Second Impeachment and Senate Trial of Donald J. Trump

Trump has been impeached a second time. The Senate trial started today. I’m not really following it–I don’t really have the stomach to do so. If the Democrats both the case that will be stressful. If they do a good job and the Republicans still acquit Trump (which is likely), that will be sickening. Still, I’ll start this thread for posts relating to this topic. (I don’t want to post about this in the Biden thread.)

I will say one thing. I would like to see witnesses called, especially since Trump claims he was upset or bothered by the storming of the Capitol. Journalists have reported the opposite. Trump and people who were around him should testify under oath about this. I realize Trump has refused to testify, but if the witnesses testify that he was not upset, but excited, in a positive way, and that he was slow to react, more Republicans may change their mind. And if not, make them acquit in light of this testimony.

10 thoughts on “Second Impeachment and Senate Trial of Donald J. Trump

  1. Day 1

    Rep. Jamie Raskin’s speech. Worth listening to.

    Video of the timeline of events presented by Democrats. This is unpleasant to watch, but I think it’s important to watch–to know the ramifications of conviction or acquittal of Trump. In my view, acquittal will give leave open a bigger opportunity for this thing to happen in the future.

    Totally within character.

    2/11/2021

    Defense for former President Trump

    David Schoen

    (The heard several commentators say the other lawyer for Trump was really bad, so I didn’t watch what he said.)

  2. A lot of this is from the thread, “What Should Biden, Democrats and State AGs Do About Trump.” But if you have not read or seen the information below or have not closely followed the reports before, on, and soon after January 6, I would highly recommend reading the information below. (Note: I’ve listed dates of when these sections were originally posted.)

    1/28/2021

    As we near the Senate impeachment trial–and Senate Republicans seem prepared to acquit Trump–here are some important to things to consider. First, here’s a video made by the Just Security website, a site I trust (if that means anything):

    "Fight For Trump" Just Security – Incitement at US Capitol from Justin Hendrix on Vimeo.

    from Just Security

    On the website, they also feature former federal prosecutors commenting on whether this would constitute incitement of violence. (Note: Many appear on cable TV news, and many have been openly critical of Trump.)

    I also recommend reading an account of Trump’s reaction as the January 6 riot at the Capitol was ongoing: Six hours of paralysis: Inside Trump’s failure to act after a mob stormed the Capitol reporting from WaPo The report is based on “nterviews with 15 Trump advisers, members of Congress, GOP officials and other Trump confidants, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to share candid details.”

    Here are passages that stood out for me:

    But as senators and House members trapped inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday begged for immediate help during the siege, they struggled to get through to the president, who — safely ensconced in the West Wing — was too busy watching fiery television images of the crisis that was unfolding around them to act or even bother to hear their cries for help.

    “He was hard to reach, and you know why? Because it was live TV,” said one close Trump adviser. “If it’s TiVo, he just hits pause and takes the calls. If it’s live TV, he watches it, and he was just watching it all unfold.”

    Even as he did so, Trump did not move to act. And the message from those around him — that he needed to call off the angry mob he had egged on just hours earlier, or lives could be lost — was one to which he was not initially receptive.

    Trump, however, did not join the angry crowd surging toward the Capitol. Instead, he returned to the White House, where at 2:24 p.m. he tapped out a furious tweet railing against Vice President Pence, who in a letter earlier in the day made clear that he planned to fulfill his constitutional duties and certify President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris as the winners of the 2020 electoral college vote.

    “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify,” he wrote. “USA demands the truth!”

    After Trump Jr. tweeted the mob to not resort to violence,

    But the president himself was busy enjoying the spectacle. Trump watched with interest, buoyed to see that his supporters were fighting so hard on his behalf, one close adviser said.

    Several Republican members of Congress also called White House aides, begging them to get Trump’s attention and have him call for the violence to end. The lawmakers reiterated that they had been loyal Trump supporters and were even willing to vote against the electoral college results — but were now scared for their lives, officials said.

    Shortly after 2:30 p.m., the group finally persuaded Trump to send a tweet: “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement,” he wrote. “They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”

    But the Twitter missive was insufficient, and the president had not wanted to include the final instruction to “stay peaceful,” according to one person familiar with the discussions.

    At one point, Trump worried that the unruly group was frightening GOP lawmakers from doing his bidding and objecting to the election results, an official said.

    The president said he wished he hadn’t done it, a senior White House official said, because he feared that the calming words made him look weak.

    I think it’s important to consider the various efforts Trump made to overturn the election. Below is an audio of Trump trying to get the Georgia secretary of state (a Republican who voted for Trump) to find 11,000+ votes for Trump.

    (I believe this Sen. Graham also called Georgia officials, inquiring about changing the results as well.)

    On the same day the tape was made public, or the day after, the NYT story below came out: Trump and Justice Dept. Lawyer Said to Have Plotted to Oust Acting Attorney General from NYT

    Trump and the protegee of the acting Attorney General had a conversation about overturning the Georgia electoral results. The Acting AG and someone else tried to shoot down the idea twice. But then the lawyer, Jeffery Clark, told the Acting AG that Clark was going to replace him. When various different DOJ lawyers said they would resign if that happened. Trump eventually backed off.

    Katie Benner of NYT speaking about the story, which provides more contextual information, which explains why this was such a big deal (from about the 10:00 min mark to the 40:00 minute mark)

    I’m leaving out attempts to change the Michigan votes. (I’m pretty sure Trump invited two prominent Michigan Republicans to the White House to talk to him about this.)

    I’m also not including many other comments Trump made to undermine the legitimacy of the election as well as incite violence, before and after Election Day.

    1/29/2021

    I wish I knew the total number of congressional staffers, the total number of Republican staffers, and the number of Republican staffers who signed the letter. In any event, it’s worth listening to.

    2/1/2021

    I hope people are not forgetting how bad January 6 was–or could have been.

    Americans should be super angry about this. The mob chanting, “Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!” comes to mind and pisses me off, too.

    2/3/2021
    The article below describes a 2020 December meeting in the White House, where conspiracy theorists try to convince Trump to order to the military to take control of voting machines. The White House lawyers push back hard. It reads like an Aaron Sorkin scene–of a crazy situation. (Note: This was originally posted in the “Interregnum” thread.)

    Bonus episode: Inside the craziest meeting of the Trump presidency reporting from Jonathan Swan of Axios

    2/7/2021

    AOC’s account of that day:

    Ocasio-Cortez reveals she’s a sexual assault survivor, recounts ‘trauma’ of Capitol riot: ‘I thought everything was over from WaPo

    2/7/2021

    If you wonder if the impeachment is purely partisan, listen to these three congressional Republicans. This not easy moves by them–the GOP party leadership in their states are attempting to censure them. Their words are strong and clear condemnation of Trump.

    Representative Liz Cheney.

    Senator Ben Sasse

    Senator Mitt Romney

  3. Day 2

    I understand if many people don’t have interest in the Senate trial. I’m interested in politics. But Trump is being accused of doing very serious things. If you potentially done something that you don’t want any other president to do–and if they did, you’d want their presidency to end–then you should pay attention to this trial. That’s one of the main reasons this trial matters to all Americans. If the Senate acquits Trump–and you support the acquittal, that essentially means you believe future presidents can behave that way–and they should not be impeached, removed and barred from running for office in the future.

    Rep. Raskin, 2nd day remarks

    About 18 minute mark—fire chief analogy is a good one. Summary: What Trump did is like a fire chief who eggs on people to go to a theater and burn it down. And when they do, he’s excited and does almost nothing to stop it. For the people who want to remove the fire chief and prevent him from being chief again, the fire chief supporters argue that egging on the people to burn down the theater was his first amendment right.

    Rep. Joe Neguse

    Watching this and thinking the Republicans will acquit him makes me really angry.

    The reports I’ve seen say that Giuliani also called Sen. Tuberville, to encourage him to delay the certification of the ballets. If Trump made this request personally as well, both suggest he was trying to stop the certification. This is consistent with reports that he was excited about the mob entering the Capitol, that he was slow to stop it.

  4. The comments in these two tweets seem correct.

    GOP radicalization–i.e., becoming authoritarian–is a development that has become more pronounced since the election. I haven’t read Sargent’s and Waldman’s op-ed, but I would think Democrats underscoring this point would be problematic. I would think doing so would decrease the chances of getting Republicans to convict Trump. Then again, they could do so in a way to reveal the stark choice the GOP faces. To wit, to acquit Trump makes to accept his anti-democratic behavior. Is that the party they want to be? By convicting Trump, they will be choosing to reject that, and turn back to liberal-democratic values–basically, what Rep. Cheney seems to be trying to do. (“We’re the party of truth, Reagan, etc.”) A part of me feels that if the Republicans are going to acquit, the Democrats should underscore what this really means–to both the Republicans and the American public.

    To briefly summarize the implications, if the GOP acquits Trump, they are, in effect, saying it’s OK for the next president to

    • undermine the legitimacy of elections, including before the election–including making baseless claims and espousing conspiracy theories in the process;
    • incite followers with inflammatory rhetoric in order to stay in power;
    • refuse to commit to the results of the election or a peaceful transfer;
    • refuse to properly fund government agencies, like the USPS, in order to gain an advantage in an election;
    • urge state officials, congress persons or the VP to change electoral results, without any substantive reason and even if this those officials had no legal authority to do so;
    • use the power of the presidential office to coerce a foreign leader to politically damage a key political rival (See Trump pressuring Ukrainian President to make an announcement of an investigation of Joe Biden.

    If the GOP acquits, Joe Biden could do all these things, and it would not warrant impeachment and removal and the end of his presidency. The GOP that do this have totally lost their way–they have given up on liberal democracy.

  5. I haven’t been motivated to keep track of the day 3 and 4.

    Today, the Democrats were going to call witnesses, but my understanding is now they won’t–which is disappointing to me. I think the tweet below explains the reason:

    Then again, I think next week the Senate will be in recess–so they won’t be able to work on the COVID package. But if witnesses are called, maybe Republicans could call witnesses that would make the trial last beyond next week. The Democrats’ calculation could be correct, but on some level it’s sad statement: Large numbers of Americans either don’t know what Trump did or don’t think it’s a really big deal.

    I agree with the following tweet–and I felt this way after the first Senate acquittal:

    The Republicans are no longer a party that respects or believes in liberal democracy. They have failed to fulfill their oath of office. Their allegiance is to a man, not the U.S. Constitution. They are unfit to govern. If the press doesn’t make this one of the biggest stories, they will have failed their duties as a the Fourth Estate.

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