Now that the hearings in the House of Representatives – in the Intelligence and Judiciary committees – have resulted in a vote to impeach President Trump, the focus has shifted to the role of the Senate in this process. That role has been called a “trial,” which will result in either removing or retaining the president.

A “not guilty” finding in the Republican dominated Senate is generally seen as the much more likely outcome. It is also consistently and frequently referred to by Trump, Republican senators, and Trump supporters as a “full and total exoneration’” (as they did in response to the findings of the Muller Report that explicitly refuted such a conclusion).

Yet, the upcoming action in the Senate is clearly less like a trial and more like a sentencing. Trump will be allowed to continue as president or be removed from office – a simple binary decision.

His guilt has already been amply demonstrated during the House hearings and will not suddenly disappear were he to continue in office.

The House has the constitutional duty to decide his guilt or innocence and has done so by voting on two Articles of Impeachment. The Senate’s role is merely to decide his fate – essentially a sentencing role.

Trump’s guilt will remain regardless of that decision; that guilt and the Republicans’ reaction to it cannot be forgotten or forgiven as we approach the 2020 elections.

George Szok

Bridgton

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