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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/8/21

A complicit Republican Party readies to deploy bogus defense against Trump's impeachment

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By Kerry Eleveld, Daily Kos Staff

Lindsey Graham
Lindsey Graham
(Image by Gage Skidmore from flickr)
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The Republican Party, which has now firmly staked its claim as a "big" tinfoil tent, is deploying some of the very same lawmakers who perpetrated a giant election fraud lie to assure the nation that impeaching Donald Trump is unwarranted, unfair, and unconstitutional.

"I mean, the House is impeaching him under the theory that his speech created a riot," Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told Face The Nation Sunday despite being directly involved himself with pushing the very lie that fueled the deadly riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6. At one point, Graham even pressured Georgia officials to commit fraud themselves in order to overturn the election.

But that's where the Senate GOP is: pushing out liars who lied to poke holes in the impeachment case assembled by House Democrats. Please proceed, senators, because the impeachment presentation Democrats are getting ready to make starting on Tuesday is going to be a doozy.

"The story of the president's actions is both riveting and horrifying," Rep. Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and the lead prosecutor, told The New York Times. "We think that every American should be aware of what happened that the reason he was impeached by the House and the reason he should be convicted and disqualified from holding future federal office is to make sure that such an attack on our democracy and Constitution never happens again."

The Democrats' case will rely heavily on a video recreation of the violent siege, viscerally reminding both lawmakers and citizens alike of the trauma Trump inflicted on the nation that day. Since Democrats will need the votes of at least 17 GOP senators to convict Trump and only five have signaled a willingness to consider the arguments on their merits, winning a Senate conviction seems unlikely. But convicting Trump and his GOP enablers in the court of public opinion is clearly worth the energy -- particularly as Republicans spend the next couple years whining about President Biden sidelining them in his effort to address the country's urgent needs.

Congressional Republicans spent four years helping Trump shred the U.S. Constitution in pursuit of stealing another election. Now they think they deserve to be equal players in a presidency they sought to nullify by overturning the will of the people. Democrats are going to remind The People that Trump engineered an attack on the homeland specifically to disenfranchise them, and the Republican Party aided and abetted that effort.

Republicans' chief argument against convicting Trump is that it's unconstitutional since he's no longer in office. But remember -- Sen. Mitch McConnell stalled the Senate trial until Trump was safely out of office. As luck would have it, Senate Republicans are now basing their key defense strategy on a loophole McConnell created.

But it's not only a phony loophole, it's also a weak loophole at that. The notion that presidents can't be held to account for their conduct during the entirety of their tenure is ludicrous. As the House impeachment managers wrote in their brief, "There is no 'January Exception' to impeachment or any other provision of the Constitution."

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