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Yesterday, the House of Representatives formally delivered an article of impeachment against Donald Trump to the Senate. The House voted to impeach one week after Trump incited the January 6th insurrection, and that was the sole charge the House voted on: incitement of an insurrection. After the House vote, Speaker Pelosi slow-walked sending the article to the Senate until the new Democratic senators were sworn in and Chuck Schumer became the Majority Leader. Schumer and Mitch McConnell consulted about the Senate trial and now it’s set for February 8th.

For the second time in just over a year, the House on Monday sent an article of impeachment against Donald J. Trump to the Senate for trial, thrusting his political fate into the hands of 50 Republican senators who for now appear reluctant to convict him.

On a day marked more by ceremony than substance, nine House managers walked across the Capitol to inform the Senate that they were ready to prosecute Mr. Trump for “incitement of insurrection,” a charge approved on a bipartisan basis after the former president stirred up a violent mob that stormed the Capitol earlier this month. But senators planned to quickly hit pause, putting off the heart of the trial until Feb. 9 and buying Republicans time to prepare for a proceeding that will be as much a referendum over the future of their party as it will be on Mr. Trump himself.

Unlike Mr. Trump’s last impeachment, when Republicans quickly and enthusiastically rallied behind him, several Republicans, including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, have signaled they are open to convicting the former president after a mendacious campaign to overturn his election loss that turned deadly. That would allow the Senate to bar him from ever holding office again. But at least at the trial’s outset, their numbers fell well short of the 17 Republicans that would be needed to join Democrats in securing a conviction.

Instead, with the trial on hold, Republicans’ initial fury about the Jan. 6 attack appeared to be giving way to cold political calculations about the price they might pay for abandoning Mr. Trump, given his continued hold on the voters who comprise the party’s base.

President Biden, in an interview with CNN on Monday, said that while he thought the trial was necessary, he did not believe 17 Republican senators would vote to convict Mr. Trump. “The Senate has changed since I was there, but it hasn’t changed that much,” Mr. Biden said.

[From The NY Times]

Because Trump is no longer the sitting president, Chief Justice John Roberts was able to make his own choice about whether or not to preside over the impeachment trial in the Senate. Roberts was tasked with the job last year, for Trump’s first impeachment trial, but for the second trial, Senator Patrick Leahy will preside over the trial. Which should be good – Leahy will keep things moving and he’s not beholden to MAGA politics in any way. Still, I think President Biden is right – the Senate trial is important because we need to show that there are consequences for inciting an insurrection, and we need to get these f–king Republicans on the record about it. But Trump probably won’t be “convicted.”

Interestingly enough, something else happened yesterday which might provide more accountability and repercussions for the Republicans who incited the terrorists and tried to overturn the election. The Justice Department’s inspector general has launched an investigation “to examine whether any former or current department officials ‘engaged in an improper attempt’ to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Inspector General Michael Horowitz said Monday that the investigation will investigate allegations concerning the conduct of former and current Justice Department officials but will not extend to other government officials.” I don’t see how it could NOT extend to elected officials since it’s all connected.

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