The Democratic rhetoric was, on one hand, an early attempt to salvage what promises to be a crushing political loss. After warning for months about the dangers of a partisan impeachment, Pelosi led the House down that path after allegations of grave misdeeds emerged from the Trump administration — only to find the GOP ever-willing to stand by Trump in the face of damaging revelations.

On the other hand, Schumer, Pelosi and other Democrats are launching an appeal that they hope will have staying power. In the short term, that means impressing on voters that they ought to treat Trump’s certain claims of vindication with deep skepticism. In the longer term, they are banking that history will remember unkindly those who stood with Trump…

“We know better,” Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) said of any claims of vindication. “He’s going to talk about the end of the ‘witch hunt’ and so forth, but I think the fact that the Republicans are so afraid of a trial and so afraid of the truth speaks for itself.”

Said Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), “You cannot have a true acquittal if you’ve not had a fair trial.”

“No witnesses means no exoneration,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) tweeted Friday.