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I don’t blame President Trump for his angst and bitterness over his impeachment by the House of Representatives. In his mind, he has done “nothing wrong” and not acted outside the constitutional powers vested in him and so his impeachment should not have come to pass. He believes that the president can legally extract personal concessions from the recipients of foreign aid, and he also believes that he can legally order his subordinates to ignore congressional subpoenas.

Hence, his public denunciations of his Senate trial as a charade, a joke and a hoax. His trial is not a charade or a joke or a hoax. It is deadly serious business based on well-established constitutional norms.

The House of Representatives — in proceedings in which the president chose not to participate — impeached Trump for abuse of power and contempt of Congress. The abuse consists of his efforts to extract a personal political “favor” from the president of Ukraine as a precondition to the delivery of $391 million in military aid. The favor he wanted was an announcement of a Ukrainian investigation of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden and his son Hunter.

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