Those who would argue moves to impeach President Trump are irrelevant given he has just over a week left in office miss the point. It would be unthinkable for dozens of the rioters who invaded the Capitol building, ransacked offices, terrorised legislators, stole government property, and assaulted police to be jailed for up to 10 years while the man responsible for the mayhem got away with nothing more than reputational damage and the suspension of his social media accounts.
Justice needs to be seen to be done. President Trump's actions, which have been described as treasonous by senior figures on both sides of the US political divide, have to be seen to have consequences.
Legislators must set a clear precedent to ensure any future populist presidential demagogue will be strongly discouraged from ever turning the mob loose on the forces of democracy and the integrity of the republic ever again.
President Trump cannot weasel his way out responsibility for what happened, including the deaths of five people, by arguing his "peaceful" rally was hijacked by domestic terrorists from the far right. He spent most of his presidency dog whistling to second-amendment gun nuts, neo fascists, white supremacists and other odious cabals. These are part of his "base". And, while some say it is only possible to impeach a sitting president, that is not necessarily the case. There is precedent for continuing with impeachment proceedings after a president leaves office just so long as they have been initiated before he or she does.
NBC's Pete Williams cited the case of the then Secretary of War, William Belknap, who in 1876 was investigated by the House of Representatives on a corruption charge.
"Just minutes before the House was set to vote on his impeachment, he raced to the White House and handed his resignation to President Ulysses Grant," he wrote. "The House went ahead and impeached him anyway, and the Senate proceeded to have a trial. A majority voted to convict, but not the two-thirds required, so he was acquitted... scholars point to this example to bolster their argument that even after leaving office a president could be convicted and barred from holding future federal office."
While Mr Williams said President Trump could, and probably would, sue to stop a Senate trial, he is of the view it would be a hard to case to win given that under the US constitution the Senate "shall have the sole power to try all impeachments".
In the event the Democrat-controlled House did send the President to the Senate for trial there is now a slim chance the necessary two-thirds majority could be achieved in contrast to his earlier impeachment which was defeated on party lines.
Many Republicans are well aware their brand has been damaged by the Trump presidency, especially the events of last week. Colin Powell, the secretary of state to George W. Bush, has said he can no longer identify as a Republican. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former Republican governor of California, released a Twitter video describing President Trump as the "worst president ever".
By voting to impeach Trump, Republicans could achieve two significant goals. The first would be to clear the way to ban him from ever standing for federal office ever again, making a "Trump 2024" campaign an impossibility. The second would be to disassociate themselves, at least belatedly and in part, from the chaos of his presidency and the catastrophic events of the past week.
They have much to gain, and nothing to lose, by lining up with the Democrats to erase the legacy of the flawed messiah behind what is now being called "the beer belly putsch".