If only it were that simple. Few have any confidence that enough Republicans will join Senate Democrats to meet the two-thirds threshold for conviction. But very few responsible observers believe the Democrats can heed the GOP’s bad-faith calls for unity and healing and just let the whole thing go once Biden is inaugurated. As they did with the first impeachment trial just over a year ago, the party must take a stand for the integrity of democracy, even if their efforts may not succeed in banishing the president from office forever.
But party leaders also mustn’t allow themselves to be hamstrung by Senate rules written long ago. Those rules are very much not in the Constitution, which unequivocally allows both chambers of Congress to set their own rules. They can be changed with a simple majority — for example, to allow an impeachment trial to be conducted at whatever pace the majority wishes. Let’s say two half-days a week until it’s over, leaving plenty of time and floor space to tackle the many other pressing issues facing Americans while also not letting go of the urgency of bringing to justice the turncoat in the Oval Office.
Handing the articles of impeachment off to a Senate committee, however well-intentioned as a solution to this procedural problem, will likely run headlong into the infamously short political memories of the American people. The trial must happen now, while the outrage is still fresh, especially since the president and his fellow insurrectionists are plotting further violence across the country. This simply cannot wait 100 days.