Well, that was completely grotesque but mercifully short. (Insert your own Stormy Daniels joke here.)
After a week of evidence given by the managers of Donald Trump‘s second impeachment, explaining the months of lies and rhetoric and eventually planning that ultimately incited his followers to storm the Capitol Building on January 6, the defense presented their side in just three hours.
Related: Capitol Rioters Intended To ‘Capture & Assassinate Elected Officials’, Say Feds
Remember, this was after three of the “jurors” — Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Lindsey Graham — actually met with Trump’s lawyers, so we imagine they’re already pretty sure they’ve got the verdict they want in the bag.
But still they had to say something the Senators could repeat when explaining their decision to acquit Trump in the face of all the evidence. What they landed on was… a choice.
There were arguments meant to confuse, like suggesting that the Trump tweets Democrats presented were fake because they’d been mocked up. (They had to be recreated as you can no longer get screen grabs of Trump’s twitter feed. It doesn’t mean they weren’t real and on record.)
There was also the propagation of yet another BS conspiracy theory when Trump’s attorneys (one of whom is a personal injury lawyer, the other of whom worked for Jeffrey Epstein) actually made the claim that Antifa was involved in the attack on the Capitol.
As you may recall, that lie was the first refuge of Republicans who didn’t want to admit it was their side committing insurrection. Hercules: The Legendary Journeys star Kevin Sorbo in particular was a fan of that one.
But their main argument was focused on the word “fight” as though it’s all Trump said, completely out of context.
As part of their straw man argument, they had a 10-minute video presentation which showed Democrats using the word “fight” in their own political rhetoric. But instead of just including Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, the Fox News-esque supercut also featured clips of Johnny Depp and Madonna.
The Madonna clip was from the Women’s March which took place on the day of Trump’s Inauguration, in which an angry Madge told a crowd:
“I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House.”
The Depp one was from an event in 2017 when he joked:
“When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?”
It was a comment for which Depp later apologized.
All this was to justify Trump telling his crowd they needed to fight, making the argument that this sort of violent imagery was de rigueur in political speech, which is absolutely true. Politicians do often use terms like “fight” figuratively. Lots of people do. And we’re not talking about holding them accountable for it. No one wants to arrest Rachel Platten.
But that isn’t hypocrisy. Because this was never just about that one Trump comment or even that one speech.
No, Democrats argued the President had not just lit the fuse that day but that he had spent the previous months stacking the dynamite. Trump told his base for weeks that the election was being stolen from him — and therefore them — and that despite his “landslide” win, everyone was committing a massive coup against him. He fomented righteous, patriotic anger by misleading them into believing everyone doing their jobs by facilitating the peaceful transfer of power was part of some grand conspiracy. He told them the Democrats and Republicans alike who accepted the election results were their enemies. He did this over and over again.
And then he scheduled a rally and march for the same day as the election certification, just a short walk away. He knew violent extremist groups were attending. He spoke specifically, over and over in his 20-minute speech, about the election being stolen and how the crowd needed to try to do something about that. He mentioned Mike Pence by name. And then he told the gathered folks there to march. And they did.
There’s a reason the crowds Madonna and Johnny Depp spoke to didn’t storm a federal building chanting about lynching elected officials, didn’t plant bombs or kill cops. Because what Madonna and Johnny Depp said were just expressions. Those comments weren’t the final step in a weeks-long campaign of propaganda and lies meant to cause exactly what happened. And that context matters.
Trump’s lawyers argue the January 6 attack was pre-planned. We’d have to agree. That doesn’t mean Trump wasn’t the one pushing over the first domino.
As for the argument that the former POTUS never intended to disrupt the election certification? Well, in that case why did he schedule his march for the same day in the same place? Why did he speak specifically about it?
Moreover, why did he take the opportunity of the delay caused by the violence to call congresspeople to pressure them not to certify? DURING THE ATTACK. WHILE THE LEGISLATORS’ LIVES WERE ACTIVELY IN JEOPARDY. And again, that was instead of coming out right away and demanding his followers stop the attack.
We think the impeachment case was made pretty conclusively. And the defense is as much nonsense as the rest of what Trump’s team have been putting forth. It should have been held at the Four Seasons Total Landscaping. It’s just spitting in the wind. But of course that doesn’t mean a conviction. We’ve learned those who pledge allegiance to Trump are happy to have their faces spat on and ask for more.
What do YOU think of the impeachment hearing?
[Image via Apega/WENN/Instar.]
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