Reason Roundup

Impeachment Evidence Leaves Republicans Cold, Dems Hot, and America Tired

Plus: Dems ask FDA to change abortion pill prescribing rule, Vice targets Clubhouse, and more...


Impeachment managers will wrap up their case against former President Donald Trump today, after spending yesterday showing senators hours of video taken from inside the U.S. Capitol building on January 6. One shows a Capitol police officer screaming while being smashed between two doors as rioters try to rush past him to get inside. Another shows Sen. Mitt Romney (R–Utah) narrowly avoiding a direct encounter with the mob.

But will the footage—while evocative and chilling—make a difference?

Most of it had already been made public, as had clips of Trump's words and conduct that impeachment managers say incited the riot.

And most Republicans in the Senate seem unwilling to budge a smidge on backing their dear leader, even now. They've been calling the impeachment trial at best a waste of time and, at worst, unconstitutional.

Whether or not Trump's actions and rhetoric rise to the level of impeachment-worthy conduct, they're still deceitful, dastardly, and deserving of blame for the events that ensued on January 6.

Trump may not have imagined things going down exactly as they did, but his lies still created the conditions that led to them—a situation the Wall Street Journal editorial board sums up nicely in a new editorial about how much responsibility Trump bears in all of this:

Mr. Trump's defenders point out that he also told the audience to make their voices heard "peacefully." And contra Rep. Eric Swalwell, who argued the incitement to attack the Capitol was "premeditated," it's difficult to think Mr. Trump ever envisioned what followed: that instead of merely making a boisterous display, the crowd would riot, assault the police, invade the building, send lawmakers fleeing with gas masks, trash legislative offices, and leave in its wake a dead Capitol officer.

But talk about playing with fire. Mr. Trump told an apocalyptic fable in which American democracy might end on Jan. 6, and some people who believed him acted like it. Once the riot began, Mr. Trump took hours to say anything, a delay his defenders have not satisfactorily explained. Even then he equivocated. Imagine, Rep. Joe Neguse said, if Mr. Trump "had simply gone onto TV, just logged on to Twitter and said 'Stop the Attack,' if he had done so with even half as much force as he said 'Stop the Steal.'"

Republican leaders, had they any backbone or integrity, might at least condemn Trump's encouragement of stolen-election conspiracy theories and role in rallying rioters to action without conceding that this warrants his impeachment.

Instead, however, they've competed with one another to see who can perform the most nonchalance over what happened and denied that they, Trump, or anyone else should have to show some personal responsibility.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R–Calif.) yesterday blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the Capitol riot and suggested that the impeachment trial was part of a continued "coup" attempt by Democrats.

Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee (RNC) is viewing it as a fundraising opportunity:


Who's afraid of Clubhouse? Another day, another media outlet freaking out about the fact that somewhere, somehow, people might be communicating with one another in ways that neither the mainstream press nor government officials can control. Vice takes issue with the fact that some users of the new audio-based chatroom app might utter untrue things without being fact-checked. At this rate, we're not far off from this imaginary headline conjured by podcaster Katie Herzog:


Democrats are pushing to free abortion pills from a rule requiring that they be prescribed in person. A federal judge lifted the medically unfounded requirement toward the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Trump administration fought the deregulatory move in court and the Supreme Court took the administration's side.

Now, Democrats in the House Committee on Oversight and Reform are asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to intervene.

"Imposing this requirement in the midst of a deadly pandemic—one that has disproportionately impacted communities of color across the United States—needlessly places patients and providers in harm's way, and further entrenches longstanding health inequities," the representatives wrote in a letter to the FDA.


RIP Larry Flynt.

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