So, it is just possible… work with me here… that Never Trumpers were not quite so irrelevant after all?
Welcome to the Countdown Journal. Today, the House of Representatives will vote to impeach Donald Trump for the second time, seven days before the Inauguration of Joe Biden.
Maybe Trump’s presidency was always destined to end in fire and fury, but this is still remarkable. Actually, it’s amazing.
In a few hours, Trump will be the first president ever to be impeached twice.
As many as a dozen House Republicans (we don’t know how many) will vote for the single article. And, when it gets to the Senate this time around, Mitt Romney won’t be standing alone.
This is remarkable: Liz Cheney did not merely announce that she would support impeachment, she issued this blistering statement.
On January 6, 2021 a violent mob attacked the United States Capitol to obstruct the process of our democracy and stop the counting of presidential electoral votes. This insurrection caused injury, death and destruction in the most sacred space in our Republic.
“Much more will become clear in coming days and weeks, but what we know now is enough. The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.
“I will vote to impeach the President.”
This is remarkable: After years of subservience, Senator GOP Leader Mitch McConnell has had more than enough.
WASHINGTON — Senator Mitch McConnell has concluded that President Trump committed impeachable offenses and believes that Democrats’ move to impeach him will make it easier to purge Mr. Trump from the party, according to people familiar with Mr. McConnell’s thinking.
Basically, McConnell just hates the guy, and “is furious at Trump for his total lack of remorse for the Capitol siege, and believes that Trump could only be an impediment to Republicans regaining the Senate majority that they lost on the president's watch. “
Axios is reporting that "There's a better than 50-50 chance that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would vote to convict President Trump in an impeachment trial….” If he did, it’s highly likely there would be the 67 votes to convict Trump.
At a minimum, McConnell and Cheney have given other Republicans a hall pass to break with Trump.
That doesn’t mean that Trumpism will be routed from the GOP (it will remain a potent force in the party), but it does mean that the Republican’s cold civil war has just become a hot one. I had some thoughts last night:
This is remarkable: Even a reliable toady like House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy has gone wobbly. Report’s Mike Allen:
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy would love a Trumpless world, but doesn't want to knife him with fingerprints. This school of thought wants to let Trump do himself in, without a big party fight over his sins and sentence.
This is remarkable: The NYT is reporting how VP Mike Pence, the loyalest of the loyal satraps of TrumpWorld, finally “reached his limit with Trump.” As Trump pushed Pence to violate his oath to uphold the constitution, he gave us a quote for the Ages:
“You can either go down in history as a patriot,” Mr. Trump told him, according to two people briefed on the conversation, “or you can go down in history as a pussy.”
This is remarkable: (MUST WATCH)
This is remarkable: Corporate America is bailing on the GOP Sedition Caucus… and Trump’s poll numbers (which have been remarkably stable) are cratering. “A new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll pegs Trump’s approval at just 34 percent, the lowest in four years of tracking opinions of the president’s job performance. More than six in 10 voters — 63 percent — disapprove.”
This is remarkable: The Trump White House appears to be offering no concerted defense against impeachment.
Jake Sherman @JakeShermanof note — the White House isnt even working this impeachment vote. they seem to be pretending its not happening
This is remarkable: As tensions rise, the Joint Chiefs of Staff felt it necessary to issue this letter:
“As Service Members, we must embody the values and ideals of the Nation. We support and defend the Constitution. Any act to disrupt the Constitutional process is not only against our traditions, values, and oath; it is against the law."
This is remarkable: The Department of Justice has assembled a task force to investigate “sedition and conspiracy charges” related to last week’s Trump-inspired attack on the Capitol. Acting U.S. attorney Michael Sherwin “also said some of the conduct that has received widespread public attention — like the man who sat in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s chair and stole a piece of mail — only scratched the surface of the criminality that took place.
“Additional, nonpublic information will be ‘shocking’ when it comes out, he said.”
This is a scene at the nation’s capitol today:
This is remarkable: A week after the violent attack, some Republican House members are complaining about the presence of metal detectors, and refusing to comply with security measures. This also comes just a week after some GOP members defied both the rules and personal pleas to wear masks while they were confined in a secure room. Three members of Congress have since tested positive, including a 75-year-old cancer survivor.
This is remarkable (and tragic):
I could go on, so I will.
This is a remarkable letter of resignation:
Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) said Tuesday that she witnessed colleagues escorting people through the Capitol on Jan. 5 for what she described as "reconnaissance" ahead of the next day's violent insurrection that left five dead.
In a 13-minute Facebook video billed as an address to her constituents about the House's efforts to hold President Donald Trump accountable for inciting the riot, Sherrill included the allegation as part of a call to hold Trump's allies in Congress accountable as well.
Even now, the crazy remains strong.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene @RepMTGI proudly defended President Trump on the House floor against yet another attempt to remove him from office. Extreme rhetoric from Democrats created an entire year of BLM/Antifa terrorism. Tonight, I exposed their hypocrisy. https://t.co/So8wJqgUgi
The death-bed conversions are amazing:
Apologies are accepted.
Along those lines, I owe the Never Trumpers an apology. They were right all along. ..
The president was frequently embarrassing and foolish, but I figured that if the only choices were Trump, the old-line GOP, or the increasingly extreme Democratic Party, then we could tolerate his boobery. The system was strong enough to contain him, I figured. Besides, he was far too indisciplined and narcissistic to become the dictator that the Left feared. ..
I did not appreciate how much pro-Trump radicalism corrupted people’s minds. I thought it was just a fringe. I was wrong
Please consider joining us. If you do, you’ll have access to tonight’s livestream, where we’ll try to sort out the fallout from this last extraordinary week.
There may be some Schadenfreude.
In Today’s Bulwark
1. Yes, by All Means, Let the Healing Begin
If Republicans want healing, Jeff Greenfield has some suggestions how they could start.
Here’s how I imagine it might go:
At a joint press conference, a dozen or more of the most prominent figures in the “Stop the Steal” movement gather. There’s Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Steve Scalise, Newt Gingrich, and a claque of Fox News primetime anchors. (Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley are at a separate table, because no one will agree to sit with them.)
“We are here to ‘revise and extend our remarks,’” McCarthy begins in an attempt at congressional wit.
“Joe Biden is president-elect. He won. Donald Trump lost. This has been the case since a few days after election night. There was no fraud worth speaking of; the courts from one end of the country to the other have thrown out every claim of irregularity. To our eternal regret, many in my party, out of ignorance, delusion, mendacity, or fear of our own constituents, endlessly repeated outright lies emanating from the fevered mind of our delusional president, whom we never should have nominated in the first place. This helped create the climate for the most violent assault on the Capitol in 200 years. I am ashamed personally, and for my party.”
2. Liz Cheney’s Finest Hour
Shay Khatiri writes that her support for impeachment is a late but welcome act of leadership.
Her announcement is a testament to the idea that party allegiance, winning re-election, climbing to the top of the greasy pole, and even fulfilling a family dream all come second to doing the right thing for the country.
3. They Laughed It Off
Make sure you read Amanda Carpenter’s magnificent piece on the GOP’s deadly denialism.
It was like a dark and twisted vignette from Mean Girls. (Wear a mask? “You can’t do that. That’s social suicide. Damn, you are so lucky you have us to guide you!”) Only this time, these arrogant juveniles weren’t refusing someone a seat at their table. They were potentially putting their colleagues—including, for all they cared to know, some with special health concerns, or with vulnerable family members—at risk of serious illness.
If the rioters egged on by the president they so proudly supported weren’t going to kill them all, these Republicans don’t care if COVID does.
4. Why I’m Leaving the GOP
A police officer was killed by the mob; another took his life after the fact. Staffers and members feared for their lives. Journalists were assaulted. And after all that, nearly 150 Republican members of Congress still fed the falsehood that the validity of the election was in question.
These were not citizens with no access to truth; they are not ignorant of the facts. They knew everything I’ve spelled out about the validity of Donald Trump’s electoral loss.
They knew—but they fed the falsehood; they provided the fuel for an attack on the heart of American government, an attack that killed an officer trying to protect them. An attack by Americans against America. Supported and cheered on by Republicans. My Republicans.
There were Republicans who refused to play along with the charade—men like Governor Ducey in Arizona, Governor Kemp and election officials in Georgia—but for the most part even those Republican members of Congress who didn’t join the attempt to overthrow the election remained unforgivably silent out of party loyalty and fear, making them complicit nonetheless in this bloody attack on their own country.
I’ve left the Republican party. I will not be going back.