Every member of the United States Senate swears an oath “To support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies at home and abroad” and to pledge to “bring true faith and loyalty to them”. After the House of Representatives charged Donald Trump with incitement to the insurrection that led to the deadly attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, the duty of true faith and allegiance to the Constitution required that the Senators attempt to win the 45th condemn President for the high crimes he has committed.
On Saturday, a bipartisan majority made up of 57 Senators – 50 Democrats and seven Republicans – found Trump guilty and endorsed the representative’s conclusion Jamie RaskinThe Maryland Democrat, who served as the House’s chief impeachment manager, said: “Donald Trump has committed a massive crime against our Constitution and our people, and the worst violation of the presidential oath in US history. For this he was charged by the House of Representatives and must be convicted by the United States Senate. “It was Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) written down“The largest, most bipartisan, presidential impeachment vote in American history.”
Still, 43 Republicans voted against Trump’s guilt and prevented the Senate from gaining the two-thirds majority necessary to hold the most dangerous and destructive president in the country’s history accountable for his seditious acts. Schumer called this election a “vote of shame”.
The 43 Republicans who gave up their oath of office to defend Trump failed because of the constitution.
However, this wasn’t the only failure to show true faith and allegiance to the Constitution on Saturday.
With their decision to end the efforts of the House’s impeachment managers to call witnesses in the trial of Donald John Trump, Senators from both The parties opted for political pragmatism over constitutional duty.
In doing so, they rejected the possibility of making the impeachment process as wide as possible. They relinquished their responsibility to use every tool at their disposal to review and rebalance the imperial presidency – in the immediate trial of Trump for inciting insurrection and in the broader struggle to renew the role of Congress as the pre-eminent branch in a system of divided powers.
“The decision not to call witnesses [was] a victory for Trump indeed, ”said the constitutional attorney and advocate of accountability for the president John Bonifaz, the co-author of the book, .
The question of whether witnesses could be called hovered over the trial before it opened. On February 4, Raskin asked Trump to testify. Trump refused. This calmed down the discussion in the early stages of the process. However, when the process ended, it was reopened by Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.). As CNN explainedHerrera Beutler revealed details of an explosive phone conversation between McCarthy and Trump on Jan. 6 as the Capitol riot was underway. In the call, Trump reportedly said the rioters had taken more care of it the election results as McCarthy. “The Congressman’s statement critically supported the argument that Trump was guilty of ‘negligence’ – one of the main charges in the impeachment trial, which was approved by a bipartisan vote between 232 and 197 in the House of Representatives.
“You have to look at what he did during the uprising to confirm where his thoughts were,” Herrera Beutler, who voted against Trump with nine other Republicans in the House, told CNN. “That line right there tells me that he either didn’t care, which is final, because you can’t allow an attack on your ground, or he wanted it to happen and was okay with it, which makes me so angry.”
She was right when she said she was calling on “patriots” to speak up about Trump’s high crimes.
Raskin responded appropriately on Saturday. He said on behalf of the property managers: “We believe we have proven our case.” Yet, He went onSince Herrera Beutler’s testimony was “additional corroborative evidence” of Trump’s decline and “this is the right time to do so, in accordance with the resolution passed by the Senate setting the rules for the process, we would like to have the opportunity to meet the Congresswoman.” Subpoena Herrera on her communication with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and subpoena her simultaneous notes she was taking on what President Trump told Kevin McCarthy in the midst of the uprising. ”
Trump’s unhappy attorneys were unprepared and responded with unfocused objections and a wild suggestion that they call hundreds of their own witnesses. The Senate voted 55-45 to admit witnesses. It was a bipartisan vote that enraged Trump loyalists like Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). What mattered was that for a moment this Senate deliberation looked like it was becoming an actual trial.
That didn’t happen.
After more than an hour of heated negotiations between Schumer and the ever cynical Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), The prospect of calling witnesses has been taken off the table. A “deal” has been reached. The impeachment leaders wanted to depose Herrera Beutler. Instead, their statement would simply be inserted into the process log. That was the end of it.
Democrats had a majority to call witnesses. You could have done this in a smart and effective way. But they lacked the will to go through with the process. There would be no deposit. No direct testimony. No witnesses.
“The Democrats presented a compelling impeachment case with detailed evidence, won a bipartisan vote to add key witnesses, and then withdrew against witnesses. They ended the trial early and deprived their own case of any testimony.” explained Seasoned legal analyst and MSNBC presenter Ari Melber.
The window closed. The opportunity was missed.
This came in handy for Republican senators who were not interested in hearing evidence that might make their voices against condemnation more shameful in the eyes of the American people. It also came in handy for Democrats – in the Senate, House of Representatives, and White House – who just “want to get on with governing.”
But it was constitutionally impractical. The founding document gives “Sole power to bring all impeachments to justice” and requires every senator to take a second oath to “do impartial justice”. That, said Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Should be called “solemn commitment. “This obligation is not just to review the evidence presented, but to ensure that it is evidence allowed to be considered – including evidence from witnesses with information clearly relevant to justice.
The senators who thwarted efforts to call witnesses failed because of the constitution.
“While I appreciate all of the incredible work the impeachment managers of the House have done on this impeachment trial, this decision to step back from testimony is outrageous. It totally undermines everything they have said, “explained Boniface, who went on:” If our constitution and democracy are in line with this process (as we have been rightly told), why should we focus solely on video, Support audio and news reports? and a set statement? Trials require witnesses. Would witnesses have changed the outcome? We’ll never know now. But history will judge this decision to stop the full broadcast of evidence before the Senate and the American people as to why Trump should be convicted of inciting this insurrection. ”
Boniface was right. The saddest assessment, however, came from Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse. In a statement announcing his voice in condemnation, warned the Republican::
Congress is a weaker institution than its founders intended, and it is likely to become even smaller. Many Republicans speak of restoring Congress power to an already over-aggressive executive. Conservatives regularly denounce the overreach of executives – but we should primarily denounce the impotence of the legislation. This process is constitutional because the president abused his power during his tenure and the House of Representatives charged him while he was still in office. Unless Congress can violently respond to an intimidation attack on Article I instigated by the head of Article II, our constitutional balance will be permanently upset. A weak and shy Congress will increasingly submit to an encouraged and empowered Presidency. This is unacceptable. This institution must respect itself enough to tell the executive that some limits cannot be exceeded.
The constitutional balance has been shifted in the wrong direction. The Republicans who voted not to condemn are responsible for it. But also Democrats who, when they were in control of the Senate, failed to fully accept their authority to bring Donald Trump to justice.