Defenders of the president’s high crimes and misdemeanors are running out of stuff. And, man, they’ve tried all the stuff; denied it ever happened (quid pro quo on military aid to another nation unless it dug up dirt on a political opponent), mixed semantics (making it about the literal phrase “quid pro quo” and not the action depicted in a transcript and through witness accounts), turned attentions to everything but the actual crime (the Democrats, the media, the system), flipped the blame on the participants catching and reporting the crime (original whistleblower or the parade of the non-partisan deposed) and finally making it about something to do with “closed doors justice”, which ironically is a rule Republicans implemented four years ago to try and besmirch former Sectary of State Hillary Clinton before the 2016 campaign with the endless nine-million dollar Benghazi hearings that ended up revealing nothing.

It sounds more and more, and I suspect it is understood in private, that they know Trump is guilty. Every day it’s a different defense and none of it is sticking. If anything, it is making things worse.

Simultaneously, for the first time there appears to be cracks in the Republican shield on Capitol Hill. There’s been severe blowback on the president’s irresponsibly turning Syria over to all of our enemies and dooming our only allies and probably putting Israel in its greatest bind since the Six-Day War in 1967, and his brazenly announcing that he would be hosting the 2020 G7 Summit at his personal golf resort that has been hemorrhaging money for years. Trump has acknowledged this by a recent tweet calling some of his fellow Republicans “human scum.” Nevertheless, it appears, despite almost certain impeachment in a House of Representatives controlled by the Democrats, none of this may be enough to remove him from office in a GOP-controlled Senate hearing.

The decision by the Senate, if it chooses to leave Trump in office, is clearly political now. Traditional conservatism has officially descended into Trumpism. Trumpism is the end of geo-political hawks, the demise of free traders, the eradication of religious right moralists, and the silencing of fiscally conscious anti-deficit marauders or anti-socialist bail-out complainers. Trump has eviscerated heretofore core tenets of conservative principles. The Senate may have no choice but to save this president because Republicanism is in shambles. The alternative as they see it is to hand the country over to the Democrats. The party is now run by its base. It is all that is standing between self-immolation or total political oblivion. They got their judges. They got their tax cuts. Yet the party is faced with an election year with a president with a forty-percent approval rating and days from impeachment in the House of Representatives. But without Trump’s supporters, the Grand Old Party is finished as a national power.

Should Trump be impeached and removed from office by the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence would barely hold the South and part of the mid-west in 2020. I understand this reality. And I expect Senate Republicans to vote to for immediate survival and turn the future of the presidency, which has expanded to an almost monarch status in the past one-hundred and fifty years, into what appears to be an “anything goes” proposition.

That is the consequence of this decision. And it is on them now, not the Democrats, who appear in this case to be on the right side of history. They are playing politics too. That is true. But it was not the Democrats, nor the media, nor the system that concocted and then enacted this fool plan to strongarm the new president of a desperate nation into publicly lying to assist in re-electing a sitting president. Trump did that. He is responsible for this constitutional crisis. He unleashed this rabid opposition force. He lost the congress last year and then handed them a giant hammer with which they could take use chunks of his presidency and pass the tattered remains over to the higher chamber for trial.

And so, the question remains: What if a president commits a crime, or in this case when combined with the Mueller Report’s ten incidences of obstruction of justice, several crimes, and is given political coverage by those in his party shirking their sworn duties? If said president is given a pass, then what does history record? Forget the politics of the moment. Forget this experiment of having a game show host run the country. How do our children’s children view the circumstances of this abuse of executive power going unchecked by an equal branch of government?

I guess what I’m saying here is this is no longer on Donald Trump. He is guilty. There is more than enough evidence that he acted at the very least inappropriately with his executive powers as set forth in the U.S. Constitution. That is a given. If he gets away with it, good for him. Presidents have pushed boundaries for decades. This is an extraordinary circumstance for sure, but it needs the checks and balances we are so proud of touting on holidays and in song and story in order to pass constitutional muster. Good for him, bad for our precious rule of law.

What indeed happens to a nation where there are those who see the crime, casually ignore it, play politics with it, and then systemically allow it? In essence, rubber stamp it. Tell the world and history that it is okay to be a criminal and be president. We then come to a line crossed with no return. This will be the precedence. And soon, probably sooner than later, the other party will be in power and maybe, it is hard to imagine, but maybe there is an even crazier megalomaniac that is handed the most powerful post in the free world. What then would stop them from playing campaign strategies with America’s security and military commitments. What would keep them from using unelected personal attorneys from running a shadow foreign policy for personal gains?

The answer is nothing. Nothing will stop future presidents if this one is allowed to get away with this unscathed. They will use foreign nations to assist in effecting our elections and point to this one as they’re excuse. Unless the Republican-controlled Senate does its sworn duty and evict this president from office for these actions we have officially completed the creation of a totalitarian position in the presidency.

What the Republican-ruled Senate does with this president in this crucial moment in American history is on them.

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