Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate was swiftly concluded. In order for Trump to be declared guilty, 67 senators needed to vote “yes.” As it is, only 57 senators voted against him. In addition to the 50 Democrats, seven Republican senators found Trump guilty. As I mentioned in my previous article, it seemed a done deal that Trump would walk away a free man.
Once more, in February 2020, faced with different charges, Trump was acquitted in the Senate. During that impeachment hearing, only Republican Senator Mitt Romney, by diverging from his party’s line, found Trump guilty and thus voted against him. However, in Saturday’s trial, this lonely number rose to seven. Now, those Republican senators who voted for Trump’s conviction are being intensely protested by pro-Trumpists in their own respective states.
Republican Senators are believed to have voted politically because of Trump's influence over the party base. These seven lawmakers aside, the other Republican senators couldn’t risk voting against Trump. An American writer compared the frame of mind of the Republicans with the famous lyrics by Paul Whiteman and his orchestra: “Your lips tell me no, no/But there’s yes, yes in your eyes.”
Republican senators are defending their decision to vote for Trump’s acquittal by saying that impeaching a president no longer in office is against the Constitution. Following the trial, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell emphasized that Trump was morally responsible for the riot at Capitol. He also implied that Trump could be prosecuted for other reasons.
In reality, it was Republican McConnell who prevented Trump from being tried in the Senate while he was still president. At that time McConnell was governing over the Senate as Majority Leader. He made sure that the trial was postponed until after Joe Biden became president. We have repeatedly touched upon the matter of the power struggle between Trump and McConnell who represent different wings of the Republican Party. McConnell also played a huge role in getting the November elections approved. It is also for this reason that the rift between the two further deepened.
McConnell had previously stated that Trump incited the Capitol invaders. McConnell's wife, Elaine Chao, who was the United States Secretary of Transportation, also resigned. Hence, the Democrats had a scrap of hope that McConnell might vote for Trump’s conviction. However, with a message he sent with Republican senators he notified that he would be voting for trump’s acquittal. So, he prevented more senators from voting for his impeachment.
Let us quickly point out that an impeachment trial is not a criminal one. If the Senate had found Trump guilty, they could have found a way to ban him from ever engaging in politics again. However, in this case, Trump can now run for president in 2024 as a leader who was acquitted not once but twice. Even before the trial, Trump had said that that a “movement” has just begun.
McConnell basically said the ball was in the Democrats’ court when he stated that Trump was not yet finished with the law. Even though he was cleared in the Senate, there are rumors that Trump is concerned of new cases being filed against him in the coming months, especially as the federal investigation into the Capitol riot continues. There’s talk of the Washington DC's Attorney General, which hosts the U.S. Congress, may also file a lawsuit. There are also apparently other investigations against Trump.
The left wing of the Democratic Party for their part have also taken action for the new U.S. Attorney General to open a criminal case against Trump. The Senate confirmation process of Merrick Garland, which Biden nominated as Secretary of Justice (and Attorney General), has not yet begun. The confirmation process of Garland, the former Chief Judge of the Federal Court of Appeals, is expected to be completed in early March.
Dark days await the Senators who voted against Trump at the House and Senate. According to analysts, who draw attention to Trump’s vindictive personality, Trump will use his influence over the party base to support those who have stayed loyal to him in thick and thin during the 2022 House and Senate elections. And he will apparently do everything in his power to depose of those who voted against him. In other words, a civil war awaits the Republicans. Some analysts are going as far as to describe this infighting as the “Night of the Long Knives.”