Yes, Trump is held accountable even if the corrupt Republican Senate ignores his crimes.
I was asked: Is it really accountability if he’s not removed and barred from running for another term? Is it accountability if he’s not actually imprisoned for his “high crimes and misdemeanors”?
I answered: I do think it is, and I’m going to spend a few hundred words expressing why, if you care to hear them.
The House is a far more small-d democratic institution than the Senate. The House is designed to represent the people, while the Senate is designed to prevent the people from acting against the interests of the wealthy and powerful.
As far as I am concerned, knowing the fix is in once this gets to the Senate, knowing that McConnell is as corrupted and venal as they come, the inevitable refusal by the Senate majority to remove Trump from office does not mean Trump did not commit the crimes he is accused of committing. It means that the Republican-controlled Senate does not respect the oath of office, does not respect the rule of law, does not care about the future of America and American democracy, and is primarily concerned with consolidating and preserving power against the will of the majority of Americans. This question about to be before them is not about Trump, it is about the Republican Party.
As I wrote yesterday, the trial of Donald J Trump is over, and he has been convicted. He will be remembered for the rest of his life, and by history, as a man who lost the popular vote, was the most unpopular president in history, told more documented lies than any other president in history, and was only the third president since 1787 to be impeached. He is also the first elected president to be impeached in his first term, and was impeached by the largest majority of House votes in history.
There’s been a lot of yelling, a lot of gaslighting, a lot of lying, and a lot of posturing, but not one single defense of Trump on the facts or merits.
Trump is clearly a narcissist, so the fact that his name is forever tarnished and tied to Nixon, who was a criminal, and Clinton, who Republicans think is the Antichrist, is going to be deeply wounding to his ego. But maybe he’s also a Nihilist, and doesn’t care about his place in history, so some may think it’s it’s a Pyrrhic victory. To them I ask: what’s the first thing you think of when someone says Richard Nixon’s name? It’s probably not creating the EPA or opening trade with China. It’s almost certainly Watergate and his resignation from office. Trump knows that, and he knows that his obituary will lede with his impeachment. For a narcissist like him, who can’t stand to be shamed or contradicted, that cuts to the bone, no matter how much he blusters and lies about it.
Trump clearly broke the law, clearly abused the power of his office for personal benefit, and betrayed our national security interests. Seventeen witnesses testified to that, and not a single Trump defender has said or presented a single thing that contests the evidence of his crimes. There’s been a lot of yelling, a lot of gaslighting, a lot of lying, and a lot of posturing, but not one single defense of Trump on the facts or merits.
The facts are not in dispute. Sure, Trump cultists refuse to accept them, but Flat Earthers and Climate Change denialists reject facts, too; that doesn’t make them correct or worth anyone’s attention.
But to more directly answer your question: is it really accountability? I believe it is, in the only way that is possible, because we all know that the Republican-controlled Senate has made a choice to protect Trump and sweep away his crimes, at all costs. Because the evidence of Trump’s crimes is so overwhelming, corroborated by so many witnesses, and admitted to by Trump, in public, multiple times, if Republican Senators took their oaths seriously, they would have no choice but to remove him from office. America has a president, not a king, and they know that. But they seem determined to force a king upon us, and that is why the next step of this process is not about Trump, but is actually about the Republican Party. We are about to find out what they stand for, and what the future of American Democracy will be. Voters understand that, as polling has consistently indicated for months.
Remember, each time the American people have been asked if we support Trump and his policies, we have loudly and overwhelmingly said that we do not.
Three times, America has been asked to approve or reject Trump, and all three times, the majority has repudiated him. In 2016, the majority of Americans voted against Trump. Then, in 2018, the majority of Americans turned out for a referendum on Trump and his policies, and gave Democrats the House majority, with an explicit mandate to check his abuses and hold him and his administration accountable for its lawlessness.
What we are living through right now is the consequence of that election, which lead to the third time America has been asked to approve or reject Trump and his actions.
Trump has spent his entire life breaking the law and getting away with it. But yesterday, for the first time in his life, he was held accountable for his actions. This must be a strange, incomprehensible reality for Trump and his cult to face. I think he believes that he really could shoot someone in the face and get away with it. His Congressional defenders and media propagandists have even argued as much, in public. So when his Congressional defenders/enablers are asked to consider the facts and evidence against him, of course they will ignore the facts and evidence. That doesn’t mean he isn’t guilty. That doesn’t mean that the majority of Americans do not want him removed from office. It just means that the Republican Senate is more concerned with the consolidation and preservation of power for themselves and the Oligarchs who fund them, than they are actually respecting their oath of office, and the responsibilities to the Constitution and the country that come with it.
The Senate does not represent the American People the same way the House does. The Senate is undemocratic, privileges sparsely-populated states over the majority, and is controlled by a profoundly corrupt group of men who clearly do not respect the law, or take their oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution.
In many ways, the Republican Senate majority is as illegitimate and unrepresentative of America as Trump’s presidency, and it’s clear that the fix is in when the Articles of Impeachment are presented to them.
The evidence of Trump’s crimes — the ones we know about, the ones he admitted to in public and continues to pursue, WHILE HE IS BEING IMPEACHED FOR THEM — is not in dispute. The American people know that, and do not question his crimes (other than the 40ish percent of Trump cultists who only get their news from Trump and his propagandists).
So the American people considered the evidence of Trump’s crimes (the ones we know about; I’m confident there are more) and expressed, through our Congressional representation, our belief that Trump should be removed from office for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. He has been convicted by the majority of Americans, and history will remember that, regardless of the actions of a profoundly corrupted Senate, lead by Moscow Mitch McConnell.
Remember, each time the American people have been asked if we support Trump and his policies, we have loudly and overwhelmingly said that we do not. So the Republican Senate is acting against the will of the majority, just as it did throughout Barack Obama’s presidency. The Republican Senate has chosen to focus on the consolidation and preservation of its own power, so its actions in the coming weeks and months aren’t really about Trump’s guilt or innocence; it’s about the Republican Party’s respect for the law, the Constitution, and their oaths of office. Just as Republicans will reject the overwhelming evidence of Trump’s guilt, so must we, as Americans, reject the Republican Senate’s authority and credibility.