By Fred Wertheimer
Senate Republicans, with the exception of Senator Mitt Romney, failed the country, the Founders and the institution of the Senate itself.
Senate Republicans said today to President Trump that there are no consequences for his gross abuse of office, for his total obstruction of Congress, for his undermining of our constitutional system of checks and balances, for his breaking the law in soliciting a foreign country to interfere in the 2020 presidential election, for his extorting and blackmailing a foreign country to investigate a political opponent in the presidential election and for his misusing taxpayer dollars for his own personal political benefit.
Some Senate Republicans have whispered that the President’s actions were inappropriate or wrong, but they are unwilling to do anything about Trump’s reprehensible conduct.
One Senate Republican however, Senator Mitt Romney, ignored the pressures of partisanship, and voted to remove Trump from office and defend the Constitution and the office of the presidency.
The Founders fought a revolution to get rid of both a king and foreign interference in our country. They wrote a Constitution with protections against foreign influence and with checks and balances to prevent our country from having another king or authoritarian ruler.
Senate Republicans apparently believe the Founders got it wrong.
Senate Republicans voted today to give President Trump a green light to solicit and coerce foreign governments to help him try to steal the 2020 presidential election. They voted to license Trump to ignore Congress as a co-equal branch of government.
In essence, Senate Republicans assented to Trump’s absurd claim that he can do whatever he likes under Article II of the Constitution.
Voters may hold Senate Republicans accountable for failing the country and seriously damaging our constitutional system of government. History certainly will.
Senate McConnell, supposedly a “leader” in a co-equal branch of government, bowed down to President Trump and proceeded to serve as his agent and operative.
Amazingly, Senator McConnell announced before the trial started that he would be working “in total coordination” with and “taking my cues” from the Trump White House in conducting the impeachment trial. McConnell effectively turned control of the Senate impeachment trial over to the Executive Branch defendant being tried.
Under McConnell’s “leadership,” the Senate conducted a sham trial.
In every one of the fifteen previous Senate impeachment trials in our history, witnesses were permitted to testify. In Trump’s trial, 51 Republican Senators prohibited any witnesses from testifying. This contradicted the very notion of a trial where witnesses are always allowed to testify. Just what was it that Senate Republicans did not want the American people to hear?
This rigging of the Senate impeachment trial nullified its legitimacy. The House impeachment of President Trump stands. The Senate acquittal of Trump does not; it has no credibility.
A special place in the Hall of Shame is reserved for Senate Majority Leader McConnell, who has done lasting damage to the integrity and credibility of the Senate.
A special place in the Hall of Shame is also reserved for Alan Dershowitz, whose nonsensical and bizarre arguments provided phony cover for Senate Republicans to use to justify their votes to acquit Trump.
A special place in the Hall of Fame is reserved for Senator Romney, who defied all the pressures of partisanship and Republican peers to vote to remove an unfit President Trump from office.
A special place in the Hall of Fame is also reserved for Senator Doug Jones who defied all the political pressures of a very difficult re-election fight in red state Alabama to vote to remove an unfit President Trump from office.
The Senate has long been known as the world’s greatest deliberative body. No more.
With Senator McConnell shutting down the Senate as a legislative body in this Congress and with a rigged, no-witness impeachment trial, the Senate has forfeited any right to claim being great or deliberative.
Fred Wertheimer is the Founder and President of Democracy 21, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to strengthen our democracy and promotes government integrity, accountability and transparency measures to accomplish its goals.
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