to iron out any differences between the House and Senate versions.

I also find it curious that McConnell, who swore an oath to be an impartial juror for the impeachment trial, has publicly stated on several occasions that he will not be impartial, in violation of that oath. He is attempting to use his leadership position to deny the admission of any additional new evidence of suspected wrongdoing by the president and not allow sworn, public testimony from any witnesses for either side.

What is he attempting to hide from the members of the Senate and, as importantly, the American public?

I think things could get a lot dicier before any vote is taken on the conviction or acquittal of Donald J. Trump, president of the United States.

Bill Kennedy writes every other week from Taneytown. You may contact him at wlkennedyiii@verizon.net.

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