Teresa Hanafin wrote in the Boston Globe feature called “Fast Forward” about the aftermath of the impeachment vote and about Trump’s bizarre attack on Rep. Debbie Dingell in her home state of Michigan. Usually, when people use the term “X Derangement Syndrome,” they refer to people who become deranged thinking too much about X. In this case, it is Trump who displays his own derangement syndrome, lashing out at any member of Congress who is not his toady, and in the case of his rally yesterday, spewing blatant lies about Rep. Debbie Dingell.

 

So the House of Representatives impeached Trump last night on two articles: Abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Now what?The Constitution doesn’t address the issue of the House transmitting the articles of impeachment, similar to an indictment, to the Senate for trial. Senate rules say that its trial process won’t begin until House managers give them the articles.

Last night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hinted that she will not choose trial managers or send over the articles until she is assured that the Senate will hold a fair trial, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has announced he has no intention of doing. He already has started planning the trial with Trump’s lawyers, which is like a jury plotting with the attorneys for a defendant to get him off.

This scenario of the House withholding the articles was raised by Harvard constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe in an opinion piecein The Washington Post Monday. He argued that the move could strengthen the hand of Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s Democratic leader, as he negotiates with McConnell over the outlines of a trial. Schumer has requested the appearance of four witnesses who refused to testify before the House, including acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton, a request McConnell immediately rejected. Those would-be witnesses have firsthand knowledge of the Ukraine scheme, which makes their testimony exceedingly dangerous to Trump.

But more substantively, Tribe wrote, “the public has a right to observe a meaningful trial rather than simply learn that the result is a verdict of not guilty.”

McConnell’s sham trial “would fail to render a meaningful verdict of acquittal. It would also fail to inform the public, which has the right to know the truth about the conduct of its president.”

There are a few things that could happen in the Senate. McConnell could just not hold a trial, although Trump wants to be acquitted so that he can tout that on the campaign trail. In another scenario, under Senate rules, four Republicans can go to McConnell and insist that he come up with mutually agreeable guidelines for a fair trial, including the calling of witnesses. I’m not sure how long it takes for a human to grow a spine, so that scenario might not be realistic.

Since the notion that the Senate doesn’t start its trial process until it receives the articles of impeachment from the House is a Senate rule, could McConnell and the GOP simply change that rule to say that the formality of receiving the articles isn’t necessary, that a trial can start as soon as the House votes?

McConnell spoke on the floor of the Senate this morning, but he gave no hint of his next move, and instead spent his time trashing the House.


Meanwhile, an angry, red-faced Trump predictably lashed out at anyone within reach during his campaign rally last night, but his attack on Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell and her late husband John was beyond shameful. And it was stunning that he did it in the Dingells’ home state of Michigan, a state that John Dingell, a World War II vet, represented in Congress for more than 59 years, making him the longest-serving member of Congress in US history.

After John announced his retirement in 2014, Debbie was elected to replace him, and has been reelected twice. It’s safe to say that the Dingells are beloved in many quarters of Michigan.

When John died in February, Trump followed standard protocol and ordered flags lowered to half-staff. He then called Debbie to brag about what he did, and she thanked him. But in Trump’s mind, that standard presidential act put Debbie in his debt, because everything is a quid pro quo to him.

Which brings us to last night. Why Trump decided to go after Debbie Dingell is perplexing; perhaps he saw video of Pelosi taking Debbie’s hand and the two of them walking together into the House chamber to vote on impeachment. At any rate, at the rally he immediately started lying. He said that after John’s death, he gave him “A-plus” treatment when he didn’t have to, that he could have given him B or C treatment (whatever that means). He said he “gave everything,” including lowering the flags and “the Rotunda.”

Two falsehoods there: The president has nothing to do with who lies in state or in honor in the Capitol Rotunda. That’s Congress’s building and Congress’s decision. And Debbie Dingell declined the offer to have her husband lie in state there, a reflection of the couple’s modesty.

Trump also told the crowd that Debbie called him to thank him profusely, when actually, he called her.

But the most despicable thing he did was to imply that John Dingell was in hell. “She calls me up. ‘It’s the nicest thing that’s ever happened. Thank you so much. John would be so thrilled. He’s looking down, he’d be so thrilled. Thank you so much sir.’ I said that’s OK, don’t worry about it,” Trump said, recounting the call. “Maybe he’s looking up, I don’t know.”

This morning, Debbie Dingell revealed on CNN that her late husband’s brother entered hospice care at Thanksgiving. That holiday was difficult, she said, and Christmas is going to be even sadder. She and her family are still grieving.

But none of that matters to a guy who has publicly mocked a disabled reporter, insulted Gold Star parents, and so much more