Impeachment trial: discuss

February 10, 2021 • 6:00 pm

I haven’t watched the live coverage of the impeachment trial, which began in earnest today with the “prosecution’s” presentation of the evidence. What’s all over the Internet are new scenes of terror and violence in the Capitol, which of course are relevant to the indictment since this is the purported outcome of Trump’s words.

But of course the question is whether Trump knowingly incited that violence, and here the Democrats have an uphill battle. For every rioter who said that “Trump invited us here,” there is a statement by Trump calling for “peaceful demonstration at the Capitol”. It all rests on sussing out what his intentions were. The degree of violence, even if it were much less than actually occurred, and didn’t involve deaths, is in some ways ancillary.

I happen to believe that Trump did know what he was doing, and thus is guilty of the charge. But I also think the charges could have been more far-reaching, involving many different forms of malfeasance and incompetence. Were he in his second or third year of Presidency, he would have go go NOW.  He’s gone, though, and so the Democrats have a hard job.

The House impeachment managers have done a terrific job, but they’re facing a near monolith of Republican opponents, many of them claiming, ironically and disingenuously, that the trial is “divisive.” I have little hope of a conviction, for the division occurred a long time before the impeachment began, and the Republicans too self-absorbed to worry about America.

Many of you have watched the coverage. What do you think so far?

155 thoughts on “Impeachment trial: discuss

    1. The presentation has been really good. Definitely watch it.
      But no, Trump was using words about peaceful protest in the same way that a mafia boss might ask his capo to get a friend to take good care of their rival…

      1. Sorry Douglas, this wasn’t meant to be a reply to you. This has happened to me before. Apparently I cannot use this site on my phone…

    1. Agreed. Trump’s fingerprints are all over the Jan 6th event – even after he saw what happened on 12 December he collaborated with the same people in organizing it. His White House was fully aware of the surrounding online activity – he knew exactly what was going to happen and actively encouraged it.

      1. Not only that, but it is doubly damning that he did nothing to stop it until it was pretty much over. The prosecutors made it clear what Trump’s intentions and reactions were. The public statements of those around him paint a picture of someone who thought he could actually change the outcome of the election by intimidating the congress.

    2. They did a good job reminding the senators what it felt like on the day, because it’s easy to forget and allow yourself to be gaslit into thinking it wasn’t as bad, and as unprecedented, as it was.

  1. Prior to the actual attack, I’m not sure Trump actually cared whether his ellipse speech would incite or not. After all, if we look at his previous rallies, yes he seemed to be happy if one of his followers punched a reporter or protestor, but that really wasn’t his goal (reelection). If I had to make a guess, I’d say the ellipse speech was likely the same: his target was to pressure GOP lawmakers. If some attacks happened, well bonus (to him), but that wasn’t necessarily his primary goal.

    1. The difference with his previous rallies is that he was making the remarks a very short walk (march?) away from the Capitol where Senators were physically present and about to endorse the electoral college votes.

    2. His primary goal was to overtake a peaceful transfer. Full stop. You saying “I’m not sure Trump actually cared whether his ellipse speech…” Are you blind? No you’re not. But you’re blind to the historical value of what’s happening.

      1. There is no crime in trying to stop a legal process via legal protest and pressure. To be illegal, you have to show he intended to stop the peaceful transfer of power via illegal means.

        Personally I think Trump just didn’t care about legal or illegal. Like a mob boss, he gives vague orders (“take care of them”), he doesn’t care about the how, but he does want to be able to deny he ordered any illegal activity when his actors are caught. But also like a mob boss, I don’t think him giving vague orders should be a valid legal defense.

        1. The mob boss hasn’t got the violent events happening on his TV, and the power to pick up the phone and put an end to them. You need to be pretty naive to think he wasn’t guilty as sin. You have to have a pretty horrible population and ridiculous system to be unable to put a permanent stop to his political career right then and there.

  2. I’ve worked in the entertainment business all my adult life, and I’ve never seen a better example of film editing than in that “presentation” given at the impeachment hearing today. You absolutely can’t tell if all these incidents happened at the same time, on the same day, in the same place, or not. The splicing as flawless. This was clearly made by a professional film company.

      1. Just because it had good production values doesn’t make it propaganda. That’s only if it falsely portrayed events, which it didn’t.

    1. Good editing is fine with me. Even if it was made by a professional film company, so what?

      Actually, I don’t think these videos were as effective as they could have been. Although people keep referring to them as showing a “timeline”, no times are actually shown. This was a mistake as that would add to their truthfulness and persuasion. When they showed a map of the Capitol with colored dots to show various parties, there was no key. Plus, they aren’t accurately shown by a single point anyway. Finally, the pacing was all wrong. Significant events were rushed through and less significant ones dwelled on. Overall their presentation was good but the visual aids were not all that professional, IMHO.

  3. I think he is not guilty as charged, but he’s not innocent, either. I may not have seen the inflagranti moment where he uttered the magic words. The absence of the evidence clip on every second comment, media story and retweet suggests there is none, and it’s all just circumstantial paired with a thirst for some accountability to what he had done during his term.

    And that’s the wrong way to go about it. Governments have widened their powers with every precedent. I recall no moment in recent history where anything was dialed back. It always seems to grow more ominous and far-reaching and I would be concerned.

    I’m told this will take only two weeks. If it takes substantially longer, I don’t like that this takes valuable time and attention away from meaningful reforms the Biden administration could do instead. My suspicion is that Democrats don’t actually want to do half of the things they promise, and would welcome some method to use up the brief time frame given to them, so that they can later throw up their hands and say they didn’t have time for certain things.

    1. I actually agree that there is no smoking gun. But that is only because Trump is just savvy enough to give himself that wiggle room. What is harder to paper over is the fact that without his pushing of the “big lie” from Nov 2020 until now the nutso insurrectionists wouldn’t have been there and wouldn’t have been so primed to do violence. Also, can you please post something that corroborates your theory that Democrats are only doing this to stall doing other things?

      1. Yes, Voldemort is a slimy weasel with a lifetime’s experience as a wannabe mob boss, dodging legal responsibility.

        However, his tax fraud, his violation of campaign finance law in 2016, and his solicitation of voting fraud in that phone call to the Georgia Sec. of State (and likely other, similar calls to other states) are going to nail him, IMO.

        I think he will eventually flee home to Russia or Saudi. No non’-“shit-hole” country is likely to accept him.

      2. I don’t think they are doing this only to stall, but that I have the suspicion that they over-promise and would welcome reasons to sell broken promises if an opportunity arises. It took about a month or less for shenanigans to emerge. I’ve seen various clips. Biden didn’t outright lie when he said they will go for $2000 right away, because he smuggled an “in total” backdoor in his sentence somewhere, but it looks more like dodgy lawyer move than honest communication.

        The Democrats also tend to seek out bipartisan support, or that’s what I see liberal US friends complain about all the time, despite being totally blocked by Moscow Mitch when roles were reversed, and despite that the resulting drift is always rightwards (that’s why lower rungs Americans are in such a tough spot).

    2. I’m in this area too. If this judgement is to rise to the level of demonstrating criminal intent, I don’t think it quite meets it due to the high bar set for demonstrating criminal intent. Those who say he is guilty seem to be projecting.
      What puzzles me about these impeachment trials is why is it tried and judged by politicians? There will never be a fair consideration that way in any impeachment trial.

      1. This isn’t a criminal trial, or even a civil trial. It’s an impeachment. Impeachment doesn’t have anything to do with the criminal or civil justice system and the standards that apply to them, like “beyond a reasonable doubt” or “a preponderance of the evidence” do not apply. An impeachment is more like a vote of confidence or a misconduct hearing.

        The only punishment that can come of an impeachment is being removed from office and, if so voted in a separate vote, barred from ever holding any office again. For Trump to see jail time or fines would require a criminal trial. Looks like there will be a few of those in the near future, but this impeachment is not one.

  4. Stacey Plaskett’s remembering the 9-11 foreign attack on the government — she was working as an aide back then — was moving. Here we are twenty years later, attacking our own government and elected officials. I live in Texas, where I have friends and family I cannot talk to about impeachment, they are that angry believing Trump’s claims that the election was stolen, and believing that the BLM riots over the summer are somehow the equivalent of hunting our legislators through the Capitol. It seems to me that our country is genuinely broken.

  5. Representatives Raskin, Plaskett, Swallwell, and Castro each gave very effective presentations. However, I agree that it is next to impossible to prove intent from Trump’s slippery exhortations. They are almost invariably bogus—like his pledge to march along with his minions—and have the sleazy, elliptical quality that was captured so well in Brendan Gleeson’s portrayal of Trump in the otherwise mostly forgettable TV film “The Comey Rule”.

    1. I think that depends on your definition of “proof”. If you take all of Trump’s actions between the election being called for Biden and January 6th , it’s abundantly obvious his goal was to overthrow the election result. In fact, he was preparing the ground for months or even years before that. Why do you think so many Trump supporters still think the election was stolen in the face of all the evidence? It’s because that’s what Trump told them.

      Trump is as guilty as a puppy next to a pile of poo.

  6. I listened to the prosecution’s case both yesterday and today, and I think they overwhelmingly proved that Trump knowingly over several months, even before the election, incited his followers through repeated lies into acts of violent insurrection, not just on Jan. 6 but in numerous other instances at state capitols and at vote processing centers, and at a governor’s private residence. He had every opportunity to tell his followers not to engage in violence and he never did, especially on Jan. 6, despite repeated pleas from his staff.

    He knowingly encouraged a violent insurrection against another branch of government with the intent of overturning a free and fair election in order to stay in power. If that’s not an impeachable and prosecution-worthy case, I don’t know what is.

    1. Exactly. He told the mob to go to the Capitol and “fight like hell” otherwise they’d “lose their country.” What could that possibly mean other than go and stop the count? Would the mob think protesting on the lawn would be enough? And while they were storming the Capitol, he sent his love to them. Trump wanted the count stopped, he whipped up the mob with lies and rhetoric and sent them on their way, offering to go with them. Short of breaking the Capitol’s windows himself, tRump couldn’t have done more.

      1. I am on your side here, but if this trial is “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” the defense could argue, as they have that “fight” was used metaphorically. People beside you, in fact, think that, so how can you prove beyond doubt that he was talking about a physical attack?

        1. Yes, but in an impeachment trial the criterion of proof is at the discretion of each Senator. I think any impartial Senator should find the evidence convincing. All the noise about constitutionality and reasonable doubt is an excuse not to offend the Trump voters.

          1. Or just a political play to Voldemort’s base. The GOP are on the horns of a dilemma: Keep mainlining with the Voldemort cult or purge it (or split the party) and become a minority party for the foreseeable future.

            For now, they are just terrified of losing Voldemort’s cult. This is a big worry for the whole country. At least the cult have shown themselves for what they are: Anti-American, anti-democratic, authoritarian thugs.

        2. Except for his repeated failure to tell his followers to stop with both threats of violence and then actual violence. It was clearly inciting a mob to commit violence, and by the commander-in-chief, not just some joe in the street.

  7. Whether President Trump was fomenting insurrection needs to take into account his cultivation of an insurrectionary culture. Recall that he said this at 2:30 AM on November 4.

    This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election — frankly, we did win this election. We want all voting to stop. We don’t want them to find any ballots at 4 o’clock in the morning and add them to the list.

    Honestly, I assume that the intent was fundraising, but the effect was to promote a fraudulent account of the election, which he cultivated thereafter. He sowed the wind…

    I know that the New York Times is not well thought of in these parts, but 77 Days is really worth the read. It’s a well-documented account of a concerted effort to undermine the democratic process, and it is to be hoped that history will remember it.

    1. No, not fund-raising. Take Voldemort at his word. He intended to seize power illegally. He prepared the strategy and tactics ahead of the election, hired the lawyers. After the election, he tried every trick in the book, including naked solicitation of voting fraud to the GA Sec. of State. When none of that worked, he tried violence against the state.

      1. Unclear. This did raise north of 250 millions, of which the fine print said could be funnelled away for something other than the lawyering (and even the lawyering probably contains methods to wash the money that it somehow benefits Trump more directly).

        The stream of money was such strong and massive, and the resulting sum such large, that it must be seen as a significant if not sole motivation to keep up the conspiracy story.

        ———————
        —forbes.com/sites/jemimamcevoy/2021/01/31/trump-raised-250-million-since-election-to-challenge-outcome-heres-where-most-of-the-money-will-actually-go/

  8. This is the opportunity for the R’s to try to begin reconstruction of their party – reconstruction fully used purpose for the historical references to the term.

    And a vote not to convict is tantamount to a vote that Pence should have rolled over. In addition to being a pass for the same thing to happen again.

  9. Point of information requested.

    Has the defense had their moment yet, and if so, did they play a video of at least 10 prominent Democratic/Hollywood/BlueTeam leaders specifically calling for assassination, violence, uprising, looting, punching in the face? And was it spliced at each such clear incitement with videos of Antifa/BLM looting, pillaging, and occupying Federal and State buildings, private business plus injuring/killing people, during all of 2020?

    You know, just to establish baseline of what “inciting” actually is.

      1. @tjeales

        No, not that. Just to establish an objective criteria for what constitutes “incitement.”

        If Trump, with no moments of actual ‘calling for it’ or ‘giving examples of what should happen’ is guilty, why wouldn’t a bevy of others who actually DID make such calls not be guilty?

        P.S. I am not a Trump fan. Not a GOPer, either.

        1. That’s ridiculous. In a trial for fraud, the party bearing the burden of proof doesn’t have to introduce examples of other conduct that was (or was not) held to be fraudulent.

          Why should a different standard apply to “incitement.” You’re proposing a standard that applies nowhere else in US politics or Anglo-American jurisprudence.

          1. I’m sure the Democrats welcome just such a non-objective criteria for incitement. “It means what we say it means, and only for Trump.”

              1. Your nothing did not confirm anything. There is no thing there.

                Finish you thought and put some content into your assertion. “If you had been watching the trial, you would have known …” What?

                And relevant to the point of “incitement,” please.

              2. Well, John, you seem unencumbered by knowledge of the case. Hence my observation. And you continue to mutter about a non-issue.

                I’ll finish that sentence for you. If you had bothered to watch the trial you wouldn’t be wasting your time (and ours) arguing about the definition of words. You are simply uninformed about the case. That’s the generous interpretation. I give you the benefit of the doubt by assuming it to be so.

            1. That’s the nature of impeachment proceedings: they’re one-offs (and this is but the fourth in this Republic’s 232-year constitutional history).

              Remember the “other guys get fellated, too” defense presented at Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial?

              Me neither.

      2. @tjeales

        No, not that. Just to establish an objective criteria for what constitutes “incitement.”

        If Trump, with no moments of actual ‘calling for it’ or ‘giving examples of what should happen’ is guilty, why wouldn’t a bevy of others who actually DID make such calls not be guilty?

        P.S. I am not a Trump fan. Not a GOPer, either. I am relieved he is gone.

        1. This is not a criminal court. The Constitution simply says that the Senate tries the case and imposes penalties if guilty. There is no standard of proof here: It’s what the Senate judges it to be: Was he guilty?

          The “bevy” are likely private citizens, so the normal criminal process would be required.

    1. You’re not the first person I’ve heard suggest this. And it could be done. It’s pretty clear that the Democrats are judging Trump on more than the evidence on the one count; they’re judging his entire term in office. I think it’s disingenuous to pretend otherwise.

      1. I have equal empathy for the loved ones of the officer who died at the Capital and victims such as Jessica Doty-Whitaker, shot dead by BLM supporters for saying “all lives matter.”

        Yes, it is particularly shocking to see the actual Capital Building, with Congresspersons in it, broken into by a mob, but this country is NOT our government. It is people in cities and towns and farms, with homes, businesses, and institutional sites. We should have equal or more outrage over violation of these.

        1. “Your honor, my client must be found innocent. After all, many other people have robbed banks and gotten away with it.”

              1. Shamefully, her story has been dropped, and the perps, seen walking towards her by a camera, have not been captured. When they do capture them, I’ll cite and support my claim.

                Extraordinary claims, such as “it was a coincidence that she argued violently with BLMers and then oh by the way was assassinated a few minutes later and it had nothing to do with the BLMers moving towards her” require extraordinary evidence.

            1. Nobody knows who killed her, except the killer.

              Somebody shouted “black lives matter” at her group and she was shot dead later in the same evening. You don’t know if it was the same person or if the person in question was an active BLM supporter or if they just shouted the phrase to get a reaction.

              Most importantly, the case has nothing to do with the impeachment of Donald Trump, although, I agree that bringing it up might sway the votes of some senators who aren’t able to see the fallacy.

      2. Based on what I’ve seen, they are judging him based on what he’s done since his obvious loss in November. Which is entirely germane. The Capitol storming wouldn’t have happened without what Trump did and said ever since the election.

      3. I don’t think the senate is “judging his [Trump’s] entire term in office” (at least not in any direct sense).

        What IS at issue is everything Trump has said and done since the first time during the 2020 campaign in which he told his supporters that he could lose only if the election were rigged — and since he declined, in response to a direct inquiry from an interviewer, to guarantee that, if he lost, there would be a peaceful transition of power to his opponent. (That question would have been an uncontested layup for ANY of his 44 predecessors to the presidency.)

        These are the statements by which he began perpetrating the große Lüge that the election was stolen — the false contention that led directly to the January 6th rioting at the Capitol.

    2. I would like you to post a link to just one instance of a Democrat calling for an assassination of another politician or something analogous, like Trump’s call for Pence’s reckoning with “patriots”.

      1. “a Democrat”

        My claim was wider than politicians elected from the Democratic Party, who are marginally more wary of expressing their true incitement-dreams, so they rely on Hollywood types, commentators, and intellectuals to call for killing. Still, actual elected politicians from the BlueTeam have inflamed just as bad as Donald Trump.

        http://jrdonohue.com/incite.mp4

        The call for John Wilkes Booth was nearly a viral meme. I had two different people say it to me IRL. The display of model guillotines in the streets all year by BLM/Antifa was an unambiguous incitement for assassination.

            1. John, the distinction between private citizens and elected leaders is important. We can play “Google image search random angry Republicans/Democrats doing or saying stupid things” all day long. Show me a *real* equivalent to Trump or Marjorie Taylor Greene in the Democratic leadership.

              1. You distinction is ignored. The goalpost of my claim is firm.

                Or…

                If you want to initiate a NEW comparison, first provide the exact statement or specific act by Trump against which you wish a comparison.

              2. Government leaders’ behavior absolutely should be held to a higher standard than Joe Blow, and you know it. However, if you insist on opening the right/left comparison up to any old person then you must know that for every guillotine you produce, I will be able to produce dozens of burning or hanging Obama effigies, etc, and let’s not forget on which side of the political spectrum most mass shooters belong.

                Your original comment boiled down to “both sides do it”, so I challenged you to post an example of a Democrat doing something like what Trump has done, namely, the lying to the country about the results of the 2020 Presidential election, taking that lie to unbelievable extremes in the form of farcical lawsuits and press events, doing it for over two months, and of course his behavior on 1/6/2021: demanding his Vice President break the law, sending a loving message to the murderers and insurrectionists…

                John, there is no Democrat leader who has done anything remotely analogous. If Marjorie Taylor Greene were a Democrat, you might have an example, but she is of course a Republican.

        1. “The display of model guillotines in the streets all year by BLM/Antifa was an unambiguous incitement for assassination.”

          Citation and photos (should be many of them) requested.

            1. Well, this is news to me. I don’t watch TV at all and I don’t surf the internet for news. I listen to NPR, mainly, and this is a good corrective. NPR has really gone too woke.

              I continue to be strongly opposed to the sh!t in Portland (and here in my local Minneapolis).

              And I’ve been calling out the “mostly peaceful” protests from the summer. And I’ve said that calling it “mostly peaceful” when looting and arson are going on provides cover for things like the Capitol Insurrection.

              At the same time being hard-over against Voldemort and his cult (especially the insurrectionists of 6-Jan).

          1. Really. You didn’t notice them? Guillotines were deployed many times in Portland and Seattle. This was so well videoed, it never occurred to me to link. That you do not stipulate the guillotines, and move on to some justification like “it does not amount to incitement,” is either massive stonewalling or blinders.

            https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=portland+guillotines+during+riots&first=1&tsc=ImageBasicHover

            I especially like the touch of cutting the American flag in half with one. While it is burning. A three-fer!

            NOTE: if the search filter does not contain the word “portland” you will see many from the Yellow Vest people in France.

            I am not claiming that Kathy Griffin deployed a guillotine to cut off the head of the President of the United States [s/] and hold it aloft for others to lust over as seen in the video I linked; she might have gnawed it off with her teeth.

            Repost of advisory: I am not a Trump supporter, nor a GOPer. I am only making the point that “incitement” claims ought to rest on an objective definition.

            1. Once again, that other people have done just as bad is not a defense or an excuse. But currently the biggest threats to the republic are from radical right groups, not from BLM or antifa. This is the threat assessment from our law enforcement agencies, not just my opinion.

              1. @ploubere

                Nnnooo, once again, “just as bad” is not offered as a defense. It is an attempt to establish objectivity on the term “incite.” Donald Trump is being tried for inciting a riot. Prosecution tries to stretch the term as far as possible, all the way to “enthusiasm.” Meanwhile, BlueTeam tries to stretch a full year of insurrection, property destruction, looting, personal assault, and deaths to be “peaceful demonstrations.”

                Anarchist/BLM/Antifa thugs are operating far and wide without mayors and police stopping them, They have caused deaths, not to mention property destruction. Clean that up first.

    3. It shouldn’t hinge on a definition of “incitement”. Since an impeachment is not a criminal trial, the word “incitement” can be interpreted more generally. Trump’s responsibility as President meant that he should have tried to stop his supporters from going to the Capitol. Instead, he set the date and cheered them on. Focusing solely on whether Trump directly caused the deaths that day would be making a huge mistake. An impeachment is a job assessment and Trump failed miserably.

  10. The Republican Senators have to know that the last several days of the presentation by the House Managers will be viewed for years to come, and everyone looking at the Senators who voted to acquit will be wondering what the hell they were thinking.

    1. Doesn’t seem to matter to them. Have you seen them mocking the House Managers and their presentation? Nauseating .

    2. That’s why Trump’s defense that the impeachment deprives him of due process is, despite being bogus, fairly smart. It gives the Republican senators an out to acquit, while simultaneously criticizing Trump for his actions. Trump’s team knows they don’t want to go on the record on the content of the case, so give them a technicality they can use.

  11. Based on news reports, Trump was ecstatic during the attack on the Capitol and hesitated to stop it. Can that be used against him?

  12. Intent isn’t necessary to prove. Dereliction of duty is sufficient, and that’s clear enough, even if we pretend to believe Trump’s wink-wink nudge-nudge “oops” story. Impeachment could theoretically prevent Trump from ever getting a second term, and that would be the right outcome.

    Politically, the objective here ought to be to give the American public an up-close and nauseating view of Trump’s dance with his ugliest and most violent supporters. The impeachment managers seem to be doing that well.

    1. Rather than dereliction of duty, I would call Trump’s incitement of the crowd “wanton endangerment”. You can be guilty of a crime even if you did not intend any harm from your actions, even if you take steps to try to prevent your actions from causing harm. A hypothetical: you drive down a crowded city street at 90 miles an hour, with no intent of hurting anyone. You even try to steer away from the child stepping of the curb, but you hit her and kill her. A reasonable person would have known that was a possible outcome, so guilty of manslaughter. The question for the Trump trial is, should a reasonable person have anticipated that his actions might result in a mob storming the Capitol and attempting to subvert the election results?

      1. Yes, I was going to say the same thing. I am not familiar with US law, but in most European traditions there is gradation of intent in a criminal case. From absolutely wanting outcome X to recklessly (and in various degrees of recklessness) causing outcome X to be. Usually, when your actions are reasonably and foreseeably likely to result in the harm under scrutiny, you get punished with varying degrees of severity depending on how foreseeable the outcome would have been for a reasonable person, even if you claim that you didn’t really wanted that precise X to happen.
        Also, I wonder if the nature of an impeachment trial is equivalent to that of a trial before a court or judge in a criminal system. If you can impeach an officers for actions that are not technically “crimes” (due to their political nature, as Senator Graham used to say when it was about Bill Clinton), maybe the standards of conviction are necessarily equivalent to those that apply before a court of law.

        1. “If you can impeach an officers for actions that are not technically “crimes” (due to their political nature, as Senator Graham used to say when it was about Bill Clinton), maybe the standards of conviction are necessarily equivalent to those that apply before a court of law.”

          They are not. “High crimes and misdemeanors” was intentionally left open to interpretation. The Constitution simply says that the House indicts and the Senate tries the case and the range of penalties available. Simply looking at the penalties tells the story: Removal from office, barring from future office.

          Impeachment is a political act, not a criminal trial. The Republican whining about it being a “partisan attack” is spurious. All Presidential impeachments are partisan acts.

          Given the current GOP’s slavish devotion to power at any cost and to the cult of Voldemort, it is impossible for it to be any other way (the GOP is seemingly incapable of placing the country ahead of their own power and the cult of Voldemort).

  13. One important thing to remember is that impeachment is a political process, not a criminal trial. As many attorneys have pointed out, in a criminal proceeding every Senator would be excused as a potential juror. And the is no judge – yes, Patrick Leahy (or John Roberts last time) presides, but the role is almost completely ceremonial – any points of law are decided by a vote of the “jurors”. So whether Trump’s behavior rises to the legal standard of incitement is really not the question. Rather, it is whether it was sufficiently egregious that he should be thrown out of office (irrelevant here) and barred from future office.

    Second point – while the immediate audience is the Senate, where I admit that conviction is unlikely (although not impossible), the bigger audience is the American electorate. Here, polling trends are going in the right direction, and I am hopeful that the presentations of the last two days will accelerate that trend. So bottom line – Democrats (with small but significant GOP support) had to impeach, and even if it doesn’t result in conviction, it is a necessary and important process.

    1. Yup. This isn’t about the Senate (who I think is 40million shy in voting power since 2 Senators per state is ludicrous). This trial is for the Americans who give a shit. I think a lot of us do. Moscow Mitch 666 has delegitimized the Senate. That’s the mistake the Machiavellian Senator made. Sacrifice all for the appointment of judges…I guess we don’t yet know the yield of that bargain.

    2. I agree. I also believe Trump’s intent does not matter, his words and actions (and lack of action) precipitated the events of 1/6. It doesn’t matter if he intended for it to happen. As you point out, this is not a criminal trial, it is a political process, a process to determine if Trump is fit to hold office ever again. There is four years of evidence that he is not.

      Your second point is also well made. Even if there is no chance, ESPECIALLY if there is no chance to convict it is imperative the trial goes through. This trial is for all the Trump supporters who can be persuaded by facts and reason (however few that may be), it’s for all the low information voters, those disinterested in politics, those who think “both sides are the same”.

      More importantly perhaps it’s for Republican supporters who can be reached and shown how far the GOP has fallen. Just how craven, self serving, hypocritical and unbalanced they have become. Every voter who walks away from Republicans and/or Trump is one little step closer to returning to sane politics. I know some people will think I’m being hyperbolic but the right’s extremism is accelerating and becoming a greater danger every year.

      Voting Biden into office, gaining seats in the senate was only a stop gap measure. Should the right’s slide into further extremism not be stopped and reversed things could get very bad.

    3. Exactly! This is an impeachment, not a criminal trial. This is about whether or not Trump’s behavior as POTUS was acceptable, or not.

  14. Impeachment appears to be a quasi judicial process at best. The so called jurors will decide mostly on political lines. I feel that there is likely to be far greater merit in what will be a true judicial process if a criminal indictment is laid against Trump for his attempt to sway a State official (Raffensperger of Georgia) over the election results. I sincerely hope Trump ends up in jail for his Don Corleone act!
    A major defence for Trump is that he cannot be tried by the Senate since he is no longer President. Why then has he not challenged the Senate in the Courts on the ground that their proceedings are ultra vires and, pending a decision, sought an interim injunction?

      1. Yes, I’m aware of that but Trump’s lawyers appear able to distinguish that case from the present case. Therefore, I am wondering why the argument is not being taken through the courts. If nothing else an interim injunction would be a an irritant, mess up the timetable and cause delay: so procedures for which Trump is notorious.

          1. I am not familiar with US laws but they are based on the Common Law, therefore any decision by a body which acts judicially or quasi judicially will be subject to judicial review surely.

              1. Thanks Ken. Interesting to compare that view with that of our Supreme Court which recently went so far as to find even the prorogation of Parliament an act capable of judicial review. And, of course, that Court and it’s predecessor, the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords, have, over the past 100 years or so, steadily extended the ambit of judicial review to such an extent that it is rare for a ‘Henry VIII ouster clause’ to withstand their onslaught!

        1. The Senate already voted on that, on Tuesday. They decisively voted that Voldemort can be tried after he has left office. They already lost that one.

          The Voldemort team sound like a political rally for the Voldemort cult, which is exactly what I think is going on there.

          The important outcome is airing Voldemort’s dirty laundry clearly for the public to see and getting the GOP members to publicly commit on whether they put country or the cult of Voldemort first.

          1. It might be helpful for Ken Kukec to express a view on he principles involved in judicial review. You seem not o be understanding the issue. Incidentally, I believe Trump would lose any such action. I !merely was looking for a discussion on the competence of such action

              1. To be even more precise than above, SCOTUS expressly held that an impeachment proceeding presents a nonjusticiable “political question” — and, thus, is not subject to judicial review — in Nixon v. United States. (NB: the Nixon involved in that case was not the 37th president of the US, but Walter Nixon, an impeached federal district court judge.)

    1. You must not have listened on Tuesday. That was the defense by the Voldemort team: Voldemort is out of office, so the whole thing is unconstitutional. This was decisively voted down by the Senate.

      The impeachment managers showed clearly that public officers have been impeached in the past after leaving office including the first US impeachment.

      The only unique thing is that the defendant in this case is a former president.

      Several people in the past have tried to avoid impeachment by resigning. The impeachment managers are 100% correct on this; and the Senate agreed, decisively.

  15. Not sure of the law here … what struck me watching a limited amount of the proceedings was the thought:

    Not so much did he intentionally incite the riot, but was he intentionally (criminally) reckless?

    Another thought … there was a fair bit of hyperbole regarding the carnage around the 6th Jan. I can’t help thinking that the day’s proceedings could have turned out far worse especially if the police had responded with more force.

    1. Yes, it could have turned out far worse had the the so called insurrectionists had a plan of action and determined leadership. On discovering that the senators had vacated the chamber they would have taken a few of the guards hostage until Pence was delivered to them. The hostages would have been executed until that first step was achieved. Pence would have been next until he did the necessary. All fanciful nonsense of course, but it certainly does illustrate that the mob failed to carry out any actions which might reasonably be construed as ‘ giving them hell ‘.

    2. Hyperbole you say? Around a violent insurrection, incited by a sitting US president, where armed mobs stormed the US capitol while congress was conducting its official duty, resulting in death and destruction? Kinda hard to overstate the seriousness of this event.

    3. I can’t help thinking that the results would have been far, far worse if the Capitol Police had responded with even slightly LESS force — if the bloodthirsty rioters had managed (as they expressly intended to and very nearly accomplished) to get their hands on Vice-President Pence or Speaker Pelosi or any of the other congresspersons whom Trump had called out by name at his rally on the Ellipse that day.

      It was only because of the resistance put up by the Capitol Police that members of congress were able barely to escape from the two chambers’ floors to more secure locations.

      1. I continue to be amazed at the job they did that day. Perhaps there were some who took selfies with the rioters, and others who sided with them, but the overall result was impressive. They showed impressive restraint. Sure, there was also a fair amount of luck.

  16. As an outsider looking in the impeachment process is a fascinating show but that horse has already bolted.
    More importantly would be a discussion around the electoral system that got Trump elected in the first place. How do you ensure you get a top drawer president? What checks and balances should be in place to prevent the election of an unsuitable candidate in the future?
    Ultimately, the question has to be asked as to whether the Amercan electoral system is fit for purpose?

    1. You clearly haven’t listened to the case being made. There is plenty of precedent for impeachment after leaving office. One of the penalties is bar from future office. Several have tried to avoid impeachment by resigning, in the past.

      The horse has, most definitely, not bolted in this case.

  17. Why impeachment – are there no ordinary laws that apply to what he did?

    Why not introduce legislation that prevents abuses of power in office so it cannot happen again?

    That defence lawyer was all over the place. But we all know how this ends – business as usual in your divided states…

    1. There are ordinary laws that apply to what he did, but applying them to a sitting president (as he was when he committed the crimes) is uncharted territory, and at that level very much political even though criminal justice is not supposed to be.

      Remember why Mueller didn’t recommend any indictments? It was because he was ordered by his superior not to, because of an Office of Legal Council memo opining that POTUS could not be indicted.

      I think there would be even less chance of getting a conviction on a criminal charge against Trump regarding his clear incitement of insurrection than there is of impeaching him.

      1. But that makes the President like Charles I claiming divine authority versus parliament! The struggles of church v king v parliament in England established our democracy & the idea that the king was not above the law – yet the US does not seem to follow that???

        1. Well, the US tradition is that the president is very much not above the law. There are checks and balances against the authority of the president built in to our system at various levels. One important one is the 3 branches of government, the executive (president), the houses of congress (house of representatives and the senate) and the judicial branch.

          However, for decades now presidential administrations have been stealing authority away from the other branches of government. An old example is going to war without a declaration of war from the house. President’s aren’t supposed to have the authority to go to war. This stealing of authority from the other two branches really ramped up during Bush Jr.’s administration. My biggest disappointment regarding Obama is that he didn’t do more to walk those back.

          And of course Trump has no clue what rules president’s are supposed to abide by, or how government is supposed to work. And if he did he wouldn’t care. Unfortunately a large number of his supporters were / are just fine with Trump being above the law as long as he is providing them with the theater of sticking it to the libs. They are credulous fools.

          So, while we did just experience a president that was more blatantly above the law than any other president in modern history, no, it’s not supposed to be like that.

          1. “presidential administrations have been stealing authority”

            I think it is more accurate to say that Congress has been ceding authority. It is no surprise that presidents (of whatever party) will try to accomplish their goals however they can. What is surprising, to me at least, is that Congress has declined to govern, allowing the shift in control.

            1. That’s true. Though the executive, particularly under Bush Jr., has also stolen authority from the judicial branch.

              In some instances this stealing / ceding authority is something that has happened incrementally, subtly, over time. In many others it happened quickly by premeditated planning. Again, particularly under Bush Jr.

            2. Most of the ceding of authority is through inaction. Congress has done very little to really solve the immigration and border problems, for example, so presidents issue executive orders instead.

  18. I won’t be commenting much on this site any longer but will say something on this matter. I would recommend that everyone watch the entire 6 hours the defense team used yesterday to make their case. Watch carefully and then see if your opinion has changed any. Of course if you are part of the cult or a republican you watch certain sites and stations so you can ignore this. After all most have come to their conclusions and if we know anything about people they rarely change. To make anything but wild opinion without actually watching the entire presentation is kind of like doing a book review after reading someone else’s review. One thing I did not hear in any of the comments made so far is anything much about the damage done by Trump’s cult and upon his actions. Think for a minute – would any of this taken place without Trump? How many were killed? How many injured? Does that matter to you? There were more than 140 capital police injured in this assault. These are the people that saved a massive disaster from taking place. At least 5 people were killed including 2 who committed suicide later. You might even ask yourself if you care what kind of government you live in and if you would be willing to do anything to keep it.

    1. “I won’t be commenting much on this site any longer”.

      I hope you are OK. I’ve always enjoyed your comments.

      “would any of this taken place without Trump?”

      No, never. Voldemort has joyfully flouted all of our political and societal norms. He has done his best to undermine all of our institutions so that “I am the only one! who can save our country.”

      This is the dictator’s playbook, all the way.

      We are damned lucky to have passed through this fire. My worry is that the next Voldemort will be less of a narcissist, more like Putin, and more effective. Voldemort has laid the groundwork with his cult for a Putin to come after him. All the more reason why it’s critical to hold the GOP to the fire on this. This trial is an important element of that.

      1. No problems, just moving on. I think there was a little known group called Missouri with a song by that title.

  19. We all know what the outcome is going to be: Mr. Trump will be acquitted by a majority of 45% or so—rather like the 46% majority which defeated the
    Manchin-Toomey gun control amendment in 2013. As a result, Mr. Trump
    will be free to continue running amok in the Republican Party, which I think
    is all to the good, in the long run. As his pronouncements become more and more obviously demented, the Republican majority will slowly sink to 40%, and then lower, perhaps splitting along the way into two or more factions. The process has already begun, but I concede that it is maddeningly slow.

    The process could have accelerated if Mr. Trump’s adoring followers had succeeded in finding Mike Pence, and carried him outside to their amateur
    gallows. That would have been even more educational than their disorderly
    mobbing of the House and Senate hallways and chambers.

    1. I think, like with that woman shot by the Secret Service on 6-Jan, if they had gotten their hands on anyone for real, they would have been immediately dropped by either Secret Service or Capitol Police. And rightfully so.

      The Cap. Police were amazingly restrained, as they should have been.

      It’s an effing “miracle” that more protestors weren’t shot.

  20. Have you all heard about this attempt to create a new right-of-center party?

    Over 120 anti-Trump Republicans discussing forming new political party
    https://globalnews.ca/news/7633929/republicans-new-party-trump/

    70% of Republicans Would Consider Joining New Party Formed by Donald Trump, Poll Finds
    https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2021-02-09/70-of-republicans-would-consider-joining-new-party-formed-by-donald-trump-poll-finds

    I hope they do it.

  21. “This seems like a good place to put this:

    “I hold myself, so long as I have the breath of life in my body, amenable to impeachment by this House for everything I did during the time I held any public office” – John Quincy Adams

    As quoted here.

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