What Matters: Get ready for Trump’s defense


He told them. The directors showed the rioters’ comments by saying they were on Capitol Hill because Trump had ordered them to be there.

A lot of work. They broadcast excerpts of his words for four years and compared his provocative statements to the actions of his supporters. He said that in order to “liberate” Michigan, for example, his supporters tried to kidnap the governor. He said “stop the raid,” so he knew they would.

This was not a “radical departure” from Trump’s rhetoric, said Deputy Jamie Raskin, the impeachment officer. “It was his modus operandi.”

Preliminary comment. Democrats in the impeachment process also tried to confront a Trump defender who, by calling his loyalists to Washington and then whipping them before going to the U.S. Capitol, was merely exercising his First Amendment rights.

This is not free speech. “I’m sorry,” Ruskin said. “There is nothing in the First Amendment or anywhere else in the Constitution that could justify you betraying your oath. This is not a matter of free speech.”

He said it was Trump who attacked free speech by sending his gang.

It is only a democracy when the voters get what they want. Here is an excerpt from Raskin’s speech:

Here we have no kings, no royal houses. Here the people, the people, the people rule. The most important words in the constitution are the first three: “We are the people.”

But all this – all this doesn’t mean much when a president who doesn’t like the results of the election can incite violence to try to suppress and usurp the will of the people, ignore the judicial power of the government and then undermine the legislative power of the government.

The Democrats rested early. Trump’s lawyers have already indicated that they will not take as much time as necessary. This could happen on Saturday.

Building. So far, it does not appear that many Republicans, if any, beyond the five or six who should be convicted have changed their minds, despite hours of video footage of rioters storming their workplaces every day.

Cementing the partitions. If all this was predictable, it brings us back to the central question of whether it was worth it. If it does nothing more than put the Americans against the wall, it seems unlikely.

Mask of great exposure. But there is some interest in getting lawmakers to vote. Usually when Mr. Trump did something inflammatory as president, Republican senators said they hadn’t seen the tweets or the offensive remarks. Now they have seen how his words led to rebellion, and they have seen how the crowd reacted to him.

Don’t play dumb. If senators vote to convict him, Republicans will have to explain that position. This Court will be a conduit for the political parties of America. In this regard, American citizens also have a seat on the Court. Voters will see how senators will treat the president who tried to undo the election.

Senators are the jury. They must choose to ignore or disregard Trump’s obvious incitement to the rabble, Trump’s indifference to the danger to lawmakers, and, most importantly, Trump’s efforts to undermine the Constitution’s enshrined vision of democracy.

Some are also co-conspirators. Those responsible for impeachment wasted no time in doing so, but it should not be forgotten that several Republican senators (Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri) believed that Trump had rejected the election results, and they tried to help him reject them by opposing the counting of some electoral college votes.

They are also victims. They were there on January 6. They were threatened and fled to safety.

We already know that Trump fans can get violent. Will the Republican senators who voted to exclude him from future offices have a target on their backs? We don’t know.

Next, Trump’s defense. Now it is the turn of Trump’s defense to make their case and give these senators a compelling reason to ignore his behavior and forget that he sent a mob at them.

Decision time. GOP senators will have to decide whether they want the party to cooperate with Trump or turn its back on him.

Trump’s GOP – Apparently, Trump still enjoys strong popular support. Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who was persuaded by prosecutors to declare the process constitutional, has been denounced by his GOP affiliate.

The GOP based on Trump. There are also signs that the GOP’s party registration has dropped and donors are nervous about supporting the party in the next election. A group of more than 100 former GOP officials has begun discussions about forming a new center-right party.

A clear and present danger

All this talk of sedition made me read about Oliver Wendell Holmes, the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918.

Congress and President Woodrow Wilson imposed incredible restrictions on freedom of speech (by today’s standards) during World War I (and also during the flu pandemic), and not everyone agreed. This cartoon I received from the Library of Congress is by Winsor McKay, the artist who inspired Walt Disney, from 1917, and it is quite graphic. Lady Liberty is being chased by a fat congressman with a whip that reads “The Espionage Bill.”

The “clear and present danger” test we apply to speech today comes from Wendell Holmes of that era, but it was he who first accepted the laws and who, at the time, was part of the minority who opposed them. Congress eventually repealed them.

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