Trump’s Role in a Seditious Conspiracy Won’t Go Away with an Impeachment Vote

There’s a conventional wisdom about the Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, scheduled to start in ten days. WaPo predicts that impeachment will leave no more than a “bitter aftertaste.”

The Senate is hurtling toward an impeachment trial that will accomplish almost nothing by design and likely leave everyone with a bitter aftertaste.

Democratic voters will be furious that GOP senators refused to hold former president Donald Trump accountable for his role in encouraging supporters to march to the Capitol on Jan. 6. Republicans will be upset that congressional Democrats went through with an impeachment trial three weeks after Trump left the White House.

And independent voters, more focused on the health and economic crises fueled by the coronavirus pandemic, will wonder why Congress prioritized an impeachment process at all.

Perhaps most telling, WaPo describes Trump’s role as “encouraging” his supporters to march to the Capitol.

It’s true the word, “encouraged” appears in the article of impeachment against Trump.

He also willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged—and foreseeably resulted in—lawless action at the Capitol, such as: ‘‘if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore’’. Thus incited by President Trump, members of the crowd he had addressed, in an attempt to, among other objectives, interfere with the Joint Session’s solemn constitutional duty to certify the results of the 2020 Presidential election, unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress, the Vice President, and Congressional personnel, and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts. [my emphasis]

But that description skips the “foreseeably result[ing]” in the interruption of the certification of the vote, the threats to Members of Congress, the deadly sedition that are also included in the article of impeachment.

Moreover, it ignores the other part of the article of impeachment, Trump’s other efforts to subvert democracy (the article describes his January 2 call to Brad Raffensberger explicitly), to say nothing of the description of Trump as a threat to national security.

President Trump’s conduct on January 6, 2021, followed his prior efforts to subvert and obstruct the certification of the results of the 2020 Presidential election.


Wherefore, Donald John Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law.

That’s a notable oversight, particularly given the — inexplicable — claim from ascendant Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin that we may never learn the full extent of Trump’s role in the coup attempt.

Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), the incoming chairman, said he would leave procedural questions up to the House managers.“I’m waiting to hear what their proposal is, but for us to suggest a trial strategy for the House managers, I don’t think that’s our job,” Durbin said.

So, instead, the Senate will rush through a trial in which the only evidence likely to be presented will be the stuff that senators themselves already lived, video clips of rioters breaking into the Capitol as senators fled through underground tunnels to their secure location.

Senators will likely not even attempt to answer the fundamental questions of every impeachment trial — what did the president know and when did he know it?

“It will be surprising to me if we ever know the answers to that,” Durbin said.

It may be true that impeachment managers will restrict themselves to the public record, though even that might include testimony from Raffensperger and evidence collected as part of the prosecution of insurrectionists. Q-Shaman Jacob Chansley even says he’d be willing to testify.

Lawyer Albert Watkins said he hasn’t spoken to any member in the Senate since announcing his offer to have Jacob Chansley testify at Trump’s trial, which is scheduled to begin the week of Feb. 8. Watkins said it’s important for senators to hear the voice of someone who was incited by Trump.

Watkins said his client was previously “horrendously smitten” by Trump but now feels let down after Trump’s refusal to grant Chansley and others who participated in the insurrection a pardon. “He felt like he was betrayed by the president,” Watkins said.

The words of Trump supporters who are accused of participating in the riot may end up being used against him in the impeachment trial. Chansley and at least four others people who are facing federal charges stemming from the riot have suggested they were taking orders from Trump.

If insurrectionists were to testify in person, the attendant security of orange jumpsuits and leg manacles might provide some sobering visuals (though COVID and real security concerns almost certainly rules that out).

But it seems foolish for any Senator to assume that the vote they’ll cast in a few weeks will make this thing go away forever.

That’s not even true for their Ukraine impeachment votes. Yesterday, Ukraine announced (much to Lev Parnas’ glee that Rudy Giuliani finally got Ukraine to announce an investigation) that it is launching a criminal probe into those — inside and outside Ukraine — who attempted to interfere in the 2020 election.

Andriy Yermak, the head of the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said on January 28 that Ukraine would do everything in its power to bring to justice forces within the country and outside it who attempted to damage relations between Ukraine and the United States.

“The State Bureau of Investigation has opened a criminal case,” Yermak was quoted as saying in an interview to the Ukrainian news outlet NV that was posted on the presidential website.

“The investigation is under way, and we are waiting for its results. The investigation must answer a lot of questions,” Yermak added.

Without anyone in the United States lifting a finger, then, Ukraine may provide damning new evidence about Trump’s attempt to coerce assistance on his “perfect phone call” with Volodymyr Zelensky that will make GOP negligence during the last impeachment more damning.

And in the case of the January 6 insurrection, DOJ has already mapped out a conspiracy charge that Trump could easily be charged under as well.


18. The purpose of the conspiracy was to stop, delay, and hinder Congress’s certification of the Electoral College vote.


19. CALDWELL, CROWL, and WATKINS, with others known and unknown, carried out the conspiracy through the following manner and means, among others, by:

a. Agreeing to participate in and taking steps to plan an operation to interfere with the official Congressional proceeding on January 6, 2021 (the “January 6 operation”);

b. Using social media, text messaging, and messaging applications to send incendiary messages aimed at recruiting as large a following as possible to go to Washington, D.C., to support the January 6 operation;

Meanwhile, Acting DC US Attorney Michael Sherwin has repeatedly refused to rule out incitement charges. Indeed, I’ve argued that DOJ almost certainly will need to incorporate at least Mike Flynn, if not Trump himself, in their description of the crimes of January 6, if only to distinguish the events of that day from other protected First Amendment activity — and at least some prosecutors in DC closer to the overall investigation seem to be doing that.

There’s no guarantee that Merrick Garland’s DOJ will have the courage to pursue Trump’s role in this (though thus far, Bill Barr appointee Michael Sherwin has not shied from such an investigation, and if he oversaw such a decision it would mitigate the political blowback). There’s no sign, yet, that DOJ has identified how the coup attempt tied into Rudy’s attempts to delay the certification.

But no Senator serving as juror in this impeachment should assume the investigation won’t, inevitably, disclose the machinations that tied Trump’s efforts to stay in office to the death and destruction on January 6. Indeed, there’s no guarantee that the actions of key jurors — like Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz for inciting the mob, Tommy Tuberville for his direct coordination with Rudy, and Lindsey Graham for his own efforts to throw out votes in Georgia and his meeting with accused insurrectionist Joe Biggs — won’t ultimately be incorporated into the larger conspiracy.

And so while it may be easy for lazy political journalism to spout conventional wisdom about everyone wanting to move on, this time around it is as likely as not that the votes cast next month will age poorly as the investigation into how Trump’s action ties to the death and destruction continues.

76 replies
  1. joel fisher says:

    There is simply no way for Garland’s Justice Department to investigate Barr/Sessions era crimes in and out of the Justice Department and look legit while doing so. Thus, there needs to be a Special Prosecutor. Where you would find one with a particle of cred to the GOP is another issue.

    • bmaz says:

      Oh, there are many that would carry that credibility to sane Republicans. Problem is there are not many of those left. Just the act of appointing a special counsel would make the GOP even more apoplectic than even the Mueller appointment.

      • Fr33d0m says:

        Isn’t there already a Special Prosecutor? I don’t much know of his credibility or whether he is as much a tool as Barr thought, but is there a way to expand his scope?

        • BobCon says:

          The US Office of Special Counsel is carrying out an investigation related to the Hatch Act, but that office has limited jurisdiction into the Hatch act and similar issues.

          Despite the name it’s a standing office and not the same as a Mueller-style investigation.

      • WilliamOckham says:

        The problem isn’t Republicans. We know exactly what they will say, no matter how the investigation is conducted. The problem is “Inside the Beltway” culture. Bmaz and I are old enough to remember Watergate. Back then, there was a real criminal investigation that rolled up most of a criminal political enterprise, all the way up to the Attorney General and top White House aides. The parallels between the Nixon led enterprise and the Trump led enterprise are a lot stronger than people realize, despite the differing pathologies of the two guys at the top. At the core of each was a political base in Christianist White Supremacy, an anti-democratic political philosophy, and straight up political graft.

        In the ensuing 50 years, the “conservative movement” has followed a course of action, not a strategy so much as a series of tactical responses, that has created a political culture that effectively prevents imposing consequences on Republican criminal wrongdoing. The Iran-Contra pardons, the Clinton impeachment, the lack of accountability for the Bush Cheney era torture policy, and McConnell’s scorched earth approach in the Senate were all instrumental in enabling the Trump administration’s wholesale, blatant, and obscene grift.

        Any investigation into this conspiracy is going to run up against a political culture that’s been trained to overlook any criminality as long as that criminality is dressed up as a policy difference. Republicans will cry “Criminalizing policy differences” and the most powerful Democrats will fall for it. It’s depressing as hell.

        • Pete T says:

          I was going to write earlier, but you “triggered” me ;-)

          The Rs wield power ruthlessly. The Ds never have in my attention span of 30 years or so. Yes, I am using a broad brush – there are exceptions – fewer on the R side as they are marginalized or purged.

          Wielding power ruthlessly (perhaps there is a better adjective) does not mean your ends are unjust or “evil”. It just means you are committed to your ends.

          Now, the Rs don’t give a flip about bipartisanship (most of them). The Ds have – and appear to still do.

          Frack it. The D’s ought to use the nuclear option and two reconciliations and get “ruthless”.

          The worse that can happen using this track is they lose both houses in 2022, but we get some things that are desperately needed (I personally do not think this track results in the Ds losing both houses). But if the D status quo is maintained they WILL lose both houses in 2022 and not much need will get done.

          It I were ever motivated to peacefully march on the Capitol it would be to figuratively slap the Ds around to get their act together and get ruthless.

          • Thomas says:

            Demographics. The Republican Party is likely to lose 4 million votes nationwide in 2022, while the Democrats lose none. That is without ANY political reasons for it to happen. I would argue that the Dems will not lose votes if they take the ruthless path, as long as they pass good policy, and aren’t caught up in any self-dealing. If their policies have good results, they will gain votes. The worst thing that they can do is allow the insincere Republicans to obstruct and slow walk the implementation of policy.
            Long term, the Republicans will lose 8 million votes by 2024, while the Democrats lose none. That is just demographics, without considering any possible gains or losses due to other factors.

            • timbo says:

              “not caught in any self-dealing”. Yeah, good luck with that! What the DP leadership needs to do is show, you know, actual ability to lead a counter-reaction. So far, it don’t look like they are able to do that. If I know them, they’re now waiting for the Trump trial to be over in the Senate before even thinking ahead any further. Ugh.

        • Norskeflamthrower says:

          “…common sense is simply just doing the right thing.”

          Thank you!! At a time when the structures of government designed to keep politics between the white lines have broken, doing the right thing is all that’s left.

        • timbo says:

          I’d amend that to “right thing for the country and the Constitution”, not the “right thing for my cronies in the party” that seems to be how the DP has operated now for how many years?

    • BobCon says:

      One easy way to defuse GOP complaints is if they find serious lawbreaking. I think there is unspoken assumption — and probably a wrong one — behind a lot of claims that DOJ can’t or shouldn’t investigate Trump because simple straightforward lawbreaking isn’t there. I think there is a lot of grain under all that chaff.

      Another is to establish a pattern of lawbreaking that can’t be compartmentalized.

      Rayne did a really good job encapsulating the issue in a post last year talking about how the Democrats need to develop a comprehensive story about who they are and where that leads the country.

      And likewise, what has been missing from the response to Trump is a comprehensive narrative into which each piece of evidence can be slotted.

      You don’t conquer Trump by trying a point by point rebuttal of his story — you have to redefine him and force him to knock down the evidence — which he won’t be able to do.

    • ken melvin says:

      If ever there was a time for a Senate, and a House, Investigative Committee on anything, it’s now. The Nation needs, the world is waiting, history is begging, for such. This Nation, the world, wants and needs to know, to understand, what happened, how did it happen, and what should be done to prevent its happening ever again? What in the hell is going on in America?

      • timbo says:

        Incompetence and graft pretty much. The DP needs leadership that actually cares greatly about saving the entire ship, not just themselves.

    • Bardi says:

      I add my thanks to the good doctor. Though I am certain my congressperson has read this, the common sense needs repeating far and wide.

  2. J Dalessandro says:

    I’ve been saying this for weeks, and its not at all brilliant or original, but why exactly do we want Trump barred from public office after a conviction? All I hear is what a disappointment it is that McConnell is acting like McConnell and the others are dishonest like Paul. Why should i care, and why isn’t it better to tie the GOP to his acquittal? We just won two Georgia seats we should have lost thanks to Trump, and the nomination of further QAnon and Trumpie candidates — especially with the open senate seats- will help enormously in 2022. And the loathsome Rubio, Cruz, and Hawley are dead in the water if they have visions of running in 2024 if the guy stays viable. Corporate America is soiling its drawers over supporting the Trump-dominated GOP. So again, why do we want a conviction? Anybody know?

      • BobCon says:

        We’re way past the point of trying to finesse this stuff.

        Most House Democrats convinced themselves in 2019 that slow walking investigations was a savvy way to lay a trap for Trump. That was a big mistake.

        They need to prioritize which leads they follow, but I am glad Pelosi, Schumer and Biden have settled on throwing down the gauntlet now. They should have been a couple of weeks faster, but it’s still a big improvement over 2019.

    • PeterS says:

      I was brought up to know right from wrong, and to choose right over wrong. Things won’t get better until more people choose to do what’s obviously right.

      (Wow, that does NOT sound like cynical ol’ me)

    • P J Evans says:

      Do you want him in office again? Because there are a lot of people who would vote for him no matter what he ran for, just because he’s their Dear Leader.

    • timbo says:

      So you won’t have to ask an even more tediously dense follow on question if he is not convicted and sentenced. In other words, we’d like a better reality than currently available on the channel you are coming from.

    • Min says:

      Why ban Trump from holding future federal office?

      1) It’s the least we can do under the constitution by impeachment, as he is no longer President.

      2) He will not be able to extract money from the gullible for a 4 year long campaign (which will not be restricted to any campaign, if you read the fine print).

      3) It will reduce any political power he has left.

      4) If, as seems likely, Trump will come under Federal indictment and/or investigation. he will not be able, with any credibility beyond that of the gullible, to claim that the Democrats or the Deep State are seeking revenge or to keep him from a triumphant return to office. It will reduce any donations to his defense fund, if any.

      5) If Trump goes to trial, civilly or criminally, it will reduce the number of potential jurors who are uncritically on his side.

      6) He will throw a hissy fit.

  3. BobCon says:

    There is a similar laziness in reporting around all Trump scandals. The last NY Times article about E. Jane Carroll had a perfunctory final paragraph about other accusations and Trump’s denial. It’s pretty maddening when the Times has once written a comprehensive account of his abuses, but refuses to treat it as an ongoing scandal, the way they were hoping to run with Hunter Biden stories before the whistleblower came forward about Giuliani et al.

    When news of Trump’s finances and taxes start to emerge, the press will fail to connect them to his well documented past fraud — Mary Trump’s name will barely be mentioned.

    The stories write themselves, and the pack isn’t afraid to do it with others, but with Trump they keep pretending each new piece of evidence somehow doesn’t fit a pattern.

  4. Badger Robert says:

    The Democrats will get a very clear picture of who condones sedition and who opposes it. The line will be drawn both among politicians and among political journalists.

    • PeterS says:

      Will the picture really get much clearer than it was after the 6 January votes? Now they have constitutionality and “move on” arguments to hide behind.

      • BobCon says:

        I think so, actually. We are seing a predictable, habitual retreat into the nonsecular church of bothsides and continuity by the DC press and other institutions.

        But I don’t think the GOP is sticking to the script, and the Democrats have to avoid the temptation of sitting out the fight. They have to draw lines and force the press to do its job, and I think the Democratic leadership is much closer to this understanding than in 2009.

        Whether they can pull it off is an open question — the stakes are even higher than 12 years ago. But I think they get the futility of not taking any stands.

        • Badger Robert says:

          The Democrats can avoid the issue and some people will become the tolerated opposition that makes things seem normal, or they can contest these issues and try to build a ruling coalition.
          The Republicans prefer an armistice, which implies they are plotting. The next coup will probably be conducted on behalf of a challenger, not an incumbent.

        • timbo says:

          Yes, let’s hope that the continuing death-spiral that the DP have been riding along on doesn’t continue after their latest return to power in DC. Right now, it appears to be a tenuous return at best, alas.

  5. Jay says:

    Maybe I missed it but why isn’t anyone pushing to have Hawley/cruz and co disqualified from participating? How can you have a trial for sedition with seditionists on the jury?

    • Chris.EL says:

      Reflected on the various members of Congress that have been participating in this mess, exhibiting unprofessional conduct, etc. and wondered if there was any action available to President Biden to counteract.

      Trump must be convicted, banned, banished. Funds from the U.S. government must be withheld from supporting his Office of the Former President. Trump will just use the format to grift along, again! Yuck.

      Biden should revoke Secret Service protection for Trump’s adult children. Trump paid for his own body guards for years; Trump’s got the money.

      *** POPEHAT SIGNAL ***
      “POPEHAT SIGNAL: need pro bono First Amendment lawyer, preferably CA, to respond to unusually outrageous legal threat against someone who published online threats made to her. Basically “we will sue you for publishing our client’s scary DMs.” DM if able to help. Thanks.”

      • P J Evans says:

        Biden can’t make Congress do anything in this. He can talk with the Dem leaders, but the GOP-T hates him and won’t listen.

    • What Constitution? says:

      Wow, this really poses a conundrum for Mr. Trump: on the one hand, certainly he would want to insist that he’s entitled to have seditionist senators act as jurors in any proceeding concerning his acts of sedition because, you know, “a jury of peers” is in the Constitution somewhere. But then again, does anyone think Trump could call a rethug senator (or anyone else) a “peer” without his own head exploding? That’s where he keeps those “best brains”, you know. What’s a fascist wannabe dictator to do?

    • timbo says:

      Because we’re waiting to see what the ongoing investigations and Trump’s trial in the Senate bring to the fore. Note that the DOJ can investigate Twitler and the Twisslerings for sedition and incitement to sedition if there’s enough evidence so get to trial. Just because you’ve been President and haven’t been convicted of an impeachment charge by the Senate doesn’t make you immune to the Federal law code magically. But expecting the DP to play actual hardball like they should isn’t likely to have high odds at this point. Maybe next week. Maybe the week after? Pretty soon it gets too late though to sustain politically, certainly given the current trend in GOP hardening opposition to any counter-reaction to their attempt to destroy the meaning of the of law enforcement and ethics as some of used to understand it.

  6. John B. says:

    Question: If the Democratic leaders in the Senate allow for a secret ballot regarding the conviction vote wouldn’t that allow for more Republican Senators to rid themselves of Trump? Would they take advantage of that? Will the Democrats allow that as a possibility?

    • bmaz says:

      No. And nor should they. Impeachment is in the name of the public, and must therefore be public. Secret law is bad law.

    • BobCon says:

      There would have to be a third of the caucus willing to take advantage of a secret ballot to provide sufficient deniability. Everyone would sniff out who the switchers were if only one or two made the change, and the price for doing it secretly would probably be worse than doing it openly.

      It really needs to be on the permanent record anyway.

    • Norskeflamthrower says:

      The only way a representative democracy can work is if every citizen over 18 is eligible to vote and the votes of the elected representatives are public. For God’s sake, where does this “secret ballot” shit come from anyway?!

    • Robert says:

      This would never happen, but… It would be great if republicans agreed to take a secret vote, and then unanimously and en masse cast a public vote that matched the outcome of the secret vote. That would allow them all to claim that they secretly voted “No,” but that their agreement required a “Yes” vote. Weaselly, but we’re talking about republicans.

      It’s similar logic to secretly adding one blank in a firing squad’s ammunition. Each participant can then reasonably believe that they fired the blank.

  7. Ed G says:

    Is there anyone on earth who has committed more crimes yet won’t spend a single day in jail than Trump? Semi-banished to a country club and banned from twitter is all our society appears capable of.

    I wonder if Jim Jordan is keeping his head down though because he knows what could come out if he didn’t (but I’m still hopeful will).

  8. PeterS says:

    Slightly o/t, but yesterday this disgusting message was discussed: “all members are in the tunnels under capital (sic) seal them in. Turn on gas”. Has a source for that gas been identified?

    (I hope I can ask that neutrally, without being accused of trying to build a defense for someone).

    • Chris.EL says:

      Can a consensus be reached … turn on gas … can only be referring to this: “we” have these people confined in an enclosed space, we want to do them harm, so let’s replace the normal air with gas.

      Don’t think they can argue they had “benign” intent.

      The marauders were nearly all carrying pepper spray!

      • PeterS says:

        I am sure that consensus can be reached, but I don’t know why the reaching of that consensus implies the end of the enquiry.

  9. pdaly says:

    Speaking of grift and hiding from accountability, do Florida’s generous homestead laws, which protect an unlimited amount of value in a home, apply to someone claiming to live at a country club? In Trump’s case there is that 1993 agreement he made with the Town of Palm Beach which limits stays at Mar-a-lago to seven consecutive days. No one is supposed to be able to call that place home.

      • cavenewt says:

        If this article is accurate, the situation may not be so simple. Palm Beach officials are reviewing Donald Trump’s use of Mar-a-Lago as his residence.

        The Town Council may discuss the 1993 permit and Trump’s residency at a meeting on February 9…
        ‘Within residential zoning districts, a private club may provide living quarters for its bona fide employees only,’…‘Employee means any person generally working on site for the establishment and includes sole proprietors, partners, limited partners, corporate officers and the like,’ the ordinance reads.

        The article also notes that Michael Cohen disagrees, FWIW.

        • bmaz says:

          Nothing is ever simple with Trump. But the agreement was made, we shall see if it is enforced. If that is to be his residence, then it should no longer be treated as a “club”. Which would also be a financial problem for him.

          • timbo says:

            Yeah, the tax implications if he was to try this and succeed is crazy. Think of how long that would take to resolve? No, better to just convict him of various crimes and let him keep Mar-a-lago as long as he has to keep the covenant he signed about its use… ;/

          • Stacey says:

            If the pictures I saw yesterday of his DC Hotel in the middle of the day–empty as hell–are any indication, his “club” isn’t likely to be much of a club for much longer.

            It turns out rubbing shoulders with a fat, stinky seditionist is not near as much fun as rubbing shoulders with an actual President of the United States, or even one who plays one on TeeVee.

  10. Raven Eye says:

    There are a bunch of Republicans out there who are so afraid of Trump and the Trumpistas that they have astronaut pant deliveries on “Auto-Refill”.

    Worse, there are a few loud ones who would perform a CANPIP (Consensual Act Normally Performed In Private) with Trump on the Capitol steps at high noon on the 4th of July — if he demanded it.

    The bulk of those crevice creatures (especially the astronaut pants bunch) can only see one “best” outcome: Somehow the Democrats manage to pull off something that gets Trump outa-here. They can continue to blame the Democrats, loudly and publicly blocking and calling every avenue of approach taken or attempted by the administration. They will be the obstacle to what they want most of all.

    Short of a Special Prosecutor, I can’t see many paths to de-Donaldization of the Republicans’ political landscape. Private lawsuits and state prosecutions will at least buy some time, as will a concerted effort to for federal prosecution of Trump associates and employees. Those will lay out a narrative the will influence some, but not the true believers. Beliefs are difficult to change — often a multi-generational effort.

    Unfortunately, it looks like Trump will continue to have access to OPM (Other Peoples’ Money) to spin his magic. Maybe not travel in the grand style he’s become used to, but the citizenry will be paying at least part of the cost for him traveling in the next larger size BizJet because, after all, you need to fit his security detail into the same airplane.

    • timbo says:

      If the DP is smart, they’ll set one up. Heck, Trump tried to do this against Biden and partially succeeded it appears. Might as well see if Twitler and gang can actually sustain such an inquiry for longer than a few days, right? But, if I know my current DP, it’s more about “it’s too hard!” and “what will happen to us if we have to actually stop fighting the bogey-man we have been championing the fight against these past four years [badly-ed.]?!”

  11. Stacey says:

    Not only will Trump’s roll in inciting insurrection not go away with an impeachment vote, whichever way it were to go, if that’s still in any doubt, but we have to recognize the reality that after the momentary glitch in the Qanon matrix of “the plan” happened–when “the plan” didn’t happen–a very few hangers on coughed up their red pills and got back to consensus reality. BUT if they weren’t shaken out of their delusion by what happened and by what didn’t happen on Jan 6, they move into a whole other category of committed, radicalized, tempered in the fires of doubt violent extremist that this country hasn’t really seen before.

    I’m not AT ALL suggesting that we should pull any punches in regards to how we treat Trump’s guilt in all of this–I am fully committed to convicting him of whatever we can get him convicted on, and putting him in a state of such egodystonic dissonance that he shrivels up and dies for lack of seeing his own reflection in the pool of our mass and social media–to remind us of the classic psychological feature of Donald Trump’s Narcissism. But the truth we MUST recon with BEFORE we go down that road, and gird our loins for battle against, is that it WILL make his die-harders much worse, and they WILL increase their violence toward both hard and soft targets, and that people will die in that battle. The reason I’m stating this now is that if we are not both putting our entire legal and crime-fighting, counter-intelligence arsenal into this battle from the beginning so that we can take these nutters out ‘just left of boom’ in every case in which they attempt to do harm to their political enemies, any time we miss one that succeeds we are likely to get all wobbly in the knees and become “post-Waco” in our ineffectiveness at fighting these groups.

    We now live in a garden overgrown with such a vile and aggressive invasive weed species that the tools now open to us to rid ourselves of the menace are lessening by the day. Whether we let Trump and his ilk go with slaps on the wrist or come at all of them with both barrels–either way–we are in for about the same fate for a period of time, because I seriously doubt we have the political will to end this in a way that prevents that protracted and pitched battle with these people going forward.

    • timbo says:

      ??? Why not just go down that road now if we have to go down it? Seems to me that there are folks like Cohen et al that would actually testify knowledgeably about how and why Trump broke any number of laws, etc. Why do you think Twitler spent so much time denigrating everyone who was investigating his “financial empire” (aka house of cards) or dared to tell such investigators anything approximating the truth?

      • Stacey says:

        I’m not talking about what we do to the ‘queen’ bee of the Trumpistas Hive, but more that the hive will have reactions that we need to be prepared for. America tends to get sort of weak in the knees when it comes to fighting long term battles. And there are several other ‘queen bees in waiting’ as long as the hive is still active.

        This will be an insurgency for years to come of violent extremists doing shit unless and until they become convinced that loosing their actual freedom is a bigger threat than the ‘freedom story’ they tell themselves in their heads right now.

  12. JACKZ says:

    Seems to me there is a contradiction between declaring that a proceeding is unconstitutional and then acting as a juror in that proceeding. Wouldn’t a judge disqualify any juror who declared the trial itself to be illegitimate?
    The Senators will not be voting on whether the trial is constitutional, but on whether Trump is guilty as charged in the “indictment”. Maybe the home state papers of the 45 GOPers who are hiding behind the “unconstitutional” issue should encourage them to abstain?

  13. Epicurus says:

    I am usually late to the show, as now. For background in this instance I believe Trump has no regard for anything other than his own desires. EW’s conclusion “And so while it may be easy for lazy political journalism to spout conventional wisdom about everyone wanting to move on, this time around it is as likely as not that the votes cast next month will age poorly as the investigation into how Trump’s action ties to the death and destruction continues.” seems wishful more than real. Politicians, which means all of Congress here, only know one course of action: live to politic another day because just remaining in office is the most important goal. Rob Portman is the current exception. Many, if not most, in the GOP and some Dems have large constituencies that fully believe in Trump’s raison d’etre. Elected Congresspeople not exhibiting real deference to those constituencies’ beliefs acknowledge to each other an accepted understanding of a guaranteed path to loss of their seats – and assumed power/perks.

    I like someone’s observation that history doesn’t repeat itself but it rhymes. When Caesar crossed the Rubicon, the Roman Senate fled Rome. It was no more in real governing terms. When Trump’s small legion crossed the Reflecting Pool, the Congress fled. The Executive Branch unbalanced the powers of government. Others say that we are a nation of laws but I believe we need people that are willing to die for that belief, figuratively and literally to make it work. I don’t see much of that any more. I just see Congresspeople and staff running away in the face of a mob. Not one Congressperson stood up, Alamo-like, and said “Not today, not here, not on my watch.” In that vein they will run again in the face of Trump bluster. They already are running. Caesar’s legion crossed the Rubicon on January 10, 49 BC. Trump’s mob crossed the Reflecting Pool on January 6, 2021. Trump only missed by four days.

    I ran (loose term) a USMC marathon. The route takes one right up the to front of the Capitol Building. I was lucky because I was helping a very slow runner in her first marathon. We had the vista from the front all to ourselves because she was so slow. Majestic. It was worth running a thousand marathons. Something like 535 Congresspeople ran away on Jan 6. I’ll never understand why, why or how their lives would be worth anything to them after that.

    Impeachment is totally political. It is meaningless now because we aren’t a nation of laws. We are a nation of political parties.

    • bmaz says:

      “Impeachment is totally political. It is meaningless now because we aren’t a nation of laws. We are a nation of political parties.”

      That is one of the largest loads of garbage ever. Irrational and inapplicable hyperbole.

      • Epicurus says:

        The Republican Party controlled Executive Branch of the government sent a mob against the Legislative Branch expressly to stop part of a process of electing a new government that would replace the Republican Party control of the Executive Branch with Democrat Party control of the Executive Branch. The Republican Party in the House overwhelmingly voted not to impeach for a mob action against the Congress. Does anyone in their right mind think it would have not voted for impeachment for such a action if the same action were caused by a Democrat Party president? The difference is not “law” but rather “party”. The Senate will not convict for the same reason. The majority of Republican Senators like the “nation of laws” lawyers Hawley, Cruz, and Graham will vote party first. The “law” as it relates to one of their own – Donald Trump – is not a guiding principle or an end for them except as a mechanism for personal and party control. You are free to explain how impeachment isn’t meaningless and how it isn’t totally political in the right here and now if you think it hyperbole.

    • P J Evans says:

      Congresspeople aren’t elected to take up arms. They didn’t run away, they were told to get out because the incoming lot were likely to injure or kill them.

        • Epicurus says:

          And having may well have lived, House Republicans voted overwhelmingly against impeaching the Republican that set and sent the mob against them.

          • J R in WV says:


            You appear to know more about Rome of 2000 years ago than what is happening today in America. What do you think would be going on if the Republican Fascists had been able to seize Madame Speaker Pelosi, VP Pence, and dozens of other Democratic members of congress and killed them?

            Do you really think we would be better off as a nation with the electoral college votes destroyed and the Democratic leadership assassinated on the floors of the House and Senate? If you believe this, go join the Republican Fascist Party and stay away from patriots like Dr Emptywheel and her fellow workers here at the blog.

            You make me wish for a pie filter so I could no longer have to see your absurdity written out, ever.

    • cavenewt says:

      Others say that we are a nation of laws but I believe we need people that are willing to die for that belief, figuratively and literally to make it work.

      That’s what the insurrectionists thought they were doing.

      I just see Congresspeople and staff running away in the face of a mob. Not one Congressperson stood up, Alamo-like, and said “Not today, not here, not on my watch.”

      The appropriate time for them to do that was not in the face of baseball bats, bear spray, and craziness, but during votes—for example, for certifying the electoral college count, for impeachment, and against dismissing the Senate trial.

      It’s kind of stating the obvious to complain about party partisanship. That’s been an increasing problem for many years, in both parties but much more so in one (which I won’t name but its initials are GOP). I don’t disagree with that point at all.

  14. Bobster33 says:

    If the Democrats and justice are to win, the cases against the seditionists have to be about the dead Capitol police officer. Republicans can and will try to create a narrative about policy differences. The media will amplify the right wing talking points and viola, there will be pressure on the Democrats to censure Trump instead.

  15. bmaz says:

    Not just the cop. There were five people dead from 1/6, and two more cops later via suicide. Making it only about the one officer, Sicknick, is incredibly wrong. It is all so much bigger than that.

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