In other words, the core message from Senate Republicans is this: No matter how dangerous or incompetent any president might be, he or she has only to think that remaining in office serves our nation to justify any act to stay there.

This is a five-alarm fire for democracy. The Republican Party has aggressively sought to rig elections in its favor, including voter purging, vote suppression and gerrymandering. Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation, the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Moral Majority, explained his support for vote suppression at an evangelical Christian campaign rally for Ronald Reagan in 1980. “Many of our Christians have what I call the ‘goo goo’ syndrome — good government,” he said. “They want everybody to vote. I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people.”

That statement has been the foundation of the Republican approach to elections — ensure that only the people you want to vote can vote, and if you can’t win even with vote suppression, look the other way when Russians intervene. Mr. Trump’s defense in the Senate is in keeping with this no-holds-barred approach. Anything in service of victory is permissible.