For the third time in the history of the United States, the U.S. House of Representatives voted mainly along party lines to impeach President Donald Trump on charges that he abused his powers as chief executive and obstruction of Congress.
The articles of impeachment were then sent to the Republican-controlled Senate where majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made clear the trial would be swift and Trump both acquitted and vindicated.
A quick recap of the events are as follows: on Dec. 18 a House inquiry found that Trump had solicited foreign interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election in order to assist his re-election bid; further charges were that he obstructed the congressional inquiry by having members of his administration to ignore subpoenas for documents and testimonies.
The inquiry report states that Trump had withheld military aid to Ukraine with the intention that the Ukrainian president open a criminal investigation into Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden.
The House inquiry also found that the administration had been trying to promote a discredited theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, who was behind the 2016 presidential election interference.
From the onset of the impeachment articles, it was made very clear by McConnell and Senate Republicans that the president would not be found guilty of any charges. On Jan. 31 the Senate, unsurprisingly, voted almost in lockstep to block testimony from any new witnesses or reveal any new documents related to the inquiries.
For anyone who had been following the impeachment from the beginning, the obvious was clear: the GOP would maintain its loyalty to Trump while the impeachment articles would only bolster the president’s claims that Democrats were playing partisan politics.
Despite the testimonies, despite the whistle-blowers’ accusations and the evidence which followed, Trump was never going to be removed from office and this trial, which can be described as a sham to say the least, has proven to the president that his autocratic behavior as our chief executive can go unpunished but not unchallenged.
The impeachment trial also showed the American people that the Republican Party has been transformed into the Trump party. With an election only months away, congressional Republicans have shown time after time that they kiss the boot of his heels as long as they get re-elected.
Make no mistake, the influence Trump holds over GOP is the reason why we see little Republican resistance toward the president’s behavior. From the midterm elections to the upcoming presidential election, it is to say the least a butt-kissing competition among Republicans vying for his support.
Unsurprisingly, Trump chose retribution against any of those who opposed his actions. During the National Prayer Breakfast, Trump held up a copy of The Washington Post to display its headline, “Trump Acquitted,” the president then listed the various investigations against his administration as he dismissed them as partisan politics.
He called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “a horrible person,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) “a failed presidential candidate,” and U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) “a corrupt politician.”
To the president’s credit, after his long-winded vent to the bipartisan audience, he apologized for using such harsh language, “I apologize. I’m trying to learn. It’s not easy. It’s not easy. When they impeach you for nothing, then you’re supposed to like them? It’s not easy, folks. I do my best.”
Trump and his allies did in fact do their best to acquit him. It’s not easy for a divisive president to find vindication but in the end, that is exactly what happened.