The Senate trial of Donald Trump for inciting the deadly Capitol Hill insurrection on January 6th is over. But the debate over Trump’s guilt or innocence is not. While Trump was judged to be guilty by a significant, bipartisan majority of 57 senators – the most ever for an impeached president – the vote fell short of the two-thirds majority to convict Trump. But that is not the whole story.
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The folks at Just Security, an online forum based at the Reiss Center on Law and Security at New York University School of Law, did an analysis of the public comments made by all of the senators with regard to their positions on Trump’s culpability for the assault on the Capitol by Trump’s Seditionist Brigades. The results reveal that even those who voted to acquit Trump were not absolving him of responsibility:
“Some senators clearly voted in support of Trump’s defense against the allegations. Other senators, however, indicated that the House Managers proved their case but that the senator did not vote to convict on the theory that the Senate lacked jurisdiction to try a former president. […]
[A]s a matter of law, it is technically inaccurate to call many of these 43 senators’ decisions a vote to ‘acquit,’ at least not on the question of guilt or innocence. Indeed, over half of the 43 senators were either critical of Trump or expressed neither criticism nor support for him on the merits.”
So only 11 of the 43 senators who voted to acquit Trump did so because they thought he was not guilty. The rest did so because they thought the Senate couldn’t impeach a former president. Thirteen senators – including the GOP Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – were critical of Trump as “disgraceful” and “responsible” for inciting the insurrectionist riots.
If those senators had voted with the other seven who voted guilty, there would have been more than enough votes to convict Trump. But because the Republicans were intent on letting Trump skate, they exploited a dishonest technicality (that the Senate had previously dispensed with) in order to achieve their pre-determined end.
In short, they chose to vote for political self-interest rather than truth. They chose to stand with a criminal, rather than with their country. And that perfectly defines the character (or lack thereof) of today’s Republican Party.
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How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
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