Teresa Hanafin writes the daily “Fast Forward” for the Boston Globe.

She writes:

It’s the last day for House Democrats to argue why senators should find Trump guilty and remove him from office. Yesterday they focused on the first article of impeachment, abuse of power; today they tackle the second, obstruction of Congress.

In making the case yesterday that Trump abused the power of his office, once again the House managers were clear, methodical, and thorough, using video, e-mails, and other material they were able to obtain from witnesses since Trump has tried to block everyone and everything (hence the obstruction charge).

They even showed a clip of South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham arguing during the Clinton impeachment trial that a president need not have committed a crime to be removed from office. Why show that? Because now that a Republican is in the White House, Graham is arguing the exact opposite.

But the closing statement by lead manager Adam Schiff stole the show, and his passionate and emotional plea that “Here, right matters” went viral before he had even sat down.

Schiff was echoing the testimony of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman,an Iraq War veteran who had told the House Intelligence Committee that he wanted to reassure his father not to worry about his decision to defy Trump and show up to testify. Why shouldn’t his father worry?

“Because this is America,” he said. “This is the country I have served and defended, that all of my brothers have served. And here, right matters.”

It was the perfect phrase for Schiff to adopt last night. After he pointed out that when it came to the false Putin propaganda that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 election, Trump chose to reject the truth as told to him by all of his intelligence experts and instead, believe what Rudy Giuliani was telling him. Why? Because people like FBI Director Christopher Wray were offering him information that was in the country’s interest, Schiff said, while Giuliani was offering him information that was in Trump’s personal and political interest. With Trump, the latter will win out every time, Schiff said, and that makes him dangerous. In closing, Schiff said:

If right doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter how good the Constitution is. It doesn’t matter how brilliant the framers were. It doesn’t matter how good or bad our advocacy in this trial is. It doesn’t matter how well-written the oath of impartiality is. If right doesn’t matter, we’re lost. If the truth doesn’t matter, we’re lost. The framers couldn’t protect us from ourselves if right and truth don’t matter.

Here, right is supposed to matter. It’s what’s made us the greatest nation on earth. No Constitution can protect us if right doesn’t matter anymore.

You know you can’t trust this president to do what’s right for this country. You can trust he will do what’s right for Donald Trump. He’ll do it now. He’s done it before. He’ll do it for the next several months. He’ll do it in the election if he’s allowed to. This is why if you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed. Because right matters. Because right matters, and the truth matters. Otherwise, we are lost.

Here’s a 9-minute clip of Schiff’s statement, or follow the trending Twitter hashtag #RightMatters.

Today, the House managers will make the case that Trump obstructed Congress,arguing that if Trump’s refusal to comply with every congressional request is allowed to stand, then Congress will have enabled him and all future presidents to hide their wrongdoing, effectively killing Congress’ constitutionally mandated duty to hold the executive branch accountable.

Their arguments come as the Republicans are touting a new reason not to find Trump guilty: That he’s just going to assert executive privilege anyway, and it will be dragged out in the courts, so why bother? They point to the fact that the House didn’t go to court (it actually did on several matters, and those matters are still tied up), but they are willfully ignoring history: During the Richard Nixon investigation, the House didn’t go to court to compel Nixon to turn over more information (he turned over many), but the Senate did. The difference? Those Senate Republicans wanted the truth; these Senate Republicans don’t.

Remember: In the entire history of the United States, no president has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry.

What is stunning is how assiduously the Republicans are avoiding the simple question: Do you believe the accusations against Trump? Instead they’re whining about having to sit so long, they’re complaining that the Democrats have been repetitive, and they’re pouting that the House didn’t go to court. Yoo-hoo … do you think he’s guilty or not? Crickets.

The GOP begins its arguments tomorrow, and Trump’s lawyers have indicated that they likely won’t use their full 24 hours. The Republicans could vote to acquit Trump by the end of next week.


Meanwhile, a reprehensible spectacle unfolded on Twitter when GOP Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee attacked Vindman, the veteran who has shrapnel in the body and a Purple Heart on his chest. With no evidence, she decided to accuse him of leaking information about Trump’s fateful phone call with the president of Ukraine to the whistleblower. And she called him unpatriotic.

How sad. How vulgar. To see a US senator grovel like this for Trump’s approval shows just how far the Republican Party has fallen. As anchor Jake Tapper put it on CNN: There’s no reward for decency in Trump’s Republican Party. There’s only reward for indecency.