After two weeks of public hearings, the case for Donald Trump's impeachment is much as it was at the beginning. A number of US government officials have testified under oath that the President has put pressure on a foreign Government to damage a political rival.
Their testimony largely confirms the plain evidence of a transcript released by Trump himself of a phone conversation with Ukraine President Vladimir Zelenskiy on July 25. In that sense, this impeachment inquiry is quite unlike the Watergate investigation that forced Richard Nixon from office.
Watergate was a succession of revelations to the House of Representatives' investigating committee that made the President's position steadily worse.
This time, there seems nothing more to discover. Trump revealed the favour he asked of Zelenskiy because he saw nothing wrong with it.
Only when he realised the damage the transcript had done did he resorted to the desperate defence that his request for an investigation of Democrat front runner Joe Biden and his son was not a quid pro quo for releasing military equipment, approved by Congress, for Ukraine.
It is hard to read the transcript any other way, though Republican congressmen have done their utmost to confuse the issue. There seems not much doubt the Democrat majority in the House will support impeachment and no less doubt the Republican majority in the Senate will ensure Trump is not forced from office.
But by the time the Senate delivers its verdict, the US will be in election year and the seriousness of this issue, among others, could be decided by voters, as it should be. It is more important than usual that the fate of this President is decided by the American people, not his opponents.
Trump came to office by tapping a popular well of cynicism and distrust of his country's political establishment. He has governed as he campaigned, by constantly presenting himself as the champion of a class of Americans who feel their values and views are scorned and ignored by national media and the Washington elite. If Trump was forced from office, it would confirm the worst in the minds of his followers and risk a political crisis such as America has not seen.
Trump commands a large slice of the US electorate but not a majority. He can be beaten next November and a great many people in America and outside are fervently hoping he will be beaten.
Trump impeachment hearing: Top aide says phone call with Ukraine was 'improper'
Trump never seemed worthy of the office and his performance over the past three years has confirmed his unsuitability. His wretched, self-serving attempt to engineer a foreign investigation of a US citizen, his leading political challenger at that time, is all too typical of his presidency.
Democrats in Congress had no option but to start impeachment proceedings to show this conduct is not condoned. But even they probably hope this President is discredited not by the Senate but by the American people. The verdict should be theirs.