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Jared Kushner is a genius. It’s all too easy to overlook the sheer brilliance of Donald Trump’s son-in-law, not least when he rolls out a Middle East peace plan that destroys the concepts of both the Israeli and Palestinian states.

But for his rapier-like ability to capture the zeitgeist, there’s no one quite like the young slumlord to tell it like it really is. Speaking to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Kushner talked dramatically about this week as a time for leaders to step up.

Related: The only antidote to a campaign of lies is a campaign of truth | Richard Wolffe

“What we’ve done is create an opportunity for their leadership to either seize or not,” he explained. “If they screw up this opportunity – which again, they have a perfect track record of missing opportunities – if they screw this up, I think they will have a very hard time looking the international community in the face, saying they are the victims, saying they have rights.”

Kushner thought he was talking about the Palestinians, in a gloriously brazen blend of racism and gold-leafed ignorance.

But he was in fact describing perfectly the entire caucus of Senate Republicans as they screwed up their last golden opportunity for personal redemption and liberal democracy in the impeachment trial of Donald J Trump.

How will the nation’s Republican senators look anyone in the face and say they have any rights to keep in check a corrupt and criminal president? How can they pretend to be Trump’s victims when they marched themselves off a constitutional cliff?

And how on earth can they pretend to the world that their vision of America – where a president can happily use military aid to coerce a foreign government to smear his political rival in an election – is the model for democracy?

Let’s be honest. There was little drama or suspense in Trump’s impeachment trial, save for the bat-excrement quality of crazy that tumbled out of Alan Dershowitz’s mouth. According to Harvard’s emeritus law professor, presidents are unimpeachable as long as they think they are acting in the national interest when they use their power to corrupt their own election.

This could have been valuable analysis for Richard Nixon, but it also serves to question the value of a Harvard law professor. Perhaps it’s only the detritus who become emeritus.

Dershowitz claimed he said no such thing, but our eyes and ears suggested otherwise. He also said he supported Nixon’s almost-impeachment, naturally. Which is to say: the Harvard man is the perfect specimen of what Trump has propagated through the body politic: a contagious coronavirus of chronic lying, cowardly ambition and plain old corruption.

For all the fake angst about calling witnesses – did Mitch McConnell wobble on the votes to stop them or is he actually manipulating the media every day? – the searing testimony of John Bolton would have done nothing, zippo, nada, to change the final vote.

The facts of Trump’s corruption were never in dispute. The notion that this doesn’t rise to impeachable crimes has always been a joke.

We could play the age-old parlor game of asking how our esteemed Republican senators would have responded to Barack Obama asking the French government to investigate Mitt Romney’s missionary exploits ahead of the 2012 election. But what’s the point?

Today’s Republican party elected to remove their spinal cords three years ago, along with much of their frontal lobe and their self-respect. They wring their hands in private and lament their lampoon-worthy leader whose shoes they must lick on a daily basis.

But they should know they are following in a fine tradition of the world’s puppet legislators, like the People’s Council of Syria and the Russian Duma under the expert guidance of one Vladimir Putin.

We should in some ways be grateful for the honesty of our pseudo-senators. “There is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven,” said Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee senator who was supposedly considering Bolton as a witness.

Having decided the facts against Trump, Alexander then decided to trivialize his criminal acts of withholding congressionally mandated foreign aid and demanding foreign interference in his own election. According to Alexander, such stuff was simply “inappropriate” – much like wearing brogues to the Grand Ole Opry or asking for the fish at Top’s Bar-B-Q.

Faced with so many profiles in courage, our reality TV star of a commander-in-chief will carry on regardless, seeking out fellow grifters, foreign strongmen and domestic weaklings

“The question then is not whether the president did it, but whether the United States Senate or the American people should decide what to do about what he did,” said the senator, elected to make decisions for the American people in one of three co-equal branches of government.

Faced with so many profiles in courage, our reality TV star of a commander-in-chief will carry on regardless, seeking out fellow grifters, foreign strongmen and domestic weaklings. Will he feel liberated by the failure of the Senate trial to seek out more foreign interference in this year’s election? The answer may be similar to the one about bears dumping in forests.

Short of removal from office or federal indictment, there are no constraints on Trump’s conduct. He can hire another goon like Rudy Giuliani to work with sketchy foreigners running businesses called something like Fraud Guarantee. Then he can shovel any amount of sketchy cash on to Facebook’s mountain of money to beguile the gullible about the guaranteed fraud. Because a president can’t be impeached for inappropriate crimes. And because political free speech is untouchable in the fantasy world where Mark Zuckerberg thinks he’s helping humanity.

This has been a historic week for self-destructive politics. Like turkeys voting for Christmas, the British government celebrated its withdrawal from its biggest trading relationships just as Republican senators celebrated their own castration.

Both sets of magnificent morons claimed they were acting for their imaginary friends in the future: a future where Britain will once again bestride the ocean, and presidents will once again lead the free world feeling free from the fear of partisan impeachment.

“The Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats keep chanting ‘fairness’, when they put on the most unfair Witch Hunt in the history of the U.S. Congress,” tweeted the victim-in-chief sitting in the Oval Office, probably watching Fox News. “They had 17 Witnesses, we were allowed ZERO, and no lawyers. They didn’t do their job, had no case. The Dems are scamming America!”

Donald Trump doesn’t know much about history, foreign policy or politics. He can’t tell the difference between his own lawyers and no lawyers; between lots of witnesses and no witnesses at all. But he does know a lot about scams, and he can’t wait to share them with you.