When it comes to ethics in the Trump era, always bet the under. We could all see the ultimate result coming, the only question was how exactly it would play out. The key twist played out when Lamar Alexander outlined his reasons for not calling for witnesses at the Senate trial: “There is no need for more evidence to prove that the president asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter; he said this on television … and during his July 25, 2019, telephone call with the president of Ukraine … But the Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate.” In other words, the verdict is that he’s guilty and the sentence is nothing. Somehow I don’t think Alexander’s take on things will make it into Trump’s pep-rally routine: “Yes, I did it. And I should be held accountable. But in the end, no more witnesses were needed…” But it was enough to get other senators over the hump, including Lisa Murkowski whose announced no vote drew cheers in the Senate lunchroom and essentially ended the trial. Another line I’m guessing we won’t hear repeated by Trump came from Marco Rubio: “Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a President from office.” Uh, ok? If you’re confused, you’re not alone. If you’re surprised, you haven’t been paying attention. If you’re wondering what comes next, that’s simple. There’s already been a date set for the appeal trial. It’s November 3, 2020. And every American voter is on jury duty.

+ “Donald Trump’s stonewalling will succeed where Nixon’s failed. Perhaps Alexander has done us all a favor: the trial that wasn’t really a trial will be over, and we will no longer have to listen to it. The Senate can stop pretending.” Susan B. Glasser in The New Yorker: The Senate Can Stop Pretending Now.

+ Glasser sums it up pretty well. But not quite as well as Al Pacino in And Justice For All: “You’re out of order. The whole trial is out of order.”

+ Meanwhile, the trial in the court of public opinion rages on. Here’s the latest Bolton book excerpt from the NYT: Trump told Bolton to help his Ukraine pressure campaign “during an Oval Office conversation in early May that included the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, who is now leading the president’s impeachment defense.” (Speaking of Trump’s legal team… AP: Charities steered $65M to Trump lawyer Sekulow and family. You don’t need a degree from Trump University to wonder about that…)

+ Before we move on: Adam Schiff, Jim Himes, Jason Crow, Val Demings, Hakeem Jeffries, Sylvia Garcia, Zoe Lofgren, Fiona Hill, Alexander Vindman and the rest of you who stood up and spoke out, I’ve got just one damn word for you: Thanks.

+ Feeling burned out on political news? It could be worse. Watching TV in Des Moines Right Now Is a Special Kind of Hell. (Tim Murphy on the nine campaign ads he saw while watching 30 minutes of local news.)

+ In other (one could argue related) political news: A New Jersey mayor has admitted to taking off his pants, and passing out drunk during party at an employee’s house. (He ultimately put his pants back on, which is more than the Senate will force Trump to do…)