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Phil: Here we go again. Every two years Democrats decide to impeach Donald Trump. Can we expect another trial in 2022?
Ethan: Well, if the Senate does its job this time, we should be out of the woods.
Phil: If the Senate barred Trump from being able to run for even dog-catcher, I am sure it would not satisfy the “Trump-Derangement-Syndrome” that permeates your party.
Ethan: How about we test that theory by giving your Republican colleagues enough backbone to actually convict?
Phil: But why would you hold a trial to determine if someone is fit to hold office, after they have already left?
Ethan: Because he tried to overturn a legitimate election by inciting violence against Congress.
Phil: While Sen. Susan Collins and five other Republicans answered your challenge by voting that the “trial” is constitutional, I am quite confident that any conviction would be thrown out by the Supreme Court. Common sense says you can’t remove someone from office who is already gone. Call me crazy.
Ethan: It’s hard to imagine that our founders believed a presidential violation of the Constitution on day 1,445 should be treated any less consequentially than one committed on day one of their term. Even a stacked Supreme Court would understand that.
Phil: If there were a violation of the Constitution, I might agree with you, but what I see is the U.S. Senate Democratic majority using this process simply for political revenge.
Ethan: Well, when you incite a riot to block the peaceful transfer of power, revenge sometimes feels appropriate. But I call it justice.
Phil: If it is proven that he orchestrated and ordered the occupation and vandalism of the Capitol, he can be prosecuted by the D.C. district attorney and/or the Department of Justice. And I would encourage them to do it. But, what we are witnessing is a “show trial” where the jury, including the judge, Sen Patrict Leahy, announced he’s guilty, before the trial even began.
Ethan: As has almost every Republican in the other direction. The difference is that many of these Republicans initially made statements condemning Trump, only to see them cower once the Republican machine threatened them for putting their constitutional duty ahead of Trump loyalty.
Phil: Even Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts determined that he could not preside because the accused is no longer in office and therefore he doesn’t have the authority to oversee the trial. You claim this is a legitimate process?
Ethan: The Constitution says the chief justice presides over trials of current presidents. No one else. Newsflash: Trump is not the current president.
Phil: My point from the beginning! But, I am curious, does your belief that fiery rhetoric must lead to conviction apply to all politicians? I recall your man Chuck Schumer screaming on the steps of the Supreme Court threatening Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh that he would unleash the whirlwind of retribution for their rulings.
Ethan: Well, he walked those comments back, something Trump has never done. But, more importantly, his comments didn’t incite anyone to riot. Probably because he hadn’t been lying to his supporters for three straight months, as Trump did.
Phil: Wouldn’t a fair trial, with time to prepare, and the ability to call witnesses and cross-examination, show the world how democracy and the rule of law works even in the most emotionally charged circumstances?
Ethan: He has been given all the time he wants and was even offered an opportunity to testify. But he chose not to. In fact, even his attorneys have refused to continue the lie that he lost the election.
Phil: In the end, you and I both know this trial will end in acquittal. Can we at least agree on that.
Ethan: In terms of the Senate, sure. Sadly. But the larger importance of the trial is getting the facts on the table so the American people can decide for themselves.
Phil: Isn’t that what was supposed to happen on Nov. 3? It is time to move on; history will fill in the facts once the emotions dissipate.
Phil Harriman, a former town councilor and state senator from Yarmouth, is the founding partner of Lebel & Harriman, a financial services firm. Ethan Strimling, a former mayor and state senator from Portland, is the president of Swing Hard. Turn Left, which promotes progressive policy at the local, state and national levels.