Impeachment Trial: The Big Picture

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Don’t get bogged down by the marathon minute-by-minute coverage of the Senate impeachment trial stretching late into the night. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the complex procedural maneuvers aimed at securing a fair and open trial with witness testimony and new documents that Republicans want to prevent at all costs.

We must stay focused on the big picture.  Here are the 10 big things you need to understand about the Senate trial and the historic moment our country is in right now.

1. Trump’s attempt to get foreign powers to help him win the 2020 election is an impeachable offense. It’s precisely the sort of thing the Framers of the Constitution worried about when they created the impeachment clause. If presidents could seek foreign help winning elections, there would be no end of foreign intrusions into American sovereignty and democracy.

2. But under the impeachment clause of the Constitution, sixty-seven United States senators are needed to convict Trump. That means that even if every Democratic senator votes to oust him, twenty Republican senators would need to join them in order for Trump to be removed from office.

3. The odds that twenty Republican Senators will do so are exactly zero. Zilch.

4. That’s because there are not twenty Republican Senators with the courage and integrity to protect the Constitution and the nation from the most dangerous and demagogic president in history. Led by Midnight Mitch McConnell, Republican Senators are engaged in a concerted coverup of some of the most outrageous conduct ever committed by high-level government officials. Even so-called moderates like Susan Collins and Mitt Romney can’t be relied on to grow a spine and conduct a fair trial.

5. Why not? Because they want to keep their jobs, and they fear Trump’s sway over their voting base and his massive fundraising apparatus.

6. Trump’s overall job ratings have not changed a bit in the wake of his impeachment in the House, just as they have remained remarkably stable over the course of his presidency. In the most recent polls, 40 percent of Americans – including, importantly, 90 percent of Republican voters – approve of the way Trump is handling his job as president, while 58 percent say they disapprove. These percentages are exactly the same as they were in September, before the House of Representatives launched its formal impeachment inquiry and voted to impeach Trump.

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