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Guilty…and acquitted

This week, President Donald Trump, an unnamed co-conspirator in federal campaign fraud, willing cooperator with Russian intervention in the 2016 election and seeker of foreign help in his personal re-election campaign, was acquitted by Republicans in the U.S. Senate.

The cowering Republicans, some acknowledging his guilt and complicity in the scheme to blackmail Ukraine into creating a false investigation into his political rival, Joe Biden, know that Trump abused his power withholding military aid to Ukraine in their war with Trump’s Russian friends.

They also know that Trump, once again, as in the Mueller investigation, obstructed justice by lying, hiding the crime in secret computers and refusing to allow testimony by anyone involved in the scheme.

It cannot, with a straight face, be argued that the House investigators did not do their job; their evidence was compelling — so much so that the Senate did not want to hear more, lest their obsequious deference to a White House and president known for their collective reverence of dishonesty over truth be strained by additional fact.

For the first-ever trial in American jurisprudence without the presentation of witnesses (think Bolton, Mulvaney, Pence here) and without a request for any relevant documents to the crimes committed, the Republican Senate determined to conduct a trial comprised solely of the charges and the closing arguments.

In short, it was what was expected of a Republican Party that has abandoned all its values to become the waiting and willing supplicants of the Tweet of the Day by a president now fully aware that laws are made for others. This is now a presidency with no agenda, but to have a quivering Senate waiting upon a brutish, unconstrained president to order it to its next task.

It is an administration comprised now of nothing but sycophants, praising the naked emperor for the elegance and beauty of his garb. It is the worship of the upside-down vision of the tale of folly over the more dull but meaningful search for truth.

And yet, one republican senator, ex-presidential candidate Mitt Romney stood before America and condemned Trump for his abuse of power and voted for conviction of the president on that count. Romney’s reason would stun his fellow Republican senators…he believed his oath to judge the facts without bias really was an oath reflective of conscience and character. Believing that, Romney had no choice but to convict.

Clearly, his fellow Republican senators found this conviction, that an oath of objectivity was a promise of character in the deliberations was an absolute, was outrageous.

For at least two of his fellow senators (and all the others who sat in silence), McConnell and Graham, promised before swearing that they would, under no circumstances, offer any such character or integrity in their considerations.

Somehow, these who would look away from truth still placed their hands upon a Bible and swore an oath in front of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, an oath they promised to violate.

It matters very little about Donald Trump, for we know who he is, just as the Republican senators know. Trump is the president who called this investigation a “hoax,” knowing all the time his words were yet another lie. He is the president who lied to the American people repeatedly about his effort to blackmail Ukraine to help him cheat on his re-election. From Trump, we can never again expect anything otherwise.

But the Senate is diminished forever by this shameful excuse of a “rigged” examination of abuse by a president.

History will have the final vote.

Jim Crawford is a retired educator, political enthusiast and award-winning columnist living here in the Tri-State.