The final result of the impeachment process is so foreordained that it makes one wonder if it is worth doing at all, despite the significant abuses of the man in the White House.

There is no chance Republicans will have a sudden epiphany and vote to convict their president in the Senate after the House impeaches him on a party-line vote. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is openly meeting with Trump’s lawyers to plan the Senate trial, which McConnell says he knows will find the defendant not guilty.

It seems wrong to know the verdict has been determined before the trial even begins. Nevertheless, from the start it was hard to expect any other outcome. Impeachment is a political exercise and, in today’s extremely polarized Congress, the votes have never been there to take it all the way. The question for Democrats will be: Who has been hurt most when this is all over, you or President Donald Trump? The disturbing possibility is that impeachment may strengthen Trump politically. Once he’s been impeached, supposedly the worst possible political fate, there’s nothing left to stop him from going on to bigger and bolder abuses of power except an election — which is, of course, the best way to deal with an aberrant commander in chief.

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