The second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump is officially underway, and aside from the unique historic nature of the event itself, the whole thing feels like a sail with no wind in it. To call this “pathetic” is to be kind. Some 45 GOP senators have signaled their intent to cleave to a laughably incorrect legal theory that argues Trump can’t be tried now that he’s out of office. Without 17 of them voting to convict, acquittal is a certainty.
Jeff Tiedrich of the political forum Smirking Chimp sums up the absurdity with Twitter-appropriate brevity: “so for four years we couldn’t prosecute Trump because he was president and now we have to let him get away with it because he’s no longer president? holy f—–g shit, this is some industrial-strength bullshit and I’m not having any of it.”
That rotten eggs reek is no surprise; nor is the sullen loyalty fest taking place within the Republican Party any shock to the observant. They like to call these things “trials,” but in truth it is purely a political event, and politics is about counting noses. For whatever reason, 45 GOP senators have chosen to wade deeper into the ashes of Trumpism, holding up their bowls like Oliver Twist asking for more.
A decision has been made within the Republican overmind to stick with Trump even after losing the House, Senate, White House and 465,000 American lives under his administration, and they are toeing the line like the dutiful lemmings they are.
Behold, then, the only thing less surprising than scurrilous Republicans: Pushover Democrats. To be sure, the fact that 45 GOP Senators have indicated they will acquit Trump is disheartening, but that does not mean you run down the colors and say, “OK, well, then I guess none of this ever really happened, sorry to have bothered you, we’ll make this quick.”
Which is basically what the Democratic congressional leadership has agreed to. After four short days of testimony regarding the sacking of the Capitol by Trump supporters and the murder of a Capitol Police officer, senators could vote to hear more evidence.
“But that appeared exceedingly unlikely Monday,” reports The Washington Post, “with Democrats wanting to move quickly to pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief proposal and Republicans seeking to get past the internally divisive debate over Trump as soon as possible. Several Senate aides, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions, said they expect an acquittal vote as soon as next Monday, which is Presidents’ Day.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is said to be pleased with the arrangement. Nothing more need be said.
For all the talk of trials combined with the cowardice of speedy resolutions, it behooves us to remember the article of impeachment we’re talking about:
President Trump’s conduct on January 6, 2021, followed his prior efforts to subvert and obstruct the certification of the results of the 2020 Presidential election. Those prior efforts included a phone call on January 2, 2021, during which President Trump urged the secretary of state of Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, to “find” enough votes to overturn the Georgia Presidential election results and threatened Secretary Raffensperger if he failed to do so.
In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government. He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.
Wherefore, Donald John Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. Donald John Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.
It’s the least the man deserves, and he still won’t get it, and that’s how that goes. There is no good reason whatsoever, given the profound gravity of the offenses as stated, to rush this thing. “You fight the fight because the fight is worth fighting,” I wrote yesterday. “You act out of hope in more than just the outcome, because the effort yields its own rewards. You shout down hypocrisy for the sake of the truth, period.”
There is always the possibility that the House impeachment managers use their foreshortened time to put on such a dramatic and moving case that the full body will have no choice but to vote in favor of hearing more evidence. Trump may erupt and demand to testify after watching himself take a beating on television for four days — note well those GOP senators are not defending him, but are instead attacking the process, a fact he is sure not to miss.
Here is history, again, and worth watching if you can. Let’s see what happens next.
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