Close your eyes and imagine a trial in a courtroom in which members of the jury are working in sync with the defense to acquit the defendant. The majority of the jury decides there will be no witnesses, and only testimony from the attorneys will be heard. Now open your eyes because that’s exactly what happened in the U.S. Senate right before the eyes of the American people last week.
The White House and Senate Republicans have successfully executed one of the biggest cover-ups in American history.
The President withheld foreign aid from a foreign country in an attempt to get dirt on a political rival gunning for the nomination of the opposing party. There’s not much debate over whether Trump did or not. Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, have admitted the President’s guilt numerous times over the last few months.
If there were ever a time in American history to impeach and remove a president, it was the Senate’s vote on Feb. 5.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., one of the impeachment managers from the House, said it best: a president who isn’t held accountable now is empowered to do it again without consequences.
“He has betrayed our national security, and he will do so again,” Schiff said. “He has compromised our elections, and he will do so again.
“You will not change him. Truth matters little to him.”
One of the saddest parts of the trial is that Republicans acknowledged the President’s wrongdoing but still toed the line when it came time to vote.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said House managers proved the president’s guilt, but he still voted down witnesses and removing Trump from office.
“If you have eight witnesses who say someone left the scene of an accident, why do you need nine?” Alexander said. “Do I need more evidence to conclude that the president did what he did?”
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., made a mind-boggling statement regarding impeachment.
“Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a President from office,” Rubio said.
Impeachment is one of the most powerful checks that the legislative branch has on the executive branch.
The Constitution says that the president can be removed from office for treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
How Trump’s actions don’t underscore all three is beyond me.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, wrote in the New York Times many Republicans refused to speak out against the president out of fear of retaliation. Brown’s reasoning is spot on.
When learning about Congress in my political science classes at Troy, I’ve had ingrained in my head the top priority for representatives and senators is to get re-elected. Republicans know that one breath out of step with Trump will lead to a series of malicious tweets by the President and possibly a visit to endorse another candidate in the Republican primary. This was seen after Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, voted to convict the President on the article of impeachment for abuse of power.
“The wonderful people of Utah will never look at “grandstander” Mitt Romney with anything but contempt and disgust,” Trump tweeted.
Fortunately for Romney, he was just elected in 2018 by about 32% of the vote and won the Republican primary by over 40%. He should be fine in 2024.
But many of the other Republican senators showed that re-election and fear of the president more important than adhering to the Constitution.
The three branches of government are supposed to be equal, but Republican senators are contributing to a long-running pattern of the legislative branch allowing the executive branch to do whatever it wants with rare consequences.