The Acquittal

The Senate voted to acquit former President Trump of impeachable offenses yesterday. It is a good thing.

The reasons for the acquittal are important, of course, but they can also be set aside in order to consider the event from a different perspective, the perspective of consequences.

For example, of the two possible outcomes — conviction or acquittal — which is more likely to be disruptive to our political society? I would guess conviction, because it would have made Trump a martyr in the eyes of his more energetic supporters. Acquittal won’t do much to appease them, but at least it doesn’t add to their grievances.

Another example. Of the two possibilities, which better promotes the rule of law? Here I would guess acquittal, because “not guilty” doesn’t mean “innocent.” The impeachment prosecution was so weak in so many ways (technically) that, in fairness, it deserved to fail for that reason alone.

Finally, of the two possibilities, which sets a better precedent for the behavior of future presidents? Acquittal does, because it sets no precedent at all. Try to imagine if Trump had been convicted. Would all politicians subsequently be more cautious in their rhetoric? Would we even want them to be?

All in all, the acquittal does more to preserve our system of government and our options within it going forward.

25 thoughts on “The Acquittal

    1. “But the incitement charge was bogus.”

      Hardly.

      There is zero chance that the violent insurrection would have happened if Mike Pence had been the losing candidate and not Donald Trump. Unlike Trump, he would not have sought to overturn the election by having a mob try to intimidate the Congress. And THAT is exactly what Trump said he would do and tried to do.

      And don’t forget the 7 Republicans who voted to convict nor the scathing comments by Senator McConnell. This impeachment was not a Democrat thing – it was a patriot thing and there are plenty of patriots among conservatives.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. There are some downsides to acquittal. Mostly in that some issues become moot without being resolved.

    I would have liked to see Scotus rule on the Constitutionality of trying a private citizen in the Senate. A partisan vote to proceed does not settle that.

    The Senate violated its own rules by considering an article of impeachment that alleges 3 causes. Senate rules require a separate article for each cause. That breach will remain unresolved.

    Regardless of the final outcome, we need to get our legislative branch back to following the Rule of Law instead of just doing whatever suits the desired outcome.

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    1. “A partisan vote to proceed does not settle that.”
      Uh, that was a bi-partisan vote by a majority of the Senate.

      There was one Article of Impeachment. It charged him with Incitement of Resurrection. Period. The fact that his earlier and subsequent actions and lies mentioned in the Article and by the prosecutors support the charge does not make them separate charges. The incitement started even before the election and continued until the evening of January 6th. So, this comment about Senate rules is irrelevant nitpicking at best.

      As for your comment about the Legislature following the rule of law, that is misplaced. Very few actual acts of Congress have been held unconstitutional.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. No matter how hard you try, you cannot make a Senate impeachment trial a criminal trial.

      Once you clear that hurdle you will find that the Constitution offers a remedy for the nation to unseat an incompetent, corrupt and/or a president who abuses the power of his office in addition to the two criminal cases of bribery and treason. In any case, the president cannot be criminally charged until after removal from office.

      The Constitution is vague on timing of the trial. That is why the vote was held.

      The Senate, like the House, are permitted to set their own rules for proceedings. There is no due process in impeachment.

      But note that it is extremely hard to remove a president. Rightfully so. And that pitches the fears that impeachment will be used frequently.

      The precedent is now set. A president can lead a charge to overthrow an election up until certification on January 6. Actually, right up until 12 Noon on January 20. A president can extort cooperation from state election officials under threat of criminal prosecution. A president can inflame supporters to threaten anyone and everyone the president considers even slightly disloyal to him.

      Perhaps some decades long sentences for attackers is our best option to take the fun and games aspect out of attacking Congress as encouraged, supported and praised by the ex-president.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. “No matter how hard you try”…true but what it has turned out to be is a partisan opinion tool of vengeance that has no legal or moral integrity or merit anymore because of Democrat fanatics using it as a baseless political weapon. Democrats failed twice to present a cogent argument and the second was more pathetic than the first, especially after the defense team obliterated their arguments in only 3 hours.

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          1. I see a corrupt President who thought he could ignore the outcome of the election and stay in power by gathering a mob to intimidate Congress and “stop the steal.” You don’t. THAT President DOES exist.

            To defend your willful blindness you want to call others ignorant because they clearly see what you refuse to. With all due respect, that is simply pathetic.

            Liked by 2 people

  2. The acquittal was a good thing. For the Democratic Party. With this decision Trump remains more free to continue the destruction of the Republican Party. George Will had a pretty good piece along these lines in the WAPO today.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/will-senate-republicans-allow-their-louts-to-rule-the-party/2021/02/11/ce082db6-6caf-11eb-9ead-673168d5b874_story.html

    For those without access, the gist is in the title.

    Here is an excerpt . . .

    “An essential conservative insight about everything is that nothing necessarily endures. Care must be taken. The Republican Party will wither if the ascendant Lout Caucus is the face it presents to this nation of decent, congenial people.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Will recognizes the obvious, as usual, and expresses it in 1500 words when 100 will do, as usual.

      But love the “lout caucus”, although “insurrection” would be more apropos…

      Liked by 2 people

  3. The next time this issue comes up, and it will, the perpetrator will be a lot more slick than T****. He or she will know exactly how to navigate it. By not voting to convict in numbers necessary, the GOP Senators have opened the Pandora’s Box that any President, regardless of party, will never have to worry about the spectre of impeachment.

    Denying this impeachment has become the new death penalty. It will not deter the determined from performing their evil deeds.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If the Framers of the Constitution had heard of the term “Human Resources”, impeachment would have been the first paragraph under the heading. The notion that the behavior has to be criminal is just wrong. Judges are impeached for drinking on the bench, for example. You can read Madison’s interpretations and he refers to the president’s mental faculties, i.e., “incapacity”.

    The whole process for any impeached official is nothing more than the board of directors determining whether to put a “Do Not Rehire” post-it on a CEO’s employee file.

    As for Trump, the Democrats could not have devised a more diabolical device to devastate the GOP than is Donald Trump.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Well put.

      Paul said it well earlier when he stated the simple case of D. Trump, ex-president. He ignored an election that thoroughly refuted him, but not Republican legislators who gained seats. Then worked for months to overthrow the results by violence.

      A blatant, purposeful and seditious attempt to destroy our country to satisfy a delusional man.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Attacking Georgia’s Governor and Secretary of State as well as spitting on the election itself did not help. And Lin Wood as a de facto attorney for the ex-president talking about executions, Hugo Chavez and to forget voting in a rigged system.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Where is Da Craken? Even she thought the defense was some pretty “weird shit”. How is that Rudy becomes the most logical person in the room?

            Rigged system – One where every citizen has the right to vote and actually practices that right. And the majority of them voted for someone other than T****.

            Like

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