Updated: Jan 18
When a president takes the oath of office, they pledge to uphold the Constitution. When a senator takes this oath, it includes the phrase against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Apparently those in the United States Senate saw this important distinction as being a necessary part of their oath, while it is strangely absent in the presidential oath.
It’s entirely possible that the additional phrase was included to remind those in the Senate that they had an obligation to be a check on the executive overreach that they have allowed these past four years. It’s definite that those who included those words foresaw the possibility that there could be a president who was so corrupt that they would abuse their authority to the extent that they are the enemy that senators took an oath to defend against.
Given the events of January 6th, the Trump Insurrection, there is a Constitutional obligation that the members of the Senate hold those who participated accountable. They are domestic terrorists, which is specifically what their oath indicated as their duty to oppose. Indeed, they were the targets of these domestic terrorists who were seeking to prevent members of Congress from carrying out their Constitutional duty of certifying Joe Biden’s victory.
But what about their leader?
Many of those currently under arrest for their roles in the insurrection are seeking pardons. They claim their attack on Congress was done so at the orders of one Donald J. Trump.
This allegation could lead to Trump’s undoing in his upcoming and historic second impeachment trial. Trump’s “Insurrection speech” is surely to be a key piece of evidence.
However, this shouldn’t be the only evidence used. One of the key mistakes Democrats made in Trump’s first impeachment trial was to rely on the transcript of the Ukrainian call as their primary, and pretty much only, piece of evidence. Combined with the refusal of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to allow witnesses in a Republican controlled Senate, this effort was doomed to failure.
Instead, there are countless images as rioters either live fed or posted images to social media leading to multiple arrests. There were also intrepid reporters, namely from the New Yorker, who infiltrated the rioters and took videos of the insurrection from the inside. From these videos, rioters can be heard saying they were doing so because of Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who openly opposed the certification of the election results.
The damning videos also show Capitol police officers stating they support the insurrection, so the case can be made that the relative ease of gaining entry to the Capitol was the result of inside assistance.
If he had proceeded with an impeachment trial once the House passed the articles of impeachment, McConnell could have controlled the process the way he did during the first impeachment trial. Instead, he refused to call the Senate back into session, leaving the decision up to incoming Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
While the prospect of garnering Republican support for impeachment is dim, McConnell offered a glimmer of hope when he hinted that he would allow senators to vote their conscience rather than pressure them to toe the party line.
This move is seen as McConnell taking advantage of an opportunity to remove the stranglehold that Trump currently has on the Republican Party. If Trump is convicted, then a simple majority vote would prevent him from seeking office in the future. McConnell sees this as an opening to allow more traditional Republicans the opportunity to unseat Biden in 2024.
The reason conviction seems unlikely is there are still far too many Republicans in the Senate who continue to support Trump. Thus far, only two senators, Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) have gone on record as saying they will vote to convict. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has stated she supports conviction, but like Susan Collins (R-ME), she said the same thing prior to the first impeachment trial, only to back down when it came time to cast their votes.
Also, despite being under attack a mere few days earlier, there are still Republican senators who continue to push the baseless allegations of voter fraud and a stolen election; the very claims rioters used as justification to storm the Capitol. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MO) and John Kennedy (R-LA) are among about a dozen senators who are still standing firm on backing these lies to delegitimize Biden’s victory.
Enemies, foreign and domestic has a nice ring to it.
Republicans certainly have no issue with condemning a foreign enemy, even if the proof is scant. They are also happy to demonize a member of the Democratic Party if it is to their political advantage.
Yet, they are defiantly refusing to follow their oath when it comes to one of their own, even with overwhelming evidence. Instead, they will attempt to use legal chicanery to derail the process. They will use the arguments that, since the impeachment process is about removing Trump from office, it cannot be applied since Trump will no longer be president when the trial is eventually held. They also will argue that Trump’s comments prior to the insurrection amounted to “protected speech”.
Perhaps it’s time to declare those who oppose justice and democracy to be the true enemies?