People will say that we are living in unprecedented times ad nauseum these days, whether it be COVID-19 or the Capitol riot. The second impeachment trial of a United States president has been added to that list. Today was part one of the Senate hearings with the conclusion of this part tomorrow (Wednesday, February 10th). This could go longer if there are witnesses called (yay…). The professionalism and lack of political theater compared to other trials in recent years (it almost reminds me of the C-SPAN of the past) was a breath of fresh air, but how much this will make a difference on the outcome and whether it makes a difference on our political division nowadays remains to be seen.
The House Impeachment Managers, who were all Democrats, focused more on the words spoken by the President Trump, the effect of them, and the inability of Trump to immediately denounce the actions of the rioters. A 13-minute video was shown by Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland that replayed the events of January 6th to the Senate. Watching the video brought back the emotions felt from that day and made it hit home for me more that this was and is an important day in our American history. It was powerful and heart-wrenching to say the least. The legal precedents were a nice history lesson as well.
Donald Trump’s legal team seemed lackluster and slightly ill-prepared. I understood the argument that since Donald Trump is now a private citizen, he should not be convicted through an impeachment trial, essentially a political process. However, it took forever for them to get to the point. Many are saying that Bruce Castor didn’t make any sense in his testimony. I got the point he was trying to make, but it was if he took the long way to get there. I eventually tuned out David Schoen as he said the same point over and over, just phrased in different ways.
My position on the Impeachment trial and its results has evolved but is becoming more indifferent as time goes on. Everything that happened on January 6th was reprehensible and the definition of deplorable (see what I did there?). However, the fact that Donald Trump is a private citizen and being tried in the Senate, where he is not the president, makes the waters a little mucky for conviction. If this were a private case, it may be easier to convict and make him accountable for his actions. The partisanship, stubbornness of most members of both sides, and the slim likelihood that seventeen Republicans will vote to convict makes it pointless and a waste of taxpayer funds. It’s predictable that the Senate has determined constitutionality of the impeachment; it’s controlled by the Democrats. It would be predictable that they wouldn’t move forward if it was controlled by the Republicans.
I’m not sure what tomorrow’s part of the hearing will bring, but it doesn’t seem promising that the Senate will budge on conviction. It remains that for the time being, we will be divided, clutching to our political parties, and reaffirming the complaints that each side has about one another. While we need to keep our public officials accountable for their actions, especially those that they bring our democracy to the edge of extinction, do it privately. If we didn’t have to hear about Donald Trump and be reminded of his influence, his clench on the Republican party may be weakened. Leadership will tell him to kiss their butts instead of kissing the ring.