Bondi condemns House impeachment 'trial' that didn't exist

Fla. Attorney General Pam Bondi makes introductory remarks for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, before Trump arrives at a campaign event in Tampa, Fla. on March 14, 2016. (Photo by Gerald Herbert/AP)
Fla. Attorney General Pam Bondi makes introductory remarks for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, before Trump arrives at a campaign event in Tampa, Fla. on March 14, 2016.

Two months ago, Donald Trump's operation announced that former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) would leave his post at Fox News and instead help represent the president in the impeachment process. As regular readers know, this didn't work out well: the New York Times reported that the day after the announcement, "the arrangement fell apart."

The "botched" rollout, the article added, left Trump and his advisers back at "square one, searching for a different lawyer."

Gowdy is now back at Fox News, where his apparent successor on Team Trump, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi appeared yesterday to make her case to Chris Wallace that the White House should help control the Senate's impeachment trial.

WALLACE: Now, Democrats note that before an impeachment trial all senators have to raise their right hand and take an oath to do "impartial justice." How impartial can it be when McConnell says that he, quote, "is taking his cues from the White House." [...]BONDI: So, we weren't given a fair trial in the House at all. Now it goes to the Senate, and these senators -- the president deserves to be heard.... We wouldn't be doing our job if we weren't working hand in hand with the Senate to clear the president of this charade, this sham that started with Adam Schiff, your next guest, and we're not going to let it continue in the U.S. Senate because we will have fair proceedings.

There's no reason for Bondi, who arrived at Team Trump following some unfortunate controversies, to argue that the president and his lawyers "weren't given a fair trial in the House" because there was no trial in the House. That's not how the process works.

What's more, note that Bondi argued that the president "deserves to be heard," which would be a more compelling point if Team Trump hadn't turned down invitations to be heard during the House's impeachment proceedings.

But also note the degree to which Bondi uses the word "we" as if Team Trump (the defendant) and Senate Republicans (the jurors) should effectively be seen as two sides of the same coin in the impeachment proceedings. This, as she put it, is the key to creating a "fair" process.

It suddenly puts GOP complaints about the House's "unfair" process in a new context.

It's also the latest evidence that Bondi's tenure as part of the president's legal defense is off to a rough start. In her first television interview as a member of Team Trump, she sat down with CBS and twice identified Gordon Sondland as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. (He's the ambassador to the European Union, which is one of the reasons his interest in Ukraine has become so controversial.)

She also insisted that the president withheld military aid to Ukraine because of his concerns about corruption -- a dubious claim she made right around the time Trump was forced to pay a multi-million-dollar settlement to resolve the case of his fraudulent charity. Among the Trump Foundation's more serious missteps was an illegal campaign donation made to support the candidacy of ... Pam Bondi.