4 minute read

Senators James Lankford and Jim Inhofe are doing their level best to disrupt justice in the wake of the January 6 domestic terrorism attack on the U.S. Capitol. They both rail against the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, and on Tuesday they voted in favor of a failed procedural vote called by Senator Rand Paul to declare the trial unconstitutional. 

In effect, Lankford and Inhofe want to give domestic terrorism a free pass.

The first time Trump was impeached, Senate Republicans went so far as to question whether a sitting president could be put on trial for crimes and misdemeanors, Less than a year later, those same senators believe a president should not be tried for his or her crimes while in office but after leaving office. 

By this logic, Trump is the president of The Purge, but instead of having 12 hours to commit crimes with impunity, he had four years to crime it up followed by a lifetime immunity grand prize. 

Opinion

Opinion

by George Lang, opinion writer for Free Press

During the first trial, which feels like it took place five years ago but concluded February 5, 2020, Lankford referred to the trial as a “fishing expedition.” On December 15, 2019, before the trial even started, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told NBC News, “We know how it’s going to end. There’s no chance the president’s going to be removed from office.”

Both Lankford and McConnell took the following oath as jurors on that first trial: “Do you solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, president of the United States, now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help you God?” 

They both violated that oath. Trump was acquitted and he went on to completely mismanage a pandemic that has killed 425,000 Americans and instigated the attempted coup on the U.S. Capitol by his followers. 

Once again, Lankford is violating his oath. 

“This is not a trial; this is political theater,” Lankford said just after swearing to “do impartial justice” on Tuesday. “You cannot remove someone from office who is already out of office. In this trial there is no current President, no Chief Justice, and no possibility someone could be removed from office because they are not in any office. In a moment when our nation needs to unite, this trial will only create even deeper divisions.”

Lankford thinks his constituents are idiots. In drawing up articles of impeachment, House Democrats have been clear on this point: they want to ensure that Trump can never run for office again. 

Both Lankford and Inhofe have genuinely terrible records on fostering unity, chronically abusing wedge issues to divide the electorate against itself. In his first Senate run in 1994, Inhofe cynically campaigned on “God, guns and gays,” banking on rural Oklahomans’ love of the first two topics and hatred of the last one. 

Whenever Lankford needs to change the subject, which seems more common these days, he posts on social media, it is about so-called “late-term abortions,” one of the all-time most disingenous wedge issues. This is a non-medical term for a procedure that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, takes place in 1.3 percent of all abortions and almost exclusively to protect the health of the mother in the 21st through 24th week of pregnancy. 

Lankford tweeted about “late-term abortions”  three times already this week. It must be rough when you side against your own nation and, to divert attention away, your comms department makes your Twitter feed look like a tour of central Florida’s most grisly billboards. 

With Lankford and Inhofe, there will be no unity. They want Trump to go free, declare his candidacy for the 2024 election and plunge this nation into an endless season of crisis and hate. As Stephen Colbert said on Monday’s edition of The Late Show, “So, you just want to let him off scot-free for insurrection because he’s no longer in power? That’s like acquitting Jeffrey Dahmer because he’s full.”


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