This editorial was updated at 5:09 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021.
Donald Trump makes history again.
Sure, you've heard the news: On Wednesday, he became the only president in history to be impeached twice, but the larger takeway is much more historic. And much more stark:
He became the first president in history to be impeached for "incitement of insurrection" against the United States. In other words, he became the first president in history to be impeached for betraying his own country.
As one of the 10 Republicans to vote for his impeachment, Liz Cheney called what Trump did the "greatest betrayal" of a U.S. president ever. And Cheney is not just any Republican. She's the third-ranking leader in the House of Representatives and the daughter of two-term vice president Dick Cheney who served from 2001 to 2009 under George W. Bush.
Once again Trump — the guy who must have all the superlatives like "greatest" and "most" in history, "huuge", "beautiful" — just got another "biggly" added to his long, long disdainful list of adjectives.
What's more, he may very well become the only president in history to be convicted. Time will tell, though the signs are beginning to hint that way.
Soon-to-be former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said Trump's Senate trial won't happen until after Joe Biden is inaugurated. (The better to line up needed GOP votes?) McConnell also reportedly has told associates he believes President Trump committed impeachable offenses and was pleased Democrats were moving to impeach him. McConnell is said to believe that will make it easier to purge Trump from the party.
Purge is exactly what it sounds like. A conviction in this second impeachment would render Trump unable to hold office ever again.
Unless, of course, he continues to foment revolution and succeeds. He won't succeed, though we have no doubt he will try.
Before Wednesday, impeachment was a term applied broadly to only four other presidents and actually voted in only three cases.
* Richard Nixon resigned before he was expected to be impeached over his involvement in break-in at the Democratic Headquarters in the Watergate building in Washington, D.C.
* Andrew Johnson was impeached but not convicted over trying to fire the secretary of war after Abraham Lincoln's assassination.
* Bill Clinton was impeached but not convicted for lying under oath about a sexual encounter and obstruction of justice.
* Donald Trump (the first time) was impeached but not convicted for abuse of power and obstruction of justice for his effort during a phone call to pressure the new president of Ukraine to announce an investigation into Trump's then-presidential opponent Joe Biden in exchange for that country's desperately needed U.S. military aid.
But back to Trump's drive to foment revolution — real revolution, not the word former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont used to talk about needed social and policy changes in our country.
We've all seen the pictures now of Washington National Guard members camped on the floors of the U.S. Capitol and standing along its now reinforced perimeter fence. And we're seeing more and more photographs of National Guard members around various state capitols. That's happening because the FBI continues to warn that the same groups incited last week by the president plan again to try swarming state centers of government and the nation's Capitol beginning this weekend and continuing through President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.
Trump, wise now perhaps to his own legal danger after seeing 10 Republicans vote for impeachment, late Wednesday issued a video statement saying, "there must be no violence, no law breaking and no vandalism of any kind."
Good luck with that. Trump opened Pandora's box. And, of course, there's no guarantee he won't backtrack on his latest message.
Pray for our country and for Republican senators to stand against him.