After all the other rationalizations to justify Trump's actions have been dismissed the Republicans are left with only one weak explanation for not convicting Trump in an impeachment or a Senate trial. That defense is what Trump did is not good but it doesn't rise to the impeachable level of overturning an election result this close to an election. I have a few questions with that line of defense. First, if bribing a foreign leader to smear an election opponent isn't cause to convict and remove from a President from office, what action would rise to that level. I want to hear Republicans answer with examples of what would make them convict. If bribing a foreign leader for personal benefit isn't good enough then I have a feeling it would have to rise to murdering someone in public view. And even then some Republicans would invoke some type of "stand your ground" defense.
The second question relates to the defense of overturning an election so close to another election. My question would be how close is "too" close? One year? Six months? If Republicans can spell that time frame out I would have a follow-up question. If they say one year then I would ask if that meant that for any President's last year he could be unaccountable? Is he above the law in his last year? If Trump's actions aren't "over the line" in Presidential behavior then we really have reduced the checks and balances that distinguish a democracy from an autocracy.
Trump's tendencies toward being an autocrat are shown in him never meeting a dictator he didn't admire and his seeing the free press as "fake news." Trump knows he is limited in taking actions to shut down the press as a dictator might but he tries the next best thing--disparaging the confidence the public has in the press. The words of the late Sen. McCain are a reminder of that reality.
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