By Robert A. Vella
Yesterday, the U.S. Senate voted against removing President Trump from office regarding two articles of impeachment passed by the House of Representatives. All Democratic and Independent senators voted to remove him on both counts, and all Republican senators voted to acquit him except for one notable exception. Mitt Romney (R-UT) bucked his party by voting to remove Trump on the charge of abuse of power. Romney’s ethical stance denied Trump the unanimous partisan verdict he wanted, illuminated the injustice of this sham trial (which was rushed through without witness testimony and documentary evidence by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell), and is now incurring the wrath of Trump’s henchmen who control the GOP. Regardless of how you felt about Romney beforehand, you should commend him today for this principled act of courage. In my opinion, he demonstrated what it is to be American; or, at least what it used to be.
The most important political takeaway from the vote is how partisan it was. Not a single Democrat voted to acquit the president, not even the senators representing Trump-friendly states. Only one Republican voted to convict him, Mitt Romney of Utah, after no House Republicans supported impeachment.
But Romney’s lone vote changes how Trump can talk about his impeachment going forward. He can no longer technically say his impeachment was solely driven by Democrats. One Republican — a prominent one at that — voted to convict him.
Romney voted to acquit Trump on the second charge of obstruction of Congress. His conviction vote on the first charge was historic though: He’s the first senator in an impeachment trial to vote to convict a president of the same party.
“The president’s purpose was personal and political,” Romney said in a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday announcing his vote. “Accordingly, the president is guilty of an appalling abuse of the public trust.”
Results from the Iowa Democratic caucuses were delayed by “quality control checks” on Monday night. Days later, quality control issues have not been resolved.
The results released by the Iowa Democratic Party on Wednesday were riddled with inconsistencies and other flaws. According to a New York Times analysis, more than 100 precincts reported results that were internally inconsistent, that were missing data or that were not possible under the complex rules of the Iowa caucuses.
In some cases, vote tallies do not add up. In others, precincts are shown allotting the wrong number of delegates to certain candidates. And in at least a few cases, the Iowa Democratic Party’s reported results do not match those reported by the precincts.
The Winds of Madness
As the United Nations marks its 75th anniversary this year, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday “a wind of madness is sweeping the globe” because of escalating geopolitical conflicts of wars and instabilities.
At a wide-ranging news conference, the U.N. chief, considered by many to be the world’s top diplomat, said: “All situations are different but there is a feeling of growing instability and hair-trigger tensions, which makes everything far more unpredictable and uncontrollable, with a heightened risk of miscalculation.”
The secretary-general stressed that global problems “feed on each other.”
“As economies falter, poverty remains entrenched. As future prospects look bleak, populist and ethnic nationalist narratives gain appeal,” he said. “As instability rises, investment dries up, and development cycles down. When armed conflicts persist, societies reach perilous tipping points. And as governance grows weak, terrorists get stronger, seizing on the vacuum.”
Watch: NOVA documentary “Polar Extremes” – Paleontologist Kirk Johnson explores the dynamic history—and future—of ice at the poles. In this two-hour special, renowned paleontologist Kirk Johnson takes us on an epic adventure through time at the polar extremes of our planet. Following a trail of strange fossils found in all the wrong places—beech trees in Antarctica, hippo-like mammals in the Arctic—Johnson uncovers the bizarre history of the poles, from miles-high ice sheets to warm polar forests teeming with life. What caused such dramatic changes at the ends of the Earth? And what can the past reveal about our planet’s climate today—and in the future? (Premiered February 5, 2020)