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Letters from an American by Heather Cox Richardson

Ahavati
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[ Continued from previous page ]

Republican senators clearly see this peril. Tonight, conservative writer Bill Kristol noted: “All the Trump supporters saying the outcome’s pre-ordained and that the presentations, evidence and witnesses couldn’t make a difference, seems to be an attempt to make sure Republican senators pay no attention to the presentations, evidence, or witnesses. But what if they do?”

While the impeachment trial approaches, the Democrats are preparing to write a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief measure along the lines that President Biden has requested. The new coronavirus measure is very popular, despite Republican attempts to argue that it is unnecessary. Since at least 1893, Republicans have insisted that Democrats are bad at managing the nation’s finances, but that myth is suddenly under attack as recent articles, including a New York Times piece by David Leonhardt, have noted that the U.S. economy historically fares much better under Democratic presidents than under Republicans.

And yet, as of right now, no Republicans have signed on to the coronavirus measure. After four years of endorsing Trump’s explosion of the deficit and the national debt, right on cue, the Republican Party has rediscovered the beauty of reducing the deficit.

This sudden austerity, too, will not look good in advertisements in 2022, should Democrats choose to point out that Republicans supported Trump’s 2017 tax cuts, which overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy, and then voted against a coronavirus relief bill designed to help ordinary Americans survive the pandemic.

So while we are looking at the short-term effects of these two major issues—an impeachment trial and a coronavirus relief package—we are also looking at both parties making a case to the American people for why their own approach to the future is the best one.

The Trump campaign continues to offer only a fierce resentment of those who are trying to hold the former president to account for his refusal to accept the results of an election, which led to the unprecedented attack on the Capitol. The Democrats are offering to make the former president accountable for the fact “he willfully incited violent insurrection against the government,” and offering a way forward for the nation as a whole.

Over the course of the next week or so, the Republican senators who are not aligned with the Trump wing must choose between these two visions, knowing that in 2022 and 2024, there will be no escaping the consequences of their choices. Democrats will broadcast them to voters relentlessly. ]

Submitted February 9, 2021

Notes:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/02/08/us/trump-defense-impeachment-trial.html

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/02/08/us/house-managers-trump-impeachment-trial.html

https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-resolution/24/text

Bill Kristol

All the Trump supporters saying the outcome’s pre-ordained and that the presentations, evidence and witnesses couldn’t make a difference, seems to be an attempt to make sure Republican senators pay no attention to the presentations, evidence, or witnesses. But what if they do?

https://twitter.com/BillKristol/status/1358952630584811529

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/judge-orders-release-of-auburn-area-proud-boy-facing-charges-tied-to-capitol-siege-prosecutors-to-seek-appeal/

https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/08/politics/georgia-secretary-of-state-trump-investigation/index.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/02/briefing/myanmar-coup-mcconnell-evan-rachel-wood-marylin-manson.html

JohnnyBlaze
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^ I can already hear the collective sigh of disappointment as more and more Trump supporters involved in the Capitol insurrection realize they were left hung out to dry on a clothesline of dirty laundry he washed his hands of.

Ahavati
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JohnnyBlaze said:^ I can already hear the collective sigh of disappointment as more and more Trump supporters involved in the Capitol insurrection realize they were left hung out to dry on a clothesline of dirty laundry he washed his hands of.

Not to derail this thread from what it is. . . buuuuut,

Proud Boys call Trump ‘weak, total failure’ following inauguration

The group chock full of his followers has come to learn one lesson the hard way: ‘Trump was just a man.’

The Proud Boys, a violent extremist group composed of some of former President Donald Trump’s staunchest followers, now proclaims the twice-impeached ex-commander-in-chief will go down in history as “a total failure.”


https://news.yahoo.com/proud-boys-call-trump-weak-134639664.html

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February 9, 2021
   
Today began the second impeachment trial for former president Donald J. Trump, this time for incitement of insurrection against the American government.

Still, the people who are really on trial are the 50 Republican senators judging Trump’s guilt.

The impeachment trial today covered whether it is constitutional to try a former official. This angle was designed to get Republican senators off the hook: if not, they could avoid voting on the article of impeachment.

The proceedings went badly for the defense. Lead House impeachment manager Jamie Raskin (D-MD) began the session by pointing out that Trump’s lawyers were arguing for a brand new “January exception to the Constitution of the United States of America.” Constitutional lawyers from across the political spectrum, he pointed out, agree that former officials must be held accountable for their actions after they leave office. Otherwise, officeholders could commit high crimes and misdemeanors and then promptly resign, putting themselves beyond reach of impeachment.

“It’s an invitation to the president to take his best shot at anything he may want to do on his way out the door, including using violent means to lock that door to hang on the Oval Office at all costs and to block the peaceful transfer of power,” Raskin said. “In other words, the January exception is an invitation to our Founders’ worst nightmare. And if we buy this radical argument… we risk allowing January 6 to become our future.”

What would that look like? Raskin answered his own question with a thirteen-minute video that revisited exactly what happened on January 6. Using footage and tweets from the attack on the Capitol, the video laid out the direct relationship between Trump’s speech at his rally that day and his supporters’ attack on Congress. It was devastating. Seeing the events of the day laid out in chronological order, with Trump’s words echoing from the mouths of furious insurrectionists attacking the Capitol, was even worse than seeing it happen in real time on January 6.

After the video, Raskin and the impeachment manager who followed him, Representative Joseph Neguse (D-CO) laid out, in historical detail, that the Framers certainly intended for impeachment to include officials who had already left office. They pointed both to a case that was underway in Britain when the Framers were including impeachment in the Constitution and to the case of Secretary of War William Belknap, who was impeached in 1876 after he resigned from office in the midst of a scandal.

The goal behind impeachment, Neguse said, is to guarantee accountability and stop corruption. There is, he said, no merit to Trump’s claim that he can incite an insurrection and then insist weeks later that the Senate lacks power to hold a trial.  

Like Raskin and Neguse, Representative David Cicilline (D-RI) emphasized that there is no “January exception” to the Constitution. He pointed out that Trump committed a terrible constitutional offense when he incited an armed angry mob to riot in the Capitol.

Cicilline also pointed out that Trump did not back down. At the end of that fateful day, he tweeted: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!” It is no wonder Trump’s lawyers want to talk about jurisdiction rather than facts, he said.

After their presentations, Raskin gave an emotional plea to senators to defend American democracy.

After a recess, it was Trump’s lawyers’ turn. It didn’t go well.

The two men, Bruce Castor and David Schoen, only joined the defense team a little over a week ago, after Trump’s original team leaders all quit, and so have had little time to prepare. They were also apparently surprised by the quality of the prosecution’s presentation today, and so tried to change their own presentations on the fly.

Castor spoke first, coming across as condescending and meandering—Schoen later defended him by saying Castor had not known he would be speaking today. Even Trump supporter Alan Dershowitz, who defended Trump in his first impeachment trial, seemed put off. “I have no idea what he’s doing,” Dershowitz told Newsmax.

Next up was Schoen, who insisted that the Trump voters whose candidate lost the election must be heard. He appeared to threaten the senators with civil war. “This trial will tear the country apart, perhaps like we’ve only ever seen once in history.”

The two men seemed badly outmatched, rambling and unprepared. While the Democrats’ presentations were clear, organized, and illustrated with slick videos and graphics, the defense had none of that. Watching from Florida, the former president was allegedly irate. The goal for the defense today was simply to give cover to Republicans who wanted to avoid voting on the merits of the case by giving them room to dismiss the case on the grounds it was unconstitutional. Castor and Schoen did not give them that cover.

[ Continued below ]

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At the end of the presentations, the Senate voted that it was constitutional to proceed with the trial by a vote of 56 to 44. Six Republicans, one more than had voted yes on a similar vote in Congress, joined the Democratic majority. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) said the defense lawyers had not provided a convincing argument that such a trial was unconstitutional. When pressed by reporters about why he thought the defense was poor, he said: “Did you listen to it? It was disorganized, random—they talked about many things, but they didn’t talk about the issue at hand.”

The defense lawyers’ problem, of course, is that they are being asked to defend the indefensible. They know it; we know it; Republican senators who have been defended Trump know it. During the video of the insurrection, Trump supporters Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) looked at papers on their desks, Rick Scott (R-FL) looked at papers on his lap, and Rand Paul (R-KY) doodled.

Republican Senators willing to excuse Trump for his incitement of an insurrection that attacked our peaceful transfer of power are tying the Republican party to the former president and to an ideology that would end our democracy.

What led the rioters on January 6, 2021, to try to hurt our elected officials and overturn the legal results of the 2020 election was Trump’s long-time assertion that he won in a landslide and the presidency had been stolen from him. This big lie, as observers are calling it, is not one of Trump’s many and random lies, it is the rallying cry for a movement to destroy American democracy. He is building a movement based on the idea that his supporters are the only ones truly defending the nation, because they—not the people who certified the 2020 election—are the ones who know the true outcome of the election. He is creating a narrative in which he is the only legitimate leader of the nation and anyone who disagrees is a traitor to the Constitution.

As Cicilline noted, even after the riot Trump refused to repudiate that big lie. And now, even in the face of impeachment he has not repudiated it. Indeed, he has doubled down on it, refusing to admit he is a “former” president. His supporters haven’t admitted it, either, including his supporters who sit in Congress. None of those who challenged the counting of the electoral votes on January 6 and 7 has admitted it was a political stunt. Now, they are arguing that impeachment is a partisan attack on the part of Democrats.

If Republican senators permit Trump to get away with the big lie, it must, logically, take over the Republican Party. It’s no wonder that he lost his first defense team because he insisted they use their media time to argue that he had won the election in a landslide. Trump is not trying to win just this trial: he is trying to win control of the Republican Party and, through it, the country.

Tomorrow, the Senate impeachment managers will begin to argue their case.

——

Submitted February 10, 2021

Notes:

https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/02/politics/david-schoen-bruce-castor-trump-impeachment-lawyers/index.html

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/09/schoen-defends-meandering-defense-performance-468226

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/30/us/politics/trump-butch-bowers-impeachment.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/09/us/politics/trump-bruce-castor-david-schoen.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/02/10/jamie-raskin-won-trial-before-it-began/

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/09/trump-impeachment-team-468112

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/02/09/trump-impeachment-live-updates/#link-NBU4S74MBJGVTEM36CWW5Z7VKY

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/trump-impeachment-trial-accountability-house-republicans-vote

JohnnyBlaze
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I could only stomach 5 minutes of the televised trial today before video of Trump at that rally was cause for me to turn it off.

Ahavati said:February 9, 2021
   
Today began the second impeachment trial for former president Donald J. Trump, this time for incitement of insurrection against the American government.

Still, the people who are really on trial are the 50 Republican senators judging Trump’s guilt.


Make it or Break it time for the Republican party.


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JohnnyBlaze said:I could only stomach 5 minutes of the televised trial today before video of Trump at that rally was cause for me to turn it off.

Make it or Break it time for the Republican party.



I knew I couldn't watch it. I didn't even try. I meant this; this right here:

The defense lawyers’ problem, of course, is that they are being asked to defend the indefensible. They know it; we know it; Republican senators who have been defended Trump know it. During the video of the insurrection, Trump supporters Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) looked at papers on their desks, Rick Scott (R-FL) looked at papers on his lap, and Rand Paul (R-KY) doodled.

Unbelievable; and, yet, with this new wave of Republicans. . .believable.

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February 10, 2021

“This case is much worse than someone who falsely shouts fire in a crowded theater. It’s more like a case where the town fire chief, who’s paid to put out fires, sends a mob not to yell fire in a crowded theater, but to actually set the theater on fire.”

This was how lead House impeachment manager Jamie Raskin (D-MD) explained Trump’s role in the January 6 insurrection to the senators trying the former president Trump for inciting that insurrection.

Over the course of today, the House impeachment managers laid out a devastating timeline of the former president’s effort, beginning even before the 2020 election, to prime his supporters to believe the only way he could lose was if the Democrats cheated. Manager Joseph Neguse (D-CO) used the rioters’ own words to show that they were responding to Trump’s calls to fight for his reelection. Manager Eric Swalwell (D-CA) pointed out that the Trump camp spent $50 million on national “STOP THE STEAL!” ads that ran until the planned “big protest” on January 6. That presentation alone was powerful, as the managers put videos of rally speeches and tweets together to let the story tell itself.

But the tale grew riveting when impeachment manager Stacey Plaskett, a Democratic delegate from the U.S. Virgin Islands, took the story into the Capitol building itself. She followed the rioters using footage from their own cellphones and the cameras of journalists who recorded their actions. But she had more than those videos. Plaskett used previously unseen video from security cameras to illustrate just how close the rioters came to capturing Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, both of whom they were searching for specifically, as well as lawmakers in general. In some cases, the congress members and their staffs were within seconds of being caught.

The mocking, singsong, drawn out calls for “Nancy” from a rioter searching for the House Speaker as if he were a monster stalking a victim in a horror movie, and the angry chants to “Hang Mike Pence!” from rioters who had hung a noose from a gallows they constructed outside the Capitol, left little doubt the rioters were deadly. Richard Barnett, the man photographed with his feet on Pelosi’s desk, carried a 950,000-volt stun gun.  

Impeachment manager David Cicilline (D-RI) took the baton from Plaskett, hammering home that Trump had continued to stoke the crowd’s anger against Pence even as the vice president was in lockdown at the Capitol, and that he refused to stop the riot despite pleading from his aides and allies. Manager Joaquin Castro (D-TX) brought the argument home: “On January 6, President Trump left everyone in this Capitol for dead.”

It was a riveting, damning presentation, showing just how close we came to an event even worse than the day turned out to be. In one particularly dramatic new scene from the security cameras, we saw Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, who later lured the rioters away from the Senate chamber to give the lawmakers enough time—barely—to get to safety, prevent Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) from walking into the mob, likely saving his life.

The story the managers told set out quite clearly that the insurrection was not only planned, it was timed to disrupt the counting of the electoral votes that would make Joe Biden president. As impeachment manager Ted Lieu (D-CA) put it, Trump “ran out of nonviolent options to maintain power…. What you saw was a man so desperate to try to cling to power that he tried everything he could to keep it, and when he ran out of nonviolent measures, he turned to the violent mob that attacked your Senate chamber on January 6.”

The House managers tried to make it possible for Republican senators to convict Trump. They focused on him alone, leaving untouched the fact that some of the senators in the chamber had themselves spread the lie that the election had been marred by massive fraud. (The one apparently in deepest, Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, refused to watch the presentation.)

They held up Vice President Pence as a principled leader attacked while trying to do his constitutional duty, offering Republican senators a choice not between their party and the Democrats, but rather between Trump and Pence, Republicans both. They also detailed the attack on Capitol police officers, offering the chance for Republicans to side against Trump and with the officers.

In their defense of Pence, the impeachment managers made clear a curious thing: the popular anger at Pence was entirely manufactured. Pence’s role on January 6 was largely ceremonial; he could not challenge the counting of the electoral votes, and he said so, both in person and in writing, as Trump continued to pressure him to. Trump’s deliberate stoking of fury at the vice president meant the crowd was actively hunting for Vice President Pence and House Speaker Pelosi, the next two people in line for the presidency should Trump be removed from office.

And yet, there are signs that none of this matters to the Republican senators who have already decided to acquit the president. On Twitter, Senator Lindsey Graham tonight called the day’s presentation “offensive and absurd.”

Still others say that, even if what happened is horrific, the trial is unconstitutional because Trump is no longer president, although the fact the Senate voted that it is constitutional should mean that point is settled. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) told CNN correspondent Ryan Nobles, “I’m learning things. But, again, my basic point is we shouldn’t have having this trial.”

[ Continued below ]

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But those doubling down on Trump’s leadership of the party have their own troubles. In the 25 states that have accessible data, nearly 140,000 Republicans have left the party since January 6, and tonight, Reuters broke the story that “former elected Republicans, former officials in the Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Trump, ex-Republican ambassadors and Republican strategists,” are in talks to form a new center-right political party. While Trump spokesman Jason Miller called the people involved “losers,” they are savvy enough at political strategy to plan to make their influence felt not necessarily by running third-party candidates, but by endorsing the non-Trump candidate in a race, regardless of party.

While almost all eyes are on the Senate impeachment trial, Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill is working its way through the relevant House committees. Today, by a party-line vote, the House Education and Labor Committee moved its portion along with a provision to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025.

At the White House, Biden spoke on the telephone for the first time with Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom he knows from his days as vice president. The two discussed areas of shared interest, such as the pandemic, global health, and climate change. Biden also called the Chinese leader out for “coercive and unfair economic practices,” as well as the anti-democratic crackdown in Hong Kong and, in Xinjiang, human rights abuses.

—-

Submitted February 11, 2021

Notes:

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/harsh-reminder-key-takeaways-day-two-trump-s-second-impeachment-n1257347

https://www.cnn.com/politics/live-news/trump-impeachment-trial-02-10-2021/h_e4adf4470e445174e915ab3fcf969502

https://thehill.com/homenews/house/538279-lieu-alleges-trump-ran-out-of-nonviolent-options-to-maintain-power

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/watch-trump-left-everyone-in-the-capitol-for-dead-rep-castro-says

Aaron Rupar
@atrupar
Raskin: "This case is much worse than someone who falsely shouts fire in a crowded theater. It's more like like a case where the town fire chief, who's paid to put out fires, sends a mob not to yell fire in a crowded theater, but to actually set the theater on fire."


https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1359554841056595976

Ryan Nobles
@ryanobles
And @SenatorLankford (OK) told me the Managers are building a criminal case against Trump and impeachment is not the place to hold him accountable.
“We can only do removal from office and then, barring someone from a future office. That's not holding someone to account.”


https://twitter.com/ryanobles/status/1359678973731627008

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/10/conservative-cassidy-anti-trump-468427

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/10/us/politics/republicans-leaving-party.html

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-party-exclusive-idUSKBN2AB07P

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/trump-tweeted-mike-pence-attack-two-minutes-before-vp-and-family-were-evacuated

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/10/15-minimum-wage-house-advances-part-of-covid-relief-bill.html

https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/10/politics/biden-xi-call/index.html

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/02/10/readout-of-president-joseph-r-biden-jr-call-with-president-xi-jinping-of-china/

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/10/15-minimum-wage-house-advances-part-of-covid-relief-bill.html

JohnnyBlaze
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Ahavati said:But those doubling down on Trump’s leadership of the party have their own troubles. In the 25 states that have accessible data, nearly 140,000 Republicans have left the party since January 6, and tonight, Reuters broke the story that “former elected Republicans, former officials in the Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Trump, ex-Republican ambassadors and Republican strategists,” are in talks to form a new center-right political party. While Trump spokesman Jason Miller called the people involved “losers,” they are savvy enough at political strategy to plan to make their influence felt not necessarily by running third-party candidates, but by endorsing the non-Trump candidate in a race, regardless of party.

So it's a good guess that at least 280,000 have bailed from the Republican party while an untold number remaining would vote for a non Trump endorsed candidate. Very good news indeed.


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https://youtu.be/Ry7vSMgfESQ

Historian Heather Cox Richardson Says Trump Could Be Convicted | Amanpour and Company

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Look at her books! They reek of centuries of knowledge!
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Ahavati
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February 11, 2021

Today the House impeachment managers wrapped their case against former president Donald Trump. Using the words of the insurgents themselves, the managers argued that he incited the insurrection of January 6, spurring an armed and violent mob to storm the Capitol while Congress was counting the certified electoral votes that awarded the 2020 presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden.

After yesterday’s dramatic illustrated timeline of the insurrection itself, the managers used their time today establishing that Trump was responsible for sparking that insurrection. They showed the insurrectionists repeating his words—one man read one of his tweets through a bullhorn at the Capitol riot—and insisting that they were acting according to the former president’s instructions.

The managers’ case was reinforced by the fact that the Department of Justice this morning filed a memorandum establishing that Jessica Watkins, a member of the right-wing Oath Keepers paramilitary group, delayed her planned assault on Washington, D.C., until she was certain Trump was behind it. “I am concerned this is an elaborate trap,” she texted on November 9, 2020. “Unless the POTUS himself activates us, it’s not legit. The POTUS has the right to activate units too. If Trump asks me to come, I will. Otherwise, I can’t trust it.”

Again and again, the managers tried to distinguish between Trump and his violent supporters, on the one hand, and the lawmakers of both parties who were their prey, on the other. Again and again, they focused on Trump as the perpetrator of the big lie that the election had been rigged and that he, not Biden, was the rightful victor.

They warned that Trump’s attack on our democracy is not over. Even after all that has happened, he has still not conceded that he lost the election. This refusal to abandon the big lie keeps it potent, enabling him to rally supporters with the argument that fighting for Trump means defending American democracy. It is a deadly inversion of reality.

The House impeachment managers have given Republican senators multiple ways to justify a vote for conviction to their constituents. They have shown how Trump began to incite violence even before the election, in plain sight, and how that led to an assault on the Capitol that came close to costing the lives of our elected officials, including Vice President Mike Pence—a Republican—and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the two people next in line for the presidency if Trump were to be removed from office.

The riot threatened the representatives and senators—including them!—their staffers, and many of their family members who were at the Capitol that day. And yet, even as lawmakers begged Trump to call the rioters off, he did the opposite. He attacked Pence in a tweet even as the vice president was being rushed to safety from the mob.

The managers focused, too, on the terrible toll the attack took on Capitol police. Three of them are now dead, with more than 100 wounded physically and others wounded mentally. Senators could vote to convict out of a determination to protect law enforcement officers, something their constituents say is important to them.

Today, the managers emphasized the many Republican lawmakers who condemned Trump in the wake of the insurrection, including the Cabinet members who resigned their posts, the state governors who called him out, and fellow lawmakers who expressed dismay at his incitement of the rioters.

Finally, the managers warned that, unless Trump is stopped, he will absolutely do such a thing again. They pointed out that the riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, after which the president condoned the white supremacists who killed Heather Heyer, was a rehearsal for the attack on the Michigan state house this summer. That, in turn, was a rehearsal for the attack on the Capitol. As manager Diana DeGette (D-CO) said: “In 2017, it was unfathomable to most of us to think that Charlottesville could happen, just as it was unfathomable to most of us that the Capitol could have been breached on January 6…. Frankly, what unfathomable horrors await us if we do not stand up now and say, no, this is not America.”

Senators were apparently shocked to see how close they came to falling into the hands of the rioters, and yet, although many Republican senators concede that the House managers mounted a compelling case, they continue to say that they do not believe they have the power to convict a former president. This suggests they are looking for an excuse, since the Senate’s vote on this question, which should be definitive, passed on Tuesday by a vote of 56-44. At one point today, at least 18 Republican senators were absent from their desks as the managers were making their case.

It’s unlikely that any of the senators want to acquit Trump because they want him to stay in the political scene. Some of them want his voters, but that itself cuts against wanting him to stay around: they want his voters to elect them, not to reelect him or elect his chosen successor. It’s likely they simply hoped he would fade away as he lost his social media presence and became occupied with the financial and legal troubles that are already piling up.

After all, bankers have distanced themselves from the former president, his businesses appear to be losing money, and a $100 million tax dispute with the IRS is now likely to come to a conclusion after being put on hold for four years. Yesterday, District Attorney Fani Willis, Fulton County, Georgia’s top prosecutor, announced that she is launching a wide-ranging criminal investigation into Trump’s January 2 phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a call that lawyers have suggested broke election laws.

But the Senate trial has shown that maybe he’s not going to fade away. The House impeachment managers have laid out a damning case. The scenes from the insurrection were shocking, and they established a pretty strong sense that Trump is deeply involved in an ongoing attempt to overturn our democracy. It looks possible that the Department of Justice might, in fact, go after the former president and perhaps others with the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

[ Continued below ]

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After the past two days, senators who were planning to let Trump off the hook might be worrying they will have to answer to constituents furious that they didn’t do their jobs and instead associated the entire party with a criminal president and the rioters that attacked the Capitol. Already the editorial board of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has lambasted Missouri Senators Josh Hawley and Roy Blunt: “There is no way to credibly argue that Trump protected and defended the Constitution when video evidence shows him directing a mob to storm the Capitol and interrupt constitutionally mandated proceedings to certify the Electoral College result.”

The senators need Trump’s lawyers to do a good enough job tomorrow to give them cover to acquit, and it seems likely those lawyers are not skilled enough to do so. Tonight, Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) visited Trump’s defense team. Cruz said they were “sharing our thoughts” about their legal strategy: it is of note that Cruz was the Solicitor General of Texas before being elected to the Senate, and Lee was an assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah. Also a lawyer, Graham is the former chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Republican senators who will vote either to convict or acquit the former president must do so knowing that trials associated with the insurrection between now and the next election will keep the story in the news. The question is whether the American people will interpret the story as the impeachment team has framed it, or whether Trump’s lawyers and later Trump himself, if he regains a political foothold, can somehow knock that interpretation aside.

Lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who was a constitutional law professor before he went to Congress, seems to understand their dilemma. “Tyranny, like Hell, is not easily conquered,” he told the senators today, quoting political theorist Thomas Paine, “but we have this saving consolation: The more difficult the struggle, the more glorious ... our victory.”

He told them, “Good luck in your deliberations.”

—-

Submitted February 12, 2021

Notes:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/senate-impeachment-trial-trump/2021/02/11/33229f7e-6c88-11eb-9f80-3d7646ce1bc0_story.html

http://cdn.cnn.com/cnn/2021/images/02/11/04518323725.pdf

https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/11/politics/oath-keeper-justice-trump-capitol/index.html

https://www.rollcall.com/2021/02/10/wow-senators-face-unsettling-reality-of-their-close-call/

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/house-impeachment-managers-thursday-proceedings-impeachment-warranted

https://www.deseret.com/utah/2021/1/26/22251070/donald-trump-impeachment-stolen-election-big-lie-mitt-romney-senate-trial

https://www.ajc.com/politics/fultons-da-opens-criminal-investigation-into-trump-demand-to-overturn-election/YWJPS4B4BREHDLHQCZYDDWBVIA/?d

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-company-financial-problems/2021/01/21/3899b7e4-5c25-11eb-8bcf-3877871c819d_story.html

https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/538470-missouri-newspaper-hammers-hawley-and-blunt-embarrassment-to-the-state

https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/politics/degette-warns-senators-that-failure-to-convict-trump-at-impeachment-trial-will-embolden-extremists

https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/11/politics/gop-senators-trump-impeachment-lawyers/index.html

JohnnyBlaze
JohnnyBlaze
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Ahavati said:
The senators need Trump’s lawyers to do a good enough job tomorrow to give them cover to acquit, and it seems likely those lawyers are not skilled enough to do so. Tonight, Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) visited Trump’s defense team. Cruz said they were “sharing our thoughts” about their legal strategy: it is of note that Cruz was the Solicitor General of Texas before being elected to the Senate, and Lee was an assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah. Also a lawyer, Graham is the former chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.


Gawd.

I just imagine the Devil walking out of that meeting with a briefcase full of souls.

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