Tale of a broken house
The Senate is not a divided house; the Senate is broken.
“We know that Trump committed impeachable offenses while serving as President, but we do not have the power to convict him, because he is no longer in office.”
-loose summary of Sen. Rand Paul resolution, week of Feb. 1, which 44 of 50 Republican Senators signed onto.
Let’s examine this defense and it’s takeaways.
What is the constitutionality of convicting a former President?
Replace the word “President” with “office holder” and two things happen: first, you back up the claim to prevent the individual from attaining office again and second, you redeem the sanctity of the “office,” here the Chief Executive of one branch of the US Government.
Both are constitutional attempts to check the usurpation of the power of the office by an individual who uses it to abuse the public welfare and processes by which the office is sustained.
Yes, impeachment is about the Constitution; and yes, impeachment is about abuse of power. That Trump is accused of two primary forms of abuse: misinformation and incitement doesn’t reduce the “constitutionality” of the claim that Congress retains the authority to impeach.
“We need to move on.”
“This (impeachment) will further divide the country.”
Both defenses subvert the very process and institutions of and for deliberating them. America, the amnesiac can be blamed for subverting its claim for redemption at the altar of democracy. “It can’t happen here,” Sinclair Lewis once proposed, is not a defense for keeping in power a neo-fascist state. So — “in fairness” — are we being asked to tolerate neo-fascist attempts to subvert democracy?
Apparently, the US Senate “jury” is still out on that question.