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TRIAL AN ERROR

What do you call a trial in which the jurors decline to hear from a key witness who could provide damning testimony against the accused because they’d made up their minds to acquit before they’d even heard the opening statements?

A) A farce.

B) A sham.

C) A travesty.

D) An abdication of civic responsibility.

E) A repudiation of constitutional obligations.

F) All of the above.

When the trial in question is the impeachment of President Donald Trump, the answer is F.

Republican senators supposedly sitting in judgment were momentarily put on the spot when former National Security Adviser John Bolton unequivocally confirmed, via leaked book extracts, that Trump was the prime mover behind the so-called “drug deal”: coercing the Ukrainian Government into launching, with fanfare, an investigation into former Democratic Vice President and potential presidential rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

But they got over it. They’re beyond embarrassment, beyond shame, indifferent to the truth, right and wrong or the national interest. Indeed, the various defences offered on Trump’s behalf provide a snapshot of US conservatism’s moral and intellectual collapse and reinforce the depressing reality that, with a few honourable exceptions, congressional Republicans have chosen to be the high priests of Trump’s cult of personality.

Leaving aside the risible premise of Trump as an anti-corruption crusader, there’s zero evidence that either Biden was involved in corrupt activities.

It began with an anonymous whistle-blower’s complaint that, in a

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