The Democrats' previous witch hunt hurts their credibility even if Trump deserves it this time

By Gary Abernathy

Democrats leading the charge to impeach President Trump over his role in throwing gasoline on the flames of last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol are even picking up some Republican support, but the whole exercise shows how damaging it was to engage in a purely partisan impeachment a year ago.

There has been near unanimous condemnation of Trump’s incendiary remarks to his supporters preceding the incursion at the Capitol last Wednesday, although reports say RNC members remain supportive of Trump. But the trivialization of impeachment last year left the impression that Democrats will wield the action as a partisan political tool. That, coupled with their effort to rush it through this time without even holding a hearing, suggests they still haven’t learned what purpose the Constitution intends impeachment to serve — removal of a president from office, something that’s happening anyway in just one more week.

Voices of common sense are growing when it comes to whether a president can be tried on impeachment charges after he leaves office. Clearly, such a trial serves no purpose. The Constitution’s “sentence” for being found guilty — immediate removal from office — can’t be applied to someone who doesn’t hold the office. More and more scholars are coming around to that conclusion. What Congress should do is agree on a censure resolution, which would enjoy strong bipartisan support.