From the outside, Donald Trump’s first impeachment looked like a smoothly running machine within the GOP, barring some dissenting opinions from Romney, who eventually voted guilty, and Collins, who voted to hear evidence. Aside from the “meaningless” two, Republicans agreed perfectly with Trump, and we heard not a word of disagreement. Now, however, a reputable book from reputable reporters is exposing the serious anger and struggles within the GOP Senate, even among stalwarts like Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz, to defend a man they all knew was guilty.
In Unchecked: The Untold Story Behind Congress’s Botched Impeachments of Donald Trump, due out October 18, Politico’s Rachael Bade and The Washington Post’s Karoun Demirjian reveal a behind-the-scenes look at both impeachments, but the focus of this post lies the shocking level of anger (at Trump) and infighting that took place during the first impeachment. It’s safe to say that every single Republican senator knew that the Ukraine call was an impeachment trial, and the goal was to come out the other side with Trump in power and—more importantly, without the Senate majority in 2020 to lose.
From Huffpo’s review:
“There is not one senator in a hundred who will believe you that there was nothing in return. none. There isn’t a single one,” Cruz reportedly once said, contradicting what Republicans said publicly about the indictments at the time.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) was also furious with Trump’s legal team after they fumbled when answering a senator’s question about calling new witnesses. Trump’s attorneys said it was simply too late a line Graham feared would lose Republican votes.
“We are FCKED. We’re naturist!” Graham, a top Trump ally, reportedly said afterwards as he entered the GOP dressing room, a private chamber next to the Senate.
Regarding the limits of fair use, Trump’s defense attorney Allan Dershowitz argued that if Trump believes his re-election is in the public interest, it’s perfectly fine to offer the consideration. Sen. Roy Blunt and Sen. Ted Cruz were so offended by the defense that they demanded Trump fire his defense team on the spot.
McConnell stood above all by saying it’s not about Trump. It was about keeping the majority in 2020. Ironically, it’s partly because Republicans banded together so strongly in such a ridiculous position that Trump lost and McConnell lost his leadership post.
Sen. Murkowski of Alaska was so upset with McConnell when McConnell publicly said that the Republican Senate’s position is exactly in line with Trump’s defense that there is no “space” between the two that Murkowski told reporters she was “worried” about McConnell’s Commentary (As it should be, the allegation went entirely against the impeachment jury trial). McConnell fired off an angry email at Murkowski.
The book itself states of Murkowski:
For Murkowski, the party had morphed into a mindless herd of Arctic musk oxen: 800-pound beasts that form a protective circle around their young, horns out and butts tucked in. Republican leaders, much to their frustration, kept telling their base, “You guys have to circle. You guys have to circle here together to protect each other” — which of course meant circling to protect Trump. Just like musk oxen, thought Murkowski.
Everything “looked perfect” from the outside, even when Romney told the caucus that trying to convince him not to hear evidence would only push him further away. It looked “uniform” except for the ultra-moderate former GOP presidential nominee. But it just goes to show that Republicans are really good at putting on a show for the outside world while gritting their teeth at the difficulty of fully submitting to Trump and even McConnell.
Ted Cruz, “Not a Single Senator Believes This Wasn’t a Reward,” and Trump, “Impeachment Hoax One.” This is the modern MAGA party in a nutshell.
@JasonMiciak believes a day without learning is a day not lived. He is a political writer, columnist, author and lawyer. He is a Canadian-born dual citizen who spent his teens and college days in the Pacific Northwest and has since lived in seven states. Today he enjoys life as a single father to a young girl and writes on the beaches of the Gulf Coast. He loves making his flower pots, cooking and is currently studying philosophy of science, religion and non-mathematical principles behind quantum mechanics and cosmology. Please do not hesitate to contact us for lectures or other concerns.