Senate Republicans believe Trump's conduct with Ukraine was wrong, but they plan to acquit him anyway.
The Senate's impeachment trial of Donald Trump is hurtling to the finish line, with Republican senators poised to block any new witness testimony or evidence before voting to acquit Trump on the two charges he faces.
And the excuses Senate Republicans have made for why they will vote to let Trump off with any punishment range from the nonsensical to the absurd.
Democrats, for their part, say the trial has been a sham and that Trump's acquittal means nothing because the trial was merely a GOP cover-up of his actions.
But Republicans don't seem to care, and they're making up excuses for why they will let Trump off the hook.
Here are the five most absurd:
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND)
In an interview with CNN's Dana Bash on Friday, Cramer said, "I'm not saying there wasn't a quid pro quo, but I don't they made a compelling case to prove that it was a quid pro quo."
Cramer made this comment after saying he won't vote to allow witness testimony. That includes testimony from former national security adviser John Bolton, who in a forthcoming book literally says Trump engaged in a quid pro quo.
According to reports, Bolton says in the book that Trump conditioned congressionally appropriated military aid to Ukraine on Ukraine's willingness to announce an investigation into his potential 2020 Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.
That is the very definition of a quid pro quo, a Latin phrase that translates to "something for something." Trump withheld something (military aid that 43 GOP senators voted to give to Ukraine) for something (an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden that would benefit Trump's 2020 reelection campaign).
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Alexander will vote to acquit Trump as well as to block witness testimony in the trial, even though he said he believes Trump's conduct was wrong.
Alexander said it was "inappropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political opponent and to withhold United States aid to encourage that investigation."
But Alexander said that even though Democrats proved the quid pro quo with a "mountain of overwhelming evidence," he still doesn't believe the quid pro quo meets "the Constitution's 'treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors' standard for an impeachable offense."
Even more, the 79-year-old Alexander is voting to block witnesses and acquit Trump even though he is retiring from the Senate, and thus does not face any political pressure for his future electoral chances.
Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN)
Braun is yet another Republican who believes Trump's conduct is wrong but will vote to acquit him anyway.
He believes that this impeachment process was enough to convince Trump to behave better in the future.
"I think he'll be instructed by what has occurred here," Braun said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."
His comment came after host Chuck Todd asked Braun whether an acquittal would give Trump carte blanche to continue to cheat in the 2020 election.
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)
Barrasso will vote to acquit Trump and block witnesses. And he has a novel reason for why he doesn't believe hearing more evidence of Trump's quid pro quo is necessary.
"There will be new evidence every day. There will something new that comes out every day," Barrasso said last week, implying that's a reason not to include any of the evidence in the impeachment trial.
Barrasso also said Republicans have made up their minds, so new evidence is not needed.
"I don't believe that there are any Democrats who need additional information to make a decision on how they are gonna vote, and I can't imagine there are many Republicans [who need more information] either," Barrasso said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
At the beginning of the impeachment investigation, Graham said that any evidence proving a quid pro quo between Trump and Ukraine would be "very disturbing."
However, after that evidence was presented, Graham now says a quid pro quo is "below the standards to remove a president from office."
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)
Rubio, the one-time Trump foe who has since fallen in line, went a step further than his colleagues.
Rubio appeared to concede that Trump's conduct was, in fact, impeachable. However, he doesn't believe Trump should be removed from office "just because" of that.
"Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a President from office," Rubio wrote in a Medium post announcing that he will vote against calling witnesses and for acquitting Trump.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.