From the viewpoint of some Republican senators, the compelling case presented by House prosecutors carries a silver lining: It means they likely won’t have to worry about Trump running for president again in three years, while at the same time eroding his influence in party politics more generally.
Several Republican senators became irate watching videos of the violence and chaos inside the Capitol on 6 January, including footage of police officers being called “pigs” and “traitors” and one officer screaming as he was crushed by rioters battering a police line.
Other Republican senators, even those who have indicated they will vote to acquit, say it would be a good thing if the impeachment trial helps distance the party from Trump, who has thoroughly dominated GOP politics over the past five years.
“I can’t imagine the emotional reaction, the visceral reaction to what we saw today doesn’t have people thinking, ‘This is awful,’ whatever their view is on whether the president ought to be impeached or convicted,” said another GOP senator. “What would stand out to my colleagues is there was no rescue, there was nothing that came to put an end to it.”