Now That It’s All Over, Sure, We Can Admit That Trump Was Guilty All Along

Sen. Lamar Alexander, profile in courage.Stefani Reynolds/CNP via ZUMA

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Whether or not you think Donald Trump should be impeached over Ukrainegate, Jonah Goldberg says there’s no question that he’s guilty as charged:

Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Marco Rubio (R- Fla.) were the first out of the block to explain that the president is guilty but shouldn’t be ousted for it….In his statement, [Alexander] said the House managers “have proved [the charges] with what they call a ‘mountain of overwhelming evidence.’” In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Alexander dismissed the need for more witnesses. “If you have eight witnesses who say someone left the scene of an accident, why do you need nine? I mean, the question for me was: Do I need more evidence to conclude that the president did what he did? And I concluded no.”

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) agreed with Alexander’s position, telling reporters that he speaks for “lots and lots of us.” I somehow doubt there will be a torrent of outrage from Trump World at all of these senators (one never knows with Trump himself) who finally brought themselves to admit the emperor was naked all along.

I don’t doubt this. Now that acquittal is a sure thing, it’s become safe to quietly admit that Trump was guilty all along. The modern GOP is just chock full of profiles in courage.

For myself, I would have been satisfied if this had been the party line all along and Mitch McConnell had engineered a vote of, say, 62-38 for impeachment. This would have meant that Republicans could keep their president, but it also would have sent a clear message that this kind of behavior was bad enough that Trump had only barely survived.

But instead Trump demanded, and Republicans delivered, a complete and utter demonstration of fealty, and that meant a complete and utter defense of Trump’s actions. And this in turn has opened the door for future presidents to demand personal favors in return for official actions. When that happens, Republicans will have no one to blame but themselves.

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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