In this image from video, President Pro Tempore of the Senate Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa., swears in Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts as the presiding officer for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)

Gearing up ...

There's been a lot of talk among pundits about "vulnerable" Republican Congress and Senate members in the election year of Trump's impeachment.

But how would you like to be Democratic Sen. Doug Jones just across our state line in Roll Tide-red Alabama?

In early fall, even before the House formally announced an impeachment inquiry, Jones told his staff to "gear up."

The former prosecutor thought the evidence was compelling enough for him to want to become an expert on impeachment — legally and historically. He asked his staff to start meeting on the topic, and to collect all the research they could find for him to read, according to a story in the Washington Post last week.

The intensive prep work lines up with the fact that a lot of eyes will be on Jones throughout the Senate impeachment trial, the Post wrote: "Jones is in an unenviable position, politically speaking. First, he is a Democrat from a solid red state that has shown considerable support for President Trump — more than 62 percent of Alabama voters backed Trump in the 2016 presidential election. On top of that, the 2020 race for Jones's Senate seat has been deemed the only true toss-up one among all races for Senate seats held by Democrats in this cycle."

Did we mention that Trump's former attorney general, Jeff Sessions, who used to hold Jones's seat, is vying for the Republican nomination to oppose him?

And did we mention that on Jan. 6, Jones tweeted: "Regardless of what Bolton's testimony might be, I want to hear from him and review his documents. Why wouldn't anyone if they were committed to #impartialJustice?

Yes, Sen. Jones. Please, gear up.


Speaking of impeachment ...

One big headline on Friday seemed to indicate that maybe our 45th president, Donald John Trump, was finally seeming to recognize that impeachment is a real thing.

"The headline was: "Trump expands legal team to include Alan Dershowitz, Kenneth Starr and others."

Maybe it was all those somber Republican faces in the Senate trial oath ceremony last week that got Trump thinking impeachment might really be real — not just a passing plot line for the reality TV show that plays continually in his head.

Or maybe it's all the new allegations about his dealings with Ukraine — especially those arising from the Lev Parnas interviews and document dumps. The gist of those allegations, once again, is that Trump and his whole team had a single-minded aim in Ukraine — to get dirt on Trump's opponent, not clean up corruption.

Or maybe it's just more Trump camp confusion and misdirection.

"I think it overstates it to say I'm a member of the Trump team," Dershowitz told Mediaite's Dan Abrams. "I was asked to present the constitutional argument that I would have presented had Hillary Clinton been elected and had she been impeached."


And let's talk about Ken Starr, characterized in 1999 as a "freak" by Trump, according to a New York Times column by Maureen Dowd. But that was mild. On NBC's "Today" show around that same time, Trump said: "I think Ken Starr is a lunatic. — I really think that Ken Starr is a disaster. — I really think that Ken Starr was terrible."


But it was Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, in an interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell on Friday, who had the most thoughtful take. Leahy said he found the choice of Starr odd, not just because of Trump's long-ago insults, but also because Starr was the man "who pushed the weakest impeachment case, certainly in my lifetime [against President Bill Clinton] and now he's up here to defend the strongest impeachment case in my lifetime. It's a weird choice."


Speaking of insults ...

President Trump certainly hasn't mellowed since his 1999 insults to Ken Starr.

In a book to be released Tuesday by Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol D. Leonnig, "A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America," reviewers tell us we'll learn of the July 2017 day when Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tried to offer Trump a well-intentioned tutorial to close what they'd seen as gaping holes in the president's knowledge of history, especially the key alliances forged following World War II.

Trump already had publicly dismissed those allies as worthless, cozied up to authoritarian regimes in Russia and elsewhere, and advocated withdrawing troops from both strategic outposts and active war zones, according to an excerpt published Friday in the The Post.

The tutorial didn't go well. In fact, it ended in a temper tantrum that clearly has had lasting effect, not just on those involved, but on our country

"You're all losers," Trump boomed. "You don't know how to win anymore."

Then he barked at those assembled — including an array of military brass: "I wouldn't go to war with you people. You're a bunch of dopes and babies."

This from a man who claimed bone spurs kept him from military service.

Is it any wonder Tillerson later called the president a moron?

Just think what this week might bring.