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Good Morning. Donald Trump is the first US president to be charged twice.
Even during a scandal, it is usually defended by a president’s party members. Decades later, people tend to forget how overwhelming the support of the partisans was and to exaggerate consciences among politicians of the past.
In 1999, no Senate Democrats voted to convict Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial. Many Democrats apologized for his affair with a 22-year-old White House intern, and some went so far as to smear them.
In the 1970s, Republican leaders spent months viewing the investigation into the Nixon administration as partisan overreach. Gerald Ford, who was still the leader of the Republican House, called the Watergate investigation a “political witch hunt”. Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush defended both Nixon and his vice president for bribery, Spiro Agnew.
In the 1860s, Andrew Johnson’s fellow Democrats stood by him during his impeachment and deterred him from conviction.
All of this helps put President Trump’s second impeachment yesterday in perspective: It was both a strikingly partisan and an unusually bipartisan matter.
On the one hand, dozens of members of Congress refused to break with a president who tried to overturn an election result and incited a mob who attacked Congress and killed a police officer. Only 10 Republicans in the House voted for impeachment, and the final balance was between 232 and 197.
“Political punishments for promoting extremism and attacking democratic norms are dangerously weak,” wrote political scientist Brendan Nyhan yesterday.
Trump, on the flip side, has suffered more failures from his party than any other past president except Nixon, who ultimately lost Republican support and resigned before the House could indict him. Yesterday’s vote, wrote Daniel Nichanian of The Appeal, was “the most bipartisan impeachment of a president in US history”.
By comparison, only five House Democrats voted to indict Clinton, the Times’ Carl Hulse noted – three later became Republicans, while a fourth joined the George W. Bush administration. In 2019, not a single Republican in the House voted to indict Trump. Only one Republican senator, Mitt Romney, voted for a conviction, and other Republicans despised the process from the start.
This time they send a more nuanced message. Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate chairman, said he is glad an impeachment is taking place and he made a statement yesterday saying he had “not made a final decision on how I will vote” in the Senate process.
Of course, McConnell is a smart politician who wants to both get rid of Trump and prevent President-elect Joe Biden from passing many laws. McConnell also signaled yesterday that he would not start a trial against the Senate before Biden took office, which effectively forced the Democrats to choose between Trump and Biden’s agenda.
The delay seems to make a conviction less likely. “People’s outrage is decreasing,” wrote my colleague Maggie Haberman yesterday. “Memories are fading. And I wonder if there will be as much Republican anger in the Senate next month as there is now.”
Yet the existence of this anger underscores the historical nature of yesterday. Trump was the first president in US history to be charged twice – and only the second to have a significant number of his party members in Congress found him incapable of being president.
Among the 10 Republicans who voted for impeachment were Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 Republican in the house; four more from certain Republican seats; and five from more competitive districts.
“I’m not afraid of losing my job, but I’m afraid my country will fail,” said Jaime Herrera Beutler from Washington, who is in her sixth term. “My vote to indict our seated president is not a fear-based decision. I don’t choose a side. I choose the truth. “
MORE ABOUT IMPEACHMENT
The scene in Congress
THE OTHER NEWS OF THE DAY
A team from the World Health Organization arrived in Wuhan to investigate the source of the virus. The Chinese authorities have ruled out two scientists for positive antibody tests.
The US states are trying to meet the rapid demand for vaccinations. Here’s the new guide to who gets a shot.
Prosecutors accused Rick Snyder, the former Michigan governor, of willfully neglecting duty over the Flint crisis that saw thousands of residents drink lead-contaminated water.
Gunmen killed at least 80 people in an ethnically motivated massacre in Ethiopia.
Letter of recommendation: Eat chips, writes The Times’ Sam Anderson. “A bag of chips is a way to beat time. It brings temporary infinity: a feeling that it will never end. One chip. One chip. One chip. Another chip. “
From the opinion: Farhad Manjoo, Nicholas Kristof, and Thomas B. Edsall have columns.
Lived life: Adolfo Quiñones, better known as Shabba-Doo, grew up on a public housing project in Chicago and pioneered street dance. He called it “a valid art form on the same level as jazz or ballet”. He died at the age of 65.
ART AND IDEAS
The future of gaming
The pandemic was very good for the video game business. Game spending rose 22 percent last year, reports the Washington Post. The number of monthly users of Discord, a chat platform popular with gamers, has doubled to 140 million.
But the boom isn’t just about the pandemic. It’s bigger than that, argues Sean Monahan in The Guardian: video games are replacing music as the dominant form of youth culture.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Joe Biden turned to Among Us and Animal Crossing: New Horizons to reach out to young voters. Rapper Travis Scott had more than 12 million viewers for a virtual concert on Fortnite last year – almost twice as many as the MTV Video Music Awards 2020. “We will see more of these events, even if regular concerts are certain to return.” an analyst told The Hollywood Reporter.
The cultural influence of games is largely based on interaction. Games like Animal Crossing have become places to socialize and even host virtual promotions, parties or protests.
“Ten years ago, younger generations left traditional media behind for social media,” wrote another analyst in a 2020 Global Games Market Report. “Today they are leaving social media for more interactive experiences.”
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to cook
The pangram from yesterday’s Spelling Bee was a formula. Today’s puzzle is up – or you can play online if you have a game subscription.
Here’s today’s mini crossword and a clue: Like Salad and Kale (five letters).
Thank you for spending part of your morning with The Times. Until tomorrow. – David
PS The word “waackin ‘” – one of Adolfo Quiñones’ techniques – first appeared in The Times yesterday, according to the Twitter bot @NYT_first_said.
You can find today’s print homepage here.
Today’s episode of “The Daily” is about Trump’s second impeachment. A bonus episode of “The Argument” discusses the future of online language.
Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti and Sanam Yar contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
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