Opinion | Republicans’ Reluctance to Convict Trump

To the Editor:

Re “Rallying Against Trial, G.O.P. Senators Signal a 2nd Trump Acquittal” (front page, Jan. 27):

The vote by Republican senators against holding an impeachment trial doesn’t necessarily mean they plan to vote to acquit Donald Trump. What it shows is that most of them don’t want to have to go on the record either way.

Clearly too cowardly to vote to convict despite overwhelming evidence of Mr. Trump’s guilt, the average G.O.P. senator also doesn’t want to stain his or her personal legacy forever by voting to acquit. After all, the senators have to explain themselves to children and grandchildren.

What to do? Ideally they vote to prevent the trial from happening, an attempt by Rand Paul that has now failed. Next best thing? Expect a number of G.O.P. senators to “call in sick” on the day of the vote. A conviction by two-thirds of senators “present and voting” requires only a handful of G.O.P. senators.

Steven Bavaria
Boca Raton, Fla.

To the Editor:

Re “G.O.P. Wavers on Punishing Trump as Impeachment Article Goes to Senate” (news article, Jan. 26):

It is not surprising to learn that the main factor for most Republican senators in determining their vote on the impeachment charge against the former president is not whether he is guilty as charged, but rather the effect of their vote on their own political futures. But it is still shocking to behold the breathtaking level of cynicism in the remark by Senator Lindsey Graham, who said, “with a chuckle,” that “it depends on what state you’re in and what phase in your career you are.”

Senator Graham, the serious charge of incitement to insurrection is not a laughing matter. America deserves better from its leaders.

Judith Tuller
New York

To the Editor:

I have found myself puzzled over the status of this “trial” when both Democratic and Republican senators have signaled — or outright stated — their conclusions before the trial has even started. Isn’t a trial an event in which a charge is made, evidence is presented and only then a verdict is rendered? How is it that some Democrats can state in advance that they plan to vote to convict? How is that Republicans could possibly say they are “reluctant to convict”?

Without due process, this will be nothing more than a show trial, and it’s the American people who will end up with nothing to show for it.

Susanna Ryan
Cambridge, Mass.

To the Editor:

The former president ought to receive a fair trial for his seditious incitement, but it is now clear that enough Senate Republicans will vote against a conviction no matter how strong the case against him. Rather than plowing ahead with a futile public spectacle, the Senate should quickly refer the case to the Justice Department and move on to the urgent Biden agenda.

A federal prosecutor will have abundant evidence to indict him, and there is a good chance that he will be convicted in federal court. Mr. Trump should not be able to walk away unbowed.

Jerry Sellwood
Tucson, Ariz.

To the Editor:

History will hold accountable those Republican senators who look only at what might keep them in power and therefore cater to a public that has been sorely misled. It is time to admit that Donald Trump tried to overthrow a legitimate election.

I applaud the corporations and businesses that have decided to withhold funding from those officials who have contributed to this disaster. Hitting our elected officials where it hurts, their ability to raise money, is a good way to hold them accountable. I just wish more corporations took this stand and that it had happened sooner.

Judith K. McMillan
Painesville, Ohio

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