This Thursday afternoon, Senators began getting sworn in as jurors for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, which is supposed to, in theory, provide a forum for evidence against the president. In reality, Republican Senators have already been setting up their plans to deliver an acquittal for Trump no matter what. This Thursday, Trump ally Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) brazenly admitted that he thinks “the verdict has already been decided” and even tied that conclusion to the effect that a vote to convict the president could have on GOP Senators’ electoral chances. In other words, they’re not even trying to hide their brazen political maneuvering at this point.
‘I really think the verdict has already been decided as well. I don’t think any Republicans are going to vote for impeachment… I think the votes have been decided. As much as anybody will be pretending to be judicious about this, I don’t think that there’s one senator who hasn’t decided how they’re going to vote.’
That means that he’s openly admitting, among other implications, that when casting their votes at the trial, Republican Senators will not consider this week’s conclusion from the Government Accountability Office that the Trump administration broke the law. According to that office, the administration’s delay in transmitting military aid to Ukraine was blatantly illegal. That delay, which swept up funds that had already been appropriated by Congress, was meant as leverage in the president and associates’ aims to get Ukraine to investigate Trump’s opponents.
Other major developments that Paul seems to be openly touting that his side will ignore include evidence released this week from Lev Parnas, who is an associate of personal Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
According to that material, Giuliani was marketing himself as acting with the “knowledge and consent” of the president when seeking Ukrainian investigations into Trump opponents like the Bidens.
‘I think if you’re pretty much no longer interested in running for office, or no longer interested in getting Republican votes, you might vote to impeach the president. This isn’t just a policy difference. When it comes to whether or not you’re going to impeach a president of your own party, particularly over a policy difference or whether or not he has lack of decorum or whatever, I think that’s something that a lot of voters will not excuse.’
In other words — they’re not even trying to engage in anything but blind political maneuvering at this point.
Paul has been an ardent supporter of the president throughout the entire impeachment process. At a rally towards the beginning of the scandal, he threateningly demanded that the identity of a whistleblower who exposed the Ukraine bribery plot be publicly revealed. More recently, he’s been stumping for the idea for the GOP to punitively call their own impeachment trial witnesses, like Hunter Biden, who was meant to be a focus of the investigation that Trump and his cronies wanted Ukraine to launch. After all this time and all this publicly available evidence, Republicans are still by and large refusing to admit even a shred of wrongdoing on the president’s part.