Donald Trump’s acquittal will lower the threshold for future US presidents to break the law, said Oliver Sallet.

The spokeswoman for the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, had long doubted: only if the evidence against the President were so overwhelming that both parties were practically forced to speak with one voice, only then did she want to take the step and risk impeaching Donald Trump,

In the end, the burden of proof was overwhelming: President Trump certainly wanted to make political capital out of his Quid Pro Quo game against Ukrainian President Wolodymyr Selenskyi. Military aid in exchange for an investigation into one of the Democratic presidential candidates, Joe Biden, and his son Hunter Biden.

But none of this has helped. Republican senators stood side by side with their president in what was probably the most biased impeachment procedure in US history. For the first time, neither witnesses nor evidence was admitted to the Senate. The verdict was clear before the trial even started.

Whoever has the majority determines what is right and wrong

For Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats, it is a tough slip. The verdict proves once again that President Trump appears to be immune to the attacks of the political opponent – no matter how overwhelming the facts. And the US Senate has given this apparent immunity with its judgment.

DW News TV Oliver Sallet (DW)DW correspondent Oliver Sallet

The winner is Donald Trump, but the ruling also has serious implications for future presidents: with a sufficient majority in the Senate, US presidents are effectively safe from impeachment, no matter how overwhelming the evidence. Whoever has the majority in the Senate determines what is right and wrong.

Republicans in the U.S. Senate have served as vicarious agents of President Trump’s grace. Even some senators openly admitted that what Donald Trump did was wrong. Mitt Romney, for example, a Utah senator, even clearly voted for the impeachment of the president, but he is the exception. His reelection is not due until 2024, and he can feel safe from the anger of Trump supporters.

Pressure on the senators

Not so the wobbly candidates like Susan Collins from Maine or Lisa Murkowski from Alaska: If they answered yes to impeachment, they should have feared their re-election in November. And the White House also put pressure on the senators to stay on track.

The much-vaunted Checks and Balances, an expression of the defensiveness of US democracy, were at stake – and yet the Republican-led Senate Donald Trump cleared all guilt. Now it is up to the voters to decide on the future of their president. Quite conceivable that they will also stand behind Donald Trump in November.


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