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With acquittal a foregone conclusion, the real drama is what Trump does next: Goodwin

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With acquittal a foregone conclusion, the real drama is what Trump does next: Goodwin

Given that there have been only four presidential impeachments in American history, and given that only one man has twice suffered the indignity, viewers who tuned into the start of Donald Trump’s second Senate trial had a right to expect a buzz of excitement and a sense of drama.

What they got instead was buzz-kill and all the drama of watching paint dry. Who knew impeachment could be so lifeless and history so meaningless?

Certainly Chief Justice John Roberts knew. His refusal to preside reveals the exercise to be a cheap knockoff rather than the real thing.

And it’s impossible to believe the Founders would approve of Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont acting as both a juror and presiding officer, a conflict of interest so large that it alone renders the trial out of bounds, as Trump lawyer David Schoen effectively argued. His display of Leahy tweets calling for conviction sealed the argument that Leahy cannot be viewed as neutral.

For viewers, Day One was mostly a dud, in that they didn’t even get a trial, only a debate about whether there should be a trial. The dueling videos were the most interesting part, but they were also irrelevant to the threshold question of constitutionality.

Although it passed in a late-afternoon vote with six Republicans joining all 50 Dems, the impeachers’ victory will be temporary. Their fundamental problem is that there can be no tension about the proceedings because there is no tension about the outcome, and thus no logical reason for the trial.

Trump is a private citizen in Florida, Joe Biden sits in the Oval Office and acquittal is rightly a foregone conclusion. The smart idea would be to call the whole thing off, on both constitutional grounds and common sense.

As I have said, Trump’s speech to the enormous rally on Jan. 6 was reckless in that it was too angry and too bitter. But there is no honest way to conclude he intended to incite the Capitol invasion and riot.

The only way Dems could argue otherwise was by omitting his line to the crowd that “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

The real question, then, is why Dems are putting the nation through the exercise again, just a year and five days after Trump was acquitted the first time.

To say they hope for partisan advantage is obvious because nothing unites their party like hating Trump. It’s the glue that holds them together and prevents the factions from breaking into civil war.

That makes Biden the chief beneficiary and explains why, despite his calls for national unity, he gave his approval to the unprecedented trial of his predecessor. If it weren’t for the endless flogging of Trump, his left-wingers would be fighting with the far-left wingers over which socialist programs to ram through now and how many dimes they can wring from taxpayers.

But Dems also perceive another, longer range advantage in trying both Trump and Americans’ patience. For at its heart, the second Trump impeachment trial is exactly like the first in that both aimed at voter suppression.

Although the very definition of impeachment focuses on past acts while in office, the twin Trump impeachments have been about looking forward to the next election. The aim has been to knock him off the ballot if possible, but if not, dirty him up so he could be defeated.

The talk about Ukraine in the first trial and about the Jan. 6 Capitol riot now is a pretext. The real driver has always been the fear of what Trump will do, not what he has done. Neutralizing him as a political force and dividing the Republican Party are the ultimate aims.

Once you see that pattern, everything else makes sense. The flimsy evidence about withholding aid to Ukraine, based largely on a single phone call where Trump released the transcript, never had a chance of success in the Senate, and the impeachers knew it. Their aim was to beat him in 2020 and they did, though it’s unlikely that impeachment made much of a difference.

Having beaten him once, you might think the Dems would no longer be afraid of Trump. But they are, which is why they are desperate to keep him off the 2024 ballot. They probably won’t succeed but their endless effort to find a mechanism reveals their fear.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, assuming he is acquitted again, even floated the idea of censuring the former president, then concocting a way to turn that into a ballot ban. Politics doesn’t get any more devious and destructive.

Trump, meanwhile, has been shockingly silent. Knocked off social media, he can’t tweet and he’s been avoiding interviews until the trial ends.

The real suspense is what he will do after that. For as much as Dems and some Washington Republicans despise him, Trump remains extraordinarily popular with GOP voters.

Polls show that a big majority of the 74.2 million voters who backed him last year would do so again, with a YouGov survey showing that 80 percent of Republicans would definitely or probably support him for president in 2024. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and others are furious with Trump, but they can read the polls, too.

The last thing they want is to have Trump turn that firepower against the GOP for the 2022 midterms or possibly even start a third party.

As usual, Trump’s decisions will be far more interesting and consequential than anything likely to happen in the Senate over the next week.

Pravda in the US

Reader Svetlana Shapiro left the Soviet Union for the US, but sees eerie parallels, writing: “The media are on Joe Biden’s side as well as the Internet giants. They would follow the best traditions of the main Soviet newspaper “Pravda” (The Truth).

Trump as well as Republicans will be blamed for every failure of the new government. This gives me a very pessimistic prognosis for our democracy.”

Exporting ‘woke’

Headline: Woke American Ideas Are a Threat, French Leaders Say

Tell us about it.

The Cuomo coverup

Before Attorney General Letitia James issued her report accusing Gov. Cuomo of undercounting nursing home deaths by 50 percent, the state was claiming that about 8,700 residents of those facilities died of the coronavirus.

Ten days later, the number is now approaching 15,000 dead, meaning James underestimated the scope of the coverup. And still Democrats in the Legislature can’t summon the courage to subpoena the State Health Department for a full accounting.

Their fear of Cuomo comes at the expense of the dead and the living.

Thankfully, the Empire Center for Public Policy filed a lawsuit, and most of the added numbers have come in response to a judge’s ruling. It makes you wonder what the state is still hiding.

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Opinion

Benjamin Netanyahu’s reckoning a sour ending for a transformative prime minister

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Benjamin Netanyahu’s reckoning a sour ending for a transformative prime minister

Benjamin Netanyahu showed the opposite of grace as he exited from power on Sunday.

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Opinion

Letters to the Editor — June 14, 2021

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Letters to the Editor — June 14, 2021

The Issue: The discussion of law and order at last week’s Democratic debate for mayor.

If any one of these five candidates becomes mayor, it will be the continuation of the de Blasio era (“Crime focus of Dem debate,” June 11).

Many of them are in favor of defunding the Police Department, which is why there is so much crime, and shootings are rising every day.

The people of this city had better wake up when they go to vote. Haven’t we had enough of this? When will it stop? These candidates will not put an end to all this.

Rob Johann

Queens

Thinking that a Republican candidate could not win the mayoral race in New York, I switched my party to Democrat so I could vote.

After listening to all the Democratic candidates during the debate last week, I want to immediately switch my party back to Republican and vote for Curtis Sliwa.

He is our only hope to live in a city that values law and order. He won’t cave to these left-wing zealots who will further destroy our city and our quality of life.

We need a mayor who can bring back the tourists, help our economy and ensure a better life for all of us.

We cannot let the city go into further decline with any of these Democratic candidates. Please, wake up and vote for someone who will lift all of us up.

Susan Green

Manhattan

The fact that Andrew Yang is slipping in the polls is the only good news in the mayoral race.

Eric Adams is talking about crime, while Yang thinks the biggest issues for the city are AI and climate change.

If Yang wins, people will be dreaming of “the good old days” under Mayor de Blasio, formerly thought to be the bottom of the barrel.

Andrew Delaney

Miami, Fla.

I am not impressed by any of the Democratic candidates for mayor of New York City.

What each of them is proposing will cause further crime, divisiveness and decay, raise taxes, make life more miserable for residents and visitors and drive more families out of the city.

What does it take to get through to the New York voter? How bad does it have to get before they abandon a party that is becoming more idiotic with every election cycle?

Take a look at cities and states that have been doing well under Republican leadership and consider voting Republican.

D.M. Diana

Greeley, Pa.

Even Adams is falling for it. He said the “solution” to city violent crime is to reach out to youth and improve mental-health services.

These chic answers are a guarantee that innocent New Yorkers will continue to be murdered, raped, thrown onto subway tracks and maimed.

Get the violent off the streets first. Whether they are criminal or mentally ill, sort that out afterward. Get them away from the rest of us first.

Paul O’Keefe

Union City, NJ

I generally agree with The Post’s endorsements, but I am baffled by its support of Adams for mayor.

His stance on the NYPD changes at his convenience. One day he’s anti-cop and a fierce critic of the NYPD (even though he was employed by the NYPD), and then he switches and comes across as pro-police.

Can New Yorkers elect a mayor who lacks common sense and leadership skills? His suggestion last summer to New Yorkers to settle disputes about illegal fireworks on their own and not call the police was deadly. Shatavia Walls, 33, died as a result.

Adams lacks the moral compass and common sense required to be a winning mayor. The people of New York deserve better.

Susan Berger

Brooklyn

Want to weigh in on today’s stories? Send your thoughts (along with your full name and city of residence) to [email protected]. Letters are subject to editing for clarity, length, accuracy and style.

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Opinion

Maya Wiley can’t contain her contempt for cops

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Maya Wiley can’t contain her contempt for cops

Maya Wiley again proved what a disaster she’d be as mayor last week, by refusing to commit to not disarming cops.

At the debate, WCBS’s Marcia Kramer pushed Mayor Bill de Blasio’s former legal adviser on what she thought of state Attorney General Letitia James’ suggestion to mandate that law-enforcers use force only as a last resort. Wiley dodged: “Safety is job one, and I’m going to keep New Yorkers safe when I’m mayor.”

So Kramer asked if she’d take guns away from the NYPD, and Wiley dropped her bomb: “I am not prepared to make that decision in a debate.”

Huh? What decision is there to make? It’d be absurd to disarm the city’s cops at any time, let alone one when the bad guys are firing their weapons at an ever-higher rate. Yet Wiley’s refusal to commit is an announcement that she finds the idea attractive.

Not that it’s a real surprise: Wiley is a police-hater who demonized NYPD officers in a campaign ad in which she claimed cops don’t think she and other black New Yorkers “deserve to breathe.”

In reality, the NYPD’s work has saved tens of thousands of black lives in recent decades, by bringing the murder rate to historic lows — though it’s now starting to inch back up because Wiley and her fans imagine that police violence is now the greater threat. Literally: She’s vowed to slash the NYPD’s budget because “trauma” from dealing with cops is a bigger problem than crime.

In reality, most minority New Yorkers want more cops in their neighborhoods, though of course they want the police to do their jobs as politely as possible. Then too, the force itself is now majority-minority.

All of which is why Eric Adams wisely made fighting crime the signature issue of his campaign and why he leads in the polls. But a large and fractured field plus the advent of ranked-choice voting could let a loon like Wiley sneak into the Democratic nomination and likely victory in the fall — unless all sane New Yorkers make sure to leave her entirely off their ballots and choose only pro-public-safety candidates.

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