House Democrats forced a second indictment against Trump by presenting compelling evidence that he instigated the Capitol Hill attack, driving a wedge between Republicans who want to look the other way and those who hate Trump’s behavior.
Saturday morning, after CNN’s Jamie Gangel gave shocking new details about Trump’s behavior on the 6th. In January, Democrats became suspicious and demanded real accountability. They were joined by five Republicans who wanted to call witnesses – including Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, who was instrumental in criticizing Trump’s defense team’s counterfactual claim that Trump opposed and did not encourage the insurgency.
Finding enough Republicans to convict Trump would still be a major hurdle, and Democrats should offer Republicans the chance to call their own witness. But rather than move forward and take advantage of discovery, Democrats chose to include Herrera Beutler’s written statement, which would have advanced the indictment process toward Trump’s expected acquittal.
With the conclusion of this process, Biden can get to work. But Americans who had hoped that Trump would no longer be able to hold political office will wonder what would have happened if Democrats had been a little more ruthless in defending the Constitution.
The GOP is always Trump’s party.
Trump once said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose a single voter. (His lawyers later filed a lawsuit, claiming that Mr. Trump, as president, could not be accused of this either.) It turns out that he could also have led a mob of rioters on Pennsylvania Avenue to attack the U.S. Capitol – with his own vice president – and most Republican senators would have supported him.
Seven Republican senators voted to convict Trump of sedition, but most Republicans argued that the trial itself was unconstitutional because Trump is no longer president, saying that fact outweighs all the evidence presented at the trial.
In moments of frustration with the GOP, Trump thought about forming his own political party, but that doesn’t seem necessary. When his lawyers created an alternate reality in which he called for peace while rebels looted the Capitol, Republicans, who were among the targets of the mob, looked for a lifeline. The fact that they could watch the video of Mike Pence and Utah Senator Mitt Romney coming close to a confrontation with the rioters, as well as Trump’s words leading up to the confrontation and then vote to exonerate him, is just the latest evidence that Trump’s power over the party is far from waning.
Trump without Twitter is a much quieter force
A pianist who can’t play, a soprano who can’t sing, and Trump without Twitter share their silence. He hasn’t been heard from since retiring to his private club in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, in a kind of self-imposed exile after the election.
For example, a member of the court heard his voice clattering in the surveillance video that showed the directors of the prosecution of the house making their plea. There may still be Republican lawmakers, but it’s much harder for the public to know what they think at any given time.
It’s an interesting take on American politics. The orders during an indictment proceeding are simple. Go away! But Trump must have been frustrated, angry in private and desperate to express his thoughts during this process. We wonder who they are – or expect to read about them in the newspaper or here on cnn.com – instead of seeing them pop up on our phones at regular intervals.
Republican Women – Profiles of Courage
Profiles in Courage – with a reference to the Senate book of the time. John F. Kennedy wrote about former colleagues in the Senate – here he says they are willing to go against the party and lose the convention. Politicians are more interesting when they are defending a difficult cause.
We should not forget that among the leading Republicans who turned against Trump were several prominent women. Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney’s status as the third Republican in the House of Representatives was threatened when she voted to impeach Trump. Herrera Beutler, who also voted for the indictment, issued a statement calling his lawyers’ defense completely false.
Republican lawmakers willing to vote for the conviction include moderate House members Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who joined Romney and Sen. Ben Sasse from Nebraska.
Mitch McConnell does not appear in Courage
Compare Cheney’s actions and statements with those of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. In January, it became clear to reporters that McConnell believes the impeachment process should continue. He spoke out against the Trump-inspired revolt in the Senate. But when it came to challenging the former president’s constitutionality, Mr. McConnell voted against it. When the time came to punish the former president who launched the attack on an institution McConnell loves, he told his colleagues he would vote for acquittal.
When he appeared in the Senate, he gave Trump a stunning rebuke, dismissing his conspiracy theories and blaming Trump for the riots. But he argued that it was inappropriate to vote for removal because Trump is no longer in office, and essentially tried to make it technically possible.
This is not the end of the story.
Mr. Trump’s acquittal will not end responsibility for the disturbances caused by his words or his attempts to undo the election. The rioters have brought hundreds of cases, and their cases have begun to weave his words into his arguments.
Take the case of Jessica Watkins, the oathkeeper who federal prosecutors say waited for Trump’s order before going to Capitol Hill.
Prosecutors in Georgia have opened a criminal investigation into Trump’s attempt to influence the outcome of the election.
None of these cases, even if they lead to a conviction, can disqualify Trump from future work such as an indictment. But they are sure to keep the riot alive for the public.
This story has been updated.
abc news impeachment live,abc impeachment coverage schedule,nbc news impeachment