President Donald Trump was acquitted by the U.S. Senate Wednesday afternoon on the two articles of impeachment – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives had cooked up in their purely partisan charade. After a Senate trial presided over by Chief Justice John Roberts, during which the House managers and the president’s defense team presented their cases and responded to the senators’ numerous questions, the final votes taken on the two articles were as follows: The president was acquitted on the first article of impeachment (abuse of power) by a vote of 52 to acquit and 48 to convict. The president was acquitted on the second article of impeachment (obstruction of Congress) by a vote of 53 to acquit and 47 to convict. The guilty votes fell far short of the 67 votes needed to convict President Trump on either impeachment article.
“The Senate, having tried Donald John Trump, president of the United States, upon two articles of impeachment exhibited against him by the House of Representatives, and two-thirds of the senators present not having found him guilty of the charges contained therein, it is therefore ordered and adjudged that the said Donald John Trump be, and he is hereby, acquitted of the charges in said articles,” Chief Justice John Roberts declared after the conclusion of the votes.
Utah Senator Mitt Romney was the only senator of either party to break ranks, proving once again that he is a Republican-in-name-only. He voted to convict the president on the first article and voted to acquit him on the second article.
Romney tried to rationalize his outrageous vote to convict President Trump for abuse of power during an interview with The Atlantic, quoting hymns and scripture and repeating the House Democrats’ talking points. The president’s description of the failed 2102 Republican presidential candidate as a “pompous ass” is apt.
“The president did in fact pressure a foreign government to corrupt our election process,” Romney said. “And really, corrupting an election process in a democratic republic is about as abusive and egregious an act against the Constitution—and one’s oath—that I can imagine. It’s what autocrats do.”
Romney could not be more wrong on both factual and constitutional grounds. There can be no “pressure” when the target of such supposed pressure did not know it was being pressured and its president declared he felt no pressure. Like the president’s Democrat accusers, Romney claimed to know what was in President Trump’s mind, dismissing as implausible that the president could have been genuinely concerned about Ukraine’s corruption. Romney pooh-poohed the significance of the actions of former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, who improperly leveraged his father’s position as the Obama administration’s point man in Ukraine to obtain a cushy position with one of the most corrupt companies in Ukraine – Burisma. Despite Joe Biden’s demand that the Ukrainian prosecutor investigating Burisma be fired as a condition for Ukraine to receive a billion-dollar U.S. loan guarantee, Romney claimed that the Bidens’ alleged conflicts of interest did not warrant a criminal investigation.
Romney claimed that he had read Alexander Hamilton’s writings on impeachment in Federalist No. 65 “multiple, multiple times.” Evidently, he did not read carefully enough the part in which Hamilton warned against factional zeal overtaking a House majority out to take down a president of the opposite party. Hamilton warned that in such cases “there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.” That is exactly what happened as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released her hounds, led by Reps. Schiff and Nadler, and brought disrepute to her chamber. The House Democrats’ articles of impeachment alleged no crimes, let alone anything even remotely resembling the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors” the Constitution requires for impeachment and removal from office.
As Alexander Hamilton envisioned, the Senate served as the firewall against the winds of madness let loose in the House. “Where else than in the Senate could have been found a tribunal sufficiently dignified, or sufficiently independent?” Hamilton asked. “What other body would be likely to feel CONFIDENCE ENOUGH IN ITS OWN SITUATION, to preserve, unawed and uninfluenced, the necessary impartiality between an INDIVIDUAL accused, and the REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE, HIS ACCUSERS?”
In his Senate floor speech explaining his vote, Mitt Romney declared, “Were I to ignore the evidence that has been presented, and disregard what I believe my oath and the Constitution demands of me for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history’s rebuke and the censure of my own conscience.” But Mitt Romney deserves “history’s rebuke” precisely because he chose to align himself with what Hamilton described as the “animosities, partialities, influence, and interest” of partisans obsessed with taking down President Trump. Their obsession began long before the July 25, 2019 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky that triggered the House’s reckless impeachment proceeding in the first place. Romney’s action will only serve to encourage more investigations and possibly another impeachment proceeding by allowing the Democrats to boast that the vote to convict President Trump on the abuse of power charge was “bipartisan.”
Sure enough, Pelosi condemned what she called “the Republican Senate’s betrayal of the Constitution.” She was upset that the Senate majority rejected the House’s impeachment articles, which were recklessly conceived in a process that defied fundamental constitutional norms of due process. Pelosi displayed her frustration with a temper tantrum the night before the Senate votes when she childishly tore up the text of President Trump’s State of the Union speech on national TV. But instead of learning from their mistakes, the Democrats seem intent on compounding them with more partisan conspiracy theory investigations. A dejected Nadler is already saying that the House would most likely subpoena former national security adviser John Bolton soon. The only winner will be Bolton himself as he sees his book sales continue to soar.