One Acquittal, Three Quotes, Four Reactions

Trump acquitted

Former President Trump was acquitted in the second impeachment trial stemming from the Democrats’ relentless effort to remove him from office after his shocking election in 2016. In both efforts, the two-thirds super-majority necessary to convict was always impossible, because unlike previous impeachment efforts, these involved no crimes, and were not bi-partisan . They were exercises in pure partisan warfare, despite the contrary intent of the Founders and the flood of exaggerated rhetoric from Trump’s enemies who had presumed he needed to be impeached from the moment he was elected.

The sudden vote yesterday came as a surprise, as the Senate had just voted to allow witnesses in the “trial,” and that would have extended the fiasco considerably. I assume, without knowing, that the Democratic leadership finally figured out that its plot wasn’t working, and that it was time for the party to cut its losses. They might still be considerable. I hope they are considerable. This has wounded the nation badly, and the party that has blathered on about accountability needs some, and hard.

Republican Senators Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania voted guilty along with every Democrat. Interestingly, only two of the seven have a law degree, which may partially explain why they think a guilty verdict is defensible (it’s not.) The two lawyers, Romney and Murkowski, are barely Republicans and have been consistently anti-Trump. The fact that not a single Democrat had the integrity to buck the party’s mandate and oppose such a damaging precedent and such a dubious impeachment tells us all we need to know about the state of the current Democratic Party.

Now, three quotes following the vote:

Quote #1: From law professor and blogger Glenn Reynolds:

The Democrats have converted impeachment from a measure of “high crimes and misdemeanors” to simply an indicator that the House of Representatives is controlled by the opposition party. Once again, people claiming to stand up in favor of institutions and traditions against Donald Trump have actually wrecked those institutions and traditions out of pique. This has done lasting damage to the Republic, and they don’t care. They never care.

Exactly. They were determined to impeach Trump or torture the Constitution to get him out of office by other means (the 25th Amendment, Emoluments). Ironically, they managed to diminish the stain and the threat of impeachment in the process, after finally scraping the bottom of the metaphorical barrel with what Professor Turley calls the “snap impeachment”:

What is striking this time is that there was literally no record in the House. None. There was no hearing, no investigation. Just a snap impeachment. As we have discussed, the House could have held days of hearings and still impeached Trump before leaving the White House on January 20th. (A Senate trial before Trump left office was not an option). They refused. Then four weeks passed where they could have called key witnesses to answer  myriad of questions, they again refused and decided to go forward without such direct evidence. At the trial, both the House and the defense highlighted critical questions that have remained unanswered due to the lack of such testimony.  Yet, the Democratic senators do not want to hear witnesses anymore than the House. This is not because of prudential objections to the use of a snap impeachment. They have indicated that they do not need such answers to pronounce guilt.

They never did, nor with the previous impeachment either. They just decided he was guilty (Translation: Trump never should have been elected, and wasn’t “legitimate” in the first place, so he was preemptively guilty). More from Turley:

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said she heard from enough people through “interviews and video presentation.” Of course, she did not hear a single line of sworn testimony because there is no such testimony despite the availability of direct testimony from witnesses who have already given public statements. Yet, she declared “I feel like we’ve heard from enough witnesses.”

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said “I think the case has been made. I don’t know what witnesses would add.”  That may be true since no one has even deposed a witness. This is a case of ignorance being bliss when it comes to a desire for conviction.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., tried a different tact and said that the accused has the burden.  She said Trump could come and “give his explanation of the day,” but “otherwise, it feels like to me we’re done.”

Of course, the burden is on the House and they presented an entirely circumstantial case on Trump’s state of mind despite a dozen witnesses who could confirm what he said and did in these critical hours. Indeed, the Senate did not even see confirmation on details whether Trump delayed deployment of National Guard or whether the fault of the delay rests equally or more with others, including Congress, on the preparation for and response to the protest and later riot. The trial therefore will remain circumstantial by design and popular demand.

Again, bingo.


Quote #2: Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell.

Read his full statement here.

McConnell laid out the slam-dunk argument, made by others more astute than him, that the Senate had no jurisdiction to try a private citizen in an impeachment trial. He should have left it at that, but McConnell is a jerk. He began by pronouncing an over-heated description of the January 6 riot, and stating that the rioters

“…did this because they had been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on Earth — because he was angry he’d lost an election. Former President Trump’s actions preceding the riot were a disgraceful dereliction of duty…There is no question—none— that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day. The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their President. And their having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole which the defeated President kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth….The issue is not only the President’s intemperate language on January 6th….It was also the entire manufactured atmosphere of looming catastrophe; the increasingly wild myths about a reverse landslide election that was being stolen in some secret coup by our now-President.”

Enough. It was stipulated on Ethics Alarms that President Trump should not have become the public face of suspicions regarding the election, the justifiable—I would say undeniable—assertion that the election was not held on a level playing field, and the accurate belief that the news media assisted Democrats in—pick your word—rigging, stealing, fixing the election. It was wrong and, yes, dangerousfor him to do this, as well as stupid. It was not incitement, however, nor was it a crime. If Trump was responsible for the January 6 riots, then Barack Obama was responsible for the violence that occurred in Trayvon Martin demonstrations in a hundred cities after Obama compared the dead black teen to him and his hypothetical son, while falsely characterizing the facts of the case. If Trump was responsible for the January 6 riots, President George H.W. Bush lit the fuse for the 1992 riots fallowing the verdict in the Rodney King case, since Bush had wrongly presumed to characterize the beating of King by LA police before the full video had been seen or the trial. “Those terrible scenes stir us all to demand an end to gratuitous violence and brutality,” Bush said. “Law-enforcement officials cannot place themselves above the law that they are sworn to defend. It was sickening to see the beating that was rendered and there’s no way, no way in my view, to explain that away. It was outrageous.” I criticized Bush for this at the time, much as I criticized Trump.

But neither Bush, nor Obama, nor Trump intended to provoke a riot, and the responsible parties were and are the rioters themselves. Trump’s claims about the election certainly went on longer than Obama’s or Bush’s false statements. He also had more basis for his complaints. Nothing in Trump’s speech to the gathered protesters can be pointed to as triggering the riot, and for McConnell to go back before that shows an eagerness to blame Trump for the anger—and legitimate anger–of Trump supporters who were insulted, abused and virtually disenfranchised by the “resistance”/Democratic Party/mainstream media cabal that undermined the President the public elected for four years. (There was no false evocation of a “secret coup,” as McConnell said. There was an obvious and open attempted coup for Trump’s entire term.)

The emerging evidence shows that the rioters had planned their attack on the Capitol before hearing Trump, rendering the case against him to be the legal fallacy, post hoc ergo propter hoc (“after this, therefor because of this”). Had there been no incursion of the Capitol, Trump would have been held blameless despite acting exactly as he did. And Mitch deserves a special place in hell for this statement: “According to public reports, he watched television happily as the chaos unfolded. He kept pressing his scheme to overturn the election!” McConnell is using mainstream media rumor-mongering as fact, the routine practice for four years that makes journalists among those culpable for the anger behind the riot.

There was no evidence presented that Trump’s words on the 6th caused the events of January 6, and his typically hyperbolic claims were not necessary to create a critical level of anger among the more unstable Trump partisans. Moreover, while a long-lasting swamp creature like McConnell would be the last person to admit it, the “atmosphere of looming catastrophe” was not manufactured then and isn’t now. Democracy, the Constitution, civil rights, our institutions and personal liberty in the United States are in real peril. Fighting to protect them is not just reasonable, it is essential, and using the term “fight” is not a call to violence, but to lawful opposition and patriotism.

In the absence of intent, causation, and evidence of either, McConnell’s post acquittal rebuke was itself irresponsible, calculated to confuse the public, and cowardly.

Quote #3: Former President Donald Trump

“I want to first thank my team of dedicated lawyers and others for their tireless work upholding justice and defending truth. My deepest thanks as well to all of the United States Senators and Members of Congress who stood proudly for the Constitution we all revere and for the sacred legal principals at the heart of our country. It is a sad commentary on our times that one political party in America is given a free pass to denigrate the rule of law, defame law enforcement, cheer mobs, excuse rioters, and transform justice into a tool of political vengeance, and persecute, blacklist, cancel and suppress all people and viewpoints with whom or which they disagree. I always have, and always will, be a champion for the unwavering rule of law, the heroes of law enforcement, and the right of Americans to peacefully and honorably debate the issues of the day without malice and without hate.”

It is a sad commentary; in fact it is tragic and ominous. Donald Trump has said a lot of reckless, false, wrong and stupid things, but on this occasion, he could not have been more astute.

35 thoughts on “One Acquittal, Three Quotes, Four Reactions

  1. What are Mitt Romney’s chances of being re-elected in Utah after this? I hope this isn’t going to be one of those instances where it’s either Mitt or a Democrat and they choose Mitt as the lesser of two evils.

        • Yes and no. Bennett, a conservative Mormon, was pushed aside in the primaries by Mike Lee (who ultimately got the nod), and Tim Bridgewater, even more conservative Mormons, in the year of the Tea Party, 2010, which gave us some doozies. What I was saying is I think Romney isn’t going to get knocked off by a Democrat in the general election given the electorate. Now, whether he’ll be challenged successfully in the primaries is another story. I still think that’s unlikely, but it’s more likely than losing in the general if he does in fact prevail in the primary.

          • I voted for him, but wasn’t happy about it. I have voted for a lot of people I wish I didn’t have to. When the choice is “I hope they aren’t as bad as they seem” and “This person destroys everything they have touched in their life and they seem proud of it”, there isn’t much choice.

        • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints doesn’t endorse political candidates, which leadership states every election season. It wouldn’t surprise me too much if some individual bishops make known who they vote for, expecting their wards (our word for congregations) but they shouldn’t.

          In any case, THIS Mormon will not be voting for Romney unless the alternatives are truly wretched.

          • I think Mitt suffers from the same condition that ended Jeff Flake’s political career. Some kind of weird savior complex or something. Flake essentially committed career suicide, or maybe he thought he could appeal to Arizona’s increasingly lefty populace. Anyway, it was really strange.

  2. Burr and Toomey are both retiring, so presumably they voted their consciences. Both can’t stand Trump, and saw this as one last opportunity to stick it to him before they enter the private sector and become highly-paid lobbyists. Murkowski is up for reelection next year, and I hope Sarah Palin goes forward with a teased primary challenge. She did nothing but get in Trump’s way during his administration, and this party doesn’t need a female John McCain. The other four, well, all in good time, there’s plenty of time to prepare effective and worthy challengers to all of them. Half of me wants to spare Susan Collins, who gave the one mature speech of the whole Kavanaugh mess, but after this, forget it. She needs to be out on her ass. The GOP needs people it can count on, especially in the face of a totally united opposition with no one on the other side willing to stand up to partisan excesses. If this means we’re going to have a lot of party-line votes going forward, then so be it. The idea was NOT to have a parliamentary system where the party in the majority has all the power and dissensions are rare, but it looks like that’s where it’s going.

    Taking the three points in reverse order (due to length of responses):

    #3. Well duh! It’s not saying much for this nation or one of the two major political parties when Trump is the stopped clock that’s right twice a day, and could not be more right this time out. We’ve been talking about all this for four years now.

    #2. McConnell is nothing if not a very astute politician. He knows that there is going to be pushback and maybe even rioting in response to this, so he’s trying to insulate himself. He also wants it both ways, and this is his way of having it both ways. He’s also a member of the establishment, never liked Trump, and would like nothing better than for him to disappear, but he also knew this wouldn’t work. Let’s not also forget that his wife was the first member of Trump’s administration to resign over the Capitol riot, and is probably still angry at her former boss. He also hinted at the end that he was hoping one of the many criminal investigations against Trump would actually pan out and send him to jail. He is hoping against hope if that’s the case, if Hillary didn’t go to jail, Trump won’t either.

    #1. It’s my understanding, at least from one news source, that the Biden White House put pressure on Schumer, et al., to end this trial sooner rather than later. If they had started calling witnesses, they would have opened the door to Trump’s defenders calling witnesses, and this trial would have dragged on for weeks. Biden didn’t want it to drag on for weeks, keep occupying the nation’s attention, dominating the headlines, and leaving his agenda on the shelf. That’s the only part of this whole mess the Democrats give a damn about. They don’t care about setting bad precedents, or damaging the legitimacy of the federal government, or widening the crack in this country that’s now a chasm into a Biblical great gulf, or really anything but short-term gain and absolute power. That’s why Harry Reid nuked the filibuster for appointees in 2013, that’s why they are talking about getting rid of the legislative filibuster now, and that’s why they are talking about making all these other governmental changes that would help no one but them and accomplish nothing beyond cementing a one-party state. That’s also why they are all too eager to partner with Big Tech to deplatform those they don’t agree with and much too eager to limit Constitutional freedoms in a way never seen before in this country. Just remember this, with apologies to Niemoller :

    First they came for right to bear arms, and you said nothing, because they said they were preventing violence and keeping weapons out of the hands of those who should not have them.

    Then they came for the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and you said nothing, because because they said they were just keeping a closer eye on potential domestic terrorists.

    Then they came for the right to practice your faith, and you said nothing, because they said certain faiths preach hate, and smart people don’t believe in that hooey anyway.

    Then they came for the right to due process, and you said nothing, because they said potentially dangerous people should be stopped before they shoot up a school or worse.

    Then they came for the right to free speech and a free press, and you said nothing, because they said they were just stopping hate speech, preventing the spread of misinformation, and reducing harm.

    Now they’re coming for you, and you are disarmed, cowed, and silenced.

    Is this the nation you want?

    • Steve, RE Susan Collins: she has always been among the squishiest of the Republicans. Her vote did surprise me a little this time around, given her stance on due process during the Kavanaugh hearings. Though a non-lawyer, she got that one right – so how she came up wrong this time is a bit of a puzzle.

      There are other factors here, having to do with the state of Maine. It was once said that “As Maine goes, so goes the nation.” That hasn’t been true for a long time. Today, it’s more like “As California goes, so Maine would if it had the tech industry and Hollywood to pay the shitshow.” Maine has become increasingly blue in the past 30 years, and is likely to become bluer still as Covid ex-pats from the Boston and New York DMAs flock to the state. The residential real estate market in Maine is nuts these days.

      More to the point, Collins just won her seat for another six years, despite a serious D challenge. The challenge was unserious given the candidate – Sarah Gideon, a carpetbagging lightweight of a former Maine House Speaker – but deadly serious considering the amount of out-of-state money that flowed in to support. Gideon raised nearly $70 million and spent the lion’s share of that. Collins spent less than half that amount, but even so it was by far the most expensive Senate race in Maine history. Collins won handily. Maine was considered a tossup up until the election, but I suspect that has to do with the fact that very little polling happens there.

      In other words, Collins has no serious political threats on the horizon, and given her age (she’s currently 68) I’m not convinced she really wants much more than one term. Perhaps she does, but even if that’s the case, she’s got five years to get ready, politically and money-wise.

      In other words, Collins faced no looming political threat by voting to acquit, and the legal arguments for doing so are solid. So her vote really is a puzzle to me.

      • Perhaps she just hates Trump. I have come to believe that is true of Mitch McConnell, who is also under no threat no matter how he voted.

        • Perhaps Collins doesn’t want a bunch of leftist assholes harassing her, her family, and anyone she has ever spoken to or made eye contact with. Maybe she doesn’t want her home vandalized, or worse. Because that’s where we are now, it seems.

          And we got here because people were pissed that Hillary Clinton got beat. It’s astonishing. Can you imagine a less worthy person to destroy a nation over?

    • Steve. Regarding Harry Reid. Don’t expect the Mormons to leave an entire political party to non-Mormons. There’s money to be made and spent from either side of the aisle.

      • Maybe, but hopefully they can do better than Harry, a smirking, manipulative, and hateful liar, and also a short-sighted strategist, who spent his time as Majority Leader tanking Bush’s agenda, pulling dirty tricks to move Obama’s agenda, or running interference for Obama against the House. I wonder which is worse, his deliberate lying o the Senate floor to smear Mitt, or his promises of all sorts of goodies to Arlen Specter to get him to switch parties, only to refuse to deliver once Obamacare was safely passed.

      • Heh. Many years ago, I worked for a mid-sized company in which the CFO was a Mormon. His job prior to joining our company was as CFO for a company that owned casinos. I asked him how he squared that with his faith.

        He chuckled and said “There’s an old tale of fellow in Utah in the late 1800s who owned bars and whorehouses. Someone asked him if that didn’t violate his faith. His answer was “It’s true that my faith prohibits me from the partaking of strong waters or ladies of ill repute. But only an idiot wouldn’t invest in them.””

    • If they had started calling witnesses, they would have opened the door to Trump’s defenders calling witnesses, and this trial would have dragged on for weeks.

      It would have also exposed how the Democrats condoned, excused, or even applauded the riots last summer.

      • Ted Cruz seems to think the Democrats definitely did NOT want Trump witnesses. They definitely also did not want to answer questions. Cruz said that Trump offered National Guard protection of the Capitol before the January 6 rally and the Capitol police said no because Pelosi didn’t like the optics. There also is the former DC police chief police wrote. I’m sure his testimony and questioning would be devastating to the Democrat’s case.
        (1) US Intelligence Agencies did not reveal the plot to attack the Capitol. They obviously knew because this was planned on social media and they had all the details later, they just didn’t reveal that it was going to happen.
        (2) The Capitol Police would not authorize National Guard troops because of ‘the optics’
        (3) The attack was well planned and involved the coordination of people in multiple places. It involved a pipe bomb diversion and thousands of people with tools, weapons, and earpiece communication storming the barricades (people who have done this before). This was not spontaneous.
        (4) The DC Police call for reinforcements met with several layers of bureaucracy stalling any action despite the pre-protest discussions the Police chief had with the D.C. Guard who said they could mobilize quickly. Once needed, it had to be approved by the Capitol Police and then the Pentagon.

        Yes, I think questioning this person would destroy the case against Trump and raise the questions about who knew this was going to happen and why didn’t they warn anyone.

        Of course questions like “Have any of the House Managers been having sex with Chinese government spies and why are they allowed to be on this prosecution team?” would be embarrassing, but so would the involvement of Nancy Pelosi’s son-in-law with ‘Viking Man’. Also, why isn’t ‘Viking Man’ being sought for prosecution? He was well photographed (as if by a documentary team) in the Capitol. Why is he not going to be charged? Selective prosecution?

  3. For what it is worth, Trump’s words never made me angry about the election. What has elevated my anger level and if if it persists could lead me to action (violence) is constantly being told that I have privilege because of my race by persons who live lavish lifestyles; some of whom live large from making such claims. My anger grows when I must consider every word I utter lest it might be my last as I am targeted for social and economic ostracizing by those who wish to exploit their newfound powers. They foment rage in me when they suggest or state outright I am at best a xenophobe and perhaps even a Nazi because I don’t believe in open borders. I stand ready to accuse them of inciting violence should it break out.

    As for Trump, his biggest mistake was not recognizing many of the swamp dwellers are in the Republican party.

  4. Chris Marschner, thank you for describing so well the “walking on eggs” feeling many of us have now. I grew up being taught to see character, not color, gender, etc. But now we are told that color, gender, and other such identifiers are the first thing we should see and should be the sole determining factors in how we proceed in our thoughts and actions.
    I grew up being taught that genuine debate includes listening first, then responding in a reasoned, well-researched manner to make my case. But now, “debate” begins and ends with lobbed accusatory labels because using logic long ago left center stage. To those who cower before the mob’s verbal and physical attacks – it’s past time to find you backbone, recover your voice, and call out – loudly but peacefully – the sophomoric destroyers of civilized society for what they are.

  5. Here’s a fourth quote from the Great Uniter. Take it away, Joe:

    ‘While the final vote did not lead to a conviction, the substance of the charge is not in dispute,’ Biden said in a statement on Saturday night.

    ‘Even those opposed to the conviction, like Senate Minority Leader McConnell, believe Donald Trump was guilty of a ‘disgraceful dereliction of duty’ and ‘practically and morally responsible for provoking’ the violence unleashed on the Capitol,’ Biden added.

    Mitch and Joe. Long time Senate buddies. Swamp creatures indeed.

      • Yeah, good question. Trump disputed it. Many Senators disputed it. Probably 35% of Americans dispute it.

        When a politician suggests something is undisputed, one can usually be assured that he is lying, or giving benefit of the doubt where it is by no means due, dissembling.

  6. Regarding this, from Prof. Reynolds:

    This has done lasting damage to the Republic, and they don’t care. They never care.

    While true, I wonder if this is taken from the right perspective. Perhaps the Democrats don’t care because they detest the republic as founded, and are anxious to convert it into a pure democracy. This impeachment affair was the act of pure democrats (small “d” intended), a completely majoritarian exercise without the guardrails of the republican form the Founders deliberately crafted.

    I suspect this is a feature, not a bug.

    I also wonder as to the Democrats’ motivation. It is not logical or reasonable to assume that they actually hoped to achieve “removal” (Need I mention the tortuous logic of removing a person from office who is no longer in that office?) and disabling Trump from a future run for president. While someone might reasonably point out that logic is not found in whatever cognitive process the Democrats use, they certainly attempt to think strategically and are highly adept at using extremes to enhance their position.

    It seems to me that we have to conclude that this was done not to “remove” an un-removable president or even to disable him from future office. Rather, this seems to have been designed as a show trial — a week-long opportunity for the Democrats and media partners to engage in long-winded polemics against their political enemies while parading their righteous hate of the Sauron of their imaginary Middle Earth — and use this affair to attempt to cripple the Republican party in public opinion and ease their path to permanent ruling status.

    There is no positive ethical position to be extracted from any of this; the highly partisan and unjust act of the snap impeachment of a President in his last days, the ridiculousness of a subsequent “trial” which did not comport with constitutional requirements, the spectacle of an actual “juror” with a history of rank partisan opposition sitting as judge (itself an egregious offense against Western legal theory), and even the overtly partisan nature of the decision. After all, does anyone think the Republicans, even the seven who voted to convict, actually carefully considered the evidence and rendered “impartial justice?” I suggest that they reached effective “impartial justice,” but purely by moral luck.

    Jack said:

    The emerging evidence shows that the rioters had planned their attack on the Capitol before hearing Trump, rendering the case against him to be the legal fallacy, post hoc ergo propter hoc (“after this, therefor because of this”).

    This raises another point which has been glossed over by the media. Any good-faith attempt to attain Trump (even though specifically unconstitutional) should at least result from a full and thorough investigation. There is plenty of support in US law when it comes to the tolling of statutes of limitation (an analogue to the president leaving office) that would allow an investigation to begin before Trump left office effectively continuing his liability past the expiration of his term.

    If the House had acted in good faith, it could’ve fully investigated the whole affair, produced a detailed report, and then voted out articles of impeachment if warranted. That would’ve at least showed a willingness to adhere to some kind of definable process. Instead, the just jumped up a recklessly non-specific and almost risible article of impeachment that would’ve been subject to any number of legal challenges.

    But this was never about knowing the facts, it was always about obtaining some kind of political result. Facially it was about disabling Trump from future office, but more likely it was just an attempt to damage him beyond redemption. And as you say, it was a process doomed to failure by the transparently fallacious argument for the behavior alleged. But we also have to acknowledge that fallacies, or even transparent illogic, is not an impediment to Democratic demands for action. They have raised the process of using purely emotional and ends-justify-the-means positions to a high art, bereft of reason by deliberate design. Aristotle’s description of law (i.e. “reason free from passion”) is something the Democrats have long rejected (and situationally, so have Republicans).

    In the absence of intent, causation, and evidence of either, McConnell’s post acquittal rebuke was itself irresponsible, calculated to confuse the public, and cowardly.

    Agreed. I cannot fathom what political benefit McConnell hoped to achieve as his constituency is solidly pro-Trump. So in my view, that leaves personal animus as the likely justification. I am pretty sure McConnell will not run again next time for Senate, so he has no real concern about that aspect. That often frees up politicians to vent their spleen at people the loathe. Regardless, it’s profoundly unethical and a smear on his legacy, such as it is.

    As to Trump’s statement, it was great right up to this:

    I always have, and always will, be a champion for the unwavering rule of law, the heroes of law enforcement, and the right of Americans to peacefully and honorably debate the issues of the day without malice and without hate.

    Says the man who was anything but supportive of the First Amendment except when it benefited him, dismissive of violations of law and equity among his supporters and appointees, and tragically unable to hire competent representation for any of his legal interests, placing loyalty (or as I aver, sycophancy) above competence.

    He should’ve stopped at “… disagree.”

    • Compared to what we are seeing now, Trump was a virtual ACLU, old style. He complained about speech, but he never did anything to obstruct it that I can recall. Banning partisan and disruptive fake journalists from press briefings was, for example, warranted and necessary.

      The rest of the your evaluation of his statement is accurate, however.

    • The motivation, I suspect Glenn, is to keep us in our place. In a way this wasn’t about Trump. He’s an avatar at this point (and maybe always has been) for all that unhinged leftists want to demolish.

      The point is to keep us too afraid to tell the truth or reflect reality. The point is to make sure we go along with the most hyperbolic and Orwellian of mandates and dictates. The point is for us to not question, not think, and not care that our own education, income and family are being hijacked ideologically to benefit the (globalized) state.

      Show trials are to keep citizens afraid of themselves and each other while revering The Elect.

      • Mrs. Q said:

        He’s an avatar at this point (and maybe always has been) for all that unhinged leftists want to demolish.

        Very incisive point. I hadn’t thought about that, but I believe you’re right. Trump has become a symbol, perhaps, of opposition to the Woke Left, and all the disruptive plans they have for the American experiment.

        I do know, and agree, that this show trial was about power. I also agree it is an attempt to cow Americans opposed to the AUC into going along or at least shutting up. For all I know, it will work.

        But I hope not.

  7. The sudden vote yesterday came as a surprise, as the Senate had just voted to allow witnesses in the “trial,” and that would have extended the fiasco considerably. I assume, without knowing, that the Democratic leadership finally figured out that its plot wasn’t working, and that it was time for the party to cut its losses. They might still be considerable. I hope they are considerable. This has wounded the nation badly, and the party that has blathered on about accountability needs some, and hard.

    Otherwise it will be the new norm.

    I keep wondering how anyone thought this would be a good idea. It would not have been a good idea, if if the Dems last year were unanimous in opposing the riots and praising law enforcement’s campaign to protect property. But with what they actually said and did last summer, the receipts were coming in.

    In all honesty, Speaker Pelosi saying, “People will do what they do” should have been enough to oust her from the Speaker’s Chair for this term at least, if not back then.

    Indeed, the Senate did not even see confirmation on details whether Trump delayed deployment of National Guard or whether the fault of the delay rests equally or more with others, including Congress, on the preparation for and response to the protest and later riot. The trial therefore will remain circumstantial by design and popular demand.

    I am old enough to remember when Trump was criticized for sending federal “troops” to protect federal property last summer.

    Was Trumpm right to send federal agents to protecty courthouses.

    It is a sad commentary; in fact it is tragic and ominous. Donald Trump has said a lot of reckless, false, wrong and stupid things, but on this occasion, he could not have been more astute.

    The free pass, not the preceding conduct, if the much bigger problem.m

  8. In the days leading up to the 2016 election, I wrote the following:

    “I’ve pointed it out a few times, but I’ll point it out again, this nation is in a bad place. It’s been in worse, but an economy that’s still on the mend, race relations at a 50-year low, and being everywhere in retreat from those who would do us harm is not a good place to be. It’s not where we should be. Men should not be taking their own lives at a much higher than normal rate because there just isn’t any hope for a decent job. Our cities should not be crumbling into slums where the corrupt and the violent hold sway. The middle class shouldn’t be disappearing, leaving only a few very wealthy and a great number of very poor. Our allies shouldn’t be looking at us like you look at the friend who says he has your back, says he’ll be there for you, but, when the chips are down, says he can’t make it and vanishes. Our enemies shouldn’t be sneering at us as they did forty years ago, pronouncing the US a helpless giant. A dangerous new enemy in the form of ISIS, who can strike any minute anywhere, should not be metastasizing in the same places we won great victories 15 years ago.

    Still, this is where we are and where we need to move forward from. The outgoing president of course pronounces his two terms a success, and they would be – if soft issues were the only thing facing him. Even the arguable successes of declaring that everyone has the right to marry and that everyone has to have health coverage are at best debatable – as activists weaponize the right to marry to beat up those who disagree and health coverage for all becomes a huge financial burden. This is not a place that a man who can barely string a sentence together and apparently can’t even process information as it comes in can lead a nation out of. It’s also not a place that a woman who can’t tell the truth nor stand on any principle can lead a nation out of. In that sense, both political parties have failed this nation utterly. In the end though, who are the political parties? They are supposed to be us, or those we elect to speak for us. They aren’t. They are frankly mercenaries, to be bought and paid for by the highest donors. It should come as no surprise that they have produced two frankly mercenary candidates, one in love with his own fame, the other in love with money and power for their own sake.

    In Trump we have our own Francisco Lopez, the megalomaniacal dictator of Paraguay who destroyed his own nation because he simply could not process the facts. In Hillary, we have a female Napoleon, who was never satisfied with anything and tried to have everything, and so destroyed his own nation and a lot more. Now I don’t really mean that Trump will try to lead us into a three-front war for no reason, or that Hillary will try to take over the world, but I do mean that neither of them has the best interests of this nation’s everyman at heart. Both of them have the problem that the Byzantine emperors had, even the talented ones: that they were high-level people who did high-level things, and simply didn’t give a damn about those who couldn’t keep up or didn’t further their goals. This isn’t what the founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the Constitution or what any of their successors had in mind.”

    I thought there was nowhere to go but up from 2016 and nowhere to move but away from it. Almost five years after I wrote that, we find ourselves in an even worse place than we were in then. The economy that was slowly recovering then has now crashed and is still not in a position to recover. Not only are race relations worse, but we’re at a point where half the nation hates the other half, and that other half hates the first half right back. Foreign policy is dead in the water. Where good jobs were hard to come by, now they’re impossible to come by, as many more have vanished, never to return. Where cities were starting to crumble and become dangerous, a lot of them are ashes now. Where the middle class was fading, it’s now being erased. Our allies are happy to see Trump gone, they usually are happy to see GOP presidents go, but they haven’t done anything to benefit us, and our enemies are still happier to see him gone. Oh, and then there’s this pandemic, which we’re not much closer to seeing the other side of than we were last March, and the return from which seems to be in the same “somewhere, sometime, somehow,” that all those lofty solutions that never materialize are found.

    This would be a pretty daunting place for the best men ever to hold the office of president to lead a nation forward from. Even a man with the charisma of FDR or JFK, the communication skills of Reagan, the wisdom of Lincoln, the scholarship of Jefferson, the energy of Teddy Roosevelt, the forcefulness of Jackson, and the moral character of Washington, who also had a gift for picking exactly the right people for the right jobs, would have a tough time dealing with where we are now. Instead we have… joe Biden, who instead of charisma has emptiness, instead of communication skills has an unparalleled ability to make gaffes, who instead of wisdom and scholarship has near-senility and was no brain-trust to begin with, instead of energy has weariness and sometimes deliberate sloth (calling “lids?”), instead of forcefulness has fake affability, and moral character? Riiiiight, whose ability to choose people consists chiefly of asking whether they served under Obama or not.

    He’s the kind of President this country might be ok with in the best of times, a half elder statesman/half grandfather type who could just step back and let prosperity do its thing, only stepping in to make sure small problems stayed small and that Jefferson’s “fire bell heard in the night,” was in fact just a minor disturbance. Heck, he was even described as “putting his arms around the country,” or words to that effect, the day of his inauguration, and there was enough time for the media to gush about an “inDOGuration” for his pets.

    This isn’t the best of times. It isn’t the Eisenhower era, when standards of living were rising, more and more people were buying houses, and the interstates were going everywhere. It isn’t the Reagan era when the economy just kept growing and the enemies of this country lost their power. It isn’t the dot-com boom of the Clinton years, when every day something new started and everyone’s 401(k) ballooned. It isn’t even World War 2, when times were tough, but we had an enemy to defeat. The country isn’t a grandchild that needs a hug and there isn’t time for cutesy human interest stories. The country needs solutions, and it needs them soon. Not band-aid solutions, not kick the can a little further down the road solutions, not solutions that are just enough to skate through today’s news cycle and this year’s election cycle, real solutions.

    What’s the plan for solving this pandemic and why isn’t it moving anywhere? What’s the plan for repairing relations in this country? What’s the plan for getting the economy going again? Why are we suddenly hearing about new strains and being told to brace for wearing masks into next year? Why are we still hearing about a racial reckoning, and not about rebuilding the cities when his theme was “build back better?” The fact is that Biden is not up to the task before him, and shouldn’t have been set to it. The fact is also that the circle of underlings he is now bringing in isn’t up to the task, and isn’t likely to move the ball much. The fact is also that neither he nor his subordinates is ever going to accept even some accountability when that ball doesn’t move. For the first two years they’ll just keep blaming Trump, and, if, more likely when Congress flips next year, they’ll just accuse the GOP of getting in the way. Funny how it’s always someone else’s fault when things don’t go well. It’s not that they ran an incompetent who chose incompetents. It’s not that their priorities were less about solving problems than about picking winners and losers and making sure all the winners were their people. It’s not that they stoked division to benefit themselves rather than try to tamp it down.

    Strap in, the next four years are going to be a rough ride.

  9. I still like the Churchill quote to the effect that the US can always be trusted to do the right thing having first exhausted the alternatives. The US is widely admired as a nation of laws. Now let’s see whether that still applies. Trump should have his day(s) in a criminal court, with his guilt determined by a jury running on the well established conventions. Impeachment is a political process, very far removed from accepted principles for determination of guilt, and no substitute.

    Admittedly, running a ‘fair trial’, will be a challenge, but this isn’t new ground for a mature legal system.

    • Andrew Wakeling said:

      Trump should have his day(s) in a criminal court, with his guilt determined by a jury running on the well established conventions.

      The problem with this statement is that no criminal court could successfully prosecute Trump, because the First Amendment would protect him. That’s part of the reason the Democrats wanted to use impeachment — because the savvy among them understood that as a criminal matter, Trump’s conduct in the matter of “incitement to insurrection” is simply not going to be successfully prosecuted.

      Impeachment is a political process, very far removed from accepted principles for determination of guilt, and no substitute.

      Exactly, and that’s why the Democrats chose it. The democrats understood that they could try Trump in the court of public opinion with impeachment, whereas a criminal charge that would not survive a motion to dismiss on First Amendment grounds would hand Trump a victory that might work against them. This way, they can claim “criminal conduct” without having to actually prove it or deal with that pesky First Amendment.

      The Democrats were always going to lose. They had to know that. So they decided, I suppose, to get as much mileage out of this as they could be running a sham impeachment. But having a court pronounce Trump’s speech protected would’ve been a far worse outcome for them than losing a partisan impeachment vote.

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