That President Donald Trump was acquitted on both impeachment articles is a matter of public record.

Many of us watched events play out on live TV Wednesday as Republican and Democratic Senators cast their votes for or against each article.

In the end, Trump prevailed, and the Democrats who pushed for his impeachment since day one of his presidency failed in predictable but spectacular fashion.

Since that time, however, House and Senate Democrats have been in denial about the outcome. Trump taking victory laps the next day further enraged them.

So they’re out for blood. One way they think they’ll get it is by redefining the word “acquitted” (which was splashed on the top fold of newspapers around the country Thursday) as if in doing so they can credibly claim that Trump’s acquittal was illegitimate.

One notable example of this way of thinking is Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), who on Thursday appeared on CNN to discuss Senate proceedings and where Democrats go from here. During the segment with anchor Wolf Blitzer, Hirono referred to Trump’s acquittal as something that happened during a “rigged trial” and because of that, the acquittal was not legitimate.

Her remarks were so off the wall that even Blitzer wouldn’t let her off the hook for them:

“The Senate has clearly spoken now. The president was acquitted,” CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer said.

“No, Wolf. He wasn’t acquitted. It was a rigged trial,” Hirono interrupted. “You don’t get acquitted when you don’t even get to call witnesses or relevant witnesses or have the documents because the president stonewalled all efforts on behalf of the House to get the information they requested. So there you go! It was a rigged trial.”

She continued, “[Trump] can go run around saying he was acquitted, but you don’t get acquitted in a rigged trial.”

Blizter pushed back, but Hirono doubled down:

“There was a roll call, guilty or not guilty, not guilty was the majority,” Blitzer told Hiromo. “And the Chief Justice of the United States announced that he was acquitted, that he was not guilty.”

“But the American public knows that it was a rigged trial, so okay, you’re found not guilty in a rigged trial. I don’t think that they think that this was all kosher. No, it wasn’t,” Hiromo shot back. “So meanwhile, you have the president crowing about it, which is totally expected and now it’s anything goes for this president and this administration.”


Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised to hear Hirono make such preposterous arguments, considering she’s the same Democratic Senator who said just days before the votes were cast that she didn’t “care what kind of nice, little, legal, Constitutional defenses that they came up with.”

But it’s worth noting all the same that this has emerged as a key talking point for Democrats in order to try and regain control of the narrative as the 2020 presidential election campaign season is heating up.

This attempt at rewriting of rules actually started last week when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and several more of his Democratic colleagues in the Senate made similar remarks.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) echoed the talking point during an Instagram live video chat she did the night of the State of the Union address, the eve of the Senate’s vote to acquit Trump:

Unfortunately for Hirono, Pelosi, Schumer, AOC, and all the rest, that’s not how this works.

It wasn’t the Senate’s job to investigate the allegations. It was the House’s job. In fact, if there was a “rigged” part of this whole affair it was in how the House conducted the investigation, severely limiting the president’s legal options as well as controlling the witness list and ruling over House Republicans’ ability to subpoena with an iron fist.

There was also the rushed component to how the impeachment inquiry was conducted. It was behind closed doors, with the vast majority of the information flow regarding witnesses coming from conveniently timed leaks to the media from Democrats using out of context quotes and supposed “evidence” to support their case.

Then the public impeachment inquiry hearings began, and that’s when the wheels really began to fall off for House Democrats, as independent and swing state voters and even some Democrats were turned off by the way they were conducting proceedings. Nevertheless, House Democrats continued, wanting to wrap up Trump’s impeachment with a shiny red bow before Christmas.

After reigning over and shafting Republicans during the entire process in the House, Pelosi had the gall to hold on to the articles of impeachment for a few weeks as if Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnnell (R-KY) was just going to cede ground to her as to how the Senate trial would be conducted.

House Democrats voted in favor of the two impeachment articles based on their opinions of the evidence that was presented during the inquiry and what they heard during witness testimony. Yet when it came time for the adults in the Senate to take charge, all of a sudden that evidence and witness testimony was not enough. Democrats demanded the Senate pick up where the House left off.

That Mitch McConnell refused to play by their rules didn’t mean there was suddenly no witness testimony and no evidence and therefore “no trial.” The Senate had well over 30,000 pages of documents and the testimony of the 17 witnesses heard during the House’s impeachment inquiry to consider.

If the House’s case was so weak that they needed the Senate to call more witnesses then it stands to reason Trump should have never been impeached in the first place. It’s not Mitch McConnell’s fault, and it’s not Donald Trump’s fault that House Democrats rushed through the inquiry to get a Christmas impeachment.

If the mainstream media and so-called “impartial” fact checkers would do their jobs whenever Democrats made these claims, their rhetoric about “rigged trials” and an illegitimate acquittal wouldn’t survive for very long. But the national press has just as much of a vested interest in casting doubt on the outcome of the Senate’s impeachment trial as Democrats do.

So if Republicans want these talking points to be nuked, they’ll have to step in and fill that void.

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —


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