1. In a recent interview with Fareed Zakaria on GPS, you said that you considered the impeachment vote a victory, in some ways, for Democrats. Senators Cassidy of Louisiana, Burr of North Carolina and even Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who some thought might side with the GOP, voting to convict. But, looking at it from another angle, were there any Republicans senators you were hoping would vote guilty but didn't?
No. One of the reasons I was excited by the outcome is the conviction got every Republican vote that I was confident about and a couple that surprised me entirely. I did not expect Senator Cassidy of Louisiana to vote to convict and I was very impressed. It probably comes as a surprise to much of the world that 57 votes out of 100 are not enough, but they weren't enough. Nevertheless, they made the point. Remember, Trump was impeached while he was president and then the trial that happened afterwards. While there's some controversy around whether you can impeach somebody after he's left office, there's no controversy that you can impeach him while he's in office and the trial can happen afterwards. That trial had the effect of sending a message to all of history that a big majority of the United States Senate thought that Donald Trump was guilty. More importantly, the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who did vote to acquit Donald Trump, made it clear that he did so only for very technical reasons and he agreed with the impeachment managers that Donald Trump was guilty of everything that was accused of him. So, we have a fixed mark in history and I think that was a success. Many people hoped for more but if you hope for an impossible result, you shouldn't get disappointed. If you get a good result that is a possible result, that is good because the perfect result you hoped for was always impossible.
2. But don't you feel like Senator Graham of South Carolina, who on the day of the Capital Riot completely severed his own ties with Trump, might have voted to convict?
I never expected much from Lindsey Graham, I am sorry to say. I do think, however, there will be justice done. Donald Trump has done other things that are wrong and there are processes. Senator McConnell said there are other legal processes that he will face so I think he will face a kind of justice eventually; I think he has faced a kind of justice already. It is not all one might have hoped for but, as the article I wrote about the trial was headlined, “It's not perfect, but it will do”.
3. If Trump were convicted, Vice President Mike Pence would have taken his office as President of the United States. On that basis, who would have been a better president- Pence or Trump?
Mike Pence is a normal politician. He is a conservative Republican and, while I think many of my liberal friends wouldn't have liked the way that Vice President Pence governed, it would be in the realm of the normal. If Donald Trump had been removed at the beginning of 2020 and Mike Pence had become president, of course he would have worn a face mask and of course he would have listened to the scientists about covid; he would have done his best. He might have done a bad job but he would not treat Covid like Donald Trump who treated Covid as a personal criticism. Trump refused to admit it was happening because it was all about him and his ego- there is something abnormal about that. Mike Pence might not have done the best job but he would have been a normal politician who would have done his best. Also, Mike Pence is a financially honest person. He is not a crook whereas Trump is the biggest crook ever to be president.