Republican lawmakers have not done much to defend President Donald Trump on the charges leveled against him during House impeachment hearings, and have instead resorted to promoting conspiracy theories about Ukraine being responsible for interfering in the 2016 presidential election.
Legal scholars Benjamin Wittes and Quinta Jurecic, both editors at Lawfare, have written an essay for The Atlantic in which they outline how Senate Republicans' decision to acquit Trump of impeachment charges will be one based on raw political power instead of on the legal merits of the case against the president.
In fact, even though they believe Trump will certainly be acquitted in the Senate, they argue that Republicans will hand Democrats a significant political weapon if they vote in lockstep to exonerate the president despite the piles of evidence against him.
"Done properly, the House’s amassing of a record and the Senate’s trial of the president will create a vivid account of Trump’s abuses of power and criminality on the national stage," they write. "It will force Republicans to shackle themselves to those abuses in support of the president."
From there, they believe it will be up to voters to decide if they can support a party that acts as a rubber stamp to corruption in the highest office in the country.
"A Senate trial of the president will pose the matter to the electorate with the starkness it deserves," they write. "It will make Senate Republicans cast a vote for the proposition: "LOL Nothing Matters" -- thereby enabling the 2020 electorate to evaluate nihilism as the governing philosophy of a political movement."