But this doesn’t mean that what Republican Senators say about Trump when the trial comes to a close has been determined. They aren’t going to vote to convict and remove him. But some of them may well be willing to state what many of them feel, which is that what Trump did and was trying to do with Ukraine was wrong, even if it doesn’t warrant booting him out of the White House, especially when there’s an election less than 10 months away. That falls about 1,000 miles short of what Democrats want, but it’s not nothing.
On the contrary, it’s quite a lot compared to the alternative, which Trump himself clearly prefers. From the start of this whole sordid episode, the president has insisted that his July phone call with Zelensky was “perfect.” Indeed, that deranged conviction appears to have been what led the White House to release its incriminating readout of the conversation. The president has no intention of conceding an inch of ground on the matter, and he is demanding that members of his party line up behind him in expressing fulsome support for his efforts to strongarm a vastly weaker country into digging up dirt on his domestic political rival. Trump wants Senate Republicans to kneel before him in a gratuitous display of abject fealty.