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.
Even moreso than when I posted it yesterday, this quote is the perfect explanation of the Caucus of Cowards:
“It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character.” -- Joseph Heller "Catch 22"
I must return, for a third time this week, to a question that's increasingly hard to answer: Who do Congresspeople actually represent?
"Senators were apparently shocked to see how close they came to falling into the hands of the rioters..."
Trump's presidency suggests Congressional elections are increasingly "bait and switch" transactions, where prospective constituents are sold on one vision only to be replaced by a very different approach once in office. How else can one explain the disconnect from reality that's allowed GOP senators to deny intent after seeing the video of January 6, many admitting it was soul shaking, yet concluding it was insufficient to make a case for conviction?
Despite the 74,000,000 who voted for Trump I find it difficult to believe many, let alone all, would have contemplated intentionally murderous insurrection as the appropriate path to political change in this country.
Many Congresspeople have argued a false equivalence between January 6 and the 2020 riots, in particular, but that position is specious. True, we've had protests that have turned violent - the 1965 Watts riots, resulting in 34 deaths; the 1967 Detroit riots, resulting in 16 deaths and 500 injured; the 1968 Chicago riots, resulting in 11 deaths and hundreds hurt; the Vietnam War protests, in which very few died over about six years; the Ferguson riots of 2014-2015, in which only death was that of the man whose killing sparked the protests: and most recently the 2020 protests following the police killing of George Floyd, in which at least 25 people died. However, it's important to remember that in 2020, as in all these cases, deaths and injuries arose from confrontation between protesters and law enforcement or National Guard. They were calls for change, not attempts to overthrow the government.
I can only conclude the unwillingness to justify Trump's conviction is a function of fear. Fear of losing their jobs, fear of constituents anger, fear of Trump's retribution, and perhaps most troubling, fear of the exposure of their own complicity that led to January 6, 2021. Could 50% of the Senate and nearly 75% of the House GOP truly believe Trump was the best leader for America? Why do so many Republicans noisily oppose abortion rights despite three quarters of Americans support it, although some with restrictions? Are they really representing their districts and states?
No, their fear is grounded in political expedience, well described by HCR this morning: "...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 "It’s unlikely that any of the senators want to acquit Trump because they want him to stay in the political scene.... they want his voters to elect them, not to reelect him or elect his chosen successor..."
They can't have their cake and eat it too. From today's letter, the "House impeachment managers have given Republican senators multiple ways to justify a vote for conviction to their constituents.... Senators could vote to convict out of a determination to protect law enforcement officers, something their constituents say is important to them."
Unfortunately, despite some feigned outrage in the days following the attack, most Republicans have walked back their earlier contention that Trump was responsible for fomenting insurrection. They still have no proof of election fraud. They're willing to overlook Trump's Twitter assaults and his undermining the statements and actions of even some of his most staunch supporters in Congress and elsewhere. They refute what their eyes and ears witnessed as rioters hammered on doors calling for the deaths - DEATHS - of Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi. The threats were equitable across party lines. Democrats pointed to prominent Republicans, including former Trump chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher, posting terrified tweets and making panicked on-air calls to Fox News in which they begged Trump to “call off” his mob on Jan. 6. Now Gallagher says impeaching Trump is “unconstitutional” and “accomplishes nothing.”
Beyond my dismay, nay, deep anger, at the GOP's persistent denials of the threats the US faced before and up to January 6, some Republicans have shown disrespect and contempt for the proceedings and their Congressional colleagues. On Wednesday, Senators Rubio, Hawley, Scott, and Paul were reading or doodling. Josh Hawley "kicked his feet up to watch Democrats’ opening statement from the Senate gallery instead of joining the rest of his colleagues on the floor." "Rick Scott of Florida, who called Wednesday’s wrenching videos a “complete waste of time.” On Thursday "at least 18 Republican senators were absent from their desks as the managers were making their case."
Do they really think we can forgive and forget the fact that they didn't stand up for their colleagues and their country? Do they believe their contention that the trial somehow violates president Biden's calls for unity and is thus too divisive? Do all of these lawyers think the the framers contemplated offering a free pass to treasonous behavior just because it occurred late in a president's term and because they put off a trial until Trump was out of office just days before? And do they think that Impeachment and a trial specifically enumerated by the Constitution, where they have the authority to define the terms of those actions, is truly unconstitutional?
I have to call BS on that. Their fears have totally sublimated their responsibilities to adhere to their oaths of office. That alone should render them unfit to continue to serve as representatives of the people. They represent no one but themselves and their donors who, with any luck, will withdraw supportb for those who failed to fight for our democratic principles and processes.
Until more Americans are educated, the evil openly destroying our democracy will grow.
They are afraid...not only for their political lives but for their own and lives of their families.
Lindsey Graham et al shared their thoughts with defense lawyers.
I hope he shared this one, “ ...enough is enough!”
“Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has been a staunch supporter of President Trump, vigorously defended to certify the electoral votes on the Senate floor.
Graham said he believed voting to object the results are a “uniquely bad idea to delay this election."
"Trump and I, we've had a hell of a journey. I hate it to end this way. Oh my God, I hate it. From my point of view he's been been a consequential president. But today, first thing you'll see. All I can say, is count me out, enough is enough," Graham said.
Graham defended his stance by citing a number of cases in which Trump had lost, including the Wisconsin Supreme Court's decision on election results.
"We've got to end it. Vice President Pence, what they're asking you to do you won't do, because you can't," he said.
Graham ended his remarks by fully backing the election results. "It is over... [Biden] won. He's the legitimate President to the United States... Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are lawfully elected and will become the President and the Vice President of the United States on January 20," he said.”
After that statement, Lindsey Graham needed body guards to protect him from the Trump mob while in an airport:
“An angry crowd accosted Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) Friday at the airport with shouts of “Traitor!” and baseless claims of a rigged election in viral-video moments underscoring how even longtime Trump allies have become targets of a conspiracy movement promoted by the president.
“Lindsey Graham, you are a traitor to the country,” one woman yelled in a minute-long video as Graham kept walking while people followed him, shouting profanity and filming with cellphones. “You know it was rigged! … You garbage human being.”
“It’s gonna be like this forever, wherever you go for the rest of your life,” she said, repeatedly demanding an “audit” of the vote.“
They are afraid...
Conviction takes Courage because Courage takes Conviction.
All the Retrumplicans who will be voting to acquit are looking for cover. As Heather explains from near the end of her letter: "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."
These unprincipled, frightening creatures have no business voting AT ALL.
Your words "a deadly inversion of reality" sum it up so succinctly.
“At one point today, at least 18 Republican senators were absent from their desks as the managers were making their case.”
Since when has it been an option for jurors to be absent for a trial’s testimony?
I was on facebook bopping around and pressed link to a video of Hitlers maid. In her nineties she told of how the nazi army came to her small poor village for the first time. They brought goulash. She said ‘the people ate the goulash and they thought, things will be better for them with the army, with the Nazi’s.’ So, we talk about legal issues, moral values and good common sense when it comes to Republicans making a decision to impeach this former president but those things are not relevant. It is about sustenance and fear. They ate the goulash and received benefit from it. Their constituents are in the grip of a insane delusion and watching the scenes of the insurrection shows them the kind of rage they would experience if they vote the wrong way. An Anonymous vote is the only thing that will work. It’s all about the fear .... and the goulash.
It iappears that many Republican senators are more concerned with how a handful of Trumpistas will look at them in the next election than how history will look at them forever. How they can look at themselves, after all that has happened, indicates to me that there is something most of us consider essential missing in these people; a sense of personal honor and integrity.
They have put themselves beyond legal or moral argument or debate. Worse, they seem proud of the fact.
This impeachment will reverberate far past the final vote. That vote will be a defining moment for the United States, the future of democracy, and most particularly for the individual senators. donald trump has put his entire will and force of being into subverting our political system to gather all power unto himself. The evidence is overwhelmingly clear and damning that the Commander in Chief violated his oath of office. There can be no plausible defense and seems unlikely one will even be presented. Still, most prognosticators express confidence the disgraced former president will be acquitted, since none have seen a clear path for the 17 Republicans needed to convict. Those voting to acquit, I can almost hear it now, will doubtless say it is a political court, not judicial, so the evidence does not compel them.
This cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged. Those Senators who vote for trump's innocence must be made to answer in that other court, the court of public opinion. Perhaps they feel confident they can withstand the charges there, with the support of trump's rabid base. This should not be so. The court of public opinion is where the real final argument needs to be made, strenuously and consistently, that trump is a traitor, as far from a savior as can be imagined. He used tactics not seen seen Adolph Hitler in an attempt to throttle and destroy our democracy, one seen as a beacon of freedom and human rights the world over.
It's multiply unfortunate that Hitler is such an extreme example of evil that comparisons are immediately labelled hyperbole and discounted. I think in the case of donald trump it is wholly appropriate, in the face of the danger he presents to our nation. He makes me seethe, so maybe I am carried away. But until there is a widely understood acknowledgement and consensus of what, exactly, Trumpism represents, where people can then knowingly choose their side, I will not rest easily.
18 Shameless Senators failed to do their job. Imagine you, as a citizen, are called to jury duty. You are selected. But one day of the trial, you decide you have something better to do. You decide not to attend. Would this be allowed? Absolutely not. You could be cited, get a bench warrant and / or be sent to jail. America's Hall of Shame is overflowing with Republican Opportunists. It sickens me.
Our House managers were stupendous. They prepared their rebuttal at the end, before the defense lawyers had even spoken. In the meantime, three seditious guys go to Schoen and Castor to “offer” their expert opinions as to how to proceed. Very fishy! 18 jurors were absent which according to Laurence Tribe means that they should not be allowed a vote. I believe he is an adviser to the Democrats on constitutional law so perhaps Schumer will find the courage he needs to proclaim this. Definitely, Schumer must pull a “McConnell”!
For me, one of the most compelling sequences of today's impeachment hearings before the U.S. Senate was that 10-15 invaluable minutes the Jamie Raskin Congressional team devoted to the experience of the insurrectionists, in their own eyes and ears -- before, during, and following -- the breach of the Capitol.
The presentation suggested that many or most of the participants joined the storming of the Capitol because, and perhaps only because they felt that "their Savior" -- the then-President Trump -- had personally invited them to participate in this storming of the Capitol.
For me, this was significant for a couple of reasons.
First, it sheds light on the vulnerability of a disenfranchised portion of the citizenry that are exposed to an artfully composed and broadcasted "BIG LIE.," composed by a master authoritarian
Second, it indicates how an artful fascist leader in the U.S. can cleverly and ruthlessly manipulate much of the polity -- in a way that was familiar to Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, and many others.
In conclusion, I found it very insightful and moving that Congressperson Jamie Raskin pointed out, in his closing, that "democracies are extremely rare in human history." As Raskin said, most polities have been structured as aristocracies, dictatorships, or monarchies. In historical reality, it is probably highly debatable as to whether the U.S. has ever been "a democracy!" Raskin's point, however, is, for me, invaluable!
If there we only some way to definitively remove the one shred of cover most of the Republican Senators seem to be hiding behind - that the Conviction of a President who has already left office is unconstitutional. They don't care about the vote that held it valid and they will persist in this. It is too bad, in this instance, that the Supreme Court could not issue a Declarative Judgement on the issue. Their vote to acquit needs to be shown for the fraud it is.
If Trump is acquitted, January 6th will just look like the dress rehearsal for March 4th.
In my view there is no Republican Party as I have known it. It is now the Trump Party, that is, a fascistic party which is anti democratic and has no intention of defending the Constitution. It is anti immigrant, anti black, anti gay, white supremacist, and a party which is more like the nationalistic party of Putin in Russia. I have some hope that the old Republicans who still believe in democracy and free and fair elections and telling the truth, a least as much as politicians in the past have told the truth will prevail. Those who do support the Constitution and the norms of our democracy are few and far between now. They are Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, Adam Kinzinger, and a handful of others, namely those who voted to impeach and then to come those who will vote to convict Donald Trump. I most fear those Trump party officials at the state level who will be in charge of elections. I fear that this new group will stop at nothing to prevent an accurate vote count and will willingly overturn the results of elections or falsify election results.