As Thursday turned into Friday and impeachment acquittal seemed more likely, the late night coverage on MSNBC devolved into hyperbolic claims of the end of “truth” and that Republican Senators are about to let go the equivalent of a wife beater. Host Ali Velshi turned to the liberal media’s voice of reason, Michael Moore.
Moore slimed Republican Senator Lamar Alexander for announcing he would vote no on witnesses. Apparently, this is like letting an abusive husband go: “It’s actually maybe worse what Lamar Alexander is doing because he’s saying essentially — let’s just say this was a court case — ‘Yep, he beat his wife. So? You know? There’s no question he beat his wife. So? Time to move on.’ That’s not how we roll in this country! That’s not how we decide justice!”
For MSNBC’s Velshi, it’s unfathomable to think what an acquitted Trump will try next: “This is as high a bar as it gets for Donald Trump, and if he thinks that he has dodged this bullet. In 24 hours, it could all be over. What does that mean?”
Later, Velshi speculated about an “invincible” Trump doing whatever he wants: “But at some point if attempts to hold Donald Trump accountable in the Mueller investigation and this do not succeed, are you worried about what an invincible Donald Trump might do?”
In the same hour, New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay warned of the end of “democracy” and “truth.”
A partial transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more.
MSNBC impeachment coverage
12:08 AM ET
MARA GAY (New York Times editorial board member): I still think when you read the political tea leaves on this that barring some kind of last-minute Hail Mary, which is certainly possible, it’s certainly possible that one of these Republicans could grow a spine and a conscience between now and tomorrow. But barring that, this trial is going to end in acquittal, and so I would just say tonight to our elected representatives in the U.S. Senate, I would ask them to do their job. I do think it’s a moment to — where it’s not too much as Adam Schiff said to ask that.
ALI VELSHI: For a week.
GAY: It’s really not too much.
VELSHI: But tell me what difference it makes. If it’s going to end in acquittal, and most people think it will. There are people who say, “Well, something else may come out.” Something else may ome out tonight. John Bolton says something else. Lev Parnas has a new video of him hanging out with Donald Trump once again. So we’re not really expecting something to happen that’s going to end in a conviction. Tell me why it should matter to Americans that this trial is as fair as it can be and that witnesses are called and documents are subpoenaed.
GAY: Because what’s on trial is not just Donald Trump right now. What’s on trial is the rule of law. What’s on trial is our democracy. What’s on trial is the credibility we have as one of the world’s oldest democracies. And people around the world are watching us going, “This is what you want for the rest of the world?” I mean what a sad, sad moment after, you know, 300-plus years of democracy.
And so I do think actually that there’s a lot more at stake. By the way, truth matters. I mean as a journalist, I just think that’s what separates us from Russia, from Venezuela. This is — this is the moment where we have to say, “Okay, we can see the facts, and everybody is entitled to his own opinion. But not his or her own facts.” If we don’t stand up for truth, this is really not a partisan issue. But if we don’t stand up for truth now, it will be too late. It will be too late. It will be too late.
VELSHI: Hayes, what happens to not just truth in America and democracy and institutions and our faith in institutions, which Mara is talking about. I’m actually worried about something more proximate, and that is that Donald Trump, as soon as he felt that he was — whatever term he used after the Mueller Report —
HAYES BROWN (BuzzFeed senior world news reporter and editor): Exonerated.
VELSHI: — went and made this phone call. This is it. This is as high a bar as it gets for Donald Trump, and if he thinks that he has dodged this bullet. In 24 hours, it could all be over. What does that mean?
BROWN: That’s a really good question. I mean in the short term, who knows? Who knows what calls he’ll be making to —
VELSHI: I don’t know what’s left.
VELSHI: But at some point if attempts to hold Donald Trump accountable in the Mueller investigation and this do not succeed, are you worried about what an invincible Donald Trump might do? [To Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi.)
MICHAEL MOORE: It’s actually maybe worse what Lamar Alexander is doing because he’s saying essentially — let’s just say this was a court case — “Yep, he beat his wife. So? You know? There’s no question he beat his wife. So? Time to move on.” That’s not how we roll in this country. That’s not how we decide justice.