Nate Jackson / February 4, 2020

Final Countdown to Acquittal

The impeachment trial won’t conclude before the SOTU. It’s all over except the crying.

With President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address set for tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time, Democrats managed to accomplish one thing: They drug out the Senate impeachment trial to delay acquittal until after his speech.

Nevertheless, acquittal is a foregone conclusion, as it has been since the House was still suffering through Adam Schiff’s bad acting. After insisting that their charade was both important and urgent, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delayed sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate for weeks, making plain to all but the blindest partisans that this was a farce from the beginning. Democrats failed to make their case that Trump’s behavior — poor and ill-advised though it was — rose to an impeachable offense, and they were thus never going to win enough Republican votes for conviction and removal.

In fact, while Mitt Romney and Susan Collins are the only Republicans reportedly considering conviction, three Democrats — Joe Manchin, Doug Jones, and Krysten Sinema — are all weighing acquittal. “Never before in the history of our republic has there been a purely partisan impeachment vote [against] a president,” Manchin said. “Removing this president at this time would not only further divide our deeply divided nation but also further poison our already toxic political atmosphere.” Manchin has instead pushed for censure.

It will be amusing if the only bipartisan side in the Senate, as with the House, is Trump’s.

Monday’s closing arguments didn’t move the needle one iota. Perhaps that’s because Schiff can’t help but be so over the top. “Trump could offer Alaska to the Russians in exchange for support in the next election,” Schiff warned, “or decide to move to Mar-a-Lago permanently and let [son-in-law] Jared Kushner run the country.” Again, we’d laugh if this weren’t so serious an abuse of power by congressional Democrats.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone reiterated, “At the end of the day, this is an effort to overturn the results of one election and to try to interfere in the coming election that begins [Monday] in Iowa.” And continues today in Iowa because Democrats bungled that, too.

After acquittal, Democrats promise to continue investigating, probing, and obstructing the president. “Hate Trump” is all they’ve got.

Update As expected, President Trump was acquitted on both articles of impeachment. The Senate voted 52-48 to acquit the president of the abuse of power charge and 53-47 to acquit the president of the obstruction of Congress charge. Mitt Romney, of course, voted with the Democrats on the abuse of power charge. Remarkably, Doug Jones (D-AL) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) did not break ranks with Democrats, and will likely pay a political price in their respective states, which Trump carried by wide margins in 2016.

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