Stripped of specific context, Thursday's events in Washington were remarkable. Ninety-nine U.S. senators — Oklahoma's Jim Inhofe was absent, dealing with a loved one's medical emergency — swore an oath promising to impartially weigh whether President Donald Trump's conduct merits his being removed from office.
It's historic, only the third time in history the U.S. Senate will consider throwing a president out of the White House. It's serious, solemn stuff, or at least it would be, if not for that pesky, specific context. It's tough to take any of this seriously because everyone, everyone, knows exactly how Trump's trial is going to go.
Texas, thanks to one of the Constitution's many anti-democratic quirks, has two members on the president's jury, just like Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. Those jurors, Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, are approaching their task with about as much solemnity as a cat approaching a canary.
Cornyn, up for reelection in 2020, followed a path many up-for-election Republicans are taking and attempted to raise cash and mine a little data by showing his undying support for Dear Leader.
Cruz's reaction to the process has been a little more fun, and a lot more head-scratching. Repeatedly over the last 36 hours, Texas' junior senator has stressed that he's going to do everything in his power to ensure that Trump's Senate trial is fair, before giving the game away in his next sentence or tweet.
Does a man who's already evaluated the articles of impeachment sent to the Senate by the U.S. House as "facially-deficient" sound like one ready to impartially evaluate the evidence?
There's even a video version made on the Capitol subway, if that's your thing.
One side of Cruz's mouth says "fair trial" and the other, again, says that Trump can't be convicted because he hasn't engaged in any criminal activity.
Trump's Senate trial resumes Tuesday. Cornyn and Cruz will be there, for what reason we don't know.