Error and Trial

Todd S. Purdum
Error and Trial

As the Senate impeachment trial droned on Thursday afternoon, Representative Jerry Nadler, one of the House managers prosecuting President Donald Trump, launched into a long, scholarly lecture on the constitutional remedy for presidential “abuse, betrayal, corruption”—what he called “the ABCs of impeachable offenses.” In the last row of the chamber’s Democratic side, Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris sat in forced silence. This is surely not how either big-name Democrat had planned to spend the third week of January: in the political equivalent of their parents’ basement, having flunked out of the presidential race they’d approached with such high hopes last year. Less than two weeks before the Iowa caucuses, much attention is focused on the three Democratic senators—Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota—who are compelled to be mute, hour after hour, while their top competitors, Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg, are free to talk up a storm in Dubuque, Des Moines, Davenport, Marshalltown, Mason City, Ames, and Clear Lake, because neither is a sitting senator.