Washington's agony is a win for autocrats and strongmen

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks for the first time following the historic House vote to impeach President Donald Trump for the second time, and signs the article of "incitement of insurrection."

Posted: Jan 14, 2021 8:40 PM
Updated: Jan 14, 2021 8:40 PM

Just 10 Republicans voted not to defend the indefensible.

Donald Trump has become the first and only President to be impeached twice, but most of his enabling party refused to make him pay for inciting violent insurrection. The few GOP House members who did vote to impeach braved personal abuse and attacks from colleagues, and they risk losing top party posts and stirring primary campaigns the next time they seek reelection.

The House debate before Wednesday's vote was a festival of hypocrisy, false moral equivalence and open lying as Trump's supporters denied reality in his defense. Some who had spent months pretending that Joe Biden hadn't won a free and fair election accused Democrats of fracturing national unity. Others warned that impeachment could spark violence, effectively validating the intimidation tactics of last week's mob.

Several Republicans allowed that Trump was at fault but argued the impeachment was too rushed on principle; more painted the process as the act of left-wing Trump-haters desperate to "cancel" him in a fit of political corrrectness.

Now Trump's fate is in the hands of the Senate — and more directly in those of another longtime enabler, Mitch McConnell. The Republican majority leader has finally broken with Trump by signaling he might vote to convict in an eventual Senate trial. If he does, other Republicans might join him to construct the two-thirds majority needed to convict. By then, Trump would be an ex-president -- but he could be barred from running for office ever again.

It's a long shot. But Wednesday's unique second impeachment vote already ensures that for as long as the American republic survives, Trump's name will be accompanied by a historic stain.

'Clueless what any of this means internationally or historically'

While the impeachment vote was going on, one senior Trump adviser told CNN's Jim Acosta that the outgoing President had yet to grasp the magnitude of the damage being done to his standing in American history and the nation's place on the world stage. The President is "clueless what any of this means internationally or historically," the adviser said. But he does worry about the potential effect on his business and "long-term brand."

Mission accomplished

Nice work, Mr. Putin.

According to a US intelligence community report, Russia's chief goal in interfering in the 2016 election in support of Trump against Democrat Hillary Clinton was to "undermine public faith in the US democratic process." Four years on, there have been two impeachments and an insurrection against the US legislature. Millions believe Trump's lies that he was illegally ejected from power, and doubt Biden's legitimacy.

Conspiracy theorists have seats in Congress. There are serious questions about whether one of the country's great political parties is now anti-democratic. The Covid-19 pandemic exposed weaknesses in a federal system that grants vast power to the states. And America's self-appointed role as an exceptional nation and beacon of democracy is in the gutter.

Most of the disorienting events of the last few years can be blamed directly on Trump and his particular skill at tearing at the social, racial and political divides that are just below the nation's surface. So the ex-KGB man in the Kremlin hardly deserves all the credit. But Russia, China and other autocratic nations are gaining much from Washington's agony. They're already using it to promote their own closed and totalitarian societies as models of comparative order and efficiency -- and to beat back brave local voices calling for democracy and human rights.

In an effective declaration of victory for Russia's espionage offensive against the US more than four years ago, Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the lower house of the Russian Parliament, slid home the knife. "Following the events that unfolded after the presidential elections, it is meaningless to refer to America as the example of democracy," he said.

"We are on the verge of reevaluating the standards that are being promoted by the United States of America, that is exporting its vision of democracy and political systems around the world. Those in our country who love to cite their example as leading will also have to reconsider their views."

'You have seen what rioting is in Washington'

On the eve of Uganda's elections, longtime President Yoweri Museveni told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that he had every right to a sixth term -- and that protesters supporting rival candidate Bobi Wine were equivalent to the anti-democratic rioters seen in Washington last week.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 296745

Reported Deaths: 6783
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19731230
Hinds18881393
Harrison16780282
Rankin12787265
Jackson12643229
Lee9703161
Madison9484203
Jones8005147
Forrest7250138
Lauderdale6847227
Lowndes6033140
Lamar590980
Lafayette5747113
Washington5229130
Bolivar4620124
Oktibbeha442194
Panola432396
Pearl River4193132
Warren4138115
Pontotoc410771
Marshall404492
Monroe3993128
Union396474
Neshoba3822170
Lincoln3564104
Hancock350277
Leflore3389119
Sunflower319286
Tate303374
Pike301796
Scott295271
Alcorn292463
Yazoo290865
Itawamba290275
Coahoma282069
Tippah279565
Copiah279259
Simpson276680
Prentiss271158
Wayne254541
Leake253172
Marion252778
Covington249780
Grenada248578
Adams235078
George232445
Newton231252
Winston221979
Jasper213845
Tishomingo212965
Attala206870
Chickasaw201453
Holmes182770
Clay179251
Stone173029
Tallahatchie171439
Clarke169672
Calhoun158528
Smith153033
Yalobusha145536
Greene127933
Walthall124540
Noxubee123131
Montgomery122939
Perry122235
Lawrence120621
Carroll119025
Amite112235
Webster111132
Jefferson Davis102731
Tunica99523
Claiborne99129
Benton93924
Humphreys93027
Kemper90423
Quitman77414
Franklin76219
Choctaw69817
Jefferson62827
Wilkinson62427
Sharkey49117
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 498076

Reported Deaths: 10094
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson716711387
Mobile36294737
Madison32616468
Tuscaloosa24340421
Montgomery22739519
Shelby22174218
Baldwin19873289
Lee15039157
Calhoun13832293
Morgan13753254
Etowah13390325
Marshall11448211
Houston10124264
Elmore9483190
Limestone9420138
St. Clair9022227
Cullman8984182
Lauderdale8612214
DeKalb8489175
Talladega7606165
Walker6585259
Jackson6545104
Autauga632492
Blount6236127
Colbert6001121
Coffee5264103
Dale4671107
Russell406933
Franklin399878
Covington3993106
Chilton3898103
Escambia379173
Tallapoosa3622143
Clarke344053
Chambers3431111
Dallas3422142
Pike293373
Marion288695
Lawrence284985
Winston258368
Bibb246160
Geneva240370
Marengo238857
Pickens225457
Barbour213651
Hale212269
Fayette202057
Butler201466
Henry183541
Cherokee178039
Monroe166739
Randolph164840
Washington156836
Macon147745
Crenshaw146255
Clay145954
Cleburne139841
Lamar133733
Lowndes132751
Wilcox122925
Bullock117336
Conecuh107024
Perry106127
Sumter99732
Coosa90224
Greene88532
Choctaw55323
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