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The impeachment managers from the Democrat House, along with co-Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, seem convinced that a Senate “trial” will dispatch Donald Trump from the American scene.
Not so fast….
The first three days of the “trial” will highlight House managers arguing that former president Trump “incited violence” at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Which was preceded for weeks when “he [Trump] reiterated false claims that ‘we won this election, and we won it by a landslide’… false statements asserting that the Presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud and should not be accepted by the American people or certified by State or Federal Officials… President Trump’s conduct on January 6, 2021, followed his prior efforts to subvert and obstruct the certification of the results of the 2020 Presidential election.” (Articles of Impeachment, HR 24, Jan 11, 2021)
The Dem case will be a rehash of what we have already seen from media accounts — incorrect, made-up, or incomplete accounts, accusations, and assorted condemnations — accompanied by exhortations made by Democrat politicians aided and abetted by soft-headed and weak-kneed Republicans.
There are enough facts established by independent observers, and investigators including the FBI, that the claims that Trump’s Jan 6 speech to an energized but peaceful crowd at the Ellipse incited a riot are implausible, farfetched, and without evidentiary foundation. Athletic rhetoric perhaps, yet all within the bounds of commonplace discourse today — largely institutionalized by Democrats’ own incendiary language, by the way. Trump inciting a riot? Spare me.
Moreover, the Dems will not present any evidence dispositively proving that Trump repeatedly made “false statements” about the election results. As Paul Mirengoff of the Powerline blog posits, the House managers must prove that Trump’s election assertions are indeed demonstrably false, and knowingly false, not simply First Amendment protected opinion.
The Dem House managers won’t provide evidence that Trump’s statements were false — not only because they don’t have anything beyond declarations — but simply because nobody really knows whether the election results in the contested six states are valid or not, free from error or not, lathered with fraud or not. And feckless Republican state legislators may yet, albeit akin to awaiting an asteroid to arrive, uncover severe irregularities that will corrode the Democrat narrative, leading to broader claims that Joe Biden’s inauguration was flim–flam.
Then the fireworks on the Senate floor will begin.
Because the Senate “trial” is an extra-constitutional exhibition, it has no authority or binding power. Trump as reality TV show celebrity, with neither constraints, nor fears of the outcome, will be free to present his case in any manner, form, or construct that he chooses — having no downside consequences.
An acquittal would never quell the Dem partisans; a conviction would be quickly dismissed when Trump challenges in federal court any collateral proscriptions meted out by the Senate, or later attempted by Democrat state election boards.
Notable legal commentators such as Jonathan Turley (George Washington University law professor), Michael Luttig (former appellate court jurist), Alan Dershowitz (Harvard Law School professor emeritus) and Kenneth Starr (Watergate special prosecutor) have all said the pursuit of impeachment and trial of a former president is moot and meaningless.
Moreover, Starr and Dershowitz have pointed out that post-presidency bans on political speech, assembly, politicking, campaigning, or commerce imposed against Trump would be bills of attainder, clearly and unambiguously prohibited by the Constitution.
Even the malleable SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts knows the Senate trial is illegitimate, a farce, and will not participate as presiding judge.
Finally, how would SCOTUS endorse a Senate “conviction” when its Chief Justice refused to preside over a sham, and vaporous, impeachment trial?
Of course, any layman who can read and comprehend English — even one who never studied deductive reasoning or symbolic logic — would readily agree that the Constitution provides impeachment and trial only for a sitting president or other federal official. Not for one whose term has ended, and now is a private citizen.
Trump himself will have at least three hours – with or sans counsel — to puff-off feather dust claims that he incited a riot on January 6th, but more important, present all of the material that formed his opinion about the lack of election integrity — most notably the exhaustive presentations by Peter Navarro — covering ballot fraud, numerous ballot process irregularities, and violations or rewrites of state legislature-enacted election laws by officials without sanction from legislatures, obviously unconstitutional at both the state and federal levels.
And so, Trump is playing with “house” money. It doesn’t matter if he infuriates RINO senators who abandon their earlier position that a former president can be neither impeached by the House nor tried by the Senate. A “conviction” will be a meaningless resolution, in the form of the “sense of the Senate.” Trump can walk away with tens of millions of followers and future voters in tow, with Democrats’ veins a-bursting, and RINO hair afire.
Trump will enjoy an entertaining day — or days — on the floor of the US Senate, knowing he can vindicate those tens of millions of loyal voters who are deeply skeptical of Biden’s legitimacy, set the stage for a dramatic shadow presidency, or lay down the pavers for another march towards the White House in 2024.
Meanwhile, Dems and RINOs think Trump will be intimidated or otherwise marginalized, silenced, and cancelled.
Think again… not so fast.