Another person with direct knowledge told CNN there’s a reason McConnell has been silent on impeachment as other Republicans have pushed back: he’s furious about last week’s attack on the US Capitol by the President’s supporters, even more so that Trump has shown no contrition. His silence has been deliberate as he leaves open the option of supporting impeachment.
Caveat. Let’s see if McConnell votes to punish Trump in a trial. That’s the real test.
The House timeline then:
86 days separated Trump’s phone call to Ukraine’s President and his impeachment by Democrats in December of 2019. There was a closed-door investigation, a public inquiry and a written report.
The House timeline now:
7 days separate Trump’s incitement of the mob that stormed the Capitol and his likely impeachment Wednesday. There’s no need for a drawn-out investigation. Trump did what he did live on TV. And then the riot happened.
The House votes then:
Back then the party circled around its President, who was up for reelection and had a year left in office.
The House votes now:
What will happen after Wednesday?
After he’s impeached, Trump will face a Senate trial, though it’s not clear how quickly that will move along. But while the Ukraine trial was an all-consuming affair, now Democrats want to split the days, hoping to conduct a trial part of the day and work on business — confirming Biden Cabinet members and addressing Covid during the other part.
The consequences now. The biggest difference this time is it will be a trial of a former president and if he’s convicted, additional Senate votes could bar him from office in the future and end his post-presidential perks.
Utah’s Sen. Mitt Romney was pilloried by fellow Republicans for standing up against Trump in his Ukraine impeachment trial. He could have company this year, when the Senate holds its trial.
“The impeachment hoax is a continuation of the greatest and most vicious witch hunt in the history of our country and is causing tremendous anger and division and pain, far greater than most people will ever understand, which is very dangerous for the U.S.A., especially at this tender time.”
So that’s not going to quiet any of the unrest.
What is the GOP penance? Trump bears responsibility for the riot, but it’s clearly evolved beyond him. And GOP leaders like McConnell may be looking to purge the GOP of him. But that effort will have to be followed by action, after the GOP spent more than four years enabling Trump in pursuit of his loyal base.
What might have been: Imagine if McConnell had been crosswise to Trump’s efforts to block Biden before the election rather than waiting for Trump to deny the election. One wonders how things might look now.
Bottom line: We’re still going to be talking about Trump for a while after he leaves office January 20. The result might be some punishment for his lies and actions, but further focus on Trump will come much to the disappointment of Joe Biden, who would very much like to move on.
New warnings and old warnings
The grassroots militia movement beneath Trump, which Republicans often tap into, appears to be entrenched and frighteningly beyond anyone’s control.
New warnings about armed patriots.” Pennsylvania’s Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb told CNN’s “New Day” on Tuesday that lawmakers had been warned about a plan by extremists to encircle the seat of Congress, as well as more threats against legislators. “They were talking about 4,000 armed ‘patriots’ to surround the Capitol and prevent any Democrat from going in,” Lamb said.