Trump Impeached Once More with Feeling

The 45th President will go down in infamy, setting a record that's unlikely to be broken.

Above is a screenshot of the Washington Post website. Aside from the blaring headline broadcasting the historic second impeachment of a single president—in a single term, no less—there are sidebar stories on whether Republican Congressmen gave direct support to the Capitol rioters and the degree to which a lunatic fringe conspiracy theory has reshaped said party. And that’s just above the proverbial fold.

The main story, by Mike DeBonis and Paul Kane, is headlined “House hands Trump a second impeachment, this time with GOP support.”

The House made history Wednesday by impeaching a president for a second time, indicting President Trump a week before he leaves office for inciting a riot with false claims of a stolen election that led to the storming of the Capitol and five deaths.

Unlike Trump’s first impeachment, which proceeded with almost no GOP support, Wednesday’s effort attracted 10 Republicans, including Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 party leader in the House. The Senate now appears likely to hold a trial after Trump’s departure, an unprecedented scenario that could end with lawmakers barring him from holding the presidency again.

The final vote was 232 to 197.

One of the final dramas of a tumultuous presidency, the impeachment unfolded against the backdrop of near-chaos in the House and uncertainty about where Trump’s exit leaves the GOP. Democrats and Republicans exchanged accusations and name-calling throughout the day, while Trump loyalists were livid at fellow Republicans who broke ranks — especially Cheney — leaving the party’s leadership shaken.

Dan Balz’s companion piece is titled “Trump is impeached, again, with the country even more at war over his presidency.”

President Trump fixed a place in history once again Wednesday as the first president to be twice impeached. But the background and circumstances of this latest rebuke are likely to be remembered as much as or more than the vote itself — set against a country seething with anger and with the streets of the capital patrolled by thousands of troops ahead of the coming transfer of power.

Over the nearly six-year span encompassing Trump’s entry into politics and the life of his presidency, the country has been changed dramatically, but never as much as in the time between the two impeachment votes. When Trump’s term ends, he will leave behind a country not just divided and in disrepair but one that has been seeded with combustible obstacles in the path of President-elect Joe Biden.

There will be no clean break from one administration to another. The effects of Trump’s presidency will spill over into the early days — and perhaps longer — of Biden’s administration, from a Senate impeachment trial to threats of violence and unrest that have shown no real sign of easing since last week’s attack on the Capitol by an armed mob inspired by the president himself.

Seung Min Kim and Paul Kane follow with “McConnell breaks with Trump, says he’ll consider convicting him in Senate trial.”

The bipartisan impeachment vote in the House against President Trump on Wednesday set up a politically explosive reckoning for Senate Republicans, who spent four years enabling Trump’s behavior but in the wake of last week’s Capitol riot are grappling with how — or whether — to punish him with just seven days left in office.

The most striking position came from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who said Wednesday that he will consider convicting Trump on inciting the attempted insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6 — a remarkable break between the two men who worked in lockstep for four years, even as the majority leader continually deflected questions about Trump’s untoward conduct and rhetoric.

It was also a dramatic shift from his position during Trump’s first impeachment a year ago, when he publicly stressed that he was “not an impartial juror” and privately worked in concert with White House officials to map out the president’s eventual acquittal in the Senate.

“While the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,” McConnell said in a message to his colleagues, an excerpt of which was released by his office.

To the surprise of no one, Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey and Ashley Parker report “Trump is isolated and angry at aides for failing to defend him as he is impeached again.”

When Donald Trump on Wednesday became the first president ever impeached twice, he did so as a leader increasingly isolated, sullen and vengeful.

With less than seven days remaining in his presidency, Trump’s inner circle is shrinking, offices in his White House are emptying, and the president is lashing out at some of those who remain. He is angry that his allies have not mounted a more forceful defense of his incitement of the mob that stormed the Capitol last week, advisers and associates said.

Though Trump has been exceptionally furious with Vice President Pence, his relationship with lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of his most steadfast defenders, is also fracturing, according to people with knowledge of the dynamics between the men.

Trump has instructed aides not to pay Giuliani’s legal fees, two officials said, and has demanded that he personally approve any reimbursements for the expenses Giuliani incurred while traveling on the president’s behalf to challenge election results in key states. They said Trump has privately expressed concern with some of Giuliani’s moves and did not appreciate a demand from Giuliani for $20,000 a day in fees for his work attempting to overturn the election.

As he watched impeachment quickly gain steam, Trump was upset generally that virtually nobody is defending him — including press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, economic adviser Larry Kudlow, national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, according to a senior administration official.

“The president is pretty wound up,” said the senior administration official, who, like some others interviewed, spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid. “No one is out there.”

Over at the New York Times, Peter Baker rightly terms this as “A Preordained Coda to a Presidency.”

Not since the dark days of the Civil War and its aftermath has Washington seen a day quite like Wednesday.

In a Capitol bristling with heavily armed soldiers and newly installed metal detectors, with the physical wreckage of last week’s siege cleaned up but the emotional and political wreckage still on display, the president of the United States was impeached for trying to topple American democracy.

Somehow, it felt like the preordained coda of a presidency that repeatedly pressed all limits and frayed the bonds of the body politic. With less than a week to go, President Trump’s term is climaxing in violence and recrimination at a time when the country has fractured deeply and lost a sense of itself. Notions of truth and reality have been atomized. Faith in the system has eroded. Anger is the one common ground.

As if it were not enough that Mr. Trump became the only president impeached twice or that lawmakers were trying to remove him with days left in his term, Washington devolved into a miasma of suspicion and conflict. A Democratic member of Congress accused Republican colleagues of helping the mob last week scout the building in advance. Some Republican members sidestepped magnetometers intended to keep guns off the House floor or kept going even after setting them off.

All of which was taking place against the backdrop of a pandemic that, while attention has drifted away, has grown catastrophically worse in the closing weeks of Mr. Trump’s presidency.

While I’m skeptical there are enough Senate Republicans with the necessary backbone to vote to convict Trump, this is a fitting end to a nightmare presidency that should never have been. Donald Trump is an international pariah. None of his close supporters emerged with their reputations intact; indeed, most are untouchable in polite society. The party that allowed him to use their brand as a vehicle for his agenda is in tatters. And he has been abandoned by pretty much everyone. And, of course, he’s stiffing his lawyers.

It would all be just and fitting if the country didn’t pay such a high price. Aside from likely irreparable damage in our global reputation, Trump’s incompetence and solipsism have us approaching near-World War II levels dead from a virus that he spent most of a year downplaying. We’re losing well more than 9/11 attack levels a day now and that won’t magically stop in six days when Joe Biden takes the baton.

FILED UNDER: Capitol Riot, Donald Trump, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    All is as expected.

    2
  2. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Trump is the nation’s Id on a bender. He shredded the veil that covered up what Americans really are, and forced us to confront how much we fail to live up to our loudly proclaimed ideals. We are a violent society that seems perpetually on the verge of hysterics (especially since 9/11) and we have coasted on good intentions for many years. Trump is leaving the national stage – I’m willing to bet that by the autumn he’ll be invisible except for headlines about his legal troubles in NY – but there are others out there waiting and flexing their muscles. We are not through with this hell yet.

    With respect to Rick Wilson: we bought the ticket, we take the ride.

    10
  3. MarkedMan says:

    There is a real turning point coming up in 2022 and 2024: Will the Trumpers come out to vote for Republicans? It’s a real question. And the Republicans gave up everything in order to win over the Trumpers.

    Paul Ryan, who is as amoral and dishonest as the worst of the Republicans (albeit with a nice smile and six-pack abs), was smarter than almost everyone in his Party. He saw what was coming, could see no good out of it, and dropped out for the duration. Now that Trump is gone we will see him start to resurrect.

    13
  4. Mikey says:

    Donald Trump is an international pariah. None of his close supporters emerged with their reputations intact; indeed, most are untouchable in polite society. The party that allowed him to use their brand as a vehicle for his agenda is in tatters. And he has been abandoned by pretty much everyone. And, of course, he’s stiffing his lawyers.

    He is directly responsible for an unknown–but likely in the many tens of thousands–number of unnecessary deaths from COVID-19.

    All the other stuff we can handle. Yes, it will take years–perhaps decades–to recover from the damage Trump has done to international relations, domestic politics, etc., but we can never bring those people back. Uncountable thousands, gone too soon, for no reason except their inconvenience to one man.

    9
  5. ImProPer says:

    “He is angry that his allies have not mounted a more forceful defense of his incitement of the mob that stormed the Capitol last week, advisers and associates said.”

    The only way to mount a defense of his forming of, and inciting the crowd, is with a trial. There are hundreds of millions of witnesses to this. There are no conceivable defenses that are in anyway flattering, which makes for an impossible time in Trump town.
    The rats have no choice but to flee. I wonder if his family have done yet what they were raised to do. Et tu Ivanka?

    4
  6. Michael Reynolds says:

    My theory is that Trump was very unhappy with people saying he was ‘one of the worst’ presidents ever. We all know how competitive he is. Now he has clear, undisputed ownership of Worst President Ever.

    14
  7. CSK says:

    The Boston Globe describes Trump in the wake of his second impeachment as “increasingly isolated, sullen, and vengeful.”

    It’s the “vengeful” part that worries me the most. There’s a lot of havoc he can wreak in the next six days. And when he leaves office? Who knows what he’ll take with him, and give to Putin or some other genocidal dictator?

    5
  8. Jen says:

    Buried in the WaPo article is what is likely bothering him more than anything:

    Trump has been more concerned with other actions that could have serious consequences for his post-presidential life, according to people familiar with the president’s concerns. The developments include Twitter and other social media companies suspending his accounts, the PGA of America canceling a golf tournament at one of his properties, and Deutsche Bank announcing it would no longer finance his developments.

    He is smart enough, apparently, to realize that his prospects of raising money off this gig are winding down and might even be smart enough to realize that he overplayed his hand.

    For someone on already precarious financial footing, that’s a problem.

    8
  9. Sleeping Dog says:

    I’m particularly fond of this headline, as it returns us to the days when all politics was local.

    https://queenseagle.com/all/queens-man-impeached-again

    For the naked king, no flattery, loyalty or defense is great enough and yes, @Jen: , it has dawned on Trump-world that the monetization of the post-presidency has been severely limited. Only yesterday, Junior was whining that the Trumps have been cancelled.

    Is there not some windswept atoll that the US controls, to which we can exile this motley crew? Best someplace that is endanger from the rising sea level.

    2
  10. gVOR08 says:

    It’s D-6 and Trump has created a situation in which a self-pardon will almost certainly be crushed and made it impossible for Pence to pardon him without committing political suicide. Only way I see Trump gets pardoned is if Pence is deeply implicated and they do a deal to pardon each other.

    Trump may well have managed to leave himself open to prosecution. So much winning.

    1
  11. gVOR08 says:

    @gVOR08: In the absence of EDIT, ETA my understanding is that impeachment does not count toward double jeopardy. He could be prosecuted for the Ukraine “phone call” bribery attempt for which clear evidence already exists.

    And I hope the hell Biden realizes that were he to pardon Trump it would buy him exactly zilch toward unity.

    2
  12. DrDaveT says:

    The 45th President will go down in infamy, setting a record that’s unlikely to be broken.

    I sincerely hope you’re right about that, but I could see a Republican-majority House impeaching a Democratic president over and over and over on the flimsiest of pretexts, just because they can and because it would effectively prevent real legislation. The official GOP position is still that the first Trump impeachment was groundless refusal to accept Trump’s electoral legitimacy, so in their eyes (and propaganda) the norm that requires actual crimes has already been set aside by the Dems.

    2
  13. Jay L Gischer says:

    Those remarks by Mitch McConnell do not reassure me. He says he’s going to “listen to the legal arguments”. Thing is, impeachment, as Steven reminds us, is a political process, not a legal one. Why would he have to listen to legal arguments? He was there, he knows what happened. He knows how Trump participated.

    3
  14. dmichael says:

    Two points: I wish I could believe that Trump enablers will be “untouchable in polite society.” I’ll revisit this issue when I see the latest one on Fox or working for a right-wing think tank. Second, an under reported issue is the extent to which current members of Congress, including those who insist on “packing heat” in the chambers, have coordinated and facilitated members of the insurrectionist mob. On proof that some of them did, I want them expelled from Congress under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S.Constitution. Otherwise, we could have an insurrection from within.

    4
  15. KM says:

    @Jen :
    Oh he’s definitely aware he’s screwed himself financially, he’s just in raging denial about it. He still thinks he’s got a chance, though, selling off knowledge or influence. Whatever he has to offer won’t be enough and I’d bet someone has told him that if Presidential secrets get “leaked” it will be blatantly obvious it was him. Whatever he sells better come with a iron-clad lifetime offer of protection from extrication or extra-judicial justice or he’s screwed. He thinks he can sell state secrets and live a life of luxury untouched anywhere in the world? Hah – not even American (more specifically, conservative) reluctance to go after an ex-POTUS will protect him.

    He’s not even really going to be able to make peanuts riling up the rubes since that’s a tainted prospect post-Jan 6. If things get even worse in the next week, that avenue might be shut to him completely.

    1
  16. JohnSF says:

    @Jen:
    If he becomes financially toxic, that sinks his chances of putting together some sort of funding scheme for TrumpMedia.

    That I suspect seriously worries him; he needs TrumpMedia to keep his hands on the Republican’s throat.
    And he probably doesn’t fancy being a junior, controlled, unable-to-grift, partner to say OANN or Newsmax.

  17. JKB says:

    A few laughs for you

    The most impeached president in American history! I wonder if Trump is tired of all this winning…

    Half of all impeachments of an American president have been of Trump!…

    We’re going to have impeachment, like you wouldn’t believe. A lot of people are saying he’s the best president ever at getting impeached. No one had ever heard of impeachment before Trump.

    4
  18. JohnSF says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    He was there, he knows what happened.

    He knows that, we know that, the cats and dogs on the street know that.

    But the Trumpkin Base are in a state of willed suspension of disbelief.
    So he needs to appear Mr Ultra-Rational to those Republicans who haven’t taken up residence on Planet Zarg, but are in dialogue with those who have.

    2
  19. CSK says:

    @JohnSF:
    Since he’s been publicly repudiating Fox for months now, he has no real shot at a running gig with them, either.
    @Jen: @KM:
    Trump likes to spend other people’s money, not his own, and he’ll never be able to raise the 100 million it will take even to start TrumpTV.

  20. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @gVOR08:

    This is correct. Article 1, Section 3 makes that explicit in its final verbiage:

    but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

    Impeachment / removal is inherently a political process with no relevance to subsequent criminal process.

    5
  21. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Amazing. Even JKB agrees Trump should have been impeached twice. Talk about the president being abandoned by his nearest and dearest!

    9
  22. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK:

    Since he’s been publicly repudiating Fox for months now, he has no real shot at a running gig with them, either.

    From what I understand, they have already pivoted back to their Trump base.

    1
  23. Scott F. says:

    The party that allowed him to use their brand as a vehicle for his agenda is in tatters.

    “In tatters” seems an odd way to describe the Republicans considering they still have half the Senate and they gained seats in the House. As you may have heard, large numbers of Republican House members are refusing to abide by the chamber’s mask and metal detector rules, so it’s clear they are not taking the public reaction to last week’s riots as any kind of rebuke and we will see no contrition.

    I think Trump’s party is more akin to a cornered animal. Consequences are imminent, but they are going to scratch a lot eyes before they start to behave.

    5
  24. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Really? All I read is that the base loathes Fox. The Trumpkins seem to have migrated to OANN. Even Newsmax earned their ire by referring to Biden as “president-elect.”

    Pretty soon they’re going to be confined to The Gateway Pundit and The Conservative Treehouse for “real” news.

    1
  25. Scott F. says:

    @JKB: Officer Sicknick’s family would like to talk to you about how funny this all is…

    7
  26. Michael Reynolds says:

    McConnell’s game is to hold out the threat of an impeachment conviction to get Trump to behave til the 20th. He has no intention of voting to convict, or of encouraging any other Republican to. He just doesn’t want Trump to start another riot.

    4
  27. Michael Reynolds says:

    And @JKB’s game is to try to slither out from under his rock and regain a foothold on this blog. After all, he has many more lies to tell and he must serve cult leader.

    5
  28. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Maybe. On the other hand, Mitch is one of the most trustworthy individuals out there: You can trust him to always do what’s best for McConnell. If voting to convict trump accomplishes that objective, I’ve no doubt he’ll do it.

    So the question is: what does Mitch need or want past January 20th?

    9
  29. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: he needs, and therefore wants, the demolition of Trump and his immediate family and associates.
    Bu with minimum collateral damage to the Republican establishment
    .

    3
  30. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kathy:

    From a different website:

    I’m going to provide a different way to look at that. I will never defend McConnell but he does know what he’s doing. If he doesn’t have the 17 votes that are needed to convict out of his caucus, then there’s no point rushing to that trial only to have it fail.

    McConnell leaked out that he was in favor of impeachment. He’s trying to build support for it. The thing McConnell wants more than anything is to block Trump from holding office ever again, and that can be secured after the inauguration. At that time Democrats will have 2 more votes, and some of his caucus may be more willing to support that, and with time we’ll learn more about what happened and that may sway members as well. McConnell doesn’t want him to hold office because it’s a certainty that he’ll be back in 2024 and he’ll burn down every Republican that tries to run in the primary and theres no chance in hell they can win the WH in 2024 in that scenario. If Trump can’t run, and doesn’t burn the GOP candidates down, there’s at least an outside chance they could beat Biden. And that’s what he cares about.

    He’s not chickening out, but there’s nothing to be gained by rushing to a failure. Conviction is not in Schumers control – he has his caucus. It’s entirely on McConnell, and McConnell is very good at counting.

    So, my advice is to give Mitch some room to work. We’ll know soon enough if his statement of support is genuine or not.

    2
  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Mitch is testing the risk involved in this both ways. He wants fallout neither for convicting Trump or failing to.

    My guess is that his vote is a free throw, but he’s old now, and may not be able to scrape by on a Senator’s pension if he’s voted out. In addition, he’d miss out on the history trivia fame of succeeding what’s his name from West VA as the oldest Senator in office. He might not make it anyway, but if he’s voted out, it’s over for sure.

    3
  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Not to mention the possibility that he doesn’t have a $100 million to do it with. He certainly can’t leverage it anymore.

    1
  33. al Ameda says:

    @Jen:

    Buried in the WaPo article is what is likely bothering him more than anything:

    Trump has been more concerned with other actions that could have serious consequences for his post-presidential life, according to people familiar with the president’s concerns. The developments include Twitter and other social media companies suspending his accounts, the PGA of America canceling a golf tournament at one of his properties, and Deutsche Bank announcing it would no longer finance his developments.

    Cannot agree more.
    The Trump Brand, something he cares about more that anything else, has crashed. He ran for office largely as a marketing campaign, then he surveyed the field and saw hapless empty suits like Marco Rubio and Rick Perry, and he figured, ‘you know, I’ve got nothing to lose …’ He’s now got to figure out a way to stop the bleeding and re-grift.

    2
  34. CSK says:

    @JohnSF:
    I agree. I said the other day that Trump has passed his sell-by date as McConnell’s useful idiot; Trump is therefore now a disposable commodity.

    But it’s more than that. Trump presents a real liability for Republicans. From their standpoint, nothing could be worse than having him running around loose, riling up the rubes, teasing them that he’ll be back in 2024.

    3
  35. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    That’s exactly what I mean.

  36. Michael Reynolds says:

    If McConnell were serious he’d have moved up the date for the Senate’s return.

    3
  37. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    But why? As I said, Trump is of no further use to anyone. He’s even more of a liability than he already was. It’s in McConnell’s interest to convict him so he’s barred from ever running again.

  38. Kathy says:

    @Scott F.:

    Continuing yesterday’s discussion on multiparty democracy, it’s pretty much impossible on a two-party system for one party to collapse. there will always be a rather sizable portion of the population who’d rather die than vote for the other party.

    For the GOP to vanish, it must be replaced by something else. This is essentially what has happened over the past 40 years. It would be a stretch to say today’s FOP is the same as the Republican party in the 1980s in anything but name.

    Let alone that the mere phrase “liberal Republican” sounds laughably contradictory, and that no “liberal Republican” could win national office, even a man like George H.W. Bush seems impossible these days.

    Much the same can be said of the Democrats. But in this case the transformation has meant letting the Dixiecrats go Republican, and absorbing would-be liberal Republicans as conservative Democrats (see Sen. Manchin). So this change is not bad.

    Nothing lasts forever (I should make that the third law or something). So eventually some other party will replace one of the duopoly explicitly, rather than transforming one party into something different. It’s just that things or circumstances can last a long time. If something lasts all your life, as far as you’re concerned it did last forever.

  39. Michael Reynolds says:

    @CSK:
    McConnell only has one interest: becoming majority leader again in two years. Division in the party – GOP incumbents being primaried by Trumpists – is a danger. Electable ‘sane’ Republicans could be replaced by unelectable crazies. Every Republican who votes to convict is guaranteed to be primaried, which, in addition to perhaps putting up unelectable candidates, costs money, and with corporate America cutting ties, the Koch Brothers no longer a factor, and Adelson dead, Mitch is likely to be cash poor.

    So – and obviously this is speculation – I think McConnell’s interests are in 1) Pretending to just enough sanity to get the money tap turned back on, and 2) Avoiding primaries. So I think is shuck and jive. If he was serious the Senate would be back now, not on the 19th.

    My guess? If it comes to a vote it’ll be Romney, Murkowski and maybe two or three others. That’s the show of sanity. McConnell himself and a few others with safe seats may abstain. So, closer than last time, a majority, but not the two thirds threshold.

    5
  40. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    He has no intention of voting to convict, or of encouraging any other Republican to. He just doesn’t want Trump to start another riot

    Ding! Ding! Ding! …and the gentleman takes home another wonderful prize!

    3
  41. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    McConnell’s game is to hold out the threat of an impeachment conviction to get Trump to behave til the 20th. He has no intention of voting to convict, or of encouraging any other Republican to. He just doesn’t want Trump to start another riot.

    I assign this a high probability of accuracy, at least on the “threat of impeachment” business. As to his later intentions, I can’t say, but I am doubtful.

    I mean, I think there’s some weight to the possibility that he wants Trump out of the way for 2024. He could quite reasonably blame Trump for losing the House, the Presidency and the Senate. He did not vote to challenge the electoral college votes, either, and whipped Senators not to challenge (unsuccessfully, though). He’s definitely not a MAGAnaut.

    And yet, his ability to assess political impact is very good, along with his ability to count votes in the Senate.

    2
  42. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    My guess is that his vote is a free throw, but he’s old now, and may not be able to scrape by on a Senator’s pension if he’s voted out.

    McConnell is married to Elaine Chao. This little nugget might change your calculus:

    In April 2008, Chao’s father gave Chao and McConnell between $5 million and $25 million,[93] which “boosted McConnell’s personal worth from a minimum of $3 million in 2007 to more than $7 million”[94] and “helped the McConnells after their stock portfolio dipped in the wake of the financial crisis that year”.[95]

    In 2012 the Chao family donated $40 million to Harvard Business School for scholarships to students of Chinese heritage, and for the Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Center, an executive education building named for Chao’s late mother.[96][97] It is the first Harvard Business School building named after a woman,[98] and the first building named after an American of Asian ancestry.[99] Ruth Mulan Chu Chao returned to school at age 51 to earn a master’s degree in Asian literature and history from St. John’s University in the Queens borough of New York City.[87]

    And here’s a NY Times article about where her family made all it’s money. Amazing coincidence that she became Transportation Secretary, isn’t it? In a person of less sterling character, one might wonder if any of her decisions benefit the family business…

    3
  43. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    Mitch McConnell does not give a wet fart for who is president, especially after the last four years. Mitch only cares about Mitch. If Mitch retakes the Majority Leader position with a Democratic president, guess who is the leader of the GOP.

    2
  44. MarkedMan says:

    @al Ameda: @Michael Reynolds: Abstain, or suddenly become constitutional scholars and decide their legal analysis shows that an ex-President cannot be impeached.

    All in all, Michael, I think you have this nailed. I can’t bet you, because I agree with you, but I’ll buy you a virtual drink when it plays out…

    1
  45. Scott F. says:

    @Kathy:

    For the GOP to vanish, it must be replaced by something else.

    I’m not looking for the GOP. I’m looking for the fringe the GOP relies on to get elected to lose their control of the party. I want the establishment and country club Republicans to unambiguously disassociate themselves from the white supremacists and the conspiracy theorists, including faction champions like Cruz, Hawley, Jordan, and Gohmert. I want a Republican Party thus weakened to reassess and moderate it’s policy aims in the hopes of recovery some electability without relying on our anti-majoritarian electoral system.

    Clearly, there is no way I’m going to get what I’m looking for.

    4
  46. Kathy says:

    @Scott F.:

    I see three ways to do that:

    1) End or change the primary system, so the crazies won’t control who gets to run in the election.

    2) refuse to let unacceptable candidates use the party’s resources and fund-raising networks.

    3) Change the culture to the point the crazies are not welcome in the GOP.

    There are no plans I know of for the first option. The second option would do only so much, as there are ways around money barriers (ask money launderers), and the crazies can set up their own networks.

    The third one is ongoing, but it will take time.

    1
  47. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Scott F.: @Kathy:
    Sadly, I think if you add the ‘sane’ Republicans to the ‘never Trumpers’ you have, maybe 10% of Republicans. Maybe. Enough to act as spoilers – which would be my hope – but not enough to turn the party around.

    We talked about this the other day. There is no sane Republican ideology, the core beliefs of the old GOP died after long exposure to reality. Crazy is all they have left. White people have lost status, men have lost status, that’s not going to change, and these people are not going to adapt. Racism and misogyny are not fringe beliefs in the GOP, they are literally all the GOP has left.

    So, they either fight on for their neo-Confederacy, or they morph into something entirely new, or they sink into passive despair. That’s my best hope, that they will sit and stew and drink and shoot heroin and fondle their guns as their numbers slowly dwindle. I think that’s also the most likely outcome. Emotionally these people are losers, and losers always expect to go on losing, so they do.

    Best case? I think in the end we’ll have a GOP that is a permanent minority with control over lots of largely empty states. And we’ll see even more people identify as Independents. Democrats won’t add much in terms of actual membership, but slowly we will grind down North Carolina, Arizona, Georgia, Florida and Texas and turn them blue. At the same time the GOP will continue to be a factor in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, but that’s a net loss for them.

    Oh, and then automation eliminates 70% of jobs and we’ll need a whole new paradigm, but that’s for another day.

    2
  48. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    That’s my best hope, that they will sit and stew and drink and shoot heroin and fondle their guns as their numbers slowly dwindle.

    I’ve long favored legal, clean heroin as well as free facilities for those dependent on drugs to shoot up under supervision (to prevent overdose deaths). There are plenty of benefits, from reducing crime to reducing homelessness. I wouldn’t have guessed there’d be political benefits as well.

    3
  49. OzarkHillbilly says:

    (video)

    Rex Chapman
    Horse racing
    @RexChapman

    “We’re not stupid. Donald J. Trump is a genius.”
    “That’s what the J stands for.”

    You can’t make it up…

  50. Jay L Gischer says:

    There’s a bit of a wild card here. We saw several resignations of White House staff immediately following the Day of Broken Glass. Which of those, if any, might be willing to testify as to why they did that? What did they see? What kind of impact might that have on public opinion?

    I’m guessing that there are very few people, but not none, who have any sort of answer to this at all.

  51. Scott F. says:

    @Michael Reynolds & @Kathy:
    I would say 15% ‘sane’ based on the post riot polling, so spoilers is the only realistic hope in the short term. But there is still the long term…

    We talked about this the other day. There is no sane Republican ideology, the core beliefs of the old GOP died after long exposure to reality… Racism and misogyny are not fringe beliefs in the GOP, they are literally all the GOP has left.

    There’s still guns, God, and greed, but your point is taken.

    I think the US’s Overton Window has shifted so far to the hard right in the last thirty years that there is plenty of room to the left of where we are now to situate two parties in opposition that are each reality based. For example, we could have two parties in America that fully acknowledge the truth of global warming that could negotiate just how quickly and comprehensively we work to ameliorate the effects.

    What we can’t afford is one party completely in thrall to a base completely bought in on various flavors of denialism. I’d like to see the right treat it’s fringe similar to the way the left treats their fringe – give them a seat on the bus with some lip service and the occasional hearing on their more outre objectives, but don’t let them anywhere near the steering wheel. (BTW, I don’t see Warren, Sanders, or the Squad as anything approaching fringe. Social Democracy is well established as workable in first world democracies.

    1
  52. Kathy says:

    @Scott F.:

    What we can’t afford is one party completely in thrall to a base completely bought in on various flavors of denialism.

    Until the trump pandemic, I thought I didn’t underestimate denialism. I was wrong.

    Social Democracy is well established as workable in first world democracies.

    Oh, absolutely. Remember the Brexit contingent pushed extra money for the NHS as a big part of the reason for leaving the EU.

    But there’s hope, too. When Andrew Yang (currently running for mayor of NYC*) was in the Freakonomics podcast a few years back, he claimed to have conducted market research on UBI. He further claimed he got good results even among Republicans by calling it a “Freedom Dividend.”

    I guess it’s possible to sell social democracy even to small government enthusiasts if it’s marketed to confirm to their prejudice.

    1
  53. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    As I said on another thread, the US could try shifting to a the UK (and much of Europe) system:
    – No public “registration” as a supporter
    – Parties are (essentially) private associations.
    – People become members, usually on a contributory basis.
    – They can be expelled for breaches of party rules and discipline.
    – Only parties/memberships have any say in selecting their candidates
    – Extremely restricted and regulated political spending (in UK political advertising on TV is absolutely prohibited; but parties are allowed free, but limited number, 10 to 15 minute broadcast spots)

    To balance out the problem (which drj pointed out on that thread) of restriction on “other party” access would also need agreed rules on that too.

    Get to it USA; I expect a progress report by next Friday! 🙂

  54. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    There is no sane Republican ideology

    “I hate change; I like things the way they are” is not insane. It’s selfish and anything but admirable, but it’s not insane.

    4
  55. Kathy says:

    @JohnSF:

    The second biggest impediment to reform is that everyone has their own version how things ought to be, and it’s easier to fight off competing versions than the status quo.

    It might be a good idea to amend the Constitution to add rules and right for political parties. Whether this is possible, considering the duopoly has a vested interest in the status quo, is very hard to say.

  56. JohnSF says:

    @DrDaveT:
    It’s not even necessarily selfish.
    Social change, political change, economic change is not always generally beneficial.
    Often; but not always.

    2
  57. Scott F. says:

    @DrDaveT:
    Actually, “I hate change; I like things the way they are” is insane when “things the way they are” is totally fantastical clap-trap like there is no global warming, there is no systemic racism, there is no wealth inequality, the only oppression in the US is of white Christians, etc.

    1
  58. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    Might get easier if the dupoly can be broken.
    Either by one of the major parties splitting and/or one major party becoming overwhelmingly dominant.
    Either variant would place massive stress on the current model, perhaps enough to induce systemic modification.

  59. CSK says:

    Alan Dershowitz says he will NOT be defending Trump in the second impeachment trial.

    2
  60. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: I was aware of all of that. My comment about not being able to struggle along on a Senator’s pension was snark. You can tell just by the suits he wears that a Senator’s pension will meet his living expenses just fine.

    ETA:

    Amazing coincidence that she became Transportation Secretary, isn’t it? In a person of less sterling character, one might wonder if any of her decisions benefit the family business…

    No, it isn’t particularly amazing as much as a confluence of the American and Confucian way. And I just assume that her decisions lean toward advancing the family business, but I assume that with all Cabinet positions and have for a long time. YMMV.

    2
  61. Michael Reynolds says:

    @DrDaveT:
    They are not thinking things will go back to as per usual in some dying industrial town, living with their parents.

    They want things the way they never were. They want a fantasy restoration. That is insane.

    1
  62. Grewgills says:

    I’m not sure if McConnell wants Trump convicted or not.
    What he definitely wants is more power and money for himself and to hamstring the incoming Democratic administration. Supporting impeachment enough for Democrats to move forward, but refusing to reconvene the Senate before the 19th helps him hamstring Biden/Harris. It guarantees that a substantial portion of the 1st 100 days will be lost holding a trial in the Senate and trying to get Biden’s cabinet approved. All of that time is time that can’t be spent on any other agenda item whether it’s Covid, the economy, social justice, whatever. Mitch is making sure the country stays stuck in the quagmire that Trump and the republicans made.

    2
  63. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I would think that they’d be more likely to use Oxy and Percocet than shoot heroin, but the black tar type did a lot to lower the price and it’s way less of a strictly urban thing than it used to be. Out here where I live, Crank is still king, though. The city is in the process of razing about a dozen houses in a two-block area that used to be a known meth house zone. Houses, sidewalks, catch basins in the street, grass, trees, everything is gone.

    1
  64. dazedandconfused says:

    It’s plausible Mitch wants Trump gone. It’s obvious now that Trump hurts the brand. Georgia, talking Georgia here, is once again as blue as Sherman left it (the horror…the horror) and everybody not named Trump knows why.

    His challenge would be to not just get the minimum number of R votes, ideally he would want nearly all of his party. Ginning up hate for a few individuals and primarying them is one thing, primarying nearly all is different kettle of fish. Trump is at his weakest. If Mitch doesn’t want Trump running in 2024 now’s the time.

    1
  65. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Beqr in mind that it’s two thirds of those Senators present (ie voting), not two thirds of the entire Senate. If they abstain, the threshold drops.

    1
  66. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Sorry, no edit button…

    Two thirds of those PRESENT. Senators who are present but abstain still affect the denominator. If they just decide to sit it out, the number of votes required to convict drops accordingly. As long as their is a simole quorum, ie 51 senators present, that number could be as low as 34. It would be an elegant way for them to allow Trump to be impeached without putting themselves on the record as having voted against him. It’ll be interesting to see how many avail themselves of the option.

    4
  67. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Wa! That’s interesting. Were it me, I’d consider reconvening the Senate while telling most of my side to enjoy the holiday. 55 or so total Senators, mostly Democrats might give me the best of both worlds–Trump gone and the Dems to blame for “acting unilaterally to seize control.” Has a nice ring to it. Might be worth a shot.

    2
  68. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    They want things the way they never were. They want a fantasy restoration. That is insane.

    Like Scott F., you changed the subject. Those are not the people I was talking about.

    There are a surprising number of people out there who have a quite realistic view of the way the world is right now, and are sufficiently OK with it to not be willing to risk any change at all. They aren’t deluded; they just lack any real empathy. They don’t pine for some mythical past; they are quite content in the actual present.

    Some of them are quite right in their assessment that useful change would affect them negatively. And they are unreachable by Democrats for that reason.

    1
  69. Gustopher says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    As long as their is a simole quorum, ie 51 senators present, that number could be as low as 34. It would be an elegant way for them to allow Trump to be impeached without putting themselves on the record as having voted against him. It’ll be interesting to see how many avail themselves of the option.

    Does the 51 include the Vice President?

    By boycotting the impeachment, Republicans can ensure that Trump is impeached, AND call the entire thing a left-wing sham trial with an unconstitutional kangaroo court!

    1
  70. Gustopher says:

    @DrDaveT: And then there are people who support change, confident in the fact that we are so screwed up as a country that they will only have to give up some of their privilege.

    If I’m being entirely honest, that is probably an apt description of me. It easy to support equal rights when you know the best/worst case in more-equality/still-life-on-easy-mode-for-me-in-all-likelihood.

    I also donate to the food bank one neighborhood over so homeless folks congregate their rather than where I live. NIMBY, but willing to put my money where my mouth is.

    When the revolution comes, I won’t be the first against the wall, or the second… there might just be a counter-revolution before they get around to putting me against the wall. And then a counter-counter-revolution before those guys get around to me…

    As Phil Ochs said:

    In every American community there are varying shades of political opinion. One of the shadiest of these is the liberals. An outspoken group on many subjects, ten degrees to the left of center in good times, ten degrees to the right of center if it affects them personally.

    I also listen to Ezra Klein’s podcast. If there was a hell, I’m sure I would be going to it.

    1
  71. Archway says:

    @DrDaveT:

    I fear this is correct. In the past, a House of an opposite party to the president hasn’t impeached for no reason. The fact that some maniacal GOP rep has already said they’re drawing up articles for Biden on his first day for the crime of being a no-good dirty lib indicates a future GOP House would write up articles of impeachment for a D president at the drop of hat, which the Senate kyboshes as long as it’s not 2/3rds or more GOP. It may be that in future winning the presidency de-facto means winning a presidential election whilst not conceeding a supermajority to the other side in the Senate.

    It may end up being a bit like confidence or confirmation votes in European systems, where a democratically elected government submits its legislative programme (with the understanding that a vote against is a vote to bring down the government), and the opposition ritualistically vote against, knowing this will achieve precisely nothing.

    US in 2030:
    “What’s in the news today?”
    “Oh, just the annual symbolic impeachment of the president. Nothing major”

  72. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Gustopher:

    No.