New profiles in courage: Votes to convict Donald Trump in the impeachment trial


Dana Milbank, “Mitt Romney’s act of bravery changed nothing and changed everything,” Washington Post, February 5, 2020 (4:53 p.m.).

Amber Phillips, “‘The president is guilty’: Mitt Romney’s speech on his vote to convict Trump, annotated,” Washington Post, February 5, 2020 (2:37 p.m. EST).

Dana Milbank recalls the courage it took to speak out against Joseph McCarthy, whose lawyer, Roy Cohn, was Donald Trump’s mentor:

Every once in a long while a single act of conscience can repair the nation’s soul.

In the dark days of Joe McCarthy’s terror, Sen. Margaret Chase Smith of Maine spoke out against her fellow Republican when nobody else would.

During Watergate, Sen. Howard Baker of Tennessee uttered the immortal words — of a president from his own party — “What did the president know and when did he know it?”
Impeachment trial live updates

Now Sen. Mitt Romney joins that honorable pantheon of lawmakers, from John Quincy Adams to John McCain, who put principle over party. In Wednesday’s Senate votes ending the impeachment trial, the senator from Utah cast the lone Republican vote to remove Trump from office — and the lone vote by any senator in history to remove a president of his own party.

About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.