The Impeachment process came down to the question of how much evidence constitutes a fair trial. The outcome begged a more important question: “for whom?”
Some would say the trial was for Trump. Others might say for the House of Representatives.
While both answers reflect what happened, both are wrong in the most basic of ways. The trial was first and foremost for all THE AMERICAN PEOPLE!
It clearly fell short in accomplishing its goal. And seeking (demanding) help from a foreign government for help in a U.S. election did not seem to Republicans to be a high crime or misdemeanor, despite that it is in fact a crime.
As evidenced by numerous polls, about 75% of the American people wanted to see more evidence to add weight and meaning at least to the President’s intentions, a desire the Senate rejected. That number must include quite a few Republicans.
Reasonable people can, as we saw, disagree about what rises to the level of an impeachable offense, and even about the procedural rules which surround evidence and the process of producing it.
Lamar Alexander, in voting AGAINST more evidence, made his reasoning very clear. He said he did not need any more evidence because he was already totally clear that the House had proved its point about Ukraine. But, he added that he still did not think the President’s serious misconduct – bad as he thought it was –was grounds for dismissal, particularly in an election year. His view is the clearest all year from a Republican. But, he punted the tough questions away from the Senate to the people. There is a case for that view, but it is weak and cowardly in my opinion.
And, there still is no reason to justify denying the American people all the relevant facts, which surround the whole matter.
Now, however, at least we have a better idea what the 2020 Presidential election will turn on.
There will be lots of, hopefully, useful noise about the economy, foreign policy, honesty and rationality.
But, the real debate, among the public and between the candidates – if there is one at all —will be about this President’s dishonor and un-reliability, as well as what an appropriate line should be between simply BAD behavior and impeachable behavior.
Sadly, the Senate’s dismal moral crumbling has made many of its Republican members handmaidens of Trump’s ambitions. By weakening the definition of impeachable behavior, they have allowed an ambitious President to do virtually anything to keep his Kingdom, even at the expense of democracy.