I will leave it to others to piece together the ebb and flow of today’s testimony, to compare spoken statements with the written transcript, to debate the politics of the moment. As a newsman and anchor, it was often my job to make sense of a day like today, although there was never any day quite like today, or yesterday, or undoubtedly tomorrow. I also hoped, like I do know, to try to put a broader picture, what in television we call the wide shot, into focus.
Many of you no doubt are joining millions of your fellow Americans, on both sides of the political divide, in wondering what all this will mean. Who will win and lose? Barring some unforeseen development, it seems like the contours of the future are already known: impeachment in the House and acquittal in the Senate. The specifics are important, however. Will the scope of the inquiry be limited, or will it become more expansive? What will we learn that we don’t already know? What dots will emerge that might connect this to other brewing scandals? And could there ever be enough to break the partisan divide in the Senate? (Count me skeptical on the last point, but I also know that those who live by the crystal ball tend to eat a lot of broken glass).
Let us state what we do know. There is first and foremost the extortion plan the president has publicly copped to, even as he now seeks to rewrite the record (with the complicity of his GOP stalwarts who seem to have a strategy of making so much smoke that they hide the fire). We know the moral character of this president. We know the character of those who insist it is their duty to the country to testify. We know all those who refuse to answer questions under oath, and we can pretty much guess as to why.
It is all easy to become overwhelmed, to look to the latest poll to try to see what this means for the politics ahead, to binge-watch cable news. Feel free to do so, but also stay connected to the bigger picture. For millions of Americans, with far more pressing concerns, this is just starting to sink in.
One of the reasons I love baseball so much is the season is long. Each game has its drama, even each pitch. But you can also step back and take a few nights off and catch up.
Ultimately the story of this impeachment and the larger presidency will be written over months and years, not days and hours. But while in baseball you are only a spectator, in this effort, you are also participants. The ultimate verdict of not only President Trump, but all who abet his actions, and all they represent, will almost assuredly be decided at the ballot box. That chapter will follow all we see here, and you will be in a position to help write it.