On Monday, writing for The Washington Post, conservative columnist Max Boot argued that the upcoming impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump for inciting insurrection at the Capitol will also put his entire party on trial.
"Trump's guilt is clear — and getting clearer all the time," wrote Boot, noting that evidence shows Trump's campaign funded the groups involved in the protest that coincided with the invasion of the Capitol. "For one fleeting moment, it appeared that the shock of these events was sufficient to scare at least some Republicans straight ... And yet the momentum to impeach Trump among Republicans is waning as rapidly as the evidence of his guilt is accumulating."
"To avoid having to defend Trump's indefensible conduct, many Republicans are taking refuge in the argument that it's unconstitutional to impeach a president who has already left office," wrote Boot. "This is simply untrue, as more than 150 legal scholars — including a co-founder of the Federalist Society! — point out. 'In 1876,' they note, 'Secretary of War William Belknap tried to avoid impeachment and its consequences by resigning minutes before the House voted on his impeachment. The House impeached him anyway, and the Senate concluded that it had the power to try, convict, and disqualify former officers.'"
Indeed, noted Boot, the GOP appears to have far more urgency to punish, censure, and demote the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach the president, than to take any evidence at the trial seriously.
"Alexander Hamilton wrote: 'The hope of impunity, is a strong incitement to sedition: the dread of punishment, a proportionably strong discouragement to it,'" concluded Boot. "Republicans who want to offer Trump immunity are making themselves complicit in future sedition."
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