The historic second impeachment of former President Donald Trump came to a sudden, yet anticipated end on Saturday. The defense concluded their argumentation on Friday after only a few hours, and the Senate thus met on Saturday anticipating closing arguments from both sides which would then transition into a vote. The House Impeachment Managers surprised everyone at the opening procedures on Saturday when they announced they wished to subpoena a witness, based on a CNN news report on Friday night. After intense deliberation and argumentation, both sides agreed to include the written statement from the witness, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, thus not needing her to appear in court and delaying the case, or perhaps more disconcerting for several parties: opening up for more witnesses being subpoenaed, and thus prolonging the trial.
As the Senate had voted before the start of the trial itself on all issues concerning procedure, it really should not have come as a surprise that the impeachment managers might bring up the topic of witnesses on Saturday, as that was the agreed upon time in the trial that they could do so. Well, not Saturday per se, but after the defense councel had closed their up to 16 hours of main proceedings.
It was also no surprise that Trump was acquitted, as a 2/3 majority was required for a conviction. That meant that 17 Republican senators would have to vote to convict. The result was 7, meaning 57 votes to convict, and 43 to acquit.
It seems as if some GOP senators voted to acquit because they did not agree with the ruling last Tuesday on the constitutionality of impeaching a former president, now a private citizen. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who was the senate majority leader during the Janury 6th insurrection and who was still the senate majority leader when the House of Representatives sent the article of impeachment to the Senate, scathingly denounced former President Trump’s actions on January 6th within minutes of voting to acquit him. One can wonder: to what end?
Personally, I have a hard time believing the Founding Fathers intended to allow a loophole like the January exception that has now been created, knowing the lengths they themselves went to to stand up to the oppressors from Great Britain back in the 1770s and 1780s. Granted, the Founding Fathers themselves were insurrectionists, but to compare them to the insurrectionist mob of January 6th 2021 would be an insult. The Founding Fathers based their actions on enlightenment ideals, with human and civil rights and democracy as goals, in a time with no internet, no phone and no telegraph. Have modern-day amenities left us more ignorant and unwilling to think for ourselves, left us susceptible to demagogs and politicians with agendas beyond “support[ing] and defend[ing] the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”?