Second, the House majority set a shining example of duty in a dark time. Though some scholars will disagree, I’m of the opinion that the House has a constitutional obligation to impeach if the crimes are high. That was a grave responsibility the founders bestowed upon our legislative branch. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, including the committee chairmen Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff, the other House managers and their Democratic colleagues worked through many an obstacle to fulfill this constitutionally mandated oversight function — to stand up to a president who has ignored both his oath and the public trust he was charged with upholding. The vote was a difficult and courageous one for dozens of Democrats who hail from red or purple districts. But it was the right thing to do and an inspiration for the present and the future.
Third, just as the House Democratic majority fulfilled its duty, the impeachment proceedings shone a light on those who have failed to honor their oath of office: not only the president, but also the Republican minority in the House and majority in the Senate. They renounced the responsibility that their oath entails. That pains me. I have always believed — and still do — that most members of government, regardless of party affiliation, are fundamentally good people. My Republican friends from the other side of the aisle remained personally cordial throughout my time on the floor for the impeachment trial, both the ones at the counsel table for the president and among the G.O.P. caucus. Indeed, Senate Republicans conceded publicly or in private conversations with me that the House had proved a quid pro quo. But they were ultimately unwilling to uphold the checks and balances that the framers designed in the case of a lawless president.