The Guardian view on Trump’s impeachment trial: the perils of outrageous immunity | Editorial

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In looking the other way over the president’s corruption and lawbreaking, the Republican party has offered up its soul in exchange for power

The line that best sums up last week’s Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump probably comes from the lips of Omar Little, the stickup artist who robs drug dealers in HBO’s the Wire. “You come at the king,” warned Mr Little “you best not miss”. The truth came for Mr Trump but after the smoke cleared on Friday, the president was still standing. He remains in the Oval Office because almost every Republican senator preferred being in power to upholding the democratic principles upon which the US was founded. By Wednesday Mr Trump will have defied justice. He will then be free to continue his campaign of grievance and resentment safe in the knowledge that there is no genuine check on his executive overreach.

The Grand Old Party has offered up its soul in exchange for Mr Trump’s gutting of environmental regulations, appointing conservative judges and cutting taxes for the rich. GOP representatives are repeatedly caught looking the other way over Mr Trump’s corruption, lawbreaking and manifest unfitness for office. They do so in part because if they did speak out, they risk being “primaried” by pro-Trump Republicans. Jeff Flake, an ex-Republican senator, thought “at least 35” former colleagues would vote to convict the president and have him removed from office if there were a secret vote. Edmund Burke’s warning that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” ought to ring in their ears.

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