The problem is, of course, acting upon and prioritizing President-elect Joe Biden’s 100-day agenda, which includes some pretty essential stuff. Biden has suggested that the Senate bifurcate its time, divided between confirming his Cabinet members and working on COVID-19 relief on the one hand, and impeachment on the other. Presumably, Pelosi, Schumer, and Biden are discussing this now, trying to determine the best course of action, now that McConnell has screwed them all by refusing to take responsibility for Trump. As usual.
Conviction will require two-thirds of the Senate, meaning 17 Republicans will have to join with Democrats to convict. The problem McConnell and those Republicans face is that every day that passes reveals more horrific details of the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, and more implications that there was a level of Republican institutional support for it, from members of Congress who might have been complicit to the Republican Attorneys General Association. There’s a whole lot of smoke right now obscuring just how deep the plotting for the insurrection went, and when it’s cleared it could be exceedingly bad news for Republicans. That’s where the delay—allowing for a lot more discovery—could help seal Trump’s fate with Republicans.
McConnell is making a bet, apparently, that it won’t work that way, that the delay will distract the nation from the horror that has been replayed over and over again of their house, the Capitol, being besieged and vandalized by a mob screaming for blood. The good news is that Republicans’ initial efforts of pretending at “unity” didn’t win over a single Democrat, and in fact 10 Republicans voted to impeach. Biden is not saying anything about “looking forward, not back” and is not trying to sweep any of this under the rug of history. Corporate America is further distancing itself from Republicans by the minute. This is not going to go away with Trump—and the Republican Party can’t afford for it to. The reckoning will come, and Republicans are going to again feel the pressure of choosing to stand with Trump or with the country.