Thursday, August 5

Trump saves his second impeachment, which exposes the Republican division with the former president


The former president saves his second political trial with 57 votes in favor, 10 less than necessary to convict him

Vote this Saturday in the US Senate.SENATE TELEVSION HANDOUTEFE
  • USA A more divided Republican Party that never assists Trump’s defense in impeachment
  • USA An ‘impeachment’ to Donald Trump made to measure of social networks

Donald Trump has saved his second ‘impeachment’. At 10:00 p.m. on the Iberian Peninsula (4:00 p.m. Washington) the United States Senate voted in favor of declaring the former president guilty of “incitement to insurrection,” in the assault on the Capitol on January 6, which caused five deaths, which would have implied his “disqualification from the exercise of any position of representation, honor, trust or remuneration of and by the United States.” But he did so by 57 votes in favor, 10 less than necessary to convict him.

But the ‘political trial’, which is how the phase that concluded this Saturday is known, has also revealed the tremendous division within the Republican Party. The fact that seven of his fifty senators voted to find the president guilty is unprecedented in American history. In the three impeachments held to date (Andrew Johnson’s in 1868, Bill Clinton’s in 1999, and Trump’s first in 2020) there were not as many senators from the president’s party who voted to convict him. Thus, although the process has not gone ahead, this has been, by far, the most ‘bipartisan’ impeachment – if that word can be used – never celebrated. No one expected seven Republicans to back the motion. At most, three or four are expected to vote against Trump.

The anti-Trump ‘coalition’ is also heterogeneous. In it is a deeply conservative senator – Ben Sasse, of Nebraska – who has always defied Trump, to the point of having been reprimanded twice by his own party, and who will fully run for the presidency in 2024. There are four centrists – the former presidential candidate in 2012, Mitt Romney, Bill Cassidy, y Susan Collins y Lisa Murkowski – whose vote has not surprised. And two others, Pat Toomey y Richard Burr, They are conservatives retiring from the Senate in 2022, so he more or less doesn’t care what his base thinks of him.

Because that’s the point: the Republican base is totally for Trump, despite the fact that the former president has caused a gigantic division in the party. All the senators who have voted in favor of ‘impeachment’ already know that the next time they have to stand for re-election they’re going to have a tough primary against a Trump candidate. It is not only that the base of the party is with the former president; is that both he and his environment – especially his children – have declared that they will try to defeat the legislators who have voted “guilty”. Because, as in a real trial, that’s how it was voted yesterday in the Senate: “innocent” or “guilty”.

The clearest example of this ambivalence was that of the leader of the Senate Republicans, Mitch McConnell. Despite voting in favor of Trump’s plea of ​​innocence, McConnell was dispatched, at the end of the session, with a speech in which, literally, he made the former president suck, whom he accused of being “responsible from the moral and practical point of view” of what he described as an “act of terrorism.”

The senator, who during Trump’s presidency was the ‘transmission belt’ of the head of state and government in the Senate, said that the assailants in Congress carried out their action “because they had been fed with falsehoods by the most powerful man of the Earth “, in a clear reference to Trump. Not only that: McConnell stated that Trump may be subject to legal action for his criminal liability in the events of that day. However, in an example of political juggling, McConnell justified his vote against the guilt of the former president by claiming that the key to impeachmewent is removal from office and, therefore, being a person who does not occupy any position. public, Trump cannot be subjected to that procedure. Indeed, in the past, the United States Congress conducted an ‘impeachment’ against a former Secretary of Defense, making McConnell’s argument seem more a political maneuver rather than a legal argument.

The Republican division had become apparent when, a few hours before the vote, the Senate was paralyzed by the decision to call witnesses. It was an unexpected vote, triggered largely by the Republican congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, who has revealed to the television network CNN that, while the attack on January 6 was taking place, the Republican leader in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, He asked Trump by phone to call on his followers to abandon their violent attack on the Legislature and the head of state and government refused. Finally, given the possibility that, with the witnesses, the impeachment would last weeks, both parties agreed not to carry out that decision.

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