By Michael Jarvis, London UK
For only the third time in American history, a sitting president will be impeached.
On Wednesday, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump on two counts; abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The trail, in the US Senate, is expected to start next month (January 2020), a presidential election year.
The outcome, unless something dramatic happens, is to all intents and purposes, already pre-determined.
Mr Trump is almost guaranteed to be acquitted along the same party line ruling that impeached him.
The US Senate is controlled by the Republicans, the House of Representatives by the Democrats.
In a raucous and divisive session along party lines, President Trump has been deemed by the Democrats as being ‘a clear and present danger’ to America’s democracy, and in flagrant violation of the country’s constitution.
President Trump is alleged to have pressured the government of Ukraine to investigate his Democratic political rival and presidential challenge, former Obama vice-president Joe Biden over business dealings in Ukraine involving Mr Biden’s son.
He is accused of using the threat of withholding American aid and promising the Ukrainian president visits to the White House.
That vote against him was carried by 230 - 197 with just two Democrats opposing it.
The second count of the impeachment, obstruction of Congress, alleges that President Trump sought to prevent the House of Representatives from carrying out its lawful duty by withholding key evidence and barring his staff from testifying.
That was carried 229 to 198, with just one former Republican member voting against.
His legendary outbursts hit new highs (or lows) in the process of the heated impeachment hearings.
He furiously fired off a six-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accusing her of president over ‘a witch-hunt’ against him and maintains that he has ‘done nothing wrong’.
The impeachment trial may very well, and is highly likely to support him..and acquit him.
But does it end there?
President Trump’s impeachment is a result of another instalment in a long line of actions by him which have drawn attention to his marmalade-like character; you either like him or loathe him.
But will the Democrats have succeeded in once more painting, if not necessarily tainting, Mr Trump as a man of enormously flawed personality traits, not fit for high office as they claim.
And, in the end, will it matter? Is Donald Trump the ultimate political ‘teflon Donald?’
Which side is winning depends on which camp you speak or listen to.
His continuing popularity amongst his base speaks to the former while the intensifying loathing by those who despise him attempts at a counterbalance.
In a charged and divisive, partisan political environment where ‘winning is not everything, it’s the only thing’ President Trump seems destined to win the ultimate prize, a second term in the November 2020 presidential elections.
It’s already speculated that some of his political accusers and will pay the ultimate price; losing their seats.
All of this begs the question; what’s really on trial with the impeachment of President Trump?
Is it the president himself only, is it American political morality…or is it a new state of global strongman/woman political leadership arrogating ultimate power unto themselves?
The right to do wrong?