So it's done. Or at least half done. President Donald John Trump has been impeached. It will be the first line of his obituary. But it likely won't be the last shame he brings on this great country, his party and himself.
House Republicans, as sadly expected, circled the wagons, repeated Trump's lies and gave this poor excuse for a president — the most corrupt and "useful idiot" America has ever seen in high office — a bunch of attaboys as they voted against impeachment.
But it didn't matter: The sycophants were outnumbered. Impeachment was and is absolutely the right thing to do. The man who more than once has covertly and overtly sought to use foreign governments to help him cheat to be elected must be held accountable. Now we await the next cliffhanger.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been right all along. Our democracy is at stake. And this president leaves America no choice but to applaud Congress for invoking impeachment for only the third time in 231 years.
In trying to get free — or at least taxpayer funded — opposition research, he withheld nearly $400 million in Congress-approved aid from Ukraine while pressing its new and desperate president to announce an investigation of his strongest Democratic 2020 opponent, as well as to cast doubt on the fact that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee server to help him in the run-up to the 2016 election.
In doing so, Trump undermined our national security and jeopardized the integrity of our upcoming election.
Then Trump and his administration added insult to injury. The administration tried to hide the evidence, and Trump blocked Congress from performing its constitutionally mandated role of checking the executive branch by calling witnesses that Trump then ordered not to testify. If there was no wrongdoing, why not let Congress and the public hear them? Why not participate himself — as he was invited — in the proceedings?
Pelosi said rightly that Trump's actions "are in defiance of the vision of our founders." Trump's moves are also counter to the oath of office he took to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Trump had to be impeached. If not, what would be his next move? Would he declare himself our king? Our supreme ruler? Would he issue an executive order making himself our forever president?
So now it falls to the Senate — the majority Republican Senate.
Like the Republicans in the House, the senators took an oath to protect our democracy, our Constitution — each one saying, "So help me God."
But Pelosi — wise again — has said she will wait to see what the trial in the Senate will look like before sending the two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction — to that body.
This wait puts the timing for the trial up in the air. It puts Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who already had asserted that he has no intention of acting as an impartial juror in the Senate trial of Trump, cleanly caught between Trump, the Democrats and the Constitution.
Make no mistake: McConnell has been here before, and — Constitution and fairness be damned — President Barack Obama's Supreme Court Justice nominee Merrick Garland did not get a vote because McConnell sat on it for a year to let voters have a say in 2016. It was McConnell's proudest moment. He likes nothing better than to see himself as the conservative packer of the Supreme Court.
Now if Pelosi garlandizes Trump's impeachment, the president will not get his prized — and McConnell-promised — Senate "exoneration."
Some pundits already are suggesting that Democrats should withhold the articles permanently, or at least until after the election.
It would be the McConnell ploy, squared.
Let the people cast their 2020 votes regarding Trump. If he is booted out — the ideal option — then a trial in the Senate becomes moot. If Trump sneaks and cheats his way into a second term and the people have a chance to reshape the makeup of the Senate (perhaps without McConnell), then a fair trial is more likely.
Yes, politics (especially impeachment politics) is an ugly process. But that's what an ugly president — one perfectly willing to lie and cheat serially — should expect.
Impeachment was and is the right thing to do. Let's hope it saves our democracy.