President Trump may not be removed from office, but America’s third presidential impeachment trial will still make history. Did he abuse his power? That’s now up to the Senate. But Republicans are denying it’s even a crime.
“That’s a way to just continue to move the goalposts, to continue to defend the president by defining whatever it is that he did, as something that is not impeachable,” says Dahlia Lithwick, legal affairs correspondent for Slate.
Former Republican strategist Tim Miller explains it this way: “Republicans know that the president did what he’s accused of. Their issue is that they do not want to face his ire, or they don’t want to face his voters’ ire by embarrassing him.”
There’s no dispute that Trump withheld Congress-approved military aid for Ukraine. Was he digging for dirt against Joe Biden? If so, “it will happen again, preventing … a free and fair election” this coming November. That’s how Quinta Jurecic of Lawfare and the Atlantic describes the Democrats’ argument.
Corey Brettschneider, author of the new book, “The Oath and the Office: A Guide to the Constitution for Future Presidents,” says, “If you eviscerate the power to check a president who’s abused power, you don’t just eviscerate it for this moment in history, you eviscerate it for the future.”
And speaking of oaths, Republican Senators have sworn to be fair. At the same time, they’ve promised President Trump’s acquittal. They even want to prevent House Democrats from introducing evidence.