Aristotle said, “For though we love both the truth and our friends, piety requires us to honor the truth first.”
The final vote was 57 “guilty” to 43 “not guilty,” 10 votes short of the 67 “guilty” votes needed to convict. For 43 of 50 Republican senators who convened at the scene of the crime in the US Senate chamber where they, their 50 Democratic colleagues, America, and the world witnessed the January 6, 2021 assault on the US Capitol, the truth was secondary.
The House impeachment managers’ release of never-before-seen videos and audio provided greater clarity regarding the ex-president’s role in inciting the insurrection. The decision not to interview witnesses, however, denied the prosecution the opportunity to effectively reveal the exact details of the ex-president’s actions leading up to and during the assault on the US Capitol.
Imagine if former vice president Mike Pence was subpoenaed to appear before the Senate. The Trump defense team’s focus on exaggerated technicalities and the legal dodge of claiming the Senate had no grounds to put an ex-president on trial provided an easy out for Republican senators who either lacked moral courage or feared Trump’s wrath. Despite the overwhelming evidence, it appears a concerning number of Republican senators misinterpreted their oath to “support and defend the Constitution,” as an oath to support and defend the ex-president. A dereliction of duty.
Although Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell voted to acquit, his post-acquittal vote remarks reaffirmed, for the record, the ex-president’s role and responsibility in inciting the insurrection.
“January 6 was a disgrace.”
“American citizens attacked their own government. They used terrorism to try to stop a specific piece of democratic business they did not like.”
“Fellow Americans beat and bloodied our own police. They stormed the Senate floor. They tried to hunt down the speaker of the House. They built a gallows and chanted about murdering the vice president.”
“They did this because they had been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on Earth – because he was angry he’d lost an election.”
“Former president Trump’s actions preceding the riot were a disgraceful dereliction of duty.”
“The House accused the former president of, quote, ‘incitement.’ That is a specific term from the criminal law.”
“Let me put that to the side for one moment and reiterate something I said weeks ago: There is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day.”
“The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president.”
McConnell made it a point to add that the ex-president can be subject to criminal and civil litigation, and that Trump “didn’t get away with anything yet – yet.” McConnell added “impeachment was never meant to be the final forum for American justice,” and that “President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office.”
The Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, attorney general in Georgia, and attorney general in Washington, DC are also investigating Trump. Unrelated to the insurrection, the district attorney of New York is looking into dealings of the Trump Organization, the Manhattan district attorney is conducting a criminal investigation into possible financial crimes, including tax fraud, and two more sexual assault accusations in New York are pending. As such, the “reality-show president’s” legal dramas will continue into a new season. Stay tuned, this show is far from over.
Commander Demetries Grimes is a former US naval officer and aviator. He has served as naval attaché to Greece and Israel, and as deputy commander of the US base on Crete, and adviser to NATO’s Maritime Commander in London, UK.