Free Speech For People president and co-founder John Bonifaz talked with KPFA (94.1) yesterday regarding the ongoing U.S. Senate impeachment hearings. 

Following party-line votes to prevent calls for witnesses Wednesday, Bonifaz expressed concern that the trial process itself is being rigged.

“I think it’s still very much unclear whether we are going to have a real trial or whether this is going to be a kangaroo court and a sham trial,” he told KPFA.

Bonifaz, who, along with FSFP, has called for President Trump’s impeachment for some time, took issue with the way Chief Justice John Roberts has thus far presided over the Senate trial, and with Republican lawmakers’ claims that the impeachment trial is an attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election.

“I am very troubled by the fact… of total silence in watching nearly half of the caucus on the Republican side not in the chamber during the presentation,” Bonifaz said of Roberts, noting that close to 20 GOP senators left the chambers at various points and for long periods of time during Wednesday’s proceedings. “There’s no excuse for any senator not to be in the chamber beyond some short, necessary break that they have to take.”

Additionally, Bonifaz stressed the threat of a faux trial not only to the constitutional power of impeachment but to the United States Republic. 

“What’s dangerous is that we will not have the constitution be respected or upheld,” Bonifaz said, of the possibility of a party-line mockery of the impeachment trial. “The constitution requires that the senate hold a trial. A trial consists of calling witnesses, demanding documents. It doesn’t consist of opening arguments and then that’s it, that’s not what a trial is.” Without that, he went on, “We are effectively saying that the impeachment clause no longer has any effect in the constitution. That a President can operate above the law… and not be held accountable and that, I think is a real threat to our republic.”

What’s more, Republican representatives maintain the impeachment trial is an attempt to overturn results of the 2016 presidential election, and those who cover for the President, Bonifaz said, will go down in history as having shirked their duties to American democracy.

“Impeachment power is in the constitution to address those in office who are direct threats to our republic for which you cannot wait for an election to resolve that threat… This trial will expose to the American people which side senators are on, and that will be for history to record.”

Listen to Bonifaz’s full interview with KPFA here.