Rep. John Katko, the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee and one of the 10 House Republicans who voted for impeachment, said after classified briefings on the attack, “I was left with a profound sense that it was much worse than people realized.”
But Senate Republicans are strenuously looking for excuses not to hold Trump accountable. Sen. John Cornyn spent Thursday morning quoting former Trump impeachment lawyer Alan Dershowitz to suggest that holding Trump to account for his significant role in whipping up the mob that attacked the Capitol would be merely “seek[ing] revenge” and would “distract from President Biden’s agenda, and make it hard to heal the country.”
”What good comes from impeaching a guy in Florida?” Sen. Lindsey Graham asked. But he made clear to CNN that his concern was not about “what good” but about what’s good for the Republican Party, saying: “There’s no way to be a successful Republican Party without having President Trump working with all of us and all of us working with him. That’s just a fact. And I think we got a decent chance of coming back in 2022. But we can’t do it without the President.”
Trump told these people to come to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, the day Congress met to count the electoral votes that made Joe Biden the president. “Will be wild,” he tweeted. That day, he told the crowd “we’re going to have to fight much harder,” and, “You will have an illegitimate president. That is what you will have, and we can’t let that happen.” Then, “We fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” And he told them he would be with them as they marched on the Capitol.
What good would come from impeaching him now that he’s a private citizen in Florida? You put a marker down that inciting violence against Congress specifically as it attempts to carry out the process of democracy is not acceptable. Do Cornyn or Graham treat a dirt-filled wound by slapping a bandage on it and pretending it’s not there? Because that’s a recipe for festering infection, just as refusing to address what happened at the Capitol, and Trump’s role in it, would worsen the already festering infection in U.S. politics.
Republicans like Cornyn and Graham, though, don’t care about what’s good for the nation. They care about what’s good for the Republican Party.