Trump was acquitted in his Senate trial 57-43. Seven Republicans joined the fifty Democrats to render a devastating opinion of Trump’s guilt. That would be a landslide victory in an election, but the Constitutional hurdle is higher at two-thirds. It would have taken ten more Republican Senators to convict him. Nobody expected that to happen. Not in today’s highly partisan politics. It did not matter what Trump did. He could have led the charge into the Capitol, carrying an assault rifle, and he would still have been acquitted. As he (in)famously bragged in 2016, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” Compared to that, inciting a riot to overturn the government is small potatoes.
Republican Senators have justified their vote by claiming that the impeachment of a President who has left office is unconstitutional. First, the claim is factually false. The House impeached the President while he was still in office, but the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, refused to start the trial in the Senate before Biden was inaugurated. And then when the trial finally started, he was the first to claim that it was unconstitutional because Trump was out of office. A typical slimy Mitch maneuver.
There is some disagreement on the question of whether it is constitutional. Some legal experts have opined that it is not.
“I tend to believe it is only for current office holders,” said Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein.
The majority of legal experts say that it is constitutional.
“Once an impeachment begins in the House, it may continue to a Senate trial. I don’t see any constitutional problem with the Senate acting fast or slowly,” said Michael Gerhardt, a law professor at the University North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“The constitutional case for late impeachment has more strengths and fewer flaws than the case against it,” wrote Brian Kalt, a professor at the Michigan State University College of Law in a widely cited law review article on the subject.
For a detailed analysis of the words in Article II Section 4 of the Constitution, here is a good reference:
Republicans in Congress also claim that they are just “representing their constituents.” In a democratic republic, that is what politicians are supposed to do, right? When constituents demand armed insurrection, the poor politician must do his duty and support them,
Baloney. Even if a majority of their constituents say that Mike Pence should be lynched, Nancy Pelosi executed, and all the rest of those traitorous Democratic members of Congress should be taken hostage, a Republican Senator has to approve of that?
Those Senators who voted to acquit Trump violated their oath of office. Instead of the prosecution they deserve, they will be praised by their voters, and of course, by all the right-wing media. They all know damn well that Trump is guilty. Even slimy Mitch McConnell acknowledged that Trump was “practically and morally responsible” for the attack on the Capitol. That acknowledgement came AFTER he voted for acquittal. The vote to acquit was not just a craven act of political cowardice. It was an act that undermines the political process defined in the Constitution for the orderly transfer of political power after an election. All 43 of them violated their oath to protect and defend that constitutional process.
They won’t be prosecuted, or get the punishment they deserve, (See Note below) but they are guilty, and history will convict them. The names of all 43 of them should be prominently published in the media, so that future generations can know their names and revile them.
Note: The Federal Criminal Penalty for Violation of Oath of Office is explicit and direct regarding a violation of oath of office by federal officials which includes all members of Congress. The law requires removal from office and a prison term or fine for the offender. (Fourth federal law, 18 U.S.C. 1918)