- At least five Republican senators said they believed President Trump would act more cautiously after he was removed from office.
- In the days since, Trump has cleared his administration of what he sees as disloyal, and his attorney general has had unprecedented political influence over the Justice Department.
- "He doesn't give F …," a GOP strategist, who is often in contact with the White House, told Insider. "Why should he? He is the commander-in-chief, and the party did the right thing by standing by its side."
- Trump has shown GOP senators "how stupid, naive, or hypocritical they were," a former prosecutor told Insider. "The guy has a well-orchestrated hype, earning money while lowering his golf score."
- "There must be mass protests," a fascism expert told Insider on Wednesday. "The Republican Party betrays democracy, and these are historical times. Someone has to push back."
- Further information can be found on the Business Insider homepage.
When Republican senators voted for President Donald Trump's acquittal in an almost partisan vote last week, some said he learned his lesson from impeachment himself.
"We published our statements and he was impeached," said Senator Rob Portman of Ohio. Portman has said for months that Trump's behavior towards Ukraine is inappropriate. "It is our responsibility to find out what we think is the right path. For me, it was speaking out."
"He was indicted and criticized by both Republican and Democratic senators," said Maine Senator Susan Collins in an interview with CBS News. "I think he'll be a lot more careful in the future."
"I think he has learned that he needs to be a little more careful and cautious about how he puts things," said West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito when she expressed her displeasure.
Capito added the following caveat, but it didn't stop her from recognizing Trump: "Although he may not, because you know, as we said, as he said, he is who he is."
"If we sit back and don't challenge the executive, we'll get what we get, a weakened legislature and an empowered executive," said Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, who nevertheless voted to acquit Trump as well.
"If a call like this leads to impeachment, I would imagine that he thinks twice before doing it again," said Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, referring to Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on 25. July impeachment center.
"He doesn't give f —"
In the days since his acquittal, the president has shown no evidence that he has learned of his impeachment, as Republican senators said. If anything, he has become more vengeful.
A high-level government told The Daily Beast: "I think he feels the chains are out now. It's like things have changed. The gloves are off. And everything that used to be silent is now. .. Out." outdoors."
The president admitted on Wednesday that he hadn't learned the lesson the Republican senators hoped for.
"Some Republicans said they hoped you would learn a lesson from impeachment," a Trump reporter asked. "What lesson did you learn from impeachment?"
"That the Democrats are crooked," Trump replied. "That they shouldn't have been impeached and that my poll scores are 10 points higher."
The president's actions show the "folly" and "naivety" of Republican lawmakers who publicly expressed hope that he would change or extend his impeachment, said Jens David Ohlin, vice dean at Cornell Law School and an expert in criminal law and constitutional law.
"I don't think it's too strong to say that senators like Collins and Alexander are indirectly responsible for this mess," Ohlin told Insider. "They had the opportunity to hold Trump accountable and refused – and then had the audacity to claim that the administration would behave again. If anything, things have only gotten worse."
A Republican strategist who is in frequent contact with the White House said Trump believed his acquittal had confirmed that he had the right to "get rid of" those whom he believed were not true to him.
"He doesn't give an f —," said this person to Insider, who asked for anonymity because she described internal discussions on the subject. "Why should he? He is the commander-in-chief, and the party did the right thing by standing by its side."
Jeffrey Cramer, a longtime former federal prosecutor who has spent 12 years in the DOJ, told insiders that Trump's recent actions show that Republican senators "are using straws to justify their decision to prove the case against Trump, but they haven't voted for his conviction. "
"Trump showed them how stupid, naive, or hypocritical they were," he said. "Hardly a profile in courage."
"At least Barr is at the forefront of helping the President and his co-conspirators," added Cramer. "It is unclear why an adult believes that this president has the ability to learn. The guy does a well-organized crime while making money and lowering his golf score."
Trump's revenge is far from over
Here are some of the key events that have happened since Trump's acquittal:
- Last Friday, Trump fired Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, Ukraine's leading expert on the National Security Council, and Gordon Sondland, the US Ambassador to the European Union, who both testified against him at the House hearings.
- Trump also fired Vindman's twin brother, Jewgeni, who worked alongside him as an ethics lawyer in the NSC, but did not participate in the impeachment investigation.
- On Monday, Attorney General William Barr admitted that he had set up an "admission process" for the Department of Justice to examine material that Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani had collected from Ukrainian sources about former Vice President Joe Biden.
- On Tuesday, Barr and his top aides publicly overturned career prosecutors against longtime GOP strategist Roger Stone and demanded a lower sentence than those recommended by prosecutors. Barr's intervention resulted in the withdrawal or resignation of all four prosecutors working on Stone's case.
NBC News reports These senior Justice Department officials also intervened last month to lie to the FBI about the U.S. government's condemnation recommendation for Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, who pleaded guilty, as part of the Russia investigation.
According to NBC News, the revised file in Flynn's case was removed from work the same day Jessie Liu, the former U.S. attorney in Washington, DC who oversaw the DOJ's criminal investigation into former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe and was replaced with Barr's selection.
The president's revenge on his supposed enemies is far from over.
Earlier this week, Trump suggested that the U.S. military discipline Alexander Vindman for his actions, despite the fact that Vindman testified after receiving a legitimate summons to Congress (the military later confirmed that it would not take disciplinary action against Vindman).
And White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said that more shots will likely follow the pike.
Fascism experts meanwhile warn that Congress Republicans' failure to hold Trump accountable will allow him to respond to his worst instincts.
John Stanley, a Yale philosophy professor who wrote How Fascism Works, told insiders John Haltiwanger that Trump and Republicans' recent actions come "straight from authoritarian literature."
"There must be mass protests," he added. "The Republican Party betrays democracy, and these are historical times. Someone has to push back."