Republicans Prepare to Sanction a President Doing Nothing as the Country Was Assaulted by Terrorists

Joaquin Castro ended his second speech last night with these words:

He swore on a Bible to preserve, protect, and defend. And who among us can honestly say they believe that he upheld that oath? And who among us will let his utter dereliction of duty stand?

According to CNN, Republican Senators, while admitting that the Democratic description of the attack on the Capitol is compelling, are still inventing excuses for voting against convicting Donald Trump for it.

For most Republican senators, Wednesday’s presentation did not seem to affect how they’ll vote. Many are on record decrying the trial as unconstitutional since Trump is now a former president, and the punishment for conviction is removal. If convicted, however, Trump could also face a vote in the Senate barring him from ever again serving in public office.

Yet GOP senators including Marco Rubio of Florida would only say Trump bears “some responsibility” for the riot and argued the Senate should have no role in trying a former president.

“Who wouldn’t be?” asked Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, when questioned if he was shaken by the footage he saw on Wednesday.

But when asked if he held Trump accountable, Johnson said, “I hold those people responsible.”

That means it remains likely that Trump will be acquitted in the Senate.

Which is why the import of what Castro said is so important. It’s not just what Trump did do that makes him so dangerous: it’s what he didn’t do. Trump chose to do nothing to protect the Capitol as it was attacked by terrorists.

And most members of the Republican Party are okay with that, with a President who did nothing as the nation was attacked by terrorists.

229 replies
  1. PeterS says:

    Yes they are. It’s become almost impossible to imagine a realistic scenario involving Trump in which the majority of the GOP would say, now THAT’S a step too far.

    • timbo says:

      That’s only because of a lack of imagination and vision when it comes to the use of political power and swaying public opinion. The power the GOP has is not absolute, nor is Twitler’s power irreversible. To think or advocate that it is inevitable and irreversible it so deny one’s own power and one’s own responsibility to stop it.

      Trump could be convicted in the Senate. That’s a fact. That’s why we see all this nutty posturing and mummery on the part of the GOP. It’s worked for them before. They know they have a good chance of getting no accountability for their actions because… they haven’t been held to any accountability in the past four years. The DP needs to put the GOP’s feet to the fire. >We< need to keep up the pressure to make sure that happens. We might think it is a tall ask. And we might be right about that. But to stop insisting that the DP, the House Managers, and the DP Senators not ask the hard questions and do the hard thing, the hard thing of holding the GOP accountability for its aiding and abetting of insurrection and incitement is the only way forward. Anything else is very likely to be a grave mistake.

            • Wombat says:

              I’m with Kenster. Decorum is important, but when there are neo-Nazis marching and chanting “Jews will not replace us!”, and when Godwin himself rescinds his law for this particular moment in time, I see no problem with saying “Twitler.” If anything, it underscores what’s at stake. The bulk of Kenster’s point, that good people need to do the hard work of demanding accountability, is spot on.

            • Mitch Neher says:

              This forum is infamous for insulting language.

              Just ask one the gatekeepers. Either one of them will tell you.

              • PeterS says:

                True, but there’s a difference between insulting language (trump is a f*cking moron) and a trite nickname the novelty of which is almost instantly lost on the internet. 

                (I’m not suggesting you are defending the use of Twitler, which I do suggest has lost novelty on ew)

                • timbo says:

                  Only the boring Internet.

                  It’s also interesting to hear someone try to somehow downplay the strong implications of the moniker “Twitler” as some how even remotely being off base with describing accurately Trump’s behavior AND assumption from 2016 onwards. Trump is, in fact, Twitler, much as Bruce Wayne is Batman. And much as you might also associate me with being annoying. On the Internet. The boring Internet.

                  • PeterS says:

                    Annoying? How about arrogant. Arrogant in thinking you can teach the community here something new about Trump by using a trite nickname. As if the ew community didn’t know all about Trump before you (and I) arrived. As if using that trite nickname again and again adds anything to the discussion. I don’t know what “the truth of Trump actually being Twitler” even means. Probably not much.

        • vvv says:

          Thank you, re “the rest” part.

          I’ll add I got nothing else (re Kenster’s comment) because I won’t read the commenter for their insistent name-calling.

          • Ginevra diBenci says:

            timbo, I did read your whole post. I think you make valid points. The problem with “Twitler” for me is that it distracts from any argument you might make by signaling that you are, in that moment at least, more interested in getting attention for a clever put-down than in pursuing your point. From a rhetorical (that is, persuasive) standpoint, your language is stronger without it.

            • timbo says:

              Oh, well, the truth of Trump actually being Twitler often slips out. Hard to block the fact of the matter as such. In fact, the removal of his Twitter privileges point to how true in fact that ill-moniker applies to the best Nero of our times bigly.

        • Kevin O'Malley says:

          Hitler cared about his country. Served honorably in the first world war. Trump is a stupider, less competent Hitler.

          Hitler didn’t hate jews. He murdered them because it was CONVENIENT for him. He didn’t see them as humans, how could he hate them? Murdering 6 million jews was a popular act that he could do to gain power. Pretty much like Trump and putting brown children in dog cages.

          Trump killed 500,000 Americans because saving them would have made him look bad. Trump should be honored to be compared to Hitler.

          • PeterS says:

            Be that as it may (or not!), the incessant use of a nickname which a few years ago had some novelty and wit, by just one contributor, has become rather tiresome for some here on ew. Eventually I said something about it. For anyone who follows politics, the use of the nickname in 2021 adds literally nothing to the use of the man’s real name, apart from some different letters.

  2. klynn says:

    “We embrace, as well as emotionally and financially support, domestic terrorists,” will be the GOP brand and Trump’s brand too.

    The GOP will never be able to run on pro law and order again.

  3. ApacheTtout says:

    I am terrible at predicting the future, but all signs point to acquittal despite absolutely damning evidence. It appears there is nothing that will convince the Trump senators to defend their oath to the Constitution.

      • cavenewt says:

        Exactly. On the other hand, since this is a political trial and not a criminal trial, appealing to emotion might not be such a bad strategy.

        Do you think that Trump’s lack of response to the insurrection — for which there is ample evidence — would be a better legal argument?

      • klynn says:

        IANAL so asking questions from that perspective.

        No evidence has been presented so far?

        What would be examples of the kind of evidence needed to bring conviction?

        • bmaz says:

          In my book, no. This is superbly crafted argument. We shall see how it is treated as to “on the record”, such as it may be, in this impeachment “trial”. But I am not an impeachment trial expert, and most people talking are not either.

          • klynn says:

            So would only witnesses be sound evidence? Are any of the charging documents on those arrested able to be used as evidence?

            • bmaz says:

              It is “impeachment”, so all normal rules don’t count. But, normally, no. You have to get things into “evidence”, and that requires witnesses. Even in impeachment, putting on a few nicely edited movies is pretty much bogus and a laughable joke.

          • TooLoose LeTruck says:

            When you describe something as ‘superbly crafted argument’, what exactly are you referring to?

            Not trying to be flip… actually the exact opposite… I’m really, really trying to understand what’s going on here.

            • bmaz says:

              Am describing the House Impeachment Managers’ presentation. It is brilliant as to argument, but devoid of competently presented evidence. The latter of which was a given because of both Dem Senate and House leadership edicts. It could, and should, have been different.

              • pjb says:

                You are of course correct that the footage shown is not admissible as evidence in a court of law. I think the problem is we are deluding ourselves by calling this a “trial” – I guess because Article I, Section 3 speaks of the Senate’s role in trying impeachments. I wish we didn’t use the word “trial” to describe this proceeding because it is misleading to most Americans who think it implies niceties like impartial juries, rules of evidence, standard of proof, etc. We need another word for this event.

                • ducktree says:

                  Who is deemed competent to establish the “foundation” of the “evidence presented” in an impeachment?

                  (from the peanut gallery). . .

                  • bmaz says:

                    The “jurors” and the real jury, the public. As PJB correctly notes, it is not a real “trial”. Yet goals of informing the public fully still count, or at least should.

              • TooLoose LeTruck says:

                Thank you.

                I’ll make sure I look it up and read it.

                In a broader, more general (not strictly legal) sense, I think he and the GOP are guilty as hell here… as a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guiltier bunch of clowns in my entire life.

                I’m furious, repulsed, and scared of what I’m seeing.

                I can’t help but imagine that Trump’s just waiting down in Mar-a-Lago for this to be over, so he can go out and tee up for 2024.

                And pls note… I did NOT mention treason, or RICO here….

      • timbo says:

        What the DP House Managers lack is any sense of Perry Mason. They do not understand that they need to entertain the audience an bring them around to a sense of what occurred and “gottcha!” that is utterly lacking from the performance before the Senate. They need to give the people a circus that changes hearts and minds, something that Trump was and is a master of, even if not competent at generating more than chaos from his gift for manipulation and belittlement. The problem here is that the DP takes this things so seriously that they cannot comprehend what has to be done other than go through the motions. This lack of creativity in crisis is what is killing the Republic.

        • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

          The party leaders lack both the political savvy and common sense required to dump this off to a committee which hears from witnesses and accepts evidence into the record. A Perry Mason moment is quickly forgotten in our age; a constant flow of damning testimony every two weeks is a lot harder for Republicans to forget and move on from.

          As politico and nyt twitter keeps repeating, “They won’t convict”. That’s the reality they have helped forge now. Keeping the investigation going and in the limelight makes it much harder for Republicans to credibly move on to their next performative outrage.

          • timbo says:

            The impeachment managers tried to day to insert “last minute evidence!” into the record before Trump was acquitted. Their weak Perry Mason sauce ain’t worth squat. The US Senate did not want to having any first hand witnesses under oath in this trial. The fix was in from the beginning.

          • timbo says:

            And here’s the clincher. A majority of the House Managers basically felt witnesses under oath weren’t necessary and so didn’t bother. The fix was indeed in on this impeachment trial from the get go.

  4. klynn says:

    “Which is why the import of what Castro said is so important. It’s not just what Trump did do that makes him so dangerous: it’s what he didn’t do. Trump chose to do nothing to protect the Capitol as it was attacked by terrorists.”

    And Trump’s failure to protect the Capitol should have been enough for Pence to remove Trump.

    • Chris.EL says:

      and so, I wonder, what former president George Bush, a “republican,” may have to say about these matters!

      All in all Bush is focused on the autumn of his life; retirement, family, home, reflection, painting.

      Whatever his politics may be, Bush seemed TO LIKE PEOPLE!

      Seems true that Bush has a responsibility to speak up and weigh in! I think a former leader, a former president, has a duty to participate.

      I don’t believe there is an expiration date to the oath of office Bush swore to uphold! We have no other surviving presidents of the republican party…

    • timbo says:

      It certainly should be enough to summon Pence to testify under oath…so where is he? Where is Barr? Where are the folks who would give compelling first hand testimony?

      • timbo says:

        Where is Guiliani under oath before the Senate? You want entertainment and huge rating, bring Guiliani up before the Senate for cross-examination. But, nope, “it’s too hard!” is the refrain from the DP leadership so far… and to the detriment of the Republic (and TV ratings.)

          • timbo says:

            Wow—trite rhetorical question there on your part. Nice going on being an apologist for so much in our society. If anyone has an issue, they should run for Congress… because having to listen to them otherwise is just too much bother?

            So, if you don’t like how they’re doing it, get elected to Congress.

        • madwand says:

          One reason may be the elephant in the room, Biden, wants to get it over quickly and realizing they wouldn’t convince Republicans one way or the other took the route of no witnesses as that gets them back to Biden’s business quicker. Even in losing there will be consequences as David From points out in the Atlantic:

          Worth a read and it provides a different outlook on it.

          • timbo says:

            Oof. It appears that the first line in that article seems to be off to begin with. Trump was impeached in 2019, not 2020, for actions undertaken earlier in… 2019. Since the article has been up for three days, it is unclear if there’s an editor still paying attention to such a glaring error. I’m plowing through that Frumm article further now…

          • timbo says:

            I’m aware of many of the arguments to just impeaching Trump. Yes, Trump’s second impeachment wasn’t just about a trial, obviously, but also about signalling all in the government and the country as to the grave nature of Trump’s threats against the Constitution AND that many in Congress took that threat so seriously that impeachment was one of the responses to the sedition on Jan 6. It was to shore up those who must take their oaths to the Constitution seriously but might be wavering… to possibly give the military and intelligence folks >a basis for disregarding potential unlawful orders from Trump before Trump was out of office<. At the time, the pressure on Pence and the Cabinet to declare Trump incompetent was palpable and without them acting to do so, impeachment from the House was the only other legal remedy available to stop further chaos (at least according to OLC opinion of late anyways).

            But now we find ourselves past that particular crisis and on to the next one, the one in which the Congress fails to take adequate action to limit the spread of lawlessness as a way of conduct for a significant segment of the privileged population of this country. Trump still has a power base, some of which derives from his ability to be President again legally under the Constitution. Removing that is paramount IMO.

            So, may there be first hand witnesses testimony under oath in this current impeachment trial, first hand witness accounts…as that seems to be at minimum what it will take to send a listened to message about what is and what is not acceptable in a President. He must be ejected from the Enterprise basically for his incitement…as an example to others that this system, our system will not stand for violence as a good remedy to our country's internal political questions. That lying to stay in power and ginning up insurrection and violence is not "protected speech" in our national and state governments needs to be driven home with legal consequences, and not so much with weak platitudes.

          • vvv says:

            Thank you, a very good article.

            IMO, the Senate is the jury whose finding(s) will have immediate consequence. The Public’s will just take a little longer.

  5. yogarhythms says:

    CINC incites radicalized terrorist assassins to stop the steal by storming capitol to assassinate political leaders. Radicalized terrorist assassins follow CINC orders and storm capitol Jan 6 2021. Republican senators support free speech including it seems assassination incitement.

    • dannyboy says:

      Yes, these Republican Senators want the violent overthrow of the United States.

      But I know you weren’t asking a question, but I figured I’d complete your conclusion.

  6. dude says:

    Reuters: reports: “Dozens of former Republican officials, who view the party as unwilling to stand up to former President Donald Trump, are in talks to form a center-right breakaway party.”

    If that were to come to pass by the next election cycle, we might have Republicans vs Re-Trumplicans.

    Seriously, I think it might be a good time for the parties–all of them–to stating their first principles to the American people at this time and avoid the sound-bytish slogans and labels “party of small government”, “party of the working class”. Those expressions resonate with an older generation. If the GOP has any principles that can make sense of how they officially see the insurrection of 1/6, I wish they would share them in the broader context first. What do they stand for and where does it lead.

    There was a vote on the constitutionality of this impeachment and the verdict by the jurors was “yes”. How can bona fide jurors then revert to the argument Trump should not be impeached? At this point, it should be a settled matter in the proceeding.

    • PeterS says:

      “How can bona fide jurors …. ?”. Perhaps the answer is in the question.

      I remind myself that many of the legal terms used in relation to this trial (sic) don’t have their usual meanings. E.g. “I will do impartial justice”.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      They can ‘revert to the argument that Trump should not be impeached’ because they did not vote to support the Constitutionality in the first place. Only 6 GOP Senators crossed the aisle to support the Constitutional question. They need 17 Republicans to convict Trump.

      • skua says:

        The vote to convict needs a 2/3 majority of those present for the vote.
        56 is 2/3 of 84.
        Another path to Trump being convicted is for 16 Repubs who voted against constitutionality being absent when the vote is taken (and all those who voted for consitutionality voting to convict.)
        This is admittedly a long shot.
        But 16 is one less than 17.
        And some Repub Senators may see that they’re being led over a cliff by McConnell and be feeling more and more unwell.

    • rip says:

      Good luck with this (don’t know how to quote on this site):

      Seriously, I think it might be a good time for the parties–all of them–to stating their first principles to the American people at this time and avoid the sound-bytish slogans and labels “party of small government”, “party of the working class”. Those expressions resonate with an older generation. If the GOP has any principles that can make sense of how they officially see the insurrection of 1/6, I wish they would share them in the broader context first. What do they stand for and where does it lead.

    • Pjb says:

      We all know that the Republican Senators won’t vote to convict not because they think Trump innocent but because they’re simply scared to cross him and his base. Yet, if they had an way to avoid voting, they’d jump at it because they know acquittal is the wrong thing to do and will go down in history as a quisling. Why doesn’t it solve their problem if they simply refuse to vote? Make up some drivel to spew on Fox about this being a waste of time and they are working for their constituents, etc. If 25 Republicans do this, 50 votes for acquittal is enough for conviction by a 2/3 majority. Am I missing something obvious or else why hasn’t Mitch et al thought of this dodge?

      • skua says:

        Conviction by a 2/3 majority of those present.
        If the 56 constitutionality voters continue then only 16 cudel Republicans need to be absent for the vote.
        And yes McConnell has way enough experience to know when (and where) cattle prods need to be applied to produce obediance.

        • pjb says:

          Yes, that’s my point. 2/3 of the members present. Why isn’t that precisely the cowardly dodge Mitch, Marco, Portman, etc. are looking for? Also, what does “cudel” mean?

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      Our winner take all system is really engineered for two parties. It would be great if this wasn’t the case, but either the breakaways with their polite fig leaf over toxic racism will win, or the trumpalos.

      They’ve gerrymandered themselves into the most extreme positions winning out in primaries, so the breakaways will probably lose.

      If nothing else, Trump knows what the Republican base wants. They want blood, damnit!

  7. What Constitution? says:

    I decline to give up on the structural insistence that United States Senators have an obligation to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, so I choose to believe that somewhere between now and the final vote here, every Senator will conclude that the record on display here compels them to vote to convict Donald Trump of the high crime of seeking to interfere with the Senate’s constitutional obligation in order to retain power after losing the election. A vote against conviction is a vote in favor of sedition — and indeed, watching Hawley, Graham, Cruz and the other cowardly bozos doing their level best to denigrate the factual presentations in this proceeding is its own best evidence that their only objection to what Trump did is that it didn’t work — and here’s hoping that, at the very least, between actual Republicans abandoning the party and an avalanche of anti-Rethug fundraising that will follow is going to bury the seditionists and their supporters at reelection time. People can come to realize when and how they’ve been taken by Donald Trump.

    That…and then there’s the implementation of 14th Amendment bans and/or the already-commenced litany of Federal and State criminal and civil cases which will occupy Trump’s time, and may well implicate Trump’s servile Senate and House toadies too. The Constitution cannot enforce itself when those obligated to protect it refuse to do so. But the County can step in unless the harebrained schemes actually accomplish physical overthrow. Here, it’s looking like our shameless minority of Senators may refuse to do what the Capitol Police’s patriotism and bravery preserved for them and made possible: the opportunity for Congress to remedy via impeachment. But the coup was averted, there’s a new administration in place that isn’t going to finish that evil job. And the Country isn’t done protecting its Constitution and its citizens from demagogues yet.

    • timbo says:

      Ave, The Constitution! Can you please straighten out some of the confusing statements you made so that we can figure out what you are on about?


      But the County can step in unless the harebrained schemes actually accomplish physical overthrow. Here, it’s looking like our shameless minority of Senators may refuse to do what the Capitol Police’s patriotism and bravery preserved for them and made possible: the opportunity for Congress to remedy via impeachment. But the coup was averted, there’s a new administration in place that isn’t going to finish that evil job. And the Country isn’t done protecting its Constitution and its citizens from demagogues yet.

        • What Constitution? says:

          Thank you for that. Beats hell out of having to apologize for a weak entrant to a Bad Faulkner contest. Not the first time I’ve overlooked the wrong word spelled right in the “typo proofing” exercise.

          And I must add, thanks for not calling me call me Shirley.

  8. cavenewt says:

    The Senate voted to determine whether the impeachment trial is constitutional or not. They determined by majority vote that it is.

    It seems to me that senators still insisting they will vote against conviction *because they still believe the trial is unconstitutional* is essentially the same thing as Trump continuing to claim he won the election: in both cases, refusing to comply with the results of a vote because you disagree.

    I can’t break a law that I disagree with, not without consequences. I can’t refuse to pay taxes because they’re spent in a way I don’t approve of, not without consequences. How is this different?

    (I realize the impeachment trial is not a criminal trial and does not have the same stringency of evidence etc. My question is more ethical/logical than legal.)

    • Peterr says:

      For a case to be heard by the Supreme Court, the justices first hold a vote to see whether the application for hearing the case makes it worth holding. It takes four votes to approve taking the case, and after they hear a given case, it takes five votes to win the case.

      Let the record show that if a justice votes NOT to hear a case, but the case is heard anyway, that justice always takes part in the hearing and takes part in the decision. They don’t sit in a corner and say “We shouldn’t have heard this case in the first place, and so I don’t care what happened in the hearing.”

      • bmaz says:

        Peter is right. And impeachment is not even just not a criminal trial, it is not even within the constraints of a normal civil trial necessarily. That certainly does not mean it should not adhere to more due process and ethical standards, even if it does not by flimsy rules have to. But here it is, in all its lack of glory.

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          Well I was referring to Peterr extrapolating that the Republican Senators should behave more like SCOTUS justices and “They don’t sit in a corner and say “We shouldn’t have heard this case in the first place, and so I don’t care what happened in the hearing.”

          [see Hawley, Cruz et al]

          • bmaz says:

            The curious thing about that comparison is that neither body, Senate in Impeachment, nor SCOTUS, have any set ethics or conflict edicts.

            • timbo says:

              Heh. The majority of the Framers seemed to have assumed that legislating rectitude in office to be impossible for the most part. “Thus the beauty and frustration of the Enterprise, so commissioned, sailed on into an uncertain future, crewed with only the best local pirates that could be cajoled aboard on such short notice…”

    • Mitch Neher says:

      cavenewt said “. . . refusing to comply with the results of a vote because you disagree . . .”

      Hyper-technically, those Senators are complying with the result of the vote by dint of allowing the impeachment trial to proceed.

      Meanwhile, their “belief” that the impeachment trial is “unconstitutional” is an antinomy (in the Kantian sense of a self-nullifying law).

      Also, because The Senate has the sole power to try all impeachments, not to mention the political-question doctrine, The Supreme Court is barred from exercising jurisdiction over such a purportedly unconstitutional impeachment trial.

      I have reason to believe that the only constitutionally permissible remedies for such Senatorial bad faith are expulsion at the hands of one’s colleagues or defeat at the polls at the hands of one’s constituents or the other candidate’s campaign contributors as the case may be.

      Supposedly impeachment was taken off the table for US Senators during the aborted impeachment trial of William Blount in 1797 (IIRC).

  9. ThoughtMail says:

    A Tale of Two Universes:

    In one universe, a good guy with a gun is the best protection against a bad guy with a gun.

    In a second, 330 million individuals carry firearms of all sorts by right. But Capitol Police officers, in what should be the country’s most-protected space, are prevented by law from doing so.

    Logic dictates that you may inhabit one universe or the other; not both. To attempt to inhabit both is evidence of bad faith. Leave aside the argument that either of those universes evidences bad faith.

  10. cavenewt says:

    “Trump chose to do nothing to protect the Capitol as it was attacked by terrorists.”

    That seems to me to be the strongest actual evidence against Trump, and I hope will play a large part in any eventual criminal prosecution (please please please let that happen).

    We know he did all the other pregame stuff but, like mob bosses, preserved his plausible deniability. Plausible to his worshipers, anyway.

  11. Peacerme says:

    If we continue without Domestic violence analogy?? The Dems are colluding with the violence in their fear of wielding the full force of their constitutional power. This is no different than the cops showing up to a DV situation, seeing the results of the violence (black eyes and bruises), and telling them to quit fighting and get along, or taking him away to a friends house and telling him to cool off instead of arresting him. Only a coordinated community response, arrest, jail time, fines and treatment produce a decrease in violence. We are in for more. This will not stop. They don’t understand that they have done more damage than good. I am so scared for this nation. What this government has done is validated that power and control works. Republicans are colluding but so are democrats. Get some teeth in this game. Understand the people who love trump are bolstered by his power and will not hear a word of this or care. Many a woman has cried to a police officer who told her it was her fault. (And yes male pronoun included it can happen to both men and women).

    • Peacerme says:

      I don’t understand why no witnesses. And why did McConnell threaten if they did go to call trump to the stand. This is ridiculous. Use whatever it takes to create a consequence. Whatever it takes within the law.

      • timbo says:

        No witnesses because 1) lazy, 2) risk of having the cobwebs cleared enough for the citizens to realize how bad leadership has been up until now. Just look at the DP (and GOP) in 2016. Too lazy or inept, too ingrown, etc to have their own coherent rhetoricians and internally consistent and popular messages and policies, the two parties brought in ringers from outside to reinvigorate their appeal to the disenchanted citizens. Trump on the right, Sanders on the left. While the GOP either embraced or was taken over by the Trumpites, the DP managed to kill any real threats to DP leadership on the left. The DP leadership we had four years ago is the same leadership we have today, all the way from Biden on down. Biden and the DP leadership of four years ago weren’t up to fighting folks like McConnell. And they certainly aren’t up to dealing with the likes of Trump it seems.

        Yes, one can see glimmers of hope in some of the House Managers in this trial… but whatever glimmer is almost immediately smothered by the older leadership. They’re too used to thinking inside their little comfortable boxes to get creative enough, to get up the spunk, the fire to actually do things that will work to save the Republic. We are in a crisis because of this. Had the DP acted better decades ago, had the old leadership not just slithered forward year after year, resting on the laurels of proposed laws, rather than enacting actual good legislation that actually does benefit most of the populace, then we would not be in the current boat. But, because they kept seeking to gain the center while the country itself radicalized and polarized, we are where we are now. So, what we witness here are continuing symptoms of the rot, continuing abeyence to words and ideas that those who utter do not know how to preserve effectively—the lack of imagination is apparent and taken advantage of by the folks on the right, day in and day out. Impeachment hearings, now twice in 14 months, and still the stubborn muleheads can’t manage to produce any result that can stabilize the Old Republic…our Republic is being ground up by the party machines that now have life of their own.

        One might blame the Supreme Court for a serious of rulings that made the entrenchment of fascism and corporate rights as the controlling factors in our society. Do you hear any of the DP leadership loudly advocating for campaign finance reform any more? Nope. They’ve bought into the system that the right built for them. They, like the right, are defacto on the take. I am ready to change my mind on that… when and if the DP leadership permits witnesses under oath before the Senate.

          • timbo says:

            You are not forced to read any of it. And it is possible that you have not. Or maybe you have. Hard to say.

              • timbo says:

                Nice and trite again. Rather than disabuse me of my notions, you appear to be trying to disabuse me of my voice. You could have said nothing. Now that you have. Do you have anything positive to contribute to my knowledge on this subject other than telling me to shut up?

                • Eureka says:

                  I can’t speak for PJ but I’m going to guess it’s the repetitive screeds where the antipathy for “DP” overrides awareness of what’s going on.

                  For example, here:

                  Do you hear any of the DP leadership loudly advocating for campaign finance reform any more? Nope.

                  Democrats prioritize campaign finance overhaul with ‘For the People Act’ • OpenSecrets
                  By Alyce McFadden January 21, 2021 4:05 pm

                  Congressional Democrats are prioritizing campaign finance reform and voting rights with a sweeping bill being praised by progressive groups and advocates for electoral reform.

                  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Tuesday that the upper chamber will consider the For the People Act before any other bill, designating it as S.1. Democrats in the House made a similar move earlier this month. The bill aims to tackle corporate influence, “dark money,” foreign attempts to influence American elections and voter suppression practices in the wake of the 2020 election cycle, which broke campaign spending records.

                  There’s your “leadership” “loudly advocating.” See also HR 1 of the 116th and its McConnellavellian fate. Plus Biden’s same-day executive order on shadow lobbying and such, parts of which this bill would codify. [And to get this out of the way, observing events does not make one a Schumer et al. fan or apologist.]

                  If the press outlets you follow don’t cover this stuff, those are separate issues. My rep regularly communicates what they’re doing (based in constituent feedback, too), maybe that’s an option for you — to also tell them what you’d like to see.

                  Also, the way you put that to PJ makes it like you get to just say whatever with no reaction but for some “positive” (!) educative fact-checking, which is an awkward burden shift to say the least.

                  • timbo says:

                    I’ve read over a hundred of the proposed bills and resolutions, etc proposed since Jan 4 when the new Congress came back into session as well. It’s all in the database at the House.


                    Yes, thousands of work hours have gone into so much of this, so many good intentions are there. But it is how many of them actually become actual laws that count to those of us who are supposedly served by this unending exercise of proposed legislation as a substitute for actual implemented good policy.

        • Super Nintendo Chalmers says:

          Your conspiratorial theories aside, the sad reality is that witnesses won’t make a difference. The fix is in.

          Clearly, witnesses from the outset would have been better. I do agree it was an unwise decision to exclude them, optically speaking. However, based on what we’ve seen in 3 days, including absent GOP lawmakers; doodling GOP lawmakers; feet up GOP lawmakers; and paper shuffling GOP lawmakers, it’s patently obvious witnesses won’t matter. Moreover, I think public opinion is pretty set here, and doubt witnesses would change that. When 70% of Republicans refuse to accept reality, all the witnesses, cancelled checks; death lists; etc. are never going to matter. It is what it is.

          • timbo says:

            The fix is only in after the opportunity is gone. We appear to disagree on when that opportunity has gone. You assert it has already, and I assert it has not.

            As to “conspiratorial theories”, can you point to specifically to one that I’ve outlined above? Seriously, using the term “conspiratorial theories” as loosely as you have requires explanation, not automagical acceptance because you typed it out and clicked enter.

      • jerryy says:

        Things may have changed a bit but, so far they are just finishing the opening …

        “The Senate will not vote on whether to allow additional witnesses until the House impeachment managers and Trump’s lawyers finish making their arguments, and after senators have four hours to ask questions. The impeachment managers and the defense team will have an additional two hours to argue on whether additional witnesses are needed.”

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Jerryy, thank you for that. I have been reading all these posts and questioning my own memory; I did not recall witnesses being ruled out.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Wasn’t that poll taken before the presentations began? My impression is that they are intended not so much for the intransigent senators as for people watching at home. One of the GOP senators (Lankford or Thune, don’t remember which) said he hoped people were watching, which I took to mean that sufficient pressure from constituents might have an effect on those like Cassidy who are marginally persuadable.

  12. rattlemullet says:

    I use the words of Paul Campos

    Trump DID NOTHING for TWO FUCKIN HOURS after the Capitol was invaded by a bloodthirsty terrorist MAGA mob that came directly from his own ‘Stop the Steal’ event where he told them to go ‘fight’ to overturn the election. He’s the goddamn Commander in Chief and he DID NOTHING while the US Congress was literally under attack. And it wasn’t like he had some other thing he was doing, like playing golf or checking Don Jr into rehab or reading My Pet Goat to Erik. He has NO EXCUSE for not using the powers of his office to stop a terrorist assault on the US government. And when he finally did do something, TWO HOURS after the Capitol was stormed and occupied, he called the terrorists ‘special’ and said he loved them. How is this alone – his absolute dereliction of duty in the face of a terrorist attack on Congress and VPOTUS – not impeachable in the eyes of 45 Republican Senators? It’s so utterly shameful where we are as a nation.

    • cavenewt says:

      That seems to be the very best thing in terms of hard evidence that he failed to discharge the requirements of his office. And that’s a high crime.

      Unfortunately, most of the Republican senators are either invertebrate or Kool-Aid addicts and nothing will convince them to vote for conviction.

      • timbo says:

        No. One needs to have the ability to envision how opinion might be swayed rather than just accept acquittal of this impeachment charge as some sort of political inevitability. It might be done deal but it might not be. You may be more likely to be right about it, of course, than I. But I prefer to advocate for success rather than accept failure…before the fact.

  13. William Bennett says:

    Been making the same point elsewhere, that it’s his INACTION post-speech that’s the most damning thing and should be as far as possible the public face of the case against him. The thing to keep in mind is that the audience here is not just the Senators. Two things: whatever the outcome, the takeaway should be something unequivocally and uncomplicatedly wrong and unjustifiable. This aspect of the case is that. But more important is that changing the temperature of the country as a whole toward the impeachment can change the outcome. Maybe the only thing in fact. Those of us who remember Watergate will recall that it was the Nixon Tapes that were the watershed, and it wasn’t just the evidence in them but the whole view of who Nixon was, that turned the tide. Widespread public revulsion. To my ear the one thing that really has the potential to open that kind of gulf between Trump and decent humanity was his inaction. We all watched the events unfolding in real time, as did he. But where we were horrified and powerless to stop it, he HAD the power to stop it. And. He. Did. NOTHING. To me that’s a bumper-sticker-sized indictment that goes to the gut. Even the name for it is one that reeks of shame: Dereliction of Duty.

    The GOPers are all geared up to hairsplit the actual speech into oblivion, but there’s no denying that when he saw what was going on and had the power and the DUTY as CIC to stop it He. Did. NOTHING. That puts him on the other side of a wall between monstrousness and decency. And as with Nixon that’s a territory nobody wants to share with him.

    • cavenewt says:

      There are two slight differences there.

      One, Nixon’s supporters did not worship him with religious fervor. You aren’t going to change those people’s minds no matter what.

      Two, Nixon and his contemporary politicians were capable of feeling shame. Not so much today.

        • cavenewt says:

          As soon as I got done washing my mouth out with soap, I had to laugh.

          I would still posit that Trump has more fervently cultish followers than Nixon did. Roger Stone would be an outlier no matter what planet you’re on.

          • klynn says:

            I shared this with EW a bit ago:
            And there are 2 degrees of separation from Nixon regarding Trump and 1/6/21 violence. Trump to Stone (one degree – maybe less if you count the tattoo) then Stone to Proud Boys. The country, long term, would have been better off to not pardon Nixon by that math. But here were are, standing at the gates of an attempted coup, instigated by Nixon acolytes.

    • PJB says:

      That is an excellent point and the timeline makes his inaction irrefutable. It also sets up a very defined rationale for subpoenaing Trump to testify. If his “lawyers” are trying to frame the case as hinging on Trump’s intent in causing political violence, then it sets up perfectly for the House Managers to call the only one witness who is best positioned to testify to Trump’s intent. They’ve already requested his voluntary testimony so we know they want it, and since he refused there’s clear cause to compel. It also seems impossible to successfully oppose a subpoena: he’s not in office so he’s not too busy (as if he ever was) and the matter upon which he is called to testify is directly relevant to a central issue in the case (at least as his lawyers have framed it). So it is neither unduly burdensome or seeking irrelevent evidence. He either moves in opposition in the senate (which will lose), move to quash in federal district court which Leahy should determine is contemptuous of the Senate (the federal judiciary seemingly having no jurisdiction) or Trump “Col. Jessup”‘s himself. In any event, it is only one more day of trial – hardly an adverse impact on Biden’s legislative agenda.

      • timbo says:

        ??? There are several folks who could testify first-hand to Trump’s intent, not just Trump himself, relative to the charges at hand. The simple question of “what did the President do then?” might be sufficient to determine intent. If his intent was obviously to avoid doing what he could to stop the violence, effectively avoiding taking his oath of office seriously, failing to act in reasonable haste to honor that oath, then intent might be made abundantly clear. In fact, many of us had made reasonable assumptions based on what we know did happen; our inference is not unreasonable in a legal sense at all… The potential minefields for the defense in any one intimate to President 45 testifying under oath before the Congress about his behavior and statements that day is abundantly clear to all. The difference is in whether one is for such testimony or buying into the thought process that it won’t ever/must never be necessary in this case, etc.

        • Pjb says:

          There is an inherent risk in calling a hostile witness for your case in chief. You better be damn sure it’s not going to backfire on you or you are committing trial malpractice. Since the rules of evidence do not seem to have any salience in this proceeding, “trial” by videotape and argumentation is far safer. But, that risk is much mitigated with Trump. It is exceedingly likely he will move heaven and earth to avoid compliance with subpoena. Make a whole show about that. On the very off chance he decides to testify, he is such an unmanageable mess, he will be immolated and his hapless lawyers will never be able to either manage him on cross or resuscitate him on redirect.

          • timbo says:

            If you are not fairly confident then why would you have wasted the time of the Senate in the first place? If the case is strong, but not strong enough to convict because of lack of first hand witnesses then one calls them… in criminal trials. Alas, this was a civil Constitutional proceeding, not a criminal trial. It appears that the pressure from too many GOP Senators threatening to gum up the works of getting through other Senator business, other than this trial, has caused the DP lead Senate to move on as quick as possible from this trial. And now us semi-hopeful cynics turn to the DOJ, FBI, and state prosecutors, all the grand juries to maybe get to the answering of the legality of all the criminality and corruption that’s occurred these past months and years under Trump’s regime. Or is that too now “off the table”? :(

  14. Atomic Shadow says:

    I’ve been wondering how many GOP Senators are lawyers by training? This might make an excellent topic for post as we all try to get out hands around the scope of GOP mendacity.

    In other news, I get tried of people harking back to the W. Bush years as the era of principled conservatives. At one point they weren’t even telling Democrats when they were having committee meetings because they controlled both houses and the White House. That wasn’t even the worst of it.

    The GOP, as we once knew it, is dead. The Trumpublican party is interested only in owning the Libs, stuffing their pockets, and being horrible to minorities. They are a lawless group of criminals who will ignore any precedent, break any rule, and twist any law to suit those 3 aims. When I hear liberals talking about bipartisanship I want to cry. It’s like hoping the Easter Bunny is going to show up and mow your lawn.

  15. GKJames says:

    Doesn’t this highlight the issue with the Article of Impeachment itself? It alleges incitement, but not the (beyond doubt) failure to act once the mayhem started. The former’s much harder to prove, yet that’s what Pelosi et al went with. Perfect for Republicans looking for a way out: you alleged incitement but proved something different.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Pretty much. It’s one of the corners the Dems seem determined to paint themselves into, in their determination Not to be effective. But it should be possible to fudge that and send Trump to jail (via separate proceedings) as well as to prohibit him from holding federal office. That is, were Trump’s GOP not as convinced as any vehement anti-modernist 19th century Catholic that their pope can do no wrong.

      Not to be deterred, if banned from federal office, Trump might ignore it and run anyway, or run for FL governor. He never acknowledges reality and doesn’t believe in consequences. He believes in the power of money and in getting even.

      • cavenewt says:

        But it should be possible to fudge that and send Trump to jail (via separate proceedings) as well as to prohibit him from holding federal office.

        Correct me if I’m wrong…just to be clear, to send him to jail your “separate proceedings” would have to be a criminal trial, not the impeachment. To prohibit him from holding federal office would require a conviction in the impeachment trial, and then a separate (simple majority) vote to bar him from future office.

        I would be very happy with that outcome :)

      • vvv says:

        In my state, the claimant party may amend pleadings in a civil action to comport with the proofs at any time up to and including the entry of judgment.

        I can just imagine the outcry if there was an attempt to amend the article to include the failure to act, but I wonder if it is possible?

    • Peterr says:

      The lack of effort to quell the insurrection after it started underpins the notion that Trump wanted the insurrection to succeed.

      After all he did to lay the groundwork and proclaim the Big Lie (“the only way I can lose is if the election is stolen”), after all he did to promote the January 6 rally and bring folks to DC, after all he did to help organize the rally by taking over the plans for the event on the Ellipse, after all he did to whip up his troops in his speech, and after all he did to re-engineer the ending of the rally to include sending the mob to the Capitol, after all he did to reassure the insurrectionists that they were very fine people doing very fine work, you think he’s going to ruin all that good work by telling them all to go home before their work is done?

      It’s the dog that didn’t bark.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Trump’s hours of inaction go to both competence and intent. At a minimum, that he did nothing to stop a violent mob while it threateed the Capitol, its legislators, and the sitting Vice President is sufficient to conclude that Donald Trump is manifestly unfit to hold government office.

        Worse, Donald Trump spent his time egging on that violent mob to commit further violence. Apparently, his goal was to impose chaos and to disrupt necessary government action directly related to his removal from office and the peaceful transfer of power to his legitimate successor. Trump specifically sent that mob after the Vice President, his family, and their Secret Service detail, and later congratulated the mob for its efforts.

        Those two examples alone – there are many others the Democrats could cite – shout that Donald Trump is malicious and wholly unfit to hold public office. If congressional Republicans choose loyalty to Donald Trump over public safety, national security, the Constitution, and basic governance, then they, too, are unfit to hold public office.

        • GKJames says:

          Agreed as to his unfitness. But that gets back to my original question: why did Pelosi and crew frame the case as they did, as if to invite Republicans to acquit? On these facts, the mens rea element of his incitement is a harder road than that of the failure to act when duty required it. And she could easily have gone with two articles of impeachment, one for incitement, the other for failure to act.

          • Ginevra diBenci says:

            Not an excuse, but Pelosi was reportedly drafting the article during the insurrection. She and the other drafters had no knowledge at the time what Trump was doing to egg the mob on. By the time those details became public, the House had sent the Article to the senate in the hope/expectation of McConnell initiating proceedings before 20 January.

            • bmaz says:

              Only my understanding, but it was not spurned by Pelosi, but starting to be drafted and by people under siege. Is that really an issue???

          • dude says:

            I thought it was Raskin who started drafting the article while in hiding. Anyway, I assume that “clear and present danger” of an ongoing insurrection would be foremost in the minds of the besieged. The sooner everyone responded to the obvious the better.

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As Mikey Cohen never tires of telling us, Donald Trump speaks in code. When he tells his crowd to “stand up for the Constitution” or do what’s right and fight for your rights, he means be willing to use criminal violence to keep him in power – and out of jail. It’s always all about him. Needless to say – but not really – Trump would not let the vast majority of his followers past the doorman in any of his clubs.

    • Chris.EL says:

      To get into the club, ya have to pay the membership fee, right? Don’t most of those guys live with their moms?
      Here’s something incredible —

      “Science girl
      “A timely reminder that life will be normal again, soon.”

      This video is from Pamukkale, in Turkey; pretty amazing!

      City in Turkey
      Pamukkale is a town in western Turkey known for the mineral-rich thermal waters flowing down white travertine terraces on a nearby hillside. It neighbors Hierapolis, an ancient Roman spa city founded around 190 B.C. Ruins there include a well-preserved theater and a necropolis with sarcophagi that stretch… More
      UNESCO World Heritage Site inscription: 1988
      Weather: 55°F (13°C), Wind SE at 5 mph (8 km/h), 55% Humidity”

    • madwand says:

      yep Mikey Cohen and Mary Trump both foresaw this. Trump wouldn’t leave peacefully. For anyone who had doubts.

  17. BraveNewWorld says:

    As campaign contributions helped fund the attack on the Capital as well as funding the Tsunammi of BS that the Trump team has been spreading, isn’t it time to revisit Citizens United? I suspect that SCOTUS may be willing to walk back some of that terrible decision given recent events.

    • bmaz says:

      No. First off, CU was decided on Constitutional grounds, and Congress cannot fix it, it would take a Constitutional amendment, which will never happen anytime soon.

      Secondly, CU is a nice piñata for people to lash out at, but it was not necessarily wrong on First Amendment grounds. The FAR bigger problem is the earlier case of Buckley v. Valeo.

      • Bobby Gladd says:

        “One dollar, one vote.”

        I’ve seen it asserted recently also that my 2A right to prance around in livin’-the-screenplay playtriot tactical cammies while brandishing my AR-15 is additionally protected by 1A—my right to “free expression.”

        And, the FADA crowd wants SCOTUS to protect various bigoted ACTS (not opinions, acts) as 1A protected under “religious freedom.”

        • Eureka says:

          [laughter] OK Bobby, here’s a response you could never expect:

          right to prance around in livin’-the-screenplay [outfits] while brandishing my [pink guitar]

          I’d recently wondered whatever happened to Billy Squier, and was reminded that his career was killed by an ill-advised, last-minute cheesy video when Rock Me Tonite crossed over from rock to pop-y charts. And everybody was making cheap, wacky, +/- androgynous videos at that time, so ? why his act had to go RIP over it, but the refrain was that he was “prancing” (as above) and pretty much exactly fit the structure of what you said (minus the militia-ing).

          If only he’d used the live version of it for that video, it was clearly a rock song… He’s got some relatively recent performances up, including with folks like GE Smith and Joe Bonamassa.

          And belated Happy Birthday!

      • timbo says:

        Buckley vs Valeo seems like a harder ask to reverse, of course. Have you seen a proposed Amendment wording for ending Citizen United that might be acceptable in limiting CU and or some of the broader assumptions of Buckley vs Valeo?

        Right now we appear to be in a situation where we are looking at a long wait for reversal of Citizen United…if ever. An Amendment is a hard ask, yep, but one is reminded of some of the other jaundiced and harmful rulings of SCOTUS of the previous two centuries that took generations to reverse.

      • pasha says:

        We may not be able to overturn CU, but surely there is room for tighter regulation of money in politics. The CU decision was predicated on the stated assumption that corporate money would not lead to corruption. i believe the evidence is now in on that assumption.

        • bmaz says:

          Sure there are. That is absolutely correct.

          But, again, it goes back more to the issues in Buckley v. Valeo. Looking at it from solely a CU frame has always been quite misguided and a fool’s errand.

          There are also a ton of ways to sidestep Heller on the 2nd Amendment. Same as CU. You see anybody doing that? Not really, and only at the edges. All of this, on both Constitutional centric issues will be a very long slog, and there are not going to be any quick fixes other than the ballot box.

  18. CD54 says:

    Yeah, but they’re white Republican terrorists — like the Army guy told Arlo Guthrie, “Kid, you’re our kinda guy!”.

  19. Ed Walker says:

    The nature of evidence is tied up in the meaning of the word trial in impeachment as opposed to trials in the judicial system. The only question is whether Trump committed high crimes and misdemeanors. We see his actions in the tweets and videos presented by the Managers. We see the results in the videos and in the statements of the Managers who were there in person. We know that he did nothing to stop it, when he easily could have, both with tweets and by instructing the National Guard to act. We could even consider that he pardoned Roger Stone who was free and has known connections to the Proud Boy thugs.

    If this were a judicial trial we might care about Trump’s mental state. But this is not a judicial trial, and just as in the first impeachment, Trump’s mental state is irrelevant. This is just a question of his actions. There is no doubt that he worked to stage this insurrection. He’s guilty for purposes of impeachment.

    The Republicans who are afraid of the Mob Party regulars will vote not to convict on the sole grounds of “I don’t give a shit about this nation. It’s much more important that I hold power.”

    • bmaz says:

      Yes, I understand the rules for impeachment, I have seen now four of them intently. I also cited the actual Senate rules in my last post. But having more than Hollywood quality edited videos and narration is actually important, and should not be discounted. And Ed, mental state is ALWAYS important, regardless of the forum.

      • klynn says:

        Meant to ask above in my IANAL questions regarding the managers:

        What would be the best/most effective/convincing evidence to introduce?

        If one witness were to be called, other than Trump, who would you suggest with what we know so far?

        • vvv says:

          That’s a fun question for just imagining one of the TV lawyers or Stone or DJTJ being called but …


          He likely doesn’t know a lot but he just might know enough and be pissed enough to tell all …

          Also assumes Mother lets him testify, tho’, I reckon.

    • PeterS says:

      I agree. And I suspect that the impeachment was doomed to fail from the outset, though that’s not the point. The Dems had the choice to impeach or not impeach, and not impeaching was clearly the wrong choice.

      Raskin and his team did a superb job, albeit without witnesses, and I think a significant portion of the public will have watched at least some of the presentations and will have learned from them. Moreover, though the GOP was always going to turn a blind eye, this way it has been made more painful for them to do so.

      • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

        I think they will memory hole it within a week. Hence the value of a committee slowly but regularly calling witnesses and investigating.

      • Justlp says:

        Only those who don’t watch Fox. It seemed the only point of Trump’s attorneys’ presentation today was to placate Trump & provide fodder for Fox to play as their view of the trial.

  20. Doctor My Eyes says:

    All in all, deeply disturbing couple of days, and not without shedding a few tears. It turns out, even with all the corruption and abuse of citizens like me, I still love my country deeply. To me, corruption is the heart of our troubles, and it’s so pervasive that most of us are blind to much of it. Our facade of supporting democracies abroad is a charade–we’ve done the opposite for decades in pursuing our own perceived self-interests. And now both Democrats and Republicans here at home are placing their own perceived self-interests above the constitution. None of it is surprising, in theory. It’s still disorienting to see it all play out in such stark reality.

    Speaking of corruption, one wonders about the founding principles of the above-discussed new “center right” party. I suppose they would be firmly committed to maintaining the illusion of democracy while devoting their energy to serving the interests of their corporate clients. Nobody wants to see the violence underlying the system made manifest. Hey, let’s all pretend we live in an iPhone commercial.

  21. rg says:

    There have been a couple of thoughts running around in my mind this week; I want to share them. The first is the strong (as if yesterday) image of the president of another country using military force to attack his country’s legislative branch. I clearly remember seeing on the newshour Boris Yeltsen having surrounded Parliament with the army’s tanks, and atop one of them, directing artillery shells into the windows of the building. My second thought involves the one (who should be considered a co-conspirator in the 1/6 activities), advising the administration insiders of a brainstorm he had hatched: “I have an idea of how to win the election; it won’t be pretty, but it might work”. He then outlined a strategy which became known as “Stop the Steal”.

    • LeeNLP says:

      My understanding (largely from reading this site) was that “stop the steal” originated with Roger Stone.

  22. OldTulsaDude says:

    Slightly OT but I cannot stand to hear it any longer from the managers – the president is not “the” commander-in-chief nor “our” commander-in-chief but the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. That is all.

    • Ruthie says:

      I’ve held back from making the same comment for fear of my irritation getting the better of me. Moreover, I think he’s only CiC when we’re at war, although whether it has to be officially declared or not I don’t know. Then again, we’re pretty much always at war.

  23. P J Evans says:

    Cruz, Graham, and Lee met with Trmp’s lawyers. In any other kind of trial, that would get them booted from the jury. Cruz and Graham fancy themselves as legal experts, so they *should* be called out for this.

    • rg says:

      P J.
      Called out for what? After all, they’re all on the same team. As you suggested, this is not a judicial trail with rules about impartiality. Reminds me of the story in Alice in Wonderland where the red queen called for having the verdict first, and the trial second. Here the verdict is already known because politics requires it so. Perhaps we could come to a realization that this “trial ” by a political jury is self-corrupting, and thus seek a judicial trial in the Supreme Court with the entire congress as prosecution. Or not.

      • P J Evans says:

        Fck that “politics requires it”. The GQP may require it, but they aren’t the government and they sure aren’t the country. If you’re a juror, even in a political trial, you swear an oath to be impartial (and to do justice fairly). If you can’t do that much, you shouldn’t be on that jury. If you’re demonstrating that you’re not fair, you should be shamed for it.

        • LeeNLP says:

          That’s exactly what won my (slightly begrudging) respect and admiration for Mitt Romney last year. He took his oath before the impeachment trial seriously enough that he would not do the politically expedient thing, but the right thing.

          How the others can look their families and children in the eye, and even look at themselves in the mirror, I do not know. Practice, I guess.

    • vvv says:

      It strikes me over and over how the attorneys in Congress ignore that provision of the model ethics rules (I believe all states have adopted it) about “avoiding the appearance of impropriety”, and why it’s not raised more often.

      Not for enforcement purposes, just for shaming the shameless.

  24. Hello says:

    Why did the capitol police let the crowds in and some seemed to be acting as guides? Had they instead done their job, we wouldn’t be here.

    • Min says:


      1) The Capitol police were too few to hold off the armed mob, and did not have sufficient backup, by incompetence or design, or both.
      2) Given that, they were, quite rightly prohibited from firing against the armed mob, which would have led to their demise and the rapid storming of the Capitol by an armed force ready to fire. It would have been a bloodbath.
      3) By non-violently restraining the mob, they were able, with a minimum of bloodshed, to delay the entry of the mob into the Capitol, and, once the Capitol had been breached, to keep the murderous mob away from their targets, although it was a close call.
      4) Yes, some of the Capitol police, like police elsewhere in the US, sympathized with the mob, but most of them did their duty.
      5) To secure the Capitol, the National Guard should probably have been deployed ahead of time. But that was not going to happen under Trump. As it was, the Guard was only deployed by the orders of the Vice-President, which may have been illegal.
      Given the givens, the Capitol police did their duty. The fault lies elsewhere.

  25. punaise says:

    I was suitable enraged to hear a snippet on NPR with two journalists from “the hinterlands” / middle America / call it what you wish (AZ and MI in this instance). Both reporters blithely stated (I paraphrase) that the person on the street just doesn’t give a shit about Impeachment II, isn’t paying attention, etc. If that is truly the case then I cannot fathom what these people expect from our democracy, our society.

      • punaise says:

        I’ll see if I can dig up the transcript; must have been the News Hour? It was a female reporter for the Arizona Republic, I think.

      • punaise says:

        Here ya go:

        Yvonne Wingett Sanchez of The Arizona Republic

        I only listen to the radio while driving, which occurs infrequently these days. Fortunately I arrived at my destination before the end of the segment and had no motivation to linger and make it a “driveway moment”.

        • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

          I can’t listen to my local public radio station before 7pm anymore, when they switch over to The World and fresh air and such. It’s too rage inducing.

  26. Literay says:

    I suspect that a vote to convict by a republican would put them and their family in physical danger, and that realization is a powerful influence on their allegiance to the constitution. I have a little sympathy. But of course they have nourished and watered the counter cultural evil for a long time only to have a malevolent narcissist effortlessly harvest their crop. Now they are dependent on the narcissist for sustenance.

    Maybe the tenor of our times is a eunuch.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      I’ve been thinking about that notion, that Republican votes are being determined by fear of the racist, misogynistic, hateful mob. Yeah, I can sympathize with the difficulty of the situation–I have no sympathy for surrender. I mean, are people thinking about what this really means? It is an admission that lawless forces of violence are now determining the fate of our country. This is no small thing. This is the end of representative government. Why aren’t these fascists spoken of in the same tones that people speak of the “radical left”, that they must be resisted at all costs. I find it loathsome the way it seems to be accepted as too bad, tsk tsk, that Republicans are governing out of fear of “the base”.

      [Not directed at you, Literay.]

      • LeeNLP says:

        The idea that the GOP- or any organization of people- is a single, homogeneous entity is a useful fiction, but one that can cause misunderstanding. Today’s GOP is not the GOP of my parents, or even of myself at a much younger age. The majority of the honest leaders resigned or got primaried out some time ago. People like Greene would have never been given a platform before Trump, I believe. She is not just to the right of the John Birchers of my father’s generation; she is off the edge of the world, defining the new norm of the Right.

        • Min says:

          A lot of the modern Republican Party are White supremacists who left the Democratic Party after the successes of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, or their descendants. The GOP welcomed them because of the Southern strategy. Before Trump, all the White supremacists in the GOP had to do was to be politically correct in their speech.

      • Stacey says:

        As I’ve heard many people point out in various contexts, a LOT of these Republicans are NOT voting the way they are because they are AFRAID of the base…but because they AGREE with the base. I don’t think we should let them all off so easily. An awful lot of Republicans have gone along with Trump because they moved their ball closer to the goal post they were aiming at in the fog of his war and chaos.

        They didn’t make a deal with the devil, many of them are indistinguishable from the devil!

  27. e.a.f. says:

    Watched Castro again today. He was very good and his ending as you have quoted above really made an impact on me. He and the other managers have done an excellent job. when you finish listening to them all and the slides you wonder how could these Republicans not vote to impeach. Trump really would have let them all die. You’d think they would at least vote to impeach to ensure he never got a chance to have others killed, because given the time lines, it was because of the cops, security details, and blind good luck they weren’t killed. Trump didn’t care. As it was a police officer was murdered and two committed suicide. There has to be a reckoning at some point.
    Of course I’m a vengeful sort. If I’d been one of those Republican senators, I’d want to take a good wack on the back of his legs. Won’t kill him but he will remember. O.K. a 2 x 4 is better but its so obvious. Don’t believe in political assignation but if some one had set me up the way those politicians were that day, I’d sure want to cause a guy like Trump some pain. (I know how un Canadian of me)

    Those Republican senators must be nuts to let Trump get away with what he did. Trump didn’t care about them or their lives, why should they care about Trump and his future. Impeach him, then let that nice new Attorney General in Georgia have at him. Saw her interviewed on R. Maddox’s show this evening. She looks like she is up to the job. A year in jail for Trump would certainly send a message. I do recall reading some where those Georgia jails aren’t summer camps and don’t have golf courses.

  28. Min says:

    Outside of the courtroom, much of evidence is mute. We viddy it for ourselves. As for evidence about Trump. here is some and my thoughts, FWIW.

    1) Trump makes the obviously ridiculous claim about the size of the crowd at his inauguration.

    Working hypotheses: Trump is a brazen liar, and a megalomaniac.

    2) Trump also claimed to have won the popular vote, which would have meant massive voter fraud, to the tune of some 3,000,000 votes. That is in line with the above hypotheses, but hints at another.

    3) Trump is said to read Hitler.

    Working hypothesis: Trump is an authoritarian.

    4) Trump starts holding rallies.

    Working hypotheses: Trump feeds on adulation, and is charismatic enough to get it from devoted followers, who overlook or excuse his lies, or even believe them. Trump is also following Hitler’s playbook by holding rallies. Trump is running for reelection. If Trump loses, he expects to claim that he won it, by massive voter fraud. Many of his devoted followers will believe him.

    5) Trump demands personal loyalty from Comey and Sessions. Sessions is loyal, but does his duty, which is not enough for Trump. Comey will not swear personal allegiance to Trump. Both are canned, sooner or later.

    Working hypothesis: Trump understands das Führerprinzip and is following Hitler’s playbook, demanding blind loyalty to him and getting it, one way or the other, from underlings and his devoted followers.

    6) Trump rhetorically refers to himself as the country. E.g., something that would not be good for him would be “bad for the country”.

    Working hypothesis: Trump is following after Louis XIV, King of France, who said, “L’état, ç’est moi.” Trump is an absolute ruler wannabe.

    7) Trump uses violent rhetoric. E.g., he says that he could shoot somebody on 5th avenue and not lose any voters. He eggs on his devoted followers to violence, saying that he would pay their court costs. Some of his followers rough up non-followers.

    Trump defends violent White supremacists, saying that there were “very fine people on both sides” in Charlottesville.

    Trump denies knowing about the Proud Boys, but tells them to “stand back and stand by” on national television. They take that as an order.

    Working hypothesis: Again, following Hitler’s playbook, Trump wants to cultivate the equivalent of the Nazi Brownshirts. He has a good chance of doing so.

    So here we are. Surprise, surprise.

    • dude says:

      Per NPR in 2016 (not 2020) in the run against Clinton:

      “In front of an exuberant crowd Thursday in Delaware, Ohio, Donald Trump again addressed whether he would accept the outcome of the November election.

      “Ladies and gentleman I want to make a major announcement today,” Trump said, continuing, “I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters, and to all of the people of the United States, that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election …”

      But there was more. Trump then finished that sentence with, “if I win,” seemingly admitting a strange logic: that a system rigged against him would be totally acceptable if that rigging ultimately worked out in his favor.”


      “At Wednesday night’s presidential debate, moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump if he would accept the results of the presidential election. For weeks, Trump has been claiming the race is rigged in Hillary Clinton’s favor, in part because of deceased individuals and immigrants in the country illegally casting votes and election officials throughout the country colluding against Trump.

      When first asked, Trump refused to say yes, replying in part, “I will look at it [the election results] at the time.” When pushed on the issue, Trump told Wallace, “I’ll keep you in suspense.”

      The seeds of his Big Lie were planted long before the House Managers noted in their presentation. But ironically, on this rare occasion, Trump was actually telling the truth.

    • PeterS says:

      I got distracted at “Trump is said to read”. What, like an actual book?

      More seriously, do would-be dictators follow a playbook or just do what comes naturally?

      • Min says:

        I first heard or read that Trump had a copy of Mein Kampf in his bedside table. At first I dismissed it, because of the lack of corroborating evidence. Besides, comparing Trump or any politician to Hitler is a cheap shot. Later I heard or read that it was something different by Hitler.

        However, the fact that Trump admires other dictators and that he followed Hitler’s playbook, especially in holding political rallies continually while in power made me think that it was relevant, although weak evidence.

        Yes, I think that, like many “sharks”, Trump operates largely at a gut level. He himself says as much. But I also think that Trump has been inspired by Hitler. And that he has been tutored by Roy Cohn. And that he has been trained by his father.

        I don’t think that any piece of evidence is conclusive, but it is still evidence.

  29. harpie says:

    A year of election misinformation from Trump, visualized
    Philip Bump Feb. 11, 2021 at 6:04 p.m.

    The violence that erupted at the Capitol on Jan. 6 wasn’t born of a speech given that morning by President Donald Trump. It was, instead, a product of an effort that stretched back to the prior April — or, really, from before Trump was elected in the first place. […]

    It was this poisonous snowball of nonsense meant to set the stage for his declaring that Biden hadn’t actually won. And it worked very well. […]

    Even today, three-quarters of Republicans falsely believe that there was widespread fraud in the election, according to polling from Quinnipiac University.

    What happened on Jan. 6 was an extreme response to that belief. But it’s a belief which was fostered for months before that day.

    I’ve mentioned this quote before, and Raskin quoted it yesterday:
    Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire

    • PeterS says:

      “Even today, three-quarters of Republicans falsely believe that there was widespread fraud in the election”

      Should I really think that 50 million Americans believe that the election was stolen?

      Everyone seems to agree that GOP politicians didn’t really buy into the Big Lie, they just cynically signed up to a Trump loyalty test. And yet when the media says 75% of Trump voters believe the election was stolen I’m meant to take that at face value, as if those supporters wouldn’t also want to sign up to the same loyalty test. 

      Literally any Republican candidate would get 60+ million votes in a presidential election, and after that isn’t it like sport? You’re outraged when the other team commits a foul, but shout at the referee when your team fouls (while knowing 100% that the referee made a correct call).

      Of course there are worryingly many millions who do believe truly crazy shit, but I don’t take these polls literally.

      • OldTulsaDude says:

        Living in the red state, Rush, Tucker and Hannity Bible Belt as I do, it is not difficult to imagine 60 million believers insulated from reality – that sounds on the low side to me.

  30. madwand says:

    Pre-coverage this AM is indicating Trumps defense team will do a limited defense, an hour or two and then rest. They really don’t even have to do that, they could just come out and say the defense rests and lets vote. This reflects the power quotient of the Republican caucus. If Democrats are really not interested in dragging this out with witnesses, then they will acquiesce. Perhaps a few more Rs will vote to convict, but not the 17 needed.

    Then we will be on to the consequences, some apparent, some not so, some immediate, some later in the future. Republicans have made the rational calculation that impeachment will be more harmful to Democrats than Republicans. Time will certainly attest to whether that is true or not.

  31. Chetnolian says:

    I have been listening today to BBC reports of what Chinese media were saying about the persecution of the Uighurs to justify cutting off BBC news bulletins, and what the Russian media is saying about Sergei Navalny and whether he even got poisoned.

    We used to be able to say, and be correct in saying, that it is one of the things which defines a Western democracy, that we don’t spout arrant, obvious nonsense like that. No more.

    Once most of the representatives of the party which till January ran the country can look at and listen to all they have heard and seen and actually know (and we can discuss in a lawyerly manner for as long as we like as to whether it was strictly evidence) and still pretend to believe that Trump didn’t initiate the assault on the Capitol, the USA is in the same place as the Chinese and Russian propagandists.

    One of the great challenges Joe Biden faces, and it might not be achievable, is to get the USA back to where there is some semblance of truth required of public figures. They’ll never tell the whole truth, no politician ever does, it’s part of the skill, but they should have at least have to be hanging by their fingernails to the truth.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Politicians won’t adhere to facts or reality until their future success depends on doing so. On a grassroots level I think that means strategically interacting with people we know who’ve joined the cult; they’re somewhat rootless now, and those who aren’t hardcore might be pried away. But the money that funds the Hawleys and Cruzes also needs either to be siphoned elsewhere or conditioned upon a basic respect for democracy. Does it really benefit the Kochs and Mercers for us have Civil War II?

  32. Good_grief_charlie_crown says:

    As this is often a forum occupied by attorneys, a quick legal question, regarding the legal precedent being set here for Biden if Trump is acquitted.

    As a disclaimer, I am not proposing any of the following, but I am curious the legal and societal implications of setting such a legal precedent, if foreseeably dialed up a notch in the future as follows.

    If the GOP acquits Trump for inciting a violent mob that killed an employee (CP law enforcement officer) of the US government, doesn’t that create the legal precedent for Biden, to legally give Biden the legal precedence as the President of the United States, to incite a violent mob to kill every member of the GOP in public office, and to not face impeachment for the same, because the GOP set the legal precedent that doing the same is not impeachable conduct?

    Taking that ugly scenario a step further, and again, in no way am I proposing the any of the same herein, but more a legal and societal brain candy to chew on — if Biden doesn’t incite violence to kill every member of the GOP in public office once that the precedence exists for him to do so, would the GOP once returned to the Presidency be likely to kill all of the Democrats once and for all, and them get away with it based on the precedence they set?

    Given the level of participation by the GOP in the coup, is it more or less likely they would use such a precedent in such a manner? If the GOP creates the precedence, does Biden even have a choice than to eliminate them by violent insurrection, because if he doesn’t, is it likely they’ll do the same to him, first chance they get again? Again, all of this is just a question and brain candy folks, so please, no one blow a gasket … looking at you Bmaz!!! ;0) xoxo

    • timbo says:

      It doesn’t. The lie here is that somehow this sets some sort of legal precedent depending on what the Senate does here. It sets an institutional precedent in the Senate… that future Senates can disregard if they like; no legal precedent is set. Such interpretations on Senate conduct of trials does not impose any legal behavior requirement on future Senates and impeachment trials until there is a definitive ruling from a Supreme Court at some point about any questions that might arise and be accepted by that court. As a matter of law, the only penalties that a Senate impeachment trial can result in is outlined in the Constitution. There may be some legal codes that are related, and aside from laws promulgated under the premature of the 14th Amendment clauses on sedition, the rest are likely just administrative garnish on how impeachment conviction verdicts result in limiting the convicted’s access to federal office and related benefits. Note that “conviction” of a federal impeachment charge by the US Senate, as on example, does not even remove the right to vote in federal elections… it is not a disenfranchisement beyond ineligibility to remain in office, and possibly beyond that, as a separate issue, maybe never being able to hold another office in the federal government, etc from then on. It is civil and administrative legal issue for the most part. Nothing beyond that, even if it is considered severe and rare by tradition and practice.

  33. Hopeful says:

    Dr Wheeler made an interesting comment on Twitter today that, if I understand her correctly, suggests that the impeachment trial should be suspended for some period of time (she mentioned 9 months) so that depositions could be taken and provided during trial resumption.

    I really like that idea, there is no need to rush this case as the reporting introduced so far leaves a lot of holes that with time could be filled in.

    I always have wondered what was Trump/Guiliani’s end game?

    What would delaying the certification by a day or two accomplish?

    There must have been a plan for subsequent moves after the insurrection; what could they have been?

    As Dr Wheeler also said, keeping Trump in limbo for months will keep in focused on his legal issues.

    Sounds good to me………

    • timbo says:

      Some sort of meaningful action here by the Congress, particularly the House, is warranted. Trump’s first impeachment precedents on obstruction of first person witness testimony and records by the Trump controlled executive branch by the 2019 House articles investigations need to be explored in much greater depth. If the executive and judiciary are not going to selectively allow some investigations of executive conduct and federal expenditure then the Congress needs to get to the bottom of that potential “new world” ASAP… rather than let that sort of rot fester unchallenged.

  34. obsessed says:

    “Sanction” is a bizarre verb with contradictory definitions. One side sanctioned Russia for invading Crimea, i.e., imposed punishment through sanctions, while Trump, by siding with Russia, sanctioned that activity, i.e., forgave it. So the headline of this post uses it in the second way, but seems to imply (at first) that the GOP is going to sanction Trump (a punishment short of impeachment).

  35. Badger Robert says:

    The rushed impeachment trial, with no witnesses, is just another version of the Mueller report.
    The party of sedition does not want its intent and methods exposed.

  36. dude says:

    I am listening to Maddow and she just read the Tuberville (2:15 pm) account of evacuating Mike Pence quoted in Politico. The question being raised is: did the President know Pence was in jeopardy before he sent a menacing tweet about Pence (2:24 pm). The words used by Tuberville about Pence:

    “…they just took him out. I have to go.”

    Suppose Trump thought “took him out” meant killed? Then the Trump tweet tries to justify Pence’s demise suggesting he didn’t do the right thing.

    Something to think about.

  37. Zinsky says:

    Historians, fifty years from now, looking back may identify Trump’s second impeachment acquittal by gutless Republicans as the final inflection point in the decline and collapse of the American Republic. Unpunished behavior like this is surely going to result in more of the same. If not Trump, some other fascist is going to see what happened after Trump instigated a coup (nothing!) and will attempt the same thing with better planning and more intentional execution. This is where our political moral rot becomes fatal.

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