While the House Judiciary Committee was debating the articles of Impeachment on Dec 12th the Republican members made no effort to contest the evidence before them. Instead they attacked the process as too hasty, they attacked the case as too thin and they attacked the Democrats for denying the president the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. GOP arguments throughout this process have been so reliably absurd that an unbiased observer could easily conclude they have lost their capacity for critical thinking. All of this while the President was busily tweeting that "Abuse of Power" is not an impeachable offense.
First I'll discuss the "undue haste" of the process. This is based on nothing more than a calendar count of the days since the impeachment process was formalized. It has nothing to do with the process or the evidence being considered. The process could have taken longer if the White House hadn't imposed a blanket refusal to allow any of their personnel to testify. But that is not the fault of the Democrats running the impeachment. There is also an election that is a mere 11 months away. The very same election in which Trump tried to leverage a foreign government to meddle. There can be little doubt that Trump will try to enlist other governments to meddle or worse if he is not held in check. Protecting the integrity of US elections demands swift action when it is the President himself who threatens.
The Republicans claim the case against Trump is weak and full of holes. They say this while ignoring the fact that those holes that exist are there because the President refused to allow any of his staff to testify and ordered all departments to refuse to comply with Congressional subpoenas and requests. The President was even invited to testify or allow his lawyers to testify for him before the Judiciary Committee. Trump and his Republican colleagues have had plenty of opportunity to present whatever exculpatory evidence they can provide and have not done so. An impartial observer can only conclude that they have none or that they somehow have concluded that there is no need for it.
The Republicans spent a great deal of time and energy on Dec 12th accusing the Democrats of pre-judging Trump's guilt. They need some civics schooling on this one. All the House is doing is laying the charges. It is up to the Senate to decide if Trump is guilty or not, hopefully based on the evidence provided by the impeachment process and whatever other evidence may be revealed during the trial in the Senate. No sooner had the echoes of the indignant GOP members of the House faded into the ether when the chelonian Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced to the press that there was no chance Trump would be removed from office, thus pronouncing judgement before even considering the evidence that has been collected. Over the weekend of Dec 14-15 McConnell appeared on Fox News to announce that he was coordinating with the White House to work out the details of the trial. Republican Senator Lindsay Graham appeared on CNN where he declared himself already decided and having no need for the trial. Meanwhile Trump's personal attorney is said to have returned from Ukraine after conducting an investigation into the Biden's and Burisma. No legal authority, no due process, and no sworn testimony. Through his personal attorney Trump is continuing to do what the first article of impeachment accuses him of doing. It is right and proper to presume innocence until proven guilty, it is quite another thing to declare innocence no matter how much evidence needs to be ignored or suppressed.
Trump's assertion that "Abuse of Power" is not impeachable rests on an overly broad definition of "abuse". Under this broad definition, any President could be accused of abusing his power simply because political opponents don't like what he is legitimately doing. What Trump did when he asked Ukraine to announce an investigation into an American citizen and political rival was not legitimate in any sense of the word. Use of Presidential power for illegitimate purposes - such as inviting foreign interference in a US election - is abuse of that power. Accepting foreign aid to an election is illegal in the US, asking for it is also illegal. Withholding properly authorized and desperately needed military aid from a US ally in order to secure foreign interference in a US election is an abuse of power. Obstructing congress' investigation into that act is a further abuse and constitutes obstruction of congress. That Republicans in Congress simply refuse to acknowledge those facts is deeply disturbing. They have put themselves and their own party ahead of the good of the nation.
In a bizarre interview with CNN, Carla Fiorina, whose own bid for the 2016 Republican Presidential primary prompted a viciously sexist attack from Trump, said she believes Trump should be impeached but not removed from office due to the proximity of the next election. Asked if she would vote for him after being impeached as she believes he should be her reply was it depends on who opposes him. I have no way of knowing how she thinks a credible Democratic opponent will be worse than a Republican candidate whom she believes has committed high crimes and misdemeanors and would support removing from office but for the upcoming opportunity for the people to remove him themselves.
Trump has demonstrated throughout his life and most spectacularly while in the White House that the only lesson he learns from his many narrow escapes from accountability is that he can get away with it. Those who would dismiss the articles and shirk their responsibility to the constitution and people of the US must consider what an acquitted Trump will do next. His distant relationship with reality, narcissism and lack of understanding of the responsibilities of his office will lead to some very scary places.
There is no question that impeachment is a serious process that causes deep divides and much concern within the soul of the United States of America. But recoiling from that bitter medicine will allow a deeper and more malevolent disease to fester and rot until the Untied States is no longer anything close to the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence and embodied in the Constitution. The GOP must now explore their souls. We hope they will see the light. For if the Republican Party wants an American Monarch, what they are doing at the moment will get them just that. The Madness of George III will seem like a walk in the park.