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2020-01-24 15:52:401 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
Michael Gerson is a Republican and a former speechwriter and policy adviser for former President George W. Bush, but that doesn't stop him from slamming both Donald Trump and the current Republican senators in an op-ed. He made it clear that he is not on "their side" but is on the side of justice and truth. And he believes that if Trump is acquitted, it will only encourage him to cheat more in the election in November.
Even from his opening line, it's clear where Gerson stands: "It is another of President Trump's dubious achievements to turn the ultimate constitutional check on presidential abuses of power into an utter farce."
It's also clear how this Republican and former Bush administration insider feels about the current crop of GOP senators: "Watching Republican senators complain that there is 'nothing new' in the case made by House impeachment managers, while they are actively opposing the introduction of new evidence and new testimony, is confirmation of barefaced bad faith."
He feels the senators are serving not the republic and not even the president, "but themselves." He believes no amount of evidence would lead them to convict Trump and that if they were presenting with "a full and compelling case," it would show their hand, "So a quick and dirty Senate trial is the best way to limit the exposure of their malpractice."
Gerson points out that this is not the first time Trump has "skated" by. Despite all the "evidence of wrongdoing and obstruction of justice" in former special counsel Robert Mueller's final report, Trump still somehow escaped accountability, while those associated with him did not. He believes the president's feelings of vindication in that case led to his "decision to squeeze an embattled foreign power for his political benefit. Give Trump an inch, and he'll take Ukraine."
It's his belief that Trump took his cues from the attorney he shared with Sen. Joseph McCarthy: attorney Roy Cohn."Admit nothing. Stonewall investigators. Defy subpoenas. Viciously attack opponents. Flood the zone with exculpatory lies. Feel no shame. Show no mercy. Claim anything short of prison to be complete exoneration."
Through all the corruption, Gerson believes that "gradually at first, but now in a sudden rush, the norms of truthfulness, public service, and ethical behavior have given way. And the message has been sent to Trump and future iterations of Trump: corruption has no consequence."
But perhaps the biggest danger in the aftermath of what will likely be the Senate's acquittal of Trump will be that this "near-miss" will not cause him to change and that he will see it as "permission to indulge his every urge. And his most consistent urge has been to seek unfair advantage in the upcoming presidential election. The months between Senate acquittal and the November vote will be fertile ground for further cheating."
The election would be the last source to hold him accountable, after avoiding it through the Mueller investigation and the Ukraine impeachment. "It will be more than a referendum on the president. It will be a referendum on the moral and ethical standards we apply to our political life."
With the belief that the Senate will most likely acquit Trump after the rushed trial, without seeing evidence or hearing from witnesses, Gerson notes that Congress has failed to defend the county's values. "American voters had better do better."
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