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Entirely predictable, yet sad

13 February 2021 • 22:00

So, Trump’s second impeachment ends with acquittal. We knew that was going to happen, but I’m still sad that 43 US Senators were unwilling to hold Trump accountable in this way.

It pains me to say that I have a little bit of sympathy for Senator McConnell’s arguments for not voting for conviction. However, I can’t see that it would have been a dangerous precedent to vote for conviction even if the penalty of removal from office wasn’t applicable in this case. Further, I’d have a lot more sympathy for McConnell’s position if he was leading a charge for further action.

However, as it stands, it feels improbable that McConnel or anyone voting with him will pursue further action. Therefore, we’re left with 43 Senators putting fealty to Trump — not even their party, but Trump himself — above the country.

At least seven Republican Senators did vote to convict. As David Frum writes in the Atlantic, this makes a significant point:

But now see the world from the other side, through the eyes of those who defend Trump or even want him to run again. Their hope was to dismiss this impeachment as partisan, as founded on fake evidence, as hypocritical and anti-constitutional—to present this verdict as an act of oppression by one half the country against the other. That hope was banished today.

Let’s see if it plays out that way.