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The same Trump who should have been removed a year ago

This is why 11 months ago we called on the Senate to convict President Trump and remove him from office on the “abuse of power” impeachment article submitted to it by the House of Representatives.

“Acquitting President Trump of this article of impeachment, we fear, will embolden him to again abuse the power of his office for political self-preservation,” stated our Feb. 1, 2019 editorial.

Recall why Trump was on trial in the U.S. Senate. For weeks, at Trump’s instruction and without legal justification, the administration had blocked $391 million in military assistance to Ukraine as a means of pressuring its leadership to produce dirt on Hunter Biden, son of former President Joe Biden, focusing on Biden’s service on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company.

Trump wanted to retain power. He saw Joe Biden as his biggest electoral threat — Trump appears to have been right about that — and wanted a manufactured scandal out of Ukraine to eliminate Biden’s candidacy. And so, in a phone call to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, he demanded a scandal in return for releasing desperately needed military aid.

Zelensky would not play ball.

And neither would Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican.

In a tone and manner that must sound familiar to President Zelensky, Trump in an hour-long phone call Saturday pressured Raffensperger to “recalculate” the Georgia vote.

“All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump said in the call.

That’s all, just manipulate the vote to overturn the certified result.

When the secretary of state resisted, when he noted the data and multiple recounts confirmed Trump had lost, then came the warning. Calculating the results other than Trump wanted them calculated could be seen as, well, criminal, the president said.

"And you can't let that happen. That's a big risk to you and to Ryan (Germany), your lawyer," Trump said.

It was not an isolated effort by Trump to subvert the 2020 election results.

He tried to convince the Republican Arizona governor not to certify Biden’s victory there. Then he attacked the governor, Doug Ducey, who had loyally supported Trump’s bid for re-election, when he did certify the incontrovertible results.

“Why would he do that? Arizona will not forget what Ducey did to them. We didn’t just win this state by a little, we won by a lot,” said Trump, speaking from his alternate reality.

Trump also summoned Michigan state lawmakers to the White House to try to convince them to toss out that state’s results because Biden won. Trump, likewise, called the speaker of Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives to, also unsuccessfully, solicit his help in overturning his loss in that state.

That Biden will take the oath of office on Jan. 20 is not for Trump’s lack of trying to manipulate the election results and fraudulently perpetuate his hold on presidential power.

Rather than condemning such actions, at least a dozen Republican senators and an estimated 100 Republican House members are preparing to endorse Trump’s dangerous, anti-democratic and arguably illegal conduct by challenging the electoral votes won by Biden in key swing states. It will turn what should be the perfunctory joint meeting of Congress on Wednesday to accept the Electoral College results into a sideshow.

King George III would have appreciated the bootlicking servitude these Republicans are displaying by feeding Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud, assertions that have been repeatedly rejected by state and federal courts, including multiple times by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Granted, in 2005 Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio, and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., challenged the electoral results in Ohio, claiming irregularities in President George W. Bush’s re-election victory over Democrat John Kerry. While a misguided move, the scale and circumstances were far different. Kerry did not support the challenge, which was quickly rejected by the Senate 74-1 and the House 267-31.

This time the loser, President Trump, is being joined by a large contingent of Republican lawmakers in undermining confidence in the vote and, by extension, the democratic process. It is a shameful act to placate the Trump base for future political benefit. Patriots of all political persuasions must condemn it.

The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Tim Dwyer, Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere, Managing Editor Izaskun E. Larrañeta, staff writer Julia Bergman and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.

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