Colorado’s Republican Senator Cory Gardner voted this afternoon to acquit President Trump of the high crimes of obstructing Congress and abusing the power of his office, even though House Representatives presented overwhelming evidence during the impeachment trial that the President was guilty on both charges. A vote of two thirds of the Senate was required to convict the President. With the exception of a single Republican vote by Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, who voted to remove the President, the vote was divided along party lines.
The House accused the President of withholding taxpayer funds destined for Ukraine in an attempt to force Ukraine to announce fake investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden — a move that Trump envisioned would advantage him in the 2020 elections — and of blocking Congress from accessing witnesses and documents pertinent to the President’s actions.
GAO concluded Trump broke the law
The non-partisan Government Accountability Office on January 16 concluded that the President violated U.S. law (pdf) by withholding the funds from Ukraine and that in so doing he had illegally substituted his own judgment for that of Congress.
The President’s own lawyers did not dispute that the President had violated U.S. laws, his oath of office and the Constitution, or that he had put the national security at risk and invited multiple foreign countries to interfere in U.S. elections.
Despite all evidence to the contrary and even though some Republicans admitted the President’s actions were illegal “inappropriate,” and “improper,” Colorado’s Republican Senator Cory Gardner voted to acquit Trump of all charges and retain him in office. Democratic Senator Michael Bennet voted to convict and remove the president.
The Senate vote means Trump and future presidents can violate laws with impunity and be immune to any consequences. The vote prevents Congress from being able to hold a president accountable for virtually any wrongdoing.
The question is what laws Trump will violate next with cover from Republicans, and whether the new era of lawlessness Republicans have ushered in pertains to all of us, or just the powerful, white men currently at the top of government.