President TrumpDonald TrumpEx-Trump lawyer Cohen to pen forward for impeachment bookMurkowski says it would be ‘appropriate’ to bar Trump from holding office againMan known as ‘QAnon Shaman’ asks Trump for pardon after storming CapitolMORE is growing increasingly isolated after the House on Wednesday made him the only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice, putting a final, lasting stain on his legacy just a week before he leaves office.
Cabinet members and White House officials have rushed for the exits following Trumps remarks to a violent mob of supporters that ultimately stormed the U.S. Capitol last week in a bloody and dark episode of American history. Even Trumps most loyal allies have been put off by the developments, and aides are absent from the airwaves and the public.
There has been no coordinated effort by the White House to push back against the presidents impeachment for incitement of insurrection, and Trump has been largely silent after being stripped of his biggest communication tool: his Twitter account.
Ten Republicans joined with Democrats in voting to impeach Trump, underscoring the rift in the GOP set off by Trumps actions. There is now a real possibility that the Senate could vote to convict Trump on the lone article of impeachment and prevent him from ever holding public office again.
One former White House official said they were not surprised by the lack of public defense from the administration, saying it has become clear that Trump has lost the staff and noting that aides had been whittled down already in the waning days of his presidency.
Another former administration official suggested those still in the White House could be wary of their own liability if they publicly defend the president, while others are likely still shaken by last weeks violence.
Trumps staunchest allies on Capitol Hill have pushed back against the impeachment proceedings, but even those lawmakers have stopped short of defending his conduct and have instead warned that impeachment would further divide the country at a time of boiling tensions.
Even some of Trumps supporters in conservative media have started to abandon him. Fox News commentator Geraldo Rivera threw his support behind impeachment, saying in a video message Wednesday that Trump should know that history is judging him.
A day earlier, Trump told reporters that his second impeachment was a continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics that was causing tremendous anger.
In the wake of those comments and widespread concerns that Trump supporters may descend on Washington, D.C., for Inauguration Day, the president issued a statement on Wednesday calling for calm.
In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind, Trump said. That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for.
The White House later released a five-minute, pre-recorded video address by Trump from the Oval Office in which he made no mention of the impeachment vote but said he unequivocally condemned last week’s violence at the Capitol. Trump did not acknowledge his own role in the violence.
Aides have long described the president as his own best spokesperson. He marked the day of his first impeachment by holding a two-hour rally in Michigan and live-tweeted the House hearings and his first Senate trial.
But the president has been out of view for the past week, save for a trip to the southern border on Tuesday. Without access to Twitter, he is no longer able to hit back at critics or upend the news cycle on a moments notice.
White House staff have not made use of the briefing room or disseminated statements defending Trump; instead, most watched as the House marched toward impeaching Trump a second time.
Trump’s isolation also extends beyond Washington. The events of last week have imperiled his businesses, with the PGA Tour canceling plans to host its 2022 tournament at his Bedminster, N.J., golf course and banks cutting ties with him.
Meanwhile, the presidents actions are splintering the GOP. Ten House lawmakers, including the GOPs third highest ranking lawmaker, Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyMurkowski blasts Trump’s election claims, calls House impeachment appropriateMcCarthy won’t back effort to oust CheneyUpton becomes first member of Congress to vote to impeach two presidentsMORE (Wyo.), joined with Democrats to impeach Trump on Wednesday afternoon.
Cheney, the House Republican Conference chairwoman, is now facing calls from some GOP colleagues to resign from her leadership position. She has rejected those calls.
A Senate trial is expected to commence after President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenConfirmation hearing for Biden’s DNI pick postponedBiden’s Sunday inauguration rehearsal postponed due to security concerns: reportMurkowski says it would be ‘appropriate’ to bar Trump from holding office againMORE is sworn in on Wednesday, meaning Trump would not have the defense of the White House counsels office like he did last time, though Pat Cipollone could still defend Trump in his personal capacity.
Alan DershowitzAlan Morton DershowitzWalls close in on Trump in final daysSunday shows preview: Riots roil Washington as calls for Trump’s removal growDershowitz says he’d defend Trump again in impeachment trialMORE and Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiHow to stop Trump’s secret pardonsTrump tells aides not to pay Giuliani’s legal fees: reportTrump eyes lawyer who spoke at rally to help in impeachment trial: reportMORE, two controversial lawyers who have been outspoken defenders of the president, have indicated they would be willing to represent Trump in a Senate impeachment trial.
Sources say that plans for a defense do not appear to be the subject of discussion in the White House at this stage. One former official suspected that was likely because of the rapid pace of the House impeachment, which afforded no time for hearings or participation by Trumps attorneys.
Because of the rushed nature of the Democrats second impeachment effort, its too soon to talk what the Senate defense effort will look like, said Jason Miller, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign. But it will be robust, and it will be designed to make sure that each U.S. senator realizes that Americans view this impeachment as politically motivated.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump seeks to freeze .4 billion of programs in final week of presidency McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last timeMurkowski blasts Trump’s election claims, calls House impeachment appropriateMORE, angry over what transpired in the Capitol, is not expected to defend Trump this time around. The Kentucky Republican, who will relinquish his majority leader title to Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerNikki Haley unveils PAC ahead of possible 2024 White House bidTrump calls for ‘NO violence’ amid concerns of threats around inaugurationAmazon cites death threats in push to keep Parler offlineMORE (N.Y.) next week, said in a note to colleagues Wednesday that he hasnt made a decision on whether to vote to convict Trump.
While the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate, McConnell said.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that McConnell has concluded privately that Trump committed impeachable offenses and believes that impeaching him will make it easier to purge him from the GOP.
At least 17 Republican senators would need to vote with all 50 senators in the Democratic caucus to convict Trump.
Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamMcConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last timeAdditional airlines ban guns on flights to DC ahead of inaugurationGraham congratulates former rival Harrison on being picked to lead DNCMORE (R-S.C.), who recently traveled aboard Air Force One with Trump, said he opposed impeachment, calling the process divisive and rushed. He also criticized Republicans supporting impeachment, accusing them of damaging the party, and said he feared Senate leadership was making the problem worse.
Trump allies have been circulating polling from McLaughlin and Associates, a firm favored by the president, that shows a majority of voters in battleground states surveyed this week, and Republicans in particular, do not support impeachment.
The poll, the findings of which were reviewed by The Hill, found that 65 percent of respondents believe attacking Trump and moving forward with impeachment will further divide the country.
Those close to the president highlighted that 80 percent of Trump voters and 76 percent of Republicans surveyed said they are less likely to vote for a member of Congress who votes for impeachment. The poll surveyed 800 voters from Jan. 10 to 11.
A Morning Consult poll released Wednesday morning found that 53 percent of registered voters support impeaching Trump and 54 percent support convicting and removing him from office.
One former White House official said Trump should not yet be worried about a conviction in the Senate and described the impeachment charge as weak, arguing that the text of his speech on Jan. 6 does not support the charge of incitement of insurrection.
You only worry if you think that theyve got 17 [Republican] votes, the person said. Theres no indication that they are anywhere near that number.