What Just Happened?The Acquittal of Donald Trump

Alan Gambrell demonstrates outside of the U.S. Capitol on February 5, 2020 in Washington, DC (Photo credit: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)

Our Take

Donald Trump is still president of the United States. On February 5, the Senate voted primarily along party lines—with only Utah Senator Mitt Romney defecting from the Republican sideline—to acquit Trump on two articles of impeachment, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Once again, accountability fell to the wayside in favor of satisfying a Republican base that has habitually resisted acknowledging the changing political beliefs and demographics of this country—and who have shown in the past four years that they are willing to put party above country. Even if the arc of the moral universe does bend toward justice—and it’s not clear that it does—it’s little comfort in a time as tenuous as this one.

Though we shouldn’t be surprised that the Senate acquitted Trump—after all, the GOP didn’t call a single witness during what was effectively a show trial—it still stings to know that justice doesn’t extend to the powerful and the wealthy. It doesn’t just sting; it’s infuriating, especially in a country that incarcerates people from underrepresented communities, including people of color, trans people, and working-class people, at disproportionate rates. The platitude that “No one person is above the law” clearly didn’t apply in this case, leaving many of us feeling downtrodden, defeated, and even hopeless.

All is not lost, though. We are all still here. We can take a deep breath, process our emotions, and then get back to work—because our collective future depends on it. There’s still a lot at stake, no matter who the president of the United States is. The Supreme Court is preparing to hear a challenge that could greatly restrict access to legal abortion. Immigrants are still being targeted by this presidential administration. A census is looming that could determine how congressional districts are drawn for the next decade. There are countless issues that we need to pay attention to if we want to see change in an unequivocally corrupt political landscape, and it begins today.

Now, more than ever, Trump feels unstoppable. He’s tweeting about winning, gloating through press conferences, and promising retribution against those who brought his crimes to light. But he’s not unbeatable, and neither are the senators who voted to acquit him. We can do this. Here’s how to start.

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MEDIA ROUNDUP

  • The Senate called no witnesses and no documents for the trial. How is this justice? [Los Angeles Times]
     
  • Despite the evidence presented in the House, Susan Collins said she’d vote to acquit because Trump “has learned from this case” and “will be much more cautious in the future.” [Vox]
     
  • This handy-dandy guide shows how every single senator voted during the impeachment trial. [New York Times]
     
  • Mitt Romney broke with party lines and voted to convict Trump on one of the articles of impeachment. Every single other GOP Senator voted “not guilty.” [CNN]
     
  • Because some people truly never learn, Rudy Giuliani is still saying he wants the Trump administration to investigate the Bidens after the acquittal. [NPR]
     
  • Apparently, Donald Trump isn’t satisfied with how the impeachment trial played out. He wanted something flashier, but clearly, short, sweet, and full of corruption is the way to go. [Politico]
     
  • Throughout the country, activists are organizing mass demonstrations to signal their dissatisfaction with the Senate’s decision. [USA Today]
     
  • Ten women were arrested for chanting “Trump is guilty” in the Capitol rotunda. [Washington Post]
     
  • Donald Trump is going to be the first impeached president to seek re-election. What happens next? That’s still unclear. [FiveThirtyEight]

WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW

  • Join a protest. Reject the Coverup are beginning protests throughout the country starting on Wednesday, February 5, at 5:30 p.m. EST. [USA Today, Reject the Coverup]

  • Consider donating to an organization that is working to elect more women candidates. [Marie Claire]

  • If your senator voted to acquit Trump, reach out to them and make your frustrations known. [AP News]

  • Find which GOP senators are up for reelection in their home states, especially if they are being primaried by someone else, and donate to their Democratic opposers. [Swing Left]
     
  • Push Twitter to remove Trump from the platform. Though a hard sell given Twitter’s reliance on the president’s account for impressions and engagement, it’s worth noting that Trump tweeted nearly 700 times, averaging five tweets a day, about the impeachment. In 2020, social media’s impact cannot be overstated or ignored. [Variety, Wall Street Journal]
     
  • If, after all this you’re still raging, consider donating to Bitch Media today or joining The Rage, a community of folks reclaiming their anger and supporting independent feminist media. [Bitch Media]

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