The Senate hearing for Donald Trump’s historic second impeachment has entered its defense stage. This follows the devastatingly effective presentation of the House impeachment managers who factually and passionately demonstrated how unarguably guilty Trump is for having incited a violent insurrection and an attack on the United States Congress.
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The Trump defense began with a comically stereotypical comment that illustrates just how vacant the defense team’s strategy is. “Like every other politically motivated witch hunt the left has engaged in over the past four years,” began attorney Bruce Castor, “this impeachment is completely divorced from the facts, the evidence, and the interests of the American people.” So Trump’s team has been fully marinated in Trump’s own buzzwords and fallacies.
Castor went on to present a long collection of video clips suggesting that any use of the word “fight” with reference to a political objective was identical to Trump’s repeated provocations to act out violently. There is, however, a significant difference. We know that none of the remarks by the Democrats in the video resulted in an invasion of Congress or any other display of violence. And we know what Trump’s exhortations to his cult disciples did.
In order to have a concise record of precisely why Trump’s defense is so feeble and patently dishonest, what follows is a summary of the arguments that Trump’s lawyers will offer in defense of the indefensible:
Trump’s defenders have already tried to argue that it is unconstitutional to impeach a president who is no longer in office. But Trump was impeached while he was still in office. The subsequent Senate hearing is explicitly authorized by the Constitution that says that “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.”
Trump’s team will argue that Trump was merely exercising his right to free speech like any other American citizen. But free speech has exceptions when the speech is so inflammatory as to present a threat to public safety. Clearly, the consequences of Trump’s speech show that it fit that exception.
No Direct Incitement
Trump’s lawyers will try to divorce Trump from his hostile rhetoric. But the record of months of relentless goading produced exactly the horrific results that Trump intended and that anyone could have foreseen. And Trump’s cavalier attitude after learning of the assault, and his refusal to provide help, is affirmation of his support for the rioters acting at his direction.
Trump’s team will attempt to divert attention from Trump’s atrocities to wholly unrelated events. They will suggest that violence that occurred during Black Lives Matter protests was identical in principle to the storming of Congress by Trump’s Seditionist Brigades. But those looters were not associated with the BLM demonstrations or their organizers. And in any case, that doesn’t absolve Trump of any of his crimes. It’s like saying that a bank robber shouldn’t be convicted because some other bank at some other time was robbed by somebody else.
Preplanned, Partisan, Political Theater
Trump’s legal strategy rests heavily on claiming that the whole matter was politically motivated and therefore illegitimate. To believe that one would have to ignore the mountains of evidence against Trump. Facts are nonpartisan. And the fact that some of the insurrectionists planned their crimes in advance doesn’t meran that Trump wasn’t responsible. He was inciting them for months. and even funded the January 6th rally.
Fear of Electoral Repercussions
This would be the only valid argument from the perspective of Republican senators planning to vote for Trump’s acquittal. They surely have good reason to believe that they would suffer politically if they anger the Trump Cultists in their states. Particularly in the highly partisan primary elections. But that is a terrible reason to align with treasonous acts and to succumb to the cowardly position of acquitting Trump despite the evidence against him.
That pretty much sums up the Trump defense. On the other hand, there are much more substantial reasons to convict him. First and foremost is that he is so obviously guilty.
In addition to that, it is imperative that any president who engages in such appalling behavior must be punished. He must be punished out of a sense of duty, but also as a deterrent to future demagogues, as well as future insurrectionists.
Finally, history demands a conviction so that the crimes of this president are established and recorded for posterity. Otherwise, we will very likely undergo the same sort of atrocities by even more destructive, sociopathic, wannabe tyrants.
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How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
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