McConnell: It was too early to impeach Trump, and now it’s too late


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858 points

Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

It did not begin until the second Donald Trump impeachment trial, but it is an already imposed outcome. All but five are Republican senators Been voted To dismiss the charges on the grounds that a former president cannot be removed.

The position’s legal merits are questionable at best: the Senate has historically sacked and indicted former officials, and even many conservative legal analysts agree that Trump’s departure does not rule out a trial. But most surprisingly, the Republicans were the same party that refused to stand trial before leaving.

The crucial argument put forward by Trump’s defense team – and repeated by his Republican allies – against his first impeachment trial last year was that it was too early. Trump’s attorney warned Democrats, “They didn’t just ask you to cancel the results of the last election … They are asking you to remove President Trump from the polls in the elections that are taking place in about nine months.”

The Republican Senate has adopted this reasoning widely. The Senate could not remove Trump before the election. That is what the elections were supposed to decide.

After Trump tried to backtrack on the election result and secure a second term, eventually sparking a mob to storm the Capitol, Republicans were briefly outraged. The House of Representatives quickly voted to impeach Trump for his incitement. But two days after the uprising McConnell Advertise That the Senate will not start an impeachment trial for at least another 11 days.

To be sure, the Senate could They immediately met to start the trial. It refused because Trump’s allies would not allow it. The Senate will need unanimous approval to start the trial, as it will Washington Mail Note, “With a cadre of senators allied with Trump at the Republican convention, unanimous approval is highly unlikely.” McConnell has won unanimously before, but there is no evidence that he has tried this time.

The perfect moment for the trial occurred when the Senate was on vacation. What will you do?

Now that Trump has left office, it is too late for a trial. Thus Republicans will not have to take a stand on whether Trump’s efforts to cancel the presidential election through a combination of ruse and violence amount to a major crime. Before the election, it was too early to condemn him. Then there was a brief period of lame duck. It was neither early nor late, but the Republicans decided not to meet. Then they came back, and it was too late.

The Republican establishment suppressed initial feelings of disgust toward the Trump gang and calculated that trying to break with the ambitious authoritarian president would alienate conservative voters. Even the many conservative intellectuals who initially declared that Trump’s crimes could be isolated have decided the timing was wrong.

“We said that Mr. Trump’s actions – and not moving to stop the riots as they unfolded – was a crime that deserves his dismissal, and we urged him to resign.” Wall Street magazine Opening paperBut he is now out of office and no longer the “imminent threat” that Democratic House of Representatives said would justify their hasty impeachment measures. Notice how after the first sentence acknowledges the seriousness of Trump’s crime, the second sentence accuses Democrats of “rushing” to impeach And the He insists it is too late.

National Review editor Rich Lowry He says, somewhat more frankly, that timing by nature precludes any conviction. “The accountability problem was that it seemed inevitable that either it was expedited so that every traditional process was dispensed with and thus lacked legitimacy or it would override the Trump administration without any chance of conviction and thus lack legitimacy …” he argues, “it was not There are good timing options here, given that Trump’s most apparent crime after the election came two weeks before his scheduled exit. “

Nobody is defending the rebellion. It only happened during a wormhole in the calendar where the president could break the law with complete impunity. They’d very much like to hold Trump accountable, but the founders designed the presidential crime hole, and we have to respect their wisdom.


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