champagne wishes and caviar dreams
GOP senators suggest impeachment has chastened Trump. Trump's aides say he now feels invincible.
Many of the Republican senators who voted Friday against allowing new witnesses and other evidence in President Trump's impeachment trial said the House Democratic prosecutors proved their case — Trump did it — but using appropriated U.S. military aid and a White House visit as leverage to get a foreign country to investigate a domestic political rival didn't rise to the level of removal from office. On Sunday, some of those Republicans senators went on the political talk shows to explain their decision to vote against witnesses, and one of their arguments was that impeachment itself has already taught Trump a lesson.
"I think he shouldn't have done it," and it was "wrong" and "improper, crossing the line," Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) told Chuck Todd on NBC's Meet the Press. But "if you have eight witnesses who say someone left the scene of an accident, why do you need nine?" Since Trump doesn't think he did anything wrong, Todd asked, won't he do it again? "If a call like that gets you an impeachment, I would think he would think twice before he did it again," Alexander replied, prompting Todd to ask: "What example in the life of Donald Trump has he been chastened?" "I haven't studied his life that close," Alexander said.
Trump should have taken his purported concerns about corruption and Joe Biden's family to the Justice Department or international organizations, but instead he "chose to go a different route," Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said on CNN's State of the Union. "I think that he knows now that, if he is trying to do certain things, whether it's ferreting out corruption there, in Afghanistan, whatever it is, he needs to go through the proper channels."
In the White House, meanwhile, "Trump and his entire inner circle convey supreme self-confidence, bordering on a sense of invincibility," Jonathan Swan reports at Axios, citing 10 senior administration officials. "Every day, Trump grows more confident in his gut and less deterrable," and "Team Trump's confidence snowballed into the weekend as the Senate voted against witnesses in Trump's impeachment trial."