Senate Republicans Are Bathed in Shame

There’s no “impartial justice,” just protection of Trump at all costs.

Comments: 322

  1. I would add to the especially disappointing list, Lamar Alexander and Ben Sasse. At on point, both at one point had some degree of character or at least liked to write about it. It is really sad to see how debased the Senate has become under McConnell.

  2. @Scott YES, But: Part of what Frank Bruni and some of these replies point out is that as horrible as McConnell is, and as bad as Trump is, still, the problems are a profound and venal weakness in the Republican party AND in these various people who are now serving in the Senate. This probably is the best job these people will ever have, and there is no way they can oppose Trump and stay in that job. It's not just McConnell. Which is too bad, because if Kentucky can get him out of there, maybe that would help. But only maybe. The real problem is that as long as there is Republican majority in the Senate and Trump in office any "leader" is going to be doing what McConnell is doing.

  3. @Scott oops.... hit enter a bit too soon on that last one! I wasn't drinking. Honest!

  4. @Scott no, under trumpism and evilene mcconnell.

  5. Mr. Bruni -- and all, yes, it is true: both "sides" have already made up their minds. And. yes, both through the individual members have now sworn a second and seemingly impossible oath to try the matter with impartiality. And, yes, it is true, the Democrats did come to their position, even those now running for the office Trump claims to hold and has disgraced. after hearing the evidence produce in the House --or one assumes they listened and watched as many did. Those Republicans, especially the Leader, who assert they will acquit, period, cannot claim to be doing it out of a sense of justice or impartiality, having heard we assume not a word of the evidence. They do it from cowardice and self interest. Please, please, let there be an epiphany and let us see both sides listen to evidence, and let there BE evidence not more hot air. IF there are facts adduced, surely even the honest Republicans -- there must be some -- will hear the truth. Especially McSally who sits in the seat and at the desk honored by real patriots McCain and Goldwater.

  6. @Kathleen King "surely even the honest Republicans -- there must be some" I doubt there are any honest Republicans. The whole party is rotten to the core.

  7. @Kathleen King Real patriots but misguided: McCain and Goldwater.

  8. The McConnell-led Senate is simply an extension of the Trump White House, not the separate branch of power it was designed to be. This November, to protect our country and our Constitution, we must take back both the Senate and the presidency. We, the voting public, are the last hope for justice in our governance.

  9. @NM And the McConnel-led Senate is perhaps simply an extension of either Putin and/or Dark Money. Let's hope the election is fair and that it isn't contested by the Repubs if/when a Democratic candidate wins.

  10. @NM And the McConnel-led Senate is perhaps simply an extension of either Putin and/or Dark Money. Let's hope the election is fair and that it isn't contested by the Repubs if/when a Democratic candidate wins.

  11. @NM And the McConnel-led Senate is perhaps simply an extension of either Putin and/or Dark Money. Let's hope the election is fair and that it isn't contested by the Repubs if/when a Democratic candidate wins.

  12. In a representative democracy the ideal is to have representatives voice the views of the people who voted for them. Republicans have nothing to be ashamed of--they are representing the views of their constituency.

  13. @nikolai burlakoff That is true up to a point but not all the time. Representatives have a duty also to ethics and to the good of the country - that's why we have representatives instead of a simple popular referendum on each and every bill. If "the people who voted for" certain representatives supported expelling all Spanish-speakers from the US or sending them to concentration camps (and there are certain districts in which this might be true!) it would still be an atrocity to vote in Congress for doing that. And it would be an atrocity to exclude evidence already known to exist and known to be germane from examination and testing in the upcoming trial.

  14. @nikolai burlakoff Your point is correct insofar as legislation can be expected to reflect constituent leanings. But all members of Congress are expected to be neutral and objective in matters of justice. However, a Senate Majority Leader describing close coordination with the White House about impeachment more than crosses a line.

  15. @NM In all affairs US representatives are expected to be partisan. Only clear and overwhelming evidence can counteract that tradition. In this case there has been zero evidence presented. The whole case rests of assumptions and interpretations, nothing else. In some ways the case is moot, anyway. Biden is not Trump's opponent. Neither man is a candidate nominated by his party.

  16. I guess the impeachment hearing will be a clear testament to the level of fear (fully manifested and deployed by Trump) that grips all those who identify as Republicans in the Senate. Will any of the Republican Senators identified in this article act without fear? We'll see. My hopes are high, but my expectations are modest at best. I imagine that, if fear was not an active element of Republican Party policy, there might actually be enough votes in the Senate to remove this malignant president from office. Again, we'll see.

  17. There is an election is 10 months. It would be unconscionable for the Senate to usurp the will of the electorate by voting to impeach on the nebulous charges that have been cited in the house's impeachment documents. Was their a quid pro quo? Maybe. Did the president direct Giuliani and, by proxy, Parnas to motivate an investigation of Biden for ammunition in the 2020 election contest or to re-cast the 2018 election? Who knows. But High Crimes these are not, and the electorate can decide if they disqualify Trump for re-election.

  18. @Gary Anytime someone says to vote against impeachment because it will "usurp the will of the electorate" I know not to take them seriously. Impeachment by definition overturns a decision of (in this case, a minority of) the electorate. Yet it exists in the constitution.

  19. @Gary A lot could be done to make those "nebulous" charges crystal clear. Innocence begs for light; the guilty obstruct, stonewall, and deflect.

  20. @Gary Nothing could be clearer than the Framers' conviction that a way *other than the next election* was necessary for dealing with malfeasance. The fact that this case is about seeking to corrupt that very election is a textbook example of why that need exists: an election that might be won through unpunished cheating is hardly a satisfactory check. Remember - the voters can take this into account in 2020 only because Trump got caught. Without the clear deterrent of a catastrophic risk (i.e. impeachment), the lesson might be simply to improve the secrecy of future cheating.

  21. Trump continues to try and use foreign governments to interfere with our elections, even vetoing legislation that would have strengthened our defenses against Russia hacking. If we don't impeach him we might as well tell him it's now ok if he, and he alone, uses Russia to elect him over the choice of the U.S. voter.

  22. @deepharbor What legislation has he vetoed?

  23. Trump didn't change the character of the Republican Senators about to break yet another oath, he just revealed it. Marco Rubio and Susan Collins have always bent with the slightest of political winds. It's hard to stand straight when you don't have a spine. Ted Cruz's odious character has always been his most defining characteristic. Snakes don't move in a straight path. Lindsey Graham has never showed any signs of having a moral compass. He just chooses someone to follow (or abandon) based on crass personal political calculation. Our Senate Republicans are what they have always been. Trump just shines a particularly bright light. Which is why our supreme oath breaker, Mitch McConnell, will do his best to make sure the Senate undermines this trial is as much darkness as he can get away with.

  24. @LT it got away with Merrick Garland's seat on the supreme court, it got away with packing the courts every single day without passing 425 non-partisan bills sent to the senate by the house. it will get away with this too.

  25. @LT their sociopathic tendencies steered them into the high-flying life of American politics; To rebuke the millions of unfettered campaign cash and access to the halls of power would be to deny their true selves. Overturn Citizens United, demand hand marked paper ballots and we might just keep this country afloat.

  26. @LT One of the best character summations of Rubio, Cruz, Graham, Collins and McConnell I have ever read!

  27. Frank, the first thing to understand about any Politician : they will never, ever have a better “ Job “, in real life. The money, the travel, the healthcare, the parties, the retirement benefits, the social standing, the POWER. There’s an old saying : “Politics is Show Business for unattractive people “. With a few exceptions, that’s absolutely true. Almost all of these people have reached beyond what anyone could have dreamed, for their lives. So, is it any wonder they would be loathe to give up their Jackpot ? Go along, to get along. Do what you’re told, and we’ll make sure those Campaign “ contributions “ keep rolling in, and you get re-elected. It’s EASIER to fall in line and stay on the gravy train. It requires uncommon courage and integrity to Vote and speak out for what’s right, and what’s best for our Country. I don’t know all the answers, Long term. But for this bunch, there’s a very simple solution: VOTE THEM ALL OUT. It’s the only way they will Learn. And they deserve nothing less.

  28. @Phyliss Dalmatian Thanks Phyllis, I too wondered what most of these folks would be doing if they weren't politicians. Maybe it's time to take away many of their perks. Sift the chaff from the grain, to see what shakes out.

  29. @Phyliss Dalmatian I believe your analysis is correct of Republican politicians but what I see on the Democratic side of the aisle is a lot of patriotic Americans that care about this country. They care about the workers, the environment, equality, the climate and what sort of world we will leave our children and grand-children. It is a distinction to be made that not all politicians are morally and ethically bankrupt, just the Republican party.

  30. @Phyliss Dalmatian Splendid comment. I can add only that politicians become addicted to the perks and status. So, like Friends of Bill (W. not C.), they take life one day at a time. Today they must face Trump. They don't have to face the voters until November 3. In politics nine months is an eternity.

  31. I don't know why everyone has thrown in the towel on people per-judging this trial. I most certainly don't when I have jury duty. If I had the weight of being a public official, I would be even more diligent, if that's even possible. I don't think we should lower our standards or allow them to be lowered. If someone were to tell me that, "It's just the way it is; it's reality," I would say do not accept anything but the best and do not lower standards because of events of the past."

  32. My parents grew up during the Great Depression, and both played a part in the American effort during the Second World War. They were FDR Democrats, but they liked Ike, and they had nothing but respect for honorable members of the Republican Party in government, and for those who voted them into office. My parents, like many of the so-called "Greatest Generation," are no longer with us, but I knew them well enough to know how they would feel about the current incarnation of the GOP, its evil-incarnate standard bearer, and his unprincipled legion of lickspittles. A number of words come to mind, "respect" not among them.

  33. Many of us who were born during the depression, remember FDR and wore I Like Ike buttons and first voted for JFK remember when the other party was the opponent and not the enemy.

  34. @Tom Sullivan I had the same kind of parents. I miss them terribly. But I am so grateful that they are not here to see this desecration of their country, this abomination of a President, these sycophants masquerading as United States Senators. They would be heartbroken.

  35. @Tom Sullivan it all started with reagan, no one should forget it.

  36. Imagine these are all Republicans who are about to sell out the very Republic they've sworn an oath to defend, to its Constitution, and to its rule of law in order to serve and protect an unindicted felon in the campaign finance conspiracy he engineered that put his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, in jail; to a man who was just credibly accused of breaking the law by by a federal watchdog agency, the General Accountability Office, in conspiring to bribe Ukraine to open investigations into former Vice President Joseph Biden, his son, Hunter Biden, and a Putin conspiracy that would absolve Russia of helping to elect him in 2016; and to a man being impeached for creating a massive conspiracy involving most of his cabinet and even some in Congress to corrupt the November, 2020 election. This is how democracies die and autocracies are born out of fear and greed and a craven willingness to sell out their country. They are not judges, but judases!

  37. @Paul Wortman They have sold their souls, their intrinsic self-hood. Their response to the Articles of Impeachment is amazing & frightening. It also seems to hint at some horrifyingly corrupt cabal that's maimed nearly every Republican.

  38. I wish I could believe that American citizens would listen carefully to the evidence & swamp their representatives w/ pleas for blind justice & no kow-towing to their base instincts.

  39. Attempting to shame those who disagree with you is not only generally an exercise in futility but often represents the worst forms of preening and virtue signaling. All in all, a disagreeable genre where one pats one's own back while preaching to a select and friendly choir.

  40. @Frunobulax Republican senators (and all the Trump supporters) don't disagree with Frank Bruni. They 'disagree' with the facts. They don't want to hear any witnesses, because they have chosen to ignore reality.

  41. @Frunobulax It's "preening and virtue-signaling" for an opinion columnist to shine a light on the lies and corruption of this pack of hypocrites, who ostensibly represent the public? You know the "We the People" in that Constitution they swore to uphold? If it makes you feel better, I don't think any of them can be shamed anyway. But what they are doing must be continually called out. What do you think the job of an opinion columnist in a national paper is?

  42. Well written, and nicely put. I always have wondered how most of these Republican poltroons can live with themselves, nor how they cannot overcome their failed ethics and morals.

  43. Why would it nag at them when they are surrounded by like minded people in the party and are cheered on by tens of millions of voters. They’ve been selling their souls to special interests for years and have made it clear that re-election, cash and control matter far more than the truth. What an embarrassment and a joke our political system has become and hopefully a good enough portion of the hearings will be televised so that we can watch them lie to our faces and have it preserved online as their legacies.

  44. I remember the Republicans sneering at Clinton for being personally embarrassed enough to lie, and voting to impeach him, even after the remorse he showed. Now, we have Republicans sneering at the entire Democratic Party because they have identified the complete moral and ethical bankruptcy of the Republican Party in defense of a merely nominally-Republican President. I will never vote Republican, again, after being a life-long registered Republican.

  45. @Baxter: Neither will I ever vote Republican again -- not without some great change in that party. Does that matter, however, if -- as is built into our system -- the current Republican minority in this nation continues to dominate the Senate and thereby can block any progressive change? That same minority owns the White House via an electoral system that negates the popular vote. Under such a biased system do your and my votes really matter? I would like to think that they do, but I have deep doubts.

  46. @Baxter We should have recognized that our democratic republic was in serious jeopardy more than a decade ago when the "Birther" lie emerged and grew and had no real Republican opposition.

  47. @Baxter I remember when Republicans thought of themselves as the adults in the room. Rule of law, personal responsibility, family values, limited government, free markets, balanced budgets, etc. Now they have become the cult of Trump. Imagine the outrage of Republicans if Trump were a Democrat. Can you imagine the glee of McConnel and Graham if they they would have had this kind of dirt on President Obama. Imagine if a President Hillary Clinton had put her daughter and son-in-law into the White House power structure. It seems to be, in the end, all about power and money. Give me my tax cuts and deregulation and I'll defend a moron of a President. If Trump loses it will be interesting to hear the song they will be singing.

  48. One has to wonder what it is that keeps people like this in the Senate. Do they simply enjoy seeing their names in the headlines and their faces on TV? Are they so impuissant in private that they need to feel a sense of power just for the sake of their own fragile egos (never mind that such power doesn't exist without their paying total fealty to a boss-man they otherwise despise)? The fact that there is hardly a single former elected official in the Republican Party who supports this "president" seems not to have made a dent with this current group of lickspittles. Those who once shouted out the name of "Jesus" in order to call attention to their bonafides of conservative candidacy now associate themselves with, well, the Opposite of Jesus in order to establish their credentials. Again, why are they serving in the Senate? Weren't they supposed to be there in order to sponsor an agenda for America (or, anyway, for their constituents) that reflected their own sentiments and convictions? Could'a fooled me...

  49. @stu freeman : Their constituency loves them. The GOP voted them in to make sure the government, the enemy of the people, is neutralized and destroyed. When the GOP tells you this, believe them. The government IS the problem. It must be made so small you can drown it in a bath tub.

  50. @stu freeman Problem is, most of the GOPs are not "serving" in the Senate. Serving implies lots of things, none of them being what they do. Having won their first election at some point in time to this once august body, they now are determined to hold on to all those perks no matter what. We need to hold all of them to account, so that their servile obsequiousness does them in.

  51. The Senate Impeachment Trial will be just as much about the GOP as about Extremely Stable Genius 45*; it only took 2 decades from the 1996 launch of Faux Noise Machina's 24/7 propaganda foghorn until the 2016 results. Of course, 'Individual-1' is just the avatar which his party leaders had been waiting for - those same party leaders who had pretended there was no Scalia vacancy which could be filled by Obama, and who proudly announced in Nov. 2016 that were Hillary elected, the GOP Senate would still refuse to fill Scalia's seat. Democracy runs on an informed populace, which needs facts for decision-making; the information stream has been deliberately polluted over the past generation by GOP TV.

  52. @R. Law I suggest it started with Newt Gingrich (you know, the Speaker, who announced his divorce to his wife on her cancer hospital bed, so he could marry his floozy, a real pillar of morality) and his "contract with America", which was in reality and to it's fruitition with Trump; a contract on America. I believe that was 1994 wasn't it?

  53. A surprisingly large amount of this article has been reflected on other posting boards by average people. To me, these are sound, common-sense points made by the author. The author's general view is exactly the opposite of what the hard right says/believes. You know, I don't honestly know if the right believes what they're saying in opposition to this or not; I'm guessing 45* has them terrified of the "consequences" of what would happen if he were proven wrong and removed soon (zero chance) or in the election. It could be a life-or-death proposition to them. That might explain some of it. Maybe they would just rather be right than correct? This caught my eye: "If there were nothing to this, why would Trump stonewall Congress to the extent that he has? That’s not how the innocent act." This fair point gets hammered to bits by the far right. The table-turning is preposterous yet somehow becomes believable to them (still an assumption). Small bits of truth given more weight, some sleight of hand with a few key words and poof! A rock-solid argument of why 45* is behaving the way he does. We can't forget the multitude that needs to be "thanked" for making this magic show successful. I don't blame 45*--he's incompetent--I blame the structure propping him up. Take a bow.

  54. Blame the stay at home non voting progressives and persons of color.

  55. This non-partisan impeachment will never pass the smell test of the honesty, integrity and truthfulness of a discerning voting citizen. Pure and simple. Indeed the dishonesty of the Clinton's and Obama's Department of Justice, in the voters mind, opened the door for a Republican President who happened by his extraordinary energy to win his party's nomination and the presidential election. You asked for it, admit it and stop the divisive rhetoric.

  56. @McCarron I'm not sure where to start. So it was the President's extraordinary energy that won him the election? That was it? Not very discerning of you, but very reflective of the lack of critical thinking skills among his base. Do a little reading. There are any number of carefully reasoned, thorough analyses of how Trump won. It was a confluence of factors, involving shifts that have been going on for decades. These were shifts that, when combined with the weaknesses of the Democratic candidate and their campaign strategy, resulted in the election of--to use George Will's apt phrase--the "sad, embarrassing wreck of a man" whom we elected. Pure and not so simple.

  57. @R. J. Christopher OMG - Hillary was not a weak candidate. She won the popular vote by almost 3 million votes. Her loss was due to a perfect storm of Russian disinformation, Comey announcing yet another look at her emails while neglecting to announce the investigation into trump's Russian ties, voter suppression and disenfranchisement, gerrymandering, the vastly inequal and free media attention, low information voters, rich voters who don't want to pay taxes, the list goes on and on and on. While I'm not a huge fan of Hillary, she was a vastly superior candidate to trump, and we are kissing our democratic republic goodbye because she is not our president.

  58. Another reason she lost is because a large number of minorities and progressives in swing states did not vote at all because Hillary was not a person of color nor the wildly left Sanders. Ironically those two groups have lost the most under Trump because they were either not smart enough or childish to vote Clinton just as a preventative measure.

  59. Watch this trial carefully. It will define who and what we are as a nation, and whether or not we are a nation of laws or just another banana republic.

  60. @Michael Gilbert bingo!

  61. I will leave my TV on while at work to bump up the ratings while I sneak peak updates on my phone.

  62. @Michael Gilbert - And you can bet our (former) allies will be taking notes on just where the country is heading. Not to mention our competitors deciding to whom pressure may be applied most usefully.

  63. Here’s my take on this week’s swearing-in ceremony of Senators by Chief Justice John Roberts for the upcoming Trump impeachment trial: Our government has sadly become, like the man in the Oval Office, a bad reality TV show with cheap scripted words and empty gestures. I’ve decided to pass on this show, and wait for a better, less scripted show with new characters in the next political TV season...

  64. History books will surely feature this information about these senators, how they held the fulcrum, how they had the power to bring sense to this.

  65. @Jim Every time I see a comment about the historians and history books of the future, I sigh. 1) The Humanities are being abandoned by the digital generations for the STEM Prosperity Gospel Curriculum. There will soon be no historians to write any history books. 2) Climate Change Catastrophe is on the way. Humans have written histories of the extinct dinosaurs. Are there historians on planets in other solar systems who will write the comprehensive and complete History of the Extinct Humans of Planet Earth? If so, perhaps there will be a chapter on Republican perfidy.

  66. For those of you holding out hope that the Senate Republicans will see the light and do the right thing - you need to let go of the rope. The last, best hope for the survival of this republic is to defeat Trump AND take both houses of Congress in 2020. Because Republicans, somehow, manage to control the narrative even with a sliver of power. Russia will be involved. I'm not hopeful. Glad I'm old.

  67. It’s not an either/or proposition. We do both. We need to impeach because it punishes past misconduct and has a deterrent effect. We vote them out in 2020 because Trumpism didn’t arise in one election cycle and it won’t disappear when Trump is gone.

  68. @Michael McDaniel Even we oldsters need to get out and make a loud noise about these idiots. Vote folks. There might be hope.

  69. @Michael McDaniel, I'm old too, but I swear I will live long enough to see Trump become a synonym for Traitor just as the proper name of "Quisling." Let that thought to keep us going.

  70. Basically, what Frank is asking of the Republican Senators is the same think Joseph Welch asked of McCarthy--if at long last, any of them have any sense of decency, not to mention history or duty. But, because, as Phyllis Dalmatian quite rightly points out, they're all afraid of losing their sinecures (with their wonderful health insurance and pensions, something far too many of us have no experience with), the answer is a resounding no. Who cares if the history books will mention them with a curled sneer? They'll be dead by then, and their sinecures will have enabled a much more comfortable life for them and theirs than most of us can expect. I suppose you can always count on selfishness and greed; they're always the last things to go.

  71. Thanks, Glenn. They are disgusting cowards. Cheers.

  72. What history books? The National Archives are already expunging the record and blurring our facts.

  73. @Glenn Ribotsky: "Who cares if the history books will mention them with a curled sneer? They'll be dead by then ... ." Which history books? The ones the children in Texas will read, or the ones that will be used in California and other blue states?

  74. The Senate is a political institution, not a court of law. In a courtroom, impartiality is assumed or at least sought. Maybe it was possible at some time in the past, but it isn't now. If this were a courtroom trial, every Senator would be excused for cause. The real jury in this trial is the American electorate, not the Senate. Senator's are defendants as much as the President. We'll reach our verdict in November, and the trial may help us do that.

  75. @writeon1 We won't be able to reach any kind of verdict if the process is fouled by Trump and his enablers to the extent they apparently intend to go to do so. And even if we do reject Trump, who knows what comes next with Trump and Mitch? This is for the Republic, folks.

  76. The Don't Care. It's all about power and ideology. Serving the country? That's so not the point. It's time the mainstream media woke up to that fact which has been percolating for 20 years.

  77. My question is: can the Republican Senators who have sworn an oath to do impartial justice be prosecuted if they don’t? For betrayal of the Constitution?

  78. @Willem Helwig Perjury seems to fit.

  79. @Willem Helwig ...You have to understand that being reelected is more important than honor or integrity.

  80. @Willem Helwig One would think so. But they won't be.

  81. Frank, in this column, is doing what we all must do: Repeat the facts and then repeat the facts again. Trump, and perhaps his mentor, the odious Roy Cohn, should be credited with discovering and perfecting a technique for creating a Potemkin Village which, somehow, is absolutely convincing to 40% of us. Even in complete disagreement with their own eyes and ears. The tension created by an army of republican zombies (both elected and their electorate) marching in lockstep to the fabulist narrative being weaved by the president may be more than our republic was conceived to handle. And yet, this moment is also a laboratory for understanding how the very worst of us are sometimes able to easily seize the moment. I don't know if we come out of this whole. We are certainly already deeply damaged. But I hope that Frank continues to beat the reassuring drums of facts, honesty and enlightenment.

  82. @Lkf Army of Zombies, including the electorate. Excellent metaphor. That is almost literally what about half our country has come to. Each action by Republican Congresspeople seems to be leading toward some horrible miscarriage of ELECTION in November.

  83. I respect freedom of the press, but urge you to stop trying to influence the US voters with enlightenment about snivilers like Lindsey or Mitch. The logic and morality argument to unseat Trump can only succeed now if all moral journalists lead their readers to chant at their workplaces and homes: VOTE BLUE NO MATTER WHO.

  84. Trump isn’t the problem. There are many Trumps running around the US and every other country. The problem lies in those willing and ready to work for him, support him, or stay quiet and benefit from their silence. Trump would be embarrassing C-list celebrities if it wasn’t

  85. Had President Trump asked the government of the Ukraine to manufacture evidence, the democrats might have a case. As the current President, President had the right to obtain full and complete information regarding the activities of the previous administration. The impeachment's charges are both spurious and irrelevant. I would suggest that the democrats ask themselves just what they stand for, and to proclaim those views to the American people, and let them decide.

  86. @J.Jones Democrats have made it very clear what they stand for. That's why there are a majority of us.

  87. @J.Jones So by your argument and reasoning the next administration will have complete authority and right to investigate this one? Which, coincidentally, is exactly what the Democrats are doing under their constitutional obligations as Congress. Which begs the question - what is the point of investigating the previous administration? Any wrong doing should be dealt with before they leave - as Congress has done now. And how do you know that Trump didn't ask Ukraine to manufacture something - were you listening in? Have you seen all the evidence? There is still more coming out - it may still be there somewhere. I would suggest you be careful what you wish for as it could come back to bite you.

  88. @J.Jones As usual, Trump and his defenders accuse others of what they are guilty of themselves.

  89. Absolutely brilliant. It’s beyond comprehension how Republican Senators determined to acquit Trump could read this devastating analysis of their character and emerge with an ounce of self-respect.

  90. @Michael Rosenzweig If you cannot shame a person you cannot defeat him/her. No amount of shaming by respected columnists , whether Frank and Maureen today, or any others, will have any impact on the decisions these shameless legislators have made in relation to Donald John Trump.

  91. @Michael Rosenzweig You are absolutely correct, but these people don’t care about self-respect. Re-election is all they care about.

  92. Since the votes of at least 90% of the Senators are predictable based solely on party affiliation, it will be hard to demonstrate that any Senator of either party is impartial. The real problem is not that Republican Senators will vote to keep Trump in office no matter what. The problem is that they have failed in their responsibility to hold him accountable to his oath of office while he has been in office.

  93. @MEM --- except that the votes of the Democratic Senators have a curious alignment with the facts and evidence presented in the case. Where are the facts and evidence to support the Republican's votes to acquit? Will the Republicans even deign to allow evidence and testimony to be presented? So far, all the evidence and testimony has supported and reinforced Trump's being guilty of all he is charged with. So a Democrat who comes to the conclusion Trump is guilty has not done anything driven by party affiliation - rather they have voted as the evidence and testimony force them to. Too bad the Republicans cannot also say that - although they will lie and claim it anyway. Without evidence or testimony to support that claim - yet another lie in a Trumpian mountain of lies... and an equally good question would be: why so many Americans are eager to believe all those lies?

  94. @Jim Brokaw. The answer to your final question is that they are base and driven by greed and fear of competing with others.

  95. @MEM Don't they know that once they acquit him, he is going to do something unthinkably horrible just to show that he can?

  96. The GOP is simply beholden to those who actually run the country because of their wealth. Elected officials can't actually legislate, as they're simply required to be supporters of the "conservative" agenda. If they don't toe the line, they risk getting primaried and losing their sweet gig. Oh, and that would mean they'd be forced to go out on their own into the vast wasteland of the common folk, without the benefit of the great insulator that is money...which insulates the holder from hunger, the elements, bad schools, lack of healthcare, reasonable retirement, etc. Unless and until the GOP is defeated, the monied interests will continue to have it their way. It's all bought and paid for.

  97. @Piney Woods You said, "Unless and until the GOP is defeated, the monied interests will continue to have it their way." To which I'd reply that the monied interests have their fair share of defenders in the Democratic Party as well. That's why Bernie's refusal to take PAC money is so important and sets him apart from the rest of the field. His loyalty is (and always has been) to the more than 5 million who have sent him their average $18 donations - and to the millions more who can't even afford that amount - and depend on his honesty and integrity to represent and defend their interests.

  98. "How in God’s name — and it was in God’s name — can the Republicans who have already decided to acquit President Trump take a solemn oath to administer “impartial justice”? " Agreed. And when I heard the oath, I felt helpless. is there no law or authority that can hold these government officers accountable? I felt the same helplessness when McConnell would not bring the Merrick Garland confirmation to a vote. Surely, someone could hold him accountable? But no. Are we a nation of laws or not?

  99. @PJP "Are we a nation of laws or not?" If one thing is clear in the age of Trump is how much and deep American governance depends not so much on laws it seems but of the good faith and good will of the office holders.

  100. @PJP Not. We are no longer a nation of laws.

  101. @PJP We, the people, must hold them accountable by working as hard as we can to make sure none of them ever holds elected office again. Vote, Volunteer, and get everyone you know to do the same. Our country depends on it.

  102. Since Chief Justice Roberts is formally presiding over the impeachment trial of Donald Trump, is he not obliged to note that at least 8 of the Senators acting as jurors have publicly stated their intention to violate the oath of impunity he administered when the Senate convened? I don't see how he can possibly ignore this.

  103. My understanding is that he is presiding at (not “over”) the proceedings, but not in the same capacity as a presiding judge in a regular trial, which is a judicial process. The impeachment trial is a Senate proceeding, and the Senate can make whatever rules it wants to. It is probably better to think of Roberts as “administrating” the proceedings, rather than “presiding” over them.

  104. @Michael Olneck Chief Justice Roberts is not an "administrator" regardless of the interpretation of "at" vs. "over" He leads our judiciary branch, and must "administrate" justice. An impartial jury, along with all applicable evidence and relevant testimony, should suffice as basic administrative duties in any court of law, for any citizen of this country.

  105. @Andrew Smallwood Unless that he is afraid of the Trump supporters as well and will sell out the US Constitution. Everything is possible for the Republicans.

  106. "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." (Lord Acton) Republican leaders in Congress and their boss qualify absolutely.

  107. Let's be clear about the stakes: for almost two and a half centuries the constitutional democracy that the founding fathers gave us has withstood often excruciatingly terrifying stresses; slavery, the Civil War, the Depression, two world war. But now, if Republican senators choose to violate their oath, they will be destroying democracy in America, probably forever. They all know he did it; they all know he's guilty as sin. They are well aware that he's unfit for office. They all know his tiny hands are on the nuclear trigger. They know what he's doing to the environment, irrevocably, the only planet God gave us. They all know that the only things he actually believes in is that they're laughing at us all over the world, that he needs to extirpate every trace of President Obama's accomplishments, and that he needs to protect white Americans from lesser breeds without the law. If Republicans in the Senate persist in administering the death knell to our most valued possession, our democracy, by giving up their power to hold the president accountable, by allowing him to corrupt the federal bench by populating it with 25-year old incompetents, sexual harassers, and incompetents, they will earn forever their place of shame in the final chapter of the forthcoming book on the decline and fall of the American empire. Yesterday''s headlines should not have read "Trump on Trial:"; they should have read "Senate on Trial."

  108. @Canetti Thank you.

  109. @Canetti Well said. Thank you.

  110. @Canetti Those books on the decline and fall of the USA will have to be written and published overseas. The government censors won't allow such "subversive" publications here.

  111. Those senators who previously said they would not remove and already knew how they would vote must recuse themselves, or be recused based on the public record. The logic of taking the oath having already said how they would vote is irrefutable. Of course they will not be impartial. Recuse each and every one of them.

  112. @mouseone -- We the People can 'recuse' them in November 2020. Vote them -All- out!

  113. @mouseone What about the Democrat Senators who are running against Trump in November? Don't they have a conflict of interest and shouldn't they recuse?

  114. For all the reasons you lay out, it is imperative Trump is defeated in 2020. Moreover, the Senators kowtowing need to be defeated as well. For the sake of the Republic not for the sake of a Democrat or Republican. Let' do it! Dems need to support the nominee no matter who that might be. In the current field I have reservations about some of the candidates age and some on experience but none about character, integrity or intellect. I will vote for the nominee and so should everyone else who cares about the rule of law and our constitution.

  115. Yes, I wonder this every day. How do the senators in my state of Louisiana sleep at night? Both of them, Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, are former Democrats, so they're not exactly lifelong partisans. Perhaps it's as simple as a desperate need to hold on to power and the trappings of their offices. Kennedy may have some sort of "aww shucks-I'm-just-a-country-boy-at-heart" appeal for rural Southerners, but Cassidy's appeal is a mystery: he is utterly charmless and evidently spineless (remember when cowardice was considered shameful?), but as things currently stand he will effortlessly win re-election this year. As a father and "family man" how is someone like Cassidy able to explain to his kids that he is doing the right thing by remaining so reliably silent in the face of so much corruption?

  116. His kids are zombies raised in ignorance. That’s why they won’t ask questions.

  117. @J. L. Weaver : It is very comforting to sleep on piles of cash.

  118. Surely the Senators who swore the oath of impartiality - especially those who have no intent of being so, such as McConnell - should be bought up on impeachment charges themselves. For starters there is lying under oath, obstruction, perjury and contempt of court - that's without even trying to find reasons. I have a feeling that when Trump is acquitted - and I don't think he should be, he should be removed as the evidence stacked against him shows - but when he is acquitted, there will be a very long list of federal pardons for a lot of Senators. There is only one reason why Senators will perjure themselves and that is if they have a get out of jail free card - literally.

  119. Here's the thing about the republicans that is really telling: In spite of what the Bidens did or didn't do, what trump did was wrong. It violated ethics regarding personal gain using the office of the President. It is actually pretty simple. Let's just suppose the Bidens broke a law. Does that mean trump is allowed to break a law? On the premise that trump doesn't ,or didn't know, IF the Bidens broke the law,then his actions,regardless of what the Ukrainians discovered, is irrelevant to the actions trump took to spur an investigation. Trump didn't KNOW if any laws were broken at the time of his shakedown of Selenski. The obstruction charge is a no brainer, he obstructed congress.

  120. @Tim Lynch If Democrats were consistent, they would disqualify Biden for the appearance of a conflict of interest, even if he didn't actually break the law. The Democrat House is not entitled to breach Trump's executive privilege unless the Scotus agrees with them that their need to interview his advisors is important enough to breach his need for confidential advice. Since Pelosi did not choose to pursue Scotus concurrence, the obstruction of Congress charge is entirely baseless. With respect to the allegation that Trump attempted to pressure the president of the Ukraine to investigate Biden in exchange for the funds Congress had appropriated in order to advance his electoral prospects in 2020, there are at least two elements that are not established. First, that the president of the Ukraine was aware that he was being pressured, either from something Trump said or directed a subordinate to communicate. Not certain. Second, that Trump's intent was to interfere in the 2020 election rather than a question regarding Ukrainian following up on alleged corruption with respect to Burisma. The inappropriateness of Biden actions is public knowledge. There was never any need for confirmation from Ukraine. [If Trump discussed a potential quid pro quo and then complied with his advisors counsel not to pursue it, he's not guilty of anything other than thinking about doing something inappropriate or illegal.]

  121. @Tim Lynch Let's not forget those two exemplary human beings, Ivanka and Jerrod. Aren't they using their "connection" to a high government official to advance themselves. Oh wait, they're repugnant Republicans; they are not bound by law, custom, or common sense.

  122. @Tim Lynch It's more than just "wrong" ; it's criminal and the very defnition of an impeachable offense.

  123. For a long time now, many Republicans -- led by their right-wing echo chamber media darlings -- have referred to the Democratic Party as the "Democrat Party" so as not lend any veneer of respectability to their opposition. It's a thinly-disguised insult, but small scale amidst the range of anti-democratic tactics they engage in nationwide. Since today's Republican Party at all levels in almost all locations bears no remote resemblance to the party of Lincoln, Grant, TR, and Ike, and precious little similarity to even the party of Nixon, Reagan, and Bush I & II, let's start referring (accurately) to the Republican Party as the "Autocrat Party". All Americans need to get a clear, simple understanding of what today's Autocrats truly stand for.

  124. @James Utt Thanks for pointing that out - even some otherwise smart cable news people have fallen into that trap. Another word that has become too ubiquitous is "deal," as a substitute for words like agreement. That stems, of course, from that infamous, ghost-written book, The Art of the Deal and IQ45's frequent use of the word when, for example, referring to treaties with other countries. We need abandon that word.

  125. The Autocrat Party still looks to me like it looked during the Cheney regime. Just red rat hats added and some poor ignoramuses and more oblivious folks in uniform.

  126. @James Utt ...How about we refer to it as the Republic party.

  127. The Republicans approach simply mimics that of the Democrats. Throughout the Kavanaugh hearings, we frequently heard from leading Democrats that they would not vote for him regardless of the information presented. How is that "impartial justice"? Further, the Democrats have prompted this protective response from Republicans since they have been calling for Trump's impeachment since he was elected. The latest articles are just the most recent stretch by the Democrats to come up with something, anything, please.... that might stick. The Republicans recognize the political nature of that approach are rightly trying to put an end to it. Both parties are now engaged in purely political theatre when the country really needs for them to get to work.

  128. This is a miss characterization, and even if you accept all your promises as true, it is a false equivalency. To the extent any Democrats refused to hear any evidence on Kavanaugh’s, it was because there was so much evidence already against him available in evidence. In this case, Republicans refuse to hear evidence that is already readily available (relevant witnesses such as Nolton asking to testify), and they refuse to do their job even to examine witnesses. Surely you can see the difference.

  129. @Dr B Kavanaugh wasn't on trial; he was being interviewed for a job after a more qualified and reasonable candidate was railroaded out of consideration by Moscow Mitch. He flunked. And the senate republicans just took an oath which they have already promised not to honor.

  130. @Dr B - The fact that so many people wanted Trump to be removed from office asap after he was elected simply shows their acumen. They were right that it was only a matter of time before he would corrupt the office, divide the country, commit criminal acts, and make one misguided policy decision after another. History has shown that they were right. If Trump won't resign, he must be removed.

  131. Even the"moderate" Republicans who claim to want to hear witnesses don't want them just yet. They would prefer to wait until the show is nearly over and the host - sorry, the Senate leader - can say sorry, we're up against the clock. This is the evidence-free party, whether on trump or the climate crisis. These people have their minds made up; any further evidence would scramble their already fragile consciences and they would need to reconsider whether they are actually following their oath to be impartial jurors. McConnell has bragged that he has coordinated strategy for the trial with the White House. This is nothing less than jury tampering, and in any other trial setting the parties involved would be exposing themselves to lengthy terms in prison. 21:10 EST, 1/18

  132. The impeachment trial is a political event, that's really all that needs to be said, everyone knows what that means; impartial justice in the context depends on point of view. The idea that 'justice' or 'impartial' have specific universally agreed meanings here is not true, I'm sure Mr. Bruni knows that. The purpose of the trial is to cause Mr. Trump as much political embarrassment as possible, the immediate purpose of this opinion piece is to do the same to the Senators named. It also works to emotionally validate most of Mr. Bruni's readers in their unashamedly biased judgement. As to the argument that it will be remembered long after--well, political theatre has a half-life of about a week; the sooner this is over, the better.

  133. @Ronald B. Duke , No, it's about holding Trump and his enablers accountable for corrupt actions and then covering it up. You may prefer to frame this as political, but he admitted it doing it, the GAO said it was a crime, and they all continue trying to cover it up. Why will Trump and the GOP not allow first-hand witnesses to testify?

  134. @Ronald B. Duke You are quite wrong. Trump will forever be known as an impeached president.

  135. @Ronald B. Duke Trump doesn't need any trial to be more of an embarrassment than he already is.

  136. I think our country is caught in a Catch-22 situation. The political climate is so poisonous, the campaigns so absurdly long and expensive, and the assault on one's personal life from the 24-hour news cycle so relentless that many good people are unwilling to enter the fray. Too many of those who do throw their hat into the ring do so out of a lust for power. When your main goal is the acquisition, consolidation and preservation of power, principle is a luxury that tends to get discarded along the way.

  137. @cds333 , This does not apply equally to both parties!

  138. As they give up the last of their integrity for - I don't know what - position, power, idealism...choosing their end, but also the end of the American dream. Throughout history people in power have chosen for good (larger good) or personal gain. Those who choose immediate power over long-term justice and goodness will die (no escape from death) - and some of them are reaching the end of their lives. If they don't believe in souls, do they care about their legacy? Selling out their children, grandchildren and all the other children for their short enjoyment of power and riches? As flawed as I am, I will choose life and goodness to the best of my ability.

  139. "Democrats, too, have made up their minds..." At this point, no senator should have voiced any opinion about Trump's guilt or innocence. However, that is different from not having an opinion. Since all have seen and heard the extensive evidence supporting Trump's guilt, it would be rational for them to be leaning toward a guilty plea, just as jurors in conventional trials would. Should the president present convincing evidence of his innocence during the senate trial, or should his defense team somehow be able to convince those leaning toward conviction that Trump's actions were either "perfect" (as Trump claims) or at least not unconstitutional or impeachable then a change of mind would be reasonable. Since Trump's entire defense so far has been that what he did was "OK" and his arguments are either unconvincing or ludicrous, it is reasonable for honest, impartial senators to be leaning toward conviction. There is nothing honest or reasonable about having concluded that Trump is innocent based on the record so far.

  140. Corrupt Donnie will either be acquitted by about 50/50 (the generally anticipated outcome,) or be convicted with over 80 votes. There is no middle ground. The only way to get to the 80+ votes is for the strong case to be presented, and a senior Rep. senator organize behind the scenes, and out of Moscow Mitch's sight those R senators who want to vote to convict, but dare not in case they fall short. I don't expect the 80+ result, but I do believe it is possible.

  141. @JMM we only need 20 of the, 67 to convict total.

  142. @mtrav True. My point is the group dynamics will prevent the vote from being close. If the R senators who want to convict see that there is enough support to safety convict they might vote to convict. They only way that happens is if a senior R values the institution and their legacy more than the short term political cost and organizes a covert movement.

  143. Need two thirds of Senate to convict.

  144. These senators also have the distinction of having accomplished absolutely nothing under McConnell's leadership except appoint hack judges. What are they going to run on, a tax cut for billionaires? Their party was in power this whole time, so you can't use that as an excuse for inaction. Maybe a record doesn't even matter anymore as a GOP senator, your only purpose being to warm a seat that would otherwise be held by a Democrat and collect a paycheck. Meanwhile, the rest of the world surges ahead and laughs at us.

  145. @stan continople Well said. Any Democrat running for office in 2020 should be campaigning on this factual logic and not just finger pointing on their opponent's blind support of the con artist in the WH. Voters still do care about what is, and is not, being done by their elected representatives to improve their lives. That is how the House was taken back in 2018, and how the WH and Senate will be in 2020.

  146. The Republican Party died on election day 2016. The GOP, the "Grand Old Party," is now the COP, the "Cult of Personality." It is dedicated to only one end, obedience to and the exaltation of its Supreme Leader, Donald J. Trump. The Republicans brought this on themselves. The "old line" found out that to win elections they either had to change their policies (low taxes and less government) or bring in new supporters. Thus when the Democrats finally were able (with Republican votes, lest we forget) to pass the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, the Republicans went with the "Southern Strategy." And they then brought into their fold the anti-abortion, anti-LBGTQ, and anti-immigrant groups as well. So we should not be surprised that in 2016 these groups, led by the Conman-in-Chief, took over the party. And we should not be surprised that every single Representative (save one who became an independent) and every single Senator must toe the party line or be cast out of office by a true believer. Salvation will not come from within the Republican Party. It will come only if and when the American people vote it out of its misery. May that day come soon.

  147. @John Graybeard While the forces you mention are strong within the GOP, I don't see them as the reason Trump won. After all, he beat a lot of other Republicans in the primary, ones with experience and conservative bona fides greater than Trump's. I don't think they lost to him because they were insufficiently anti-abortion or anti-LGBTQ, or even anti-immigrant. I think they lost to him because his speeches struck a chord with working people. Being anti-free trade, anti-outsourcing, I think that resonated with a number of working class Americans. I even remember him saying hedge fund managers would have to pay more in taxes. he didn't do it, but he said it. Add to that his opposition to foreign wars and entanglements, and he greatly separated himself from his Republican opponents.

  148. @Matt Semrad Yes, exactly. He sounded like a Democrat on the campaign trail. Not only did his democratic positions help him win over the aggrieved white working (and non-working) class of voters, his nativism pushed them over the edge. Then again, we should remember that Trump won a number of states by only thousands of votes. Clearly, not everyone was convinced.

  149. @derAbgang No, actually, he sounded like a thug on the campaign trail. "Lock her up!" Body-slamming? "Rough him up a bit, I'll pay your legal bills"

  150. Republican Senators have more than McConnell and the MAGA crowd to be concerned about. They should be more concerned about their prospects of losing significant seats in the 2020 general election as well as the 2022 midterms. The Republic will be saved only because the people now realize that the Republican Party as currently constituted is not part of the solution to the problem, but the problem from which we need to be saved.

  151. @Dearson : The electoral map heavily favors the GOP. It is quite a reasonable expectation that they will keep the Senate.The Dems can take maybe 3 seats, probably lose at least 1. It is pretty close.

  152. @Dearson That is exactly why Trump should not be allowed to tamper with the elections through his surrogates in foreign land or in GOP voter suppression states.

  153. And these are the people Biden says he can work with as President. These are the people Buttigieg wants us to come together with. Don't get me wrong. I want a liberal Democratic party to debate and argue and eventually come to a compromise with a reasonable, rational conservative Republican party, but that isn't what we have now.

  154. Collins, Cruz, McSally, Romney, Rubio - they all deserve to be sent to the unemployment line. Here's hoping some moderate Republican or Independent voters in their districts read this. Otherwise it's just more preaching to the converted.

  155. . Bruni is correct to chastise Rubio, Cruz etc. but spends little time wondering about why they may have folded. It seems likely that Putin had been working on this attack for a decade or several and that during that time he has accumulated significant Kompromat on many in our govt.

  156. This review will, I'm afraid, look quaint and civil when compared with the absolute debasement we can expect in the coming two or three weeks. Republicans know - know with certainty and in detail - that since the President is guilty by evidence, testimony and self-admission, their only path is to lie with vigor and abandon. And, lie they shall. About anything, everything, as long as they can prevent the slightest glint of truth from surviving in the Senate Chamber. Throughout history, such moments - no, ours is not the first instance, by far - have inevitably led to the entrenchment of emperors and dictators and strongmen and despots, and set loose years of enemy purging and repression. Sadly, Democrats could have sat on the Impeachment Articles indefinitely while they fought for release of documentary evidence and witness testimony in the courts, thus sparing us this collapse. Apparently, in spite of the repeated declarations of Republicans, they still have some delusional notion that their colleagues will reverse their abdication, and act for the public good. Their miscalculation will cost us all, dearly.

  157. Both the House and now the Senate Republicans have put their party and power above their Country. They are NOT patriots. Their defeat in November is our hope to save our fragile Democracy.

  158. @Diane Gould : They may not be patriots, but they have legislative power and power to appoint unqualified judges to lifetime jobs. Why should they care about the country?

  159. @Diane Gould --Good luck if you think the Republiasns will be defeated in Nov. Open your eyes or get a new pair of glasses and perhaps even a hearing aid.

  160. You never know. Perhaps enough votes can be assembled to vote to hear witnesses and view new evidence. Public opinion on those issues may provide an enough of an incentive, cover, to at least kept up appearances. Who knows what chickens may come home to roost in that process? Getting to a two thirds vote seems highly unlikely but remember those sorts of word were used to describe a Trump nomination and then a general election victory. Whatever the outcome, it's time to give Trump/Republicans a thumping at the poles this year wherever possible. Their acquiescence to all things Trump calls for an accounting.

  161. Our unique campaign finance system operates in Darwinian fashion to select the most morally-bankrupt toady sycophants, eager to sell their souls to donors who can provide the limitless funds needed to win protracted campaigns. Anyone with any integrity, who cares about the country and its non-donor citizens, would not long tolerate the necessary obsequious debasement of continually kissing the posteriors of donors who demand lavish return on their campaign investments. Mitch McConnell is the ultimate example of this unnatural selection. Concerned only with maintaining his own power and partisan supremacy, he made obstructing Obama his entire agenda, culminating in his refusal to allow a vote on Merrick Garland. He now has completely sold out to Trump, serving as his toady and surrogate and turning the Senate into a satellite office of the Trump White House. It should be no surprise that McConnell is a passionate advocate of Big Money in politics and the inalienable right of donors to purchase policy and legislation. But McConnell's fellow Republicans have equally sold out to Trump. With nothing to offer non-wealthy voters, they rely on his adoring base to provide the coat-tails that will keep them in office. They also live in terror of a tweeted tantrum, should Trump deem their loyalty inadequate. The country, the Senate, and the constitution must therefore yield to maintaining the favor of the Narcissist-in-Chief. That imperative dictates their conduct of the trial.

  162. @Ted Please learn what "Darwinian selection" actually is before bringing that great man's name into this kind of discussion. Natural selection does not favor the violent or the stupid. It favors those individuals who can make the best use of resources and maintain stability in their ecosystem.

  163. @Ted Hillary spent three or four times what Trump did, most of which was dark money from the 0.1%, and was unable to buy the election. The Koch brothers did not support Trump. On a narcissism scale of 1-10, Obama rates a 12 and Trump an 8.

  164. When these Republicans help to re-elect Trump, and have to live with another four years of his debasement of his office and their Congress, perhaps they will wake up and be counted....or perhaps already be counted out by their constituents and out of office. One can hope.......................

  165. @Carol : Oh, I do hope you feel the same way about your senator.

  166. Of course Senators have already made up their minds. That’s no surprise. The facts have been plastered all over television and newspapers for months. The oral presentations next week are nothing but show pieces for television. I doubt the House managers even know the facts or will spend the time learning them. They certainly didn’t write the House report, and I suspect they haven’t even read it. They will parrot what their staff writes for them.

  167. @Jon S I worked for a political law firm in D.C. Don't ever underestimate the education, skills and political talent among Congressional staff. They come from all over the country; they are young and fairly idealistic; they are loyal to the member they work for. They draft the legislation which goes through a lengthy amendment process. The amendments are so many I can remember long narrow sheets of paper which would have gone down K Street and then some. Congressional staff do a yeoman's job; they are young enough to stay up all night to meet deadlines, and still keep going. That is how they got through college and grad school. We hired young interns who had those qualities; they were impressive. Those who just wanted to hang out were ignored, no different from most large corporate offices.

  168. @Jon S To simplify your claim, members of the Senate have already gleaned the facts from the news reports, but members of the House cannot, or will not. Please explain the difference.

  169. If Trump shot someone on Fifth Avenue, Susan Collins would be deeply troubled, and wring her hands a whole bunch as she made a political calculation about whether to hold him accountable. Her difficulty with decision making has nothing to do with the right or wrong of the matter at hand, it's all based on voting in a way that lets her keep her job. It's a convenient logic: If I don't get fired, I must be representing the majority, therefore I'm doing a good job. If the voters would rather see that guy get shot than have me make trouble for Trump, I'm doing my job as their representative by looking the other way.

  170. @Peter My impression of Susan Collins is that she must have been in the slow class in school.

  171. Party over Country is the new GOP pledge. It did not used to be this way. There were principled, patriotic, intellectual Republicans in the Senate and the House. Nowadays we cannot find a single one who will cast a vote against the Grifter-in-Chief. Even Saint Ronnie would be aghast at what has become of the GOP.

  172. "Doesn’t that nag at you even a little?" No, the oath they took doesn't nag any of them. If it did, then considering the evidence that Trump is guilty of abuse of his office and obstructing Congress, they would have already come out fully in favor of getting witnesses to testify and documents admitted in the trial. That they haven't done so means that when they prevaricate they're just testing the sentiments of their constituents back home. Only those who determine they would be in real trouble in their next election for sticking with McConnell (like Collins) might eventually stand up for a real trial. Not because of a nagging conscience, but because of fear.

  173. Trump broke a law that only applies to the president - the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 - and bragged about it. What else do you need?

  174. Hugh Crawfordj, that law is not a criminal law. The GAO also found that Barack Obama violated several laws. Should he have been impeached as well?

  175. @Hugh Crawfordj Trump breaking laws is sanctioned by the Attorney General so Senators do not need to be concerned.

  176. It’s all very odd. I remember the look on Paul Ryan’s face when the counts were being taken at the Republican Convention and Trump indeed had won the nomination. Ryan looked a combination between fed up, embarrassed, and bewildered. But mostly he looked like he couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Interesting how it all turned out. Did the slew of them fall in love with Donald Trump, after all, or are they so scared of losing their footing they’re just pretending to be in love and have sold themselves out to a big flat lie that Trump is the “greatest in history” as Donald puts it? Well, they seem to not mind playing follow the leader. Guess their supporters don’t mind either. They just want to get their money’s worth and keep wearing those red hats.

  177. @MIMA : Ryan put Devin Nunes in positions of power. He could not have been too upset. Plus, Ryan is raking in the rubles now.

  178. Republicans, if they vote against impeachment as has been declared by McConnell for his Party, they have declared their willingness to TRASH America. No, they are not making America great. They are allowing - even to hurting their own "followers" - our democracy, environment, health care, national parks, immigration, etc. be trashed for a few to become exceptionally wealthy. I don't understand. If many Republicans fear retribution from Trump why don't they all - or most of them - unite and impeach Trump. Once he is removed from office his influence will diminish. His "followers" are certainly not going to become Democrats and those who might face difficult primary challenges for their vote to impeach - so be it. At least you still have your dignity. It is way past time for Republicans to vote for the nation and not the party..

  179. @Rev Wayne What do you mean, "still" have their dignity?

  180. @Rev Wayne A new problem has presented itself, though: If Pence is implicated, Nancy Pelosi might end up president. Still, if they had an self-respect and honor, they would recognize that THEIR party had elected a notoriously corrupt figure to the presidency and take their medicine.

  181. Frank says of the Senators " no one forced you into public service". None of them are in public service. They are in it for themselves.

  182. @Xander Patterson Exactly! 100% of Republicans in Congress are in it for themselves, not the people they are supposed to serve. And 100% of those same Republicans lack the character to make a moral decision. Justin Amash, the former Republican from Michigan who became an independent, was the last moral Republican. There are no others.

  183. Brilliant.

  184. The Republican Senators, most of them, have stripped away the integrity of the oath of impartiality that all jurors take. How can jurors in courts of all levels in our country be expected to respect that oath, when it is degraded by so many in our highest legislative body? But I think, that instead of ensuring their standing in their party, they are setting themselves up for defeat, the next time they run for reelection. They are making a decision to support corruption, which will not go unnoticed by the majority of voters. I'm wondering if even Mitch McConnell will be reelected, despite the political machine in his home state that has kept him in office, even though his unpopularity there is unprecedented.

  185. Steve McDonald, jurors do not take an oath to be impartial, at least in federal court. As of 1975 it was usually some variant of: "Do you and each of you solemnly swear that you will well and truly try and a true deliverance make between the United States and ______, the defendant at the bar, and a true verdict render according to the evidence, so help you God?" I suspect it's something similar now. Besides, senators are not jurors. They are a court. They are not selected to try a particular case, but instead try the case as part of their office as senators. To expect them to be impartial defies logic. They can't help but be partisans.

  186. The argument will be that whatever DT might have done was not severe enough to remove him. Let’s see what suburban housewives in Wisconsin will say in November.

  187. They are too busy worrying about their household. As the ugly patriarchy of the GOP wants it.

  188. @Me, fingers crossed!

  189. Impeachment was first used by the British parliament in 1367 to remove a minister appointed by the king. It was an odd procedure, rarely used, and -- like bills of attainder and ex post facto laws -- subject to abuse. Last used in Britain in 1806, the procedure has long been considered obsolete there. Unfortunately when our Constitution was adopted in 1789 impeachment found a place in it. Impeachment is not needed here any more than it is in Britain. There are other, better, ways to check executive power in our modern democracy than a procedure from the Middle Ages. The Republicans dusted off the arcane and archaic impeachment procedure to use as a political weapon against Bill Clinton. Now the Democrats have thrust the same political weapon into the gut of Donald Trump. Time to disarm and let impeachment molder among other ill-conceived notions in the Constitution. If impeachment was ever necessary, it certainly is not now. Let politics be politics and criminal justice criminal justice. Keep them separate -- they are immiscible.

  190. The difference is found in the fact that the British are governed solely by an elected legislative body- Parliament - which can remove the Prime Minister through a vote of No Confidence. In the United States, governed by co-equal branches of government, the legislative body- a bi-cameral Congress- conducts oversight on the actions of the Executive Branch and can, in extraordinary circumstances, both try and remove the Chief Executive. Which is a better system is endlessly is endlessly debatable. Without checking, I believe most representative democracies have opted for the former, Parliamentary, system of government. As an long time US ex-pat resident in the United Kingdom I most confess to a preference for the Parliamentary route.

  191. GG, I understand the difference between parliamentary governments and those like the United States with three separate branches. But if you look back at British history, the system of prime ministers forming governments and votes of no confidence evolved separately from the impeachment process. The first edition of Erskine May in 1844 described the impeachment process but by then it had already fallen into disuse. It never had any real importance, was rarely used, and had an inherent conflict in that the legislature was forced to act in judicial roles. In my view, there is no need for impeachment in the United States either, but there are of course those who disagree and that subject too is endlessly debatable. As to which system is better, I think the United States system has severe problems at the moment with both the president and the courts having outsized roles and Congress having an undersized role. Impeachment is a symptom of the disease and not a cure. As to the United Kingdom, I think it too has problems with its basic government. I thought Speaker John Bercow made a poor decision when he took control of Parliament out of the hands of the government. What was he thinking? And why did the Supreme Court chose to intrude as well? Luckily, the people spoke and things have now been set right. I hope we can quickly end this impeachment here and let the voters decide who will lead our government as well.

  192. @GG Thank you for bringing this up ! A Vote of Non Confidence is a solid,clear declaration that Parliament no longer trusts the competence or judgment of the Prime Minister or top executive. This is exactly how most Americans seem to feel about Trump : bad judgment,incompetence and most of all, behaviour unbecoming to a president Believe it or not, Margaret Thatcher was finally removed by a Vote of Non Confidence. (No-one could ever have accused HER of unbecoming behaviour !)

  193. I wish Chief Justice Roberts had administered the oath of “impartial justice” to each and every Senator individually, so that we could see the looks on their faces and hear the sounds of their responding voices. But because Roberts performed a group swearing-in, I have no idea if the collective sound of "I Do" was only coming from the Democratic Senators while the Republicans were just mouthing the words.

  194. Joyce, each senator did individually sign an oath book. Of course the Republicans are just as aware of the oath as the Democrats.

  195. @John Smithson I'm with Joyce. I wanted to see them when they signed, when they swore. Individually.

  196. @John Smithson It must be a curious variety of awareness if Republicans can be said to possess it.

  197. I think that no matter what happens during the impeachment trial, the facts will continue to drip ,drip, drip over several years including Bolton's book. Hopefully a democratic president will release the documents sometime in the future. It make take a while, but I think even republicans will be ashamed . It will come out, too many people involved.

  198. @herb I wish that "a democratic president" will address the nation's problems and not go out on a vendetta against Trump. Climate change and sharp differences in wealth are America's big problems. Both are far more important than Ukraine. Alas, neither of these two problems occur in the charges made by the House. It is obvious to ME that the Democrats are putting their hatred of Trump above the well being of the nation.

  199. @Ludwig Are you claiming that the Democrats could accomplish anything to reduce climate change or wealth inequality while Trump is in power, that they have only to stop opposing Trump in order to pass legislation promoting these important goals?

  200. I can tell you, that when it became knowledge in West-Germany in the 1960s who had been a Nazi criminal and somehow escaped punishment and re-education, those people, nor their voters, were not ashamed. The entire right and some from the left were implicated. Shame they did not express.

  201. The oath will become a joke. It should have said "selective impartial justice". Just like their are alternate facts. The people of USA are equally guilty of watching and doing nothing. In the end it is upto the people to speak up. Complacency will determine our democracy. Don't just blame the GOP.

  202. I'm a supporter of impeachment, and believe Trump unfit for office for a variety of reasons. However, I find myself a bit frustrated when debating this with my pro-Trump relatives. Here is the main counterargument against impeachment. It is claimed by Trump supporters that Trump's withholding money was similar to Biden's similar measure to oust the (admittedly corrupt by all parties) prosecutor Viktor Shokin. Even if it is admitted (by a Trump supporter) that Burisma was no longer under investigation, and Hunter Biden under no legal threat, at the time Biden pushed Shokin's ouster, isn't withholding aid designated by Congress or threatening to do so as a form of unilateral pressure from the Executive Branch a violation of the Impoundment Control Act o 1974, seen by many Trump adversaries as a legal smoking gun, a lynchpin in impeachment prosecution because it's more specific, cut-and-dried, than the vaguer "abuse of power"? Is there some clear technical distinction, specifically vis a vis the Impoundment Control Act, in how Biden threatened to withhold aid and Trump's approach (leaving aside the question of whether Shokin was a more deserving target, or Trump's vs. Biden's respective/relative "purity of motives"?

  203. In other words, I will not believe that Shokin's corruption changes the legality, vis a vis the Impoundment Control Act, of the Executive Branch withholding aid designated by Congress as leverage on the Ukrainian government, if Trump's action violated the ICA. I still think Trump's corrupt, ulterior motives could be proved, thus incriminating Trump of abusing power for his personal benefit, but if, for sake of argument, Shokin had still been the Ukrainian chief prosecutor, and Trump had been withholding the aid to seek Shokin's ouster, would that still have been a violation of the 1974 Act? Is it only the specific demands (and motives behind them) made by Biden and Trump that determines their adherence/violation of the Act, or is there something else in their withholding of aid that makes one consistent with the Act, the other a transgression? Would really like to know (and be better able to answer Trump supporters on this). Thanks. i'm also slightly embarrassed that the party I support, and one of its standard-bearers and a possible/likely presidential nominee would tolerate Hunter Biden taking a $50,000 sinecure based on his Biden relationship, a sinecure based on Burisma's expected exploitation of that relationship. If nothing else, it suggests Joe Biden tolerated a kind of nepotism-by-proxy, allowing his own son t take an undeserved sinecure to have his relationship to Biden corruptly exploited, particularly at a company know to be shady. How is that not corrupt?

  204. @Andrew -- This is a great question. I see your point, and I hope someone better informed than I am will respond, because I'd like an answer as well. That said, I suspect it has to do with the fact that, in order to release Congressionally legislated aid to a foreign country where corruption is suspected, a number of USG agencies have to sign off -- in this case, because it was military aid, the DoD. Perhaps they hadn't yet signed off on Ukraine. Also, it wasn't only the US that was withholding aid: the IMF, the EU, Britain, etc., were doing the same, and all wanted Shokin kicked out. So it was part of a legitimate USG anti-corruption policy, not something done for personal gain and interference with a US election.

  205. @Andrew The Hunter problem is uncomfortable, to put it mildly--on the other hand, his son is an adult. So I'm not sure we should consider his not forcing his son not to take the job as 'corruption,' but rather as a possible lack of judgment. And I say this as a Bernie-Warren supporter (Who's having some issues with their kerfuffle, too.) I hope someone else does relay the answer re: Biden's refusing aid. Also not sure if it hadn't been vetted at that time. I.e., I think there was a stipulation when _considering_ the aid that certain anti-corruption cleanups had to occur, before the deal was actually made.

  206. As a staunch Democrat, I genuinely appreciated strong and honorable challenges from the GOP (John McCain, we miss you): competition kept both parties strong and honorable. But now, Republican senators seem to have lost sight of everything the GOP stood for, and leaves me to wonder: what are they fighting for?

  207. @ebmem There is significant doubt that the EPA regulations which the Trump administration eliminated to satisfy Big Donors from high polluting industries will result in a "cleaner" country. Certainly the water and air in nearly every state will reflect increased pollution. It is a myth that fewer regulations lead to better business outcomes. Fewer regulations lead to lazy businesses which are less competitive, a country which is more polluted and a workplace which is more dangerous. Allowing our national parks to be used for drilling and mining is sacrificing the heritage of our children for a quick buck for lazy businesses which do not want to be or cannot be innovative and compete with the best the world can offer. Businesses in the USA are better than that. Whining to the government that they need fewer regulations to make a profit just shows their incompetence; Businesses which are smart and competitive don't need to pollute or have a dangerous workplace for their employees to be profitable. Legislators in Alabama are not medical school graduates; they should not be writing legislation which controls reproductive health for women in Alabama because they get the facts of the human reproductive system wrong. Trump has not done a better job with negotiating the agreements made by Pres. Obama because Trump does not have any consistent policies or the staff to negotiate.

  208. Right. Frank Bruni asks the same question: “But no one forced you into public service.” It seems these folks love the perks so much, and cannot get other jobs.

  209. @ebmem Have you been paying attention to the recent anti-abortion laws in red states? Republicans want to eliminate all legal abortions, not limit it to 15 weeks.

  210. Republicans ought to seize the chance to oust Trump. He does not promote conservative ideas or values. In fact, he’s ruining the party and the movement. Trump can retaliate against them one at a time. But he can’t beat all of them if they stand together, especially when the truth is on their side. They’d come out of it respected by all—stronger and more electable, not less. Why can’t they see that?

  211. @P And once out of office he lose all his power to hurt them. Putin will drop him, world leaders will shun him. He will only have Trump TV to fall back on. He will be a has been ala Sarah Palin.

  212. @P : Not to mention that Trump is completely unpredictable on the world stage. The Kurds. The assassination. Who knows what he says to Putin and how many times he talks to him?

  213. Former Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona has said that 35 senators would vote to convict if the vote were secret. While determining the rules of the trial, at least one Senator should propose a secret ballot. It probably wouldn't pass, but it would give senators one more opportunity to do the right thing.

  214. @EB The Democrats in the House would not have gotten a majority vote to impeach if that vote had been in secret. Even Pelosi would not have so voted. On a pragmatic basis, even if you believed the allegations were true, the unlikelihood of a conviction in the Senate make the whole exercise a political show trial. It is unknown what the fallout will be in the 2020 election. What is likely is that the Democrat true believers will harden their positions, as will the hard core Republican supporters. Flake, although a never-Trumper, voted yes on all of the Republican legislation that came before him. He decided not to run for re-election because he was going to lose. If his seat was not due to expire until 2020 or 2022, instead of in 2018, he would be voting to acquit Trump in a secret or non-secret impeachment vote. Talk is cheap for someone who has nothing to lose and is motivated by hatred.

  215. Thanks for the reminder! I used to shake my head in high school political science classes when trying to understand oligarchies like Pakistan or Brazil, for example. Why would people put up with this? Now we know. Throw the red hats out in November.

  216. @ebmem You do Ms. Pelosi a great disservice. Unlike the Republicans she has principles and sticks to them. McConnell has proved that he doesn't have any principles and impedes good government to keep Republicans in power. The most hatred in Congress is by Republicans who are only too eager to accuse Democrats of which they themselves are guilty.

  217. Republicans do not see this as a crime or an impeachable offense. This is like Watergate in that an attempt to rig the election was attempted. Now the Ukrainian affair shakes the core of our government and political order in that an attempt was made to strong arm another country to help in rigging an election. But talk to Republican old timers and they felt Nixon did nothing wrong. And since then Republicans have been rigging the system. Now we have Trump who is being actively and it seems openly helped by Russia. And not a Republican will acknowledge it is wrong, and it seems welcomes the interference. Maybe our nation will right itself. Only time will tell.

  218. @Peter Too bad the actual attempt to 'rig the election' was not listed as one of the articles of impeachment, though.

  219. That the Republicans Frank Bruni calls out here, once resistant to Trump's tune, have now started dancing to it, is testimony to Trump's preternatural power to corrupt almost everyone and everything he comes in contact with. He doesn't need to persuade anyone to join him using reason or logic, let alone fact, because he knows that by playing on their fears, insecurities, and lust for power he can draw them into his self-centered world of deceit. Still, it's incredible that McConnell and the rest of those senators who had the nerve to raise their hands before God and country while believing that they have no other choice than to act contrary to their oath, are not being held accountable for their refusal to lead.

  220. There are only two ways: either Moscow Mitch and the others are true believers in white male supremacy and are autocrats, or they are shamelessly amoral - acting against their better knowledge fir enrichment. Either way, they are evil crooks.

  221. Well clearly they've bet that God doesn't exist. Chances are it's a good bet. Anyway, I know there's a temptation to say "Well Democrats also" but you can see how many Democrats are wavering on voting for impeachment. Republicans had one break away. HAD. He's not a Republican any more, as a reward for his moment of clarity.

  222. At least we have Trump to thank for what should have been obvious for a long time. There is no such thing as a Republican of decency or integrity. Thank you President Trump.

  223. @Sipa111 It's clear we have a 'problem' in the White House who has too much power available to him - exactly a situation our Founding Fathers sought to prevent. BUT - Will Congress make an effort to walk back the powers taken by the Executive Branch used to create the Imperial Presidency? For example- Congress has not declared war since 1942. Why is that power now in the hands of the President, exempt from public debate?

  224. Innocent people don't obstruct justice by withholding documents and preventing testimony by key witnesses. Pelosi's delay in submitting the articles was brilliant as ever-more evidence comes forth and the GAO declares withholding funds violated the law. The only defense the Republicans have is distraction, as Frank notes, and a completely bogus argument that Trump was concerned about corruption, and of course, the debunked conspiracy theories. These Republicans know better; they ought to consider that standing up for honesty and the constitution will likely bring a more rewarding political future than abetting the obstruction of justice, not to mention having a clear conscience.

  225. @Steven Dunn If the GAO believed that Trump violated the law by not distributing the funds to Ukraine, they were required by law to notify Congress and Trump and to demand he release the funds within 45 days or before the end of the fiscal year if that was less than 45 days. The funds were released within the fiscal year, even though the GAO did not do what it was obligated to do. The GAO is part of the legislative branch, responsible for oversight of the executive branch to ensure the executive branch follows the instructions of the Congress on the budget. Preparing a document long after the funds were disbursed, ordered by a Democrat member of the House, hardly qualifies as an objective opinion.

  226. @ebmem... Ordered?

  227. Are you seriously delivering a lecture about the GAO’s “obligation” to demand the release of funds from this White House? That’s like lecturing the IRS for waiting so long to go after Al Capone.

  228. Shame can be such a wonderful tonic to cure self-delusion, compel repentance and promote new healthy ways of thinking and feeling, but only if the patient willingly takes the medicine. Most of these seamless men (and a few women) will have that tonic administered to them in other ways if they refuse to see a doctor about their sick souls to start with.

  229. I'm at a loss. Trump ran for the Republican nomination as a self-promotion gimmick - like Howard Stern running for governor of NY. Tapping into voter frustration with Washington (and some latent racism), he got the nomination. Clearly the Republican establishment wasn't happy until they saw that his coat tails were bringing in voters. Trump won the Presidency - shocking many - but I expect the Republican political establishment thought they could control him. At times they seemed as if they could but he's clearly a loose cannon. Given all the problems he's caused - especially with his actions towards Iran - you think the Republican Party would welcome any way to get rid of him that wasn't blatantly obvious. It seems bizarre that you have long time politicians afraid of this amateur and pandering to him. Clearly there is a good amount of legal and illegal surveillance going on - even of politicians. Is there information available to Trump from illegal surveillance - like Hoover's legendary files - that he can use to 'pressure' other senior Republicans?

  230. Don't get me wrong Cynthia. I may be a Republican most of the time, but I think we live in a political quagmire in which the ability to compromise reasonably is more valuable than the party of the politicians involved. Republicans certainly are far from perfect, but many Democrats seem to have lost touch with reality. For instance, do you really think that Graham and McConnell are any more biased than Sanders and Warren? Do you really think that there's more evidence of Trump spying than of Obama spying? If the answers are "yes" and "yes," I suspect that the Democratic Party is in dire straits. I hope it doesn't drag the country down with it.

  231. @Dan Of McConnell, Graham, Sanders and Warren, two of them have already publicly pronounced that they do not care what evidence is presented, and will listen to no evidence. The other two have not.

  232. @cynicalskeptic... Perhaps his source of "illegal surveillance" on his Republican subordinates is Vladimir Putin and Company. Maybe Putin is doing to members of the Republican party what he did to the DNC.

  233. I have two questions as well. 1.) Why even have an oath for the Senators in the impeachment trial when there is no penalty, no illegality, no punishment for breaking that oath? The oath is meaningless. 2.) In addition, Senators take an oath to "protect and defend" the Constitution of the United States. The United States military takes a similar oath. If the Senate fails to protect and defend the Constitution against a president who has clearly violated the Constitution many, many times, is the United States military the last resort to "protect and defend the Constitution" and save our democracy? (The Supreme Court has no role in removing a president.) Can anyone think of a line that a president can cross, with no action by Congress in removing that president, that would warrant the military acting to "protect and defend" the Constitution - as the last line of defense for the Constitution?

  234. 1. Absolutely not. Under any circumstances whatsoever. The military comes in, the country’s dead. Period. 2. Nice try, but the notion that the Court plays no part in impeachment will sure be news to Dick Nixon. Or would be, ‘cept he daid.

  235. You don’t want a military coup no matter what. We are already run by the military-industrial-socialmedia complex.

  236. @adongeorge supposedly some of the senators in violation of their oaths believe that they will be judged by God someday. They will be lucky to find they were wrong, lest God not have mercy on their souls.

  237. The National Republican Party sees what happened to the Republican Party in California - the demographic change that resulted in the the supermajority of Democrats in the governorship and both houses - and they realize, consciously or not, that ultimately the same fate awaits the Republican Party nationally. But they are in power now, and trying to hold everything together to make as much hay as they can while the sun shines. This goes a long way to explain the behavior of Cruz, Romney, Rubio, Collins, etc. If you are holding onto the cliff edge, and the abyss awaits, you don't spend too much time concerned with the appearance of your moral wardrobe.

  238. @Walter The problem is that the rest of the nation is hanging onto the same cliff edge. I agree with Mr. Bruni. The Republican Senators are choosing to hang on to the cliff, but it's no way to build a nation.

  239. @Walter They also see what happened to California when it became a Democrat controlled state with no loyal opposition. With one sixth of the country's population it has half of the homeless population. There are maps available so that people can avoid sidewalks with human feces and needles. It has the electricity reliability of a third world nation despite having some of the highest utility rates in the country. It routinely experiences water shortages and has polluted waterways.

  240. It's not just fear of Trump's base that keeps Republican officeholders in thrall to him. In fact, that may not even be the main factor. What I think is really driving their behavior is that they know he's their only hope for keeping the White House. There really is no other Republican with enough national popularity to defeat any of the leading or even mid-tier Democrats. This is why there's no appetite among Republican senators for pushing out Trump in favor of Mike Pence, as I once expected would eventually be the case. It's not that they like Trump better than Pence, it's just that they know Pence has zero appeal to the nonevangelical majority of the middle/working class and would be demolished in the general election. Fear for their own political future, for most of them, is secondary. Some swing state senators, like McSally and Collins, would probably help their own career prospects by distancing themselves from Trump. But they can't if they want to keep the presidency in their party's hands.

  241. It is interesting that no one draws a parallel to the Clinton impeachment. Clinton had admitted he was guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice, so there was no question that he was guilty of criminal offenses, but he was acquitted by the Senate. In comparison, with Trump, the second article, obstruction of Congress is a bogus claim, because Pelosi did not pursue judicial orders to confirm Trump's obligation to allow his advisors to testify. It's called separation of powers. Just like Trump cannot order about the Congress, or invalidate their laws unless the Scotus agrees, the Congress cannot order about the president unless Scotus agrees with the Congress. With respect to the first claim, that he was abusing power in an attempt to get Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election, it is not a foregone conclusion that the allegation is true. Even if Trump wanted to bribe the Ukraine to badmouth Biden, it is not clear that the potential quid pro quo was ever effectively communicated to Ukraine. It is the equivalent to the notion that I wanted blackmail someone but never got around to making the threat or my advisors talked me out of it. From the testimony, it appears that various members of the State Department believed that Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, but not one of them was told by Trump to pursue any action or communicate the threat to Ukraine.

  242. @ebmem If you try to look in an unbiased way (and I admit it’s difficult) what you say is not true. Trump expressly instructed Department of state staffers and White House staff to not cooperate. And, there’s clear testimony in House hearings that Ukraine did become aware that the military aid was being withheld pending an announcement of investigations. If the Senate would pursue witnesses that Trump obstructed and withheld documents we’d learn more - but really, how much more do you need?

  243. @ebmem If you try to look in an unbiased way (and I admit it’s difficult) what you say is not true. Trump expressly instructed Department of state staffers and White House staff to not cooperate. And, there’s clear testimony in House hearings that Ukraine did become aware that the military aid was being withheld pending an announcement of investigations. If the Senate would pursue witnesses that Trump obstructed and withheld documents we’d learn more - but really, how much more do you need?

  244. 1. Bill Clinton ended up cutting a deal where he’d admit to low-level perjury, and accept censure and disbarment. Probably fair enough. But he did NOT admit, and was not convicted of, obstruction of justice. 2. What legal avenues the House pursues has zip to do with the validity or necessity of the charges. It MAY have to do with their provability. Oh, well: Trumpists refused to understand that Mueller said he couldn’t go to court and be sure of winning, said that he did NOT exonerate trump, and Trumpists cheerfully ignored that, too. 3. The claim that the threat was never conveyed clearly is even sillier. Phone call, dude. Repeated communications from staff. Witheld White House meeting. Withheld moneys. 4. Loved the bit about how Trump never told anybody on his staff, he didn’t didn’t DIDN’T did not not not, though. Honestly, do you guys just think that if you keep incanting it, it magically becomes true?

  245. Although I shouldn't be surprised by now, but it always strikes me truly extraordinary when well educated people can allow their personal biases to overwhelm their senses of rationality. This editorial's writer points to the inability of either Senators Lindsey Graham or Mitch McConnell, and their swearing to the contrary to be further evidence of Republican duplicity. But how about the stated biases of Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren? As a matter of fact, the only significant departures from the party in the Senate has been among Republicans. But there are a few wild cards among Senate Democrats - like Chuck Schumer, who has told us how open minded he will remain. However, for those who actually believe that almost all Senators haven't already made up their minds on their final votes, I'd like to make them a special offer for a bridge I have for sale.

  246. @Dan there might be an equivalence here if not for the mountains of evidence against trump. Impartially looking at the evidence you can only reach one conclusion. Guilty as sin, with no reasonable doubt. It's the sycophantic way these men claim to be impartial yet look the other way that makes it so grotesque. If this were an impeachment without any evidence yet presented we could say that the dems are being hasty in their judgments, but the evidence is clear as day. Don't fall for the false equivalence.

  247. @Dan Bruni states clearly that the reason for Democrats', like Sanders and Warren, "bias" toward voting for impeachment is the overwhelming evidence already made public. I'm certain if new, exonerating facts came to light this would change given that neither Sanders nor Warren has shown any of the craven disregard for facts that Republicans have embraced so readily.

  248. @Dan "....can allow their personal biases...." Since when do facts and right and wrong constitute a personal bias? How about instead: when well educated people can allow facts and what is right and wrong to overwhelm their senses, period and as it should. I do agree that almost all senators have made up their mind or in many cases it seems have had their minds made up for them.

  249. As an expatriate who spent plenty of years watching the GOP sell-out, time and time again, since the Nixon era, I can state with certainty that the actions of the Senators mentioned in this article -- especially Mitch McConnell and Lindsay Graham -- are NOT surprising at all. From it's invitations to the Conservative Christian movements to join them on the political stage, to its full-on embrace of the Fox "news" Propaganda Network, The Republican Party has been selling its "soul" and whatever ethics and courage it had for many decades now. McSally, and Cruz and their ilk are just the latest iterations of politicians that are "in it" strictly for the power.

  250. @Vint Yes, Trump is no aberration. He's merely the latest and best exemplar of what the Republican Party has become since Lee Atwater, Newt Gingrich, and Roger Ailes made the pursuit of raw political power by any means necessary its only goal.

  251. “Certainly they’re telling themselves that their own political survival...matters more than honor”. As a child, I was carried away by tales of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. The stories instilled in me a sense that people can put honor above self-interest. We Americans are fortunate that in times of crisis, we had Presidents with the courage to act honorably (e.g., George Washington, John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, among others). If Cruz, Rubio or any of their Senate colleagues aspire to hold the highest office in the land, they have a unique opportunity to demonstrate they are capable of acting honorably by taking seriously their oath to administer impartial justice in the Senate trial.

  252. @John Casana I still remember reading a Revolutionary War history which described John Adams as a rational stubborn man who insisted that captured British troops be given fair trials. He stood firm in that, against savage attacks on his honor. He knew why he fought the British colonial power with its Star Chambers; he was not going to duplicate those in a new and free nation.

  253. @Linda Miilu : Wow. John Adams would have been savaged on Twitter.

  254. Despite Republican past claims of standing strong for principles and values, Trump reveals the whole sham. They've only positioned themselves over and over, according to their constituency. As such, they are reflexions of them. There is no principal, no value, only what brings a vote, only what brings a campaign dollar. The whole Republican party and its voters would sell out American democracy and create unregulated presidential power based on a handful of wedge issues. What the voters don't get is that the oligarchy contributing the money will do whatever they want, and will be lawless. Or maybe that is part of their devil's bargain too.

  255. @Debra "They've only positioned themselves according to their constituency. As such, they are reflexions of them. There is no principal, no value". This seems to be the crux of the matter. Aren't members of Congress SUPPOSED to reflect the views of their constituencies? So what happens when these constituents have evil ideas? This is, of course, what happened in Nazi Germany. Hitler did not have universal support, of course, but the support of the German people was sufficiently widespread to claim a consensus and to allow the terrible crimes of the Nazi regime. We have now discovered that the American people are no less immune than the German people to the sirens of evil, even in the form of a leader who looks ridiculous in the eyes those who do not support him. Alas, no constitution, no system of government, can counter a people whose wishes have become immoral.

  256. After the shooting is over we will know for sure who has honor courage and integrity. Then we go to work to re-establish honor, courage and integrity in D.C. and triumph in November.

  257. @Gordon Alderink "Then we go to work"? MI is a key swing state that voted for Trump. I would hope you are working now.

  258. None of the Republicans mentioned was honorable even before Trump. How’d they treat President Obama, for one thing? They haven’t fallen from any great height.

  259. IF Any Senator votes violating the solemn OATH; 1. Foreign Leaders perceive that the Senate is ANNIHILATING the reputation of America from within; AND, 2. This is the deepest shame that a Senator can inflict upon the Country, Senate & Constituency. Senators, Please remember that "It is the reputation that lasts in the Historical Records" and not the individual election result. May Common Sense prevail !

  260. "It’s not fun to be any of you right now, with McConnell above you and #MAGA hellions below you poised to make your life a misery if you stray. " Nicely put. Instead of judging and being exasperated one day I asked myself what I would do in their situation. What I came up with is if I could not be brave and stand up or against the seeming tyranny then I would resign. Because this is a political trial no one should be surprised, unless something truly extraordinary happens, it will come down to a vote along party lines. That is not to say the whole impeachment and trial is moot. No, I think no matter the outcome both history and your American Constitution demands them. The positions and arguments and noise on both sides now are an attempt to capture the hearts and minds of the wider public who are the real jurors in this trial and the real verdict will be what the people decide in the election.

  261. I believe one reason democracies are always vulnerable to evil and demagoguery is that a large majority of people cannot fathom extreme moral cowardice, the worship of power at any cost, and an ability to rationalize any rotten behavior imaginable if it's coming from someone who scratches one's back in other ways. And so those who would wantonly engage in such behaviors always have a head start on the rest of us. I keep coming back to a novel now 83 years old, Sinclair Lewis' "It can't happen here." It could have been ripped from today's headlines, it is so eerily prescient about what is happening to us today. And still I scratch my head - after nearly five decades as a professional observer of the human experience - that so many can be so willfully blind and subservient to extreme, open malice and corruption.

  262. @Steve Tripoli Yes. It's happening. May the November election bring some clarity & honesty.

  263. In place of moral strength, they have one and all found the secret of impervious strength in a Senate of a 51 vote majority: A solemn oath of "I don't care." With that collective oath, they are men and women of steel. The only kryptonite is the American voter.

  264. The jackets in the Republican cloak room probably has a quantity of Melania's: " I don't care. Do you?"

  265. @Doug Keller Forget the American voter. The election for president is rigged. Remember Hillary actually won the election. There is the electoral college, Remember them? There is gerrymandering, voter restriction, Citizens United, the media (who is only out to make money). Forget the voters. Oh unless it is trump's voters. Remember them. Look at them at his rallies. They love him and hate everyone else.

  266. @Doug Keller : Perhaps. But the most rabid voters support Trump.

  267. As tempting as it is to blame these senators, it's more accurate to hold accountable those Americans who repeatedly vote these corrupt officials into office. Many have shown not only disdain for but have also worked tirelessly to undermine the pillars of our democracy. A democracy can only work if people truly want it and are dedicated enough to preserving it that they seek out the truth and then vote only for those willing to uphold democratic principles. I don't see that happening in America. Our Constitution is a beautiful document, but that matters little. What good is the Constitution if no one wants it?

  268. As a therapist who has worked with abuse victims over 30 years, I have seen the same type of behavior you are attributing to Republican Senators. Some abuse victims will defend the abuser out of fear. Often they are afraid of losing custody of their children or are afraid financial ruin. They may fear public humiliation and abandonment from family and friends. They may often distrust the very governmental authorities which are tasked with their protection due to repeated failures to take their abuse seriously and come to their aide. There have been labels such as "Battered Child Syndrome" and Battered Women's Syndrome" to explain some of these reactions. The term "Learned Helplessness" is another term that has been used to describe these types of behaviors as well. The problem is that they often feel ( real or imagined) that their abuser holds all the power, control and money and that they are powerless to do anything to change their circumstances. They often just want to maintain some level of safety for their children and themselves and will try to avoid even worse abuse in the future. Even for those abuse victims who have the courage, support and financial means to leave the abuser, they often suffer lifelong emotional scars and negative psychological reactions. While these types of reactions are truly tragic, they are understandable under the circumstances. Why Republican Senators would react in a similar way, is not clear.

  269. @DCWilson Money. The reason is the deluge of money that our elected officials have thrown at them. Most Americans don't have even the beginning of a clue as to just how lucrative being a senator has become. And once you have that coveted ticket to a seat on the Gravy Train, you're going to forget about serving the public and work tirelessly to serve your own financial interests. If we want sanity, Americans must insist on campaign finance reform.

  270. This is particularly relevant in relation to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who recently said they would not give a public accounting of national security threats because they feared Donald Trump’s anger. He had viciously attacked them after the last one. Their learned response? Don’t do it again, or else.

  271. @DCWilson Anyone who makes it into congress these days most likely new up in privilege - being the bully rather than the bullied. They have just met a bigger bully, and have learned what he is capable of. The first rule of bullies - pick on anyone smaller than you. The second rule? Back off when a bigger kid shows up.

  272. The country is less honorable under Trump. He lies at every turn. And teaching our children that lying can give you the highest honor in the United States. He drowns out the Democrats. We had an honorable president with Obama and the Republicans thwarted him at every turn; even lying about Obama's birth place, I only hope we survive this administration. But I am afraid it will only get worse. And the Republicans are so happy with power they let him do whatever he wants. A sad time in our democracy.

  273. @Sharon Conway : Conservatives love him. Many think Trump is greater than Lincoln. They love his policies.

  274. Mr. Bruni: Remember, these are members of the same party that voted to limit the powers of duly elected officials (including governor) when members of the opposition were elected in North Carolina and Wisconsin. It appears the GOP has one goal only, to hold onto power NO MATTER THE COST. Forget gerrymandering, they know better than anyone else what this country needs, and they will do anything to get there. It is frightening to watch.

  275. @Barbara Slight correction - They know better than anyone else what their donors need - and what they need to do to keep their jobs. What the country "needs" is not part of their calculations.

  276. And I add, they believe they do it “with God on their side.”

  277. These same Senators demonized a good and decent man for 8 years, Barak Obama. He was elected during the most difficult economic times since the great depression and gave us 7 years of uninterrupted growth.

  278. @gabe I think you mean't Barack gave us 10 years of uninterrupted growth.

  279. We haven't been had; we've been sold to the highest bidders. Our legislators are showing us how easy it is to sell our democracy and snub the Constitution when you have no moral compass. We can't depend on anyone in the Republican Party to have a sudden inspiration to do the right thing for impeachment. I just hope that November isn't too late to make a change.

  280. I've given up expecting anything better of America. When it comes to integrity and trustworthiness, the United States is on par with countries like Russia now. Trump can no longer be viewed as an aberration. He is what America has become and there's no sign it will ever get better.

  281. I keep going back to Watergate when a group of Republican senators met with Nixon and told him they were going to vote to convict. Consequently, Nixon resigned. Gosh, remember putting country before party?

  282. In a perfect world, Mr. Bruni, this upcoming trial would feature what all juried trials do - a secret ballot. If it did, Trump would quite likely be gone. People become courageous when anonymous.

  283. Never thought about that. John Roberts should order that.

  284. People need to be contacting their Republican Senators and demanding a fair trial, as well as voicing disapproval of this President! Some of the Senators are not from completely "Red" states, and so what if they are! There must be SOME decent people in "red" states who believe in the Constitution, Rule of Law and are disgusted by what has been going on! The constituency needs to also have their voices heard. I'm afraid America has become too complacent and think clicking something on Facebook is good enough. It's not!

  285. @Celeste "People need to be contacting their Republican Senators" These are the same people that love trump,that want him to remain in office. These are the same people that those cowardly Republicans are afraid of. Oh and it also has to do with Power, Money, Greed, Anger and Hate. The Republican Senators motto.

  286. If Republicans took their Congressional Oath of Office seriously, they would have investigated Trump's violation of the Emoluments Clause and then taken the appropriate actions, depending on the results of the investigation. After all, the Emoluments Clause is in the Constitution. Republicans have refined the lack of curiosity about Trump's activities to a fine art.

  287. Fine art? That’s giving them too much credit. Their behavior is too transparently vile, to not want to see what is so obvious to any reasonable person. But when morality and ethics no longer exist, they can get away with it. This is the world we are living in, they seem to be saying, just get used to it. Mr. Bruni and others like him are right in pointing it out, even if their voices cannot be heard in the soulless world the Republican Party has allowed Trump to create and which they inhabit. Nothing fine about their art at all.

  288. @ebmem Clinton earned those fees after she had stepped down, not while she was in office. Her speaking fees are in line with those paid routinely to members of both parties after leaving high profile positions, and don’t raise ethical or legal issues.

  289. She was a private citizen at the time. That’s a big difference.

  290. Republicans in the Senate have an opportunity to set a standard for behavior for the presidency. It appears that they choose not to, but then the responsibility falls on the nation's voters to set that standard, and also to make clear their disapproval of those Republican senators who chose not to do so. Ultimately, it is always the voters who are responsible for the way their elected officeholders conduct the nation's business.

  291. @Fred Musante And it is up to the Democratic party to make sure all of its supporters, and all independents, vote. The Republicans are taking actions to prevent that, now is the time to be serious and make sure the right to vote is protected.

  292. @Fred Musante Elected representatives abdicating responsibility. I'm shocked! You wonder how Congress remains so popular. Let's be honest: Republicans have long advocated a monarchical executive where Congress is simply the business side of a kleptocratic arrangement. Revolving doors and so on. Citizens pay the expense. I can understand why someone profiteering from this system celebrates the arrangement. Why some people suffering under it applaud, I've never understood.

  293. @Fred Musante And if the election is just out rightly stolen ?? then what ...asking for a friend

  294. The "It's all a hoax" defense has been abandoned. Because of the facts collected and available in spite of Donald Trump's obstruction, the Senate impeachment trial defense of Donald J.Trump, presented by Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz, will be: "So what". So what if he asked Russia, Ukraine, China, or any other foreign nations to interfere in American elections; So what if he did not faithfully execute the law passed by congress to supply Ukraine with military aid and so diminished America's security; So what if he lied and abused his power by obstructing the evidence of his plot and actions. His defenders will claim that the nation's Founders would not have judged these acts to be impeachable. They are wrong. The framers of our Constitution expressly prohibited receipt of aid from foreigners in our elections, and especially did so in the case of the president. They knew the danger that a president might become a dictator by corrupting elections with the support of foreign dictators and kings. They may not have foreseen the complicity of the current GOP Senate majority, nor the rise of powerful propaganda media in service to one man, but their intent was plainly that Americans elect their government without foreign meddling.

  295. @rich "he Senate impeachment trial defense of Donald J.Trump, presented by Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz, will be: "So what". I think you've put your finger on it.

  296. @rich Excellently written and organized. As I often think in reading NYT on this mess, too bad you are mostly preaching to the choir.

  297. @rich Nancy Pelosi said it best: "The Founders obviously envisioned a rogue president, but they didn't account for a rogue Senate leader at the same time".

  298. Term limits. I used to lean against term limits for congress using the fact that experience in legislators could be a value worth having. However, the degrading behavior of the current GOP politicians is moving me to a definite position for term limits. The one over riding determinant of these politicians' behavior is their need, nay compulsion, to get re-elected. The underlying force is clear: power corrupts.

  299. @Solon Rhode I absolutely agree. If we want this nation to survive term limits must be instituted.

  300. @GregP Care to address any of the mountains of evidence we've already seen supporting impeachment? Call me crazy, but holding up millions of taxpayer dollars to a vulnerable nation for personal poltical gain is somewhat more serious and reprehensible than an extra-marital affair in the oval office.

  301. @Solon Rhode We have term limits, theyre called VOTING. What is missing is fair elections which can only be had again with extreme CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM.

  302. Why could not the Republican members of Congress have simply approached this entire controversy from a more adult direction? If they had said, from the outset that what the President did was wrong -- even reprehensible -- but deserving only of censure and not rising to the extreme sanction of impeachment and conviction. . . . If they had taken that position and held it, the Democrats would have likely failed to secure the vote to impeach, and pro-Trump senators could vote against conviction and live up to their oaths at the same time. But, oh, I forgot. The phone call was perfect.

  303. @gradyjerome The problem with the original argument is that the actions the president has done and is still doing rise well above the level where impeachment and removal should be without doubt. Bribery, for instance, is mentioned specifically as a reason to impeach. Since Trump is also endangering national security on an almost daily basis. To say that this deserves only censure both defies the seriousness of the charges as well as the fact that any acquittal at all will only make the problem worse as Trump takes it as winning.

  304. @gradyjerome what about 15 THOUSAND lies to adults and children?

  305. @gradyjerome I believe that many of them did but your predicted outcome failed to materialize.

  306. Rubio and Cruz are exactly the same as they were before the 2016 election. How Mr. Bruni didn’t see that is beyond me.

  307. Mr. Bruni is spot on, as usual. Why don’t some of these R senators look thoughtfully at their polls and see that this will actually hurt their electability in their next elections?

  308. The lockstep Dems should do the same. What? It’s not just the GOPs!?

  309. There is a simple way out for Republican Senators. Actually have a real trial, with witnesses, subpoena documents and emails, and let the truth set you free to follow the facts. If it exonerates Trump, you have every reason to gloat. But if it indicts the President, you need to remove him from office. The American people respect the truth and even Republican constituents will respect that you put the truth first.

  310. @John Smithson Prosecutors call witnesses during a trial, even witnesses they had not known about during their pretrial investigation.

  311. P, that's false. A prosecutor has to inform the defense well before trial what witnesses he or she will call. Evidence must also be provided in advance to the defense. No surprise witnesses or fishing expeditions are allowed.

  312. @John Smithson - That would be true except McConnell has set the "rules" for the impeachment trial yet. That includes whether or not he will even allow witnesses.

  313. We all need to let go of the juror oath argument. For better or worse, Senators of both parties have declared their conclusions before the beginning of the trial in all three Presidential impeachments, as also in the one that didn't happen when Nixon resigned before facing it. I think we need to say that their oath obliges them to give honest reconsideration to their prior opinions if the trial should prove them wrong, and let it go at that even though we know that many (again, of both parties) would be unlikely to do so. Far more important is to focus on getting the evidence, and witness testimony, on the record for all to judge.

  314. @Seraficus Do you find something wrong with having made up one's mind already, having observed the consistent evidence already unearthed and continuing to be unearthed?

  315. @Seraficus I disagree - the juror oath is exactly what needs to be focused on. McConnell admits he's working with the President so he's made his mind up - he's already publicly stated that he will vote to acquit despite any evidence. With Clinton, 31 Democrats also voted to impeach him, unlike now when not one Republican did, despite clear evidence. To say the Senate should be given the chance to reassess their opinions is all well and good - but they won't The Republican's are bought and paid for. They are Trump's band of thugs, lead by McConnell, the Don's Capo. For whatever reason - whether it be blackmail, favors or payments - they are his. Nothing will change that.

  316. @Seraficus You are absolutely right. No one ever seriously argued, or argues, that Bill Clinton was not guilty of perjury before a federal grand jury. That was never in question- what was, and is in Trump’s case, is whether any of this rises to the level of need for removal from office. That determination is ultimately and necessarily a complex one with political, moral, legal and practical considerations. The oath at the beginning is entirely irrelevant to the task at hand. I believe that the correct decision was made in the Clinton trial - but it certainly did not derive from the senators all simply focusing on the validity of the narrow charges put in front of them.

  317. Remember, this is not a standard criminal trial. An impeachment trial is a political process. The promise to administer impartial justice is merely ceremonial. And individual senators are obviously able to reject any evidence they don't like; truth and justice are optional. I was a juror on a murder trial 30 years ago -- the kind of criminal trial where the judge always instructs the jurors not to discuss the case or make judgments until *all* of the evidence had been presented. In addition, our jury was required to come to a verdict based only on the evidence presented in the courtroom -- no information from newspaper or television news, no advice from family and friends, no conspiracy theories, just the facts. Political trials are different, senators are free to vote as their constituents (and donors) would have them vote, that's politics. But if they choose party over truth, we voters will remember in November!

  318. @Dennis Mancl I would contend that if the oath is merely ceremonial, including the one taken at their swearing in at the start of their term in office, then I would think we would eliminate the hand on the bible and references to God and the signing of the Oath Book. While there may be much "pomp and circumstance" to the procedure, I think the seriousness and accountability to the words spoken are true and enforcible.

  319. @Dennis Mancl It may be a political trial, but it seems the only reason Trump has not faced a criminal trial already is because of the Department of Justice rule that a sitting president cannot be indicted. It is almost certain that Trump will not be removed from office before the coming election and maybe not then. But, his day to face his criminal conduct will hopefully come and justice will at last be served.

  320. @Dennis Mancl "The promise to administer impartial justice is merely ceremonial." So an oath is just ceremonial and only counts in certain circumstances. That's a slippery slope my friend!

  321. I suggest you read what Paul Krugman wrote in these pages last month: The reality is clear: Modern Republicans are irredeemable, devoid of principle or shame. And there is, as I said, no reason to believe that this will change even if Trump is defeated next year. The only way that either American democracy or a livable planet can survive is if the Republican Party as it now exists is effectively dismantled and replaced with something better — maybe with a party that has the same name, but completely different values. This may sound like an impossible dream. But it’s the only hope we have.

  322. Remember back when Democrats gave up their political careers to vote for the ACA? They knew what the price was and they did it. Democrats were not in lock step with Obama. It was a very hard effort to get the bill passed. But Republicans have no standards. For all of these people and their supporters, try and convince me that if Obama was the guy who did all this stuff, you wouldn't be going absolutely crazy to get him out of office. They will pay a price. Make no mistake about it. And then, lo and behold, they will have their Jesus moment. When you make the decision to look at a guy like Trump as your Savior, and you will go as far as getting on your knees to him no matter what he does, there is no turning back. And watch as they all, one after another, try and convince everyone in America "I did it for you, the American people" when it becomes clear the tide has shifted. Roll the tape of Michael Cohen.