Impeachment

Trump's Second Acquittal and the Limits of Impeachment

The outcome shows that it is almost impossible to convict a president in an era of severe polarization. But Trump's second impeachment still served some useful purposes..

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Former president Donald Trump has just been acquitted in his second impeachment trial. The 57 votes for conviction were not enough to achieve the required two-thirds majority.

I will not here go over the excuses offered by GOP senators who backed Trump and others who supported the acquittal. I and others have written about them extensively already. They range from weak (claims that it is unconstitutional to impeach and try former officials), to even weaker (the First Amendment protects Trump against impeachment), to downright "ridiculous," as conservative legal commentator Ed Whelan called it (Trump was somehow denied constitutionally required due process). The flaws in these arguments are detailed at the links above.

If the issue of impeaching former officials—the one settled on by many GOP senators who voted to acquit—were really so crucial, Republican senate leaders could have agreed to hold the trial before Trump left office. GOP Leader Mitch McConnell—who recognized that Trump had committed impeachable offenses—instead refused to do so. This strongly suggests that the issue was used as an excuse to justify voting to acquit without actually having to defend Trump's conduct.

The evidence of Trump's responsibility for inspiring the attack on the Capitol is overwhelming, and goes far beyond his inflammatory speech to the mob on January 6. It includes his long history of promoting and defending violence by his supporters, his extensive efforts to reverse the result of a free election and stay in power, and his continued backing and praise of the rioters even after the attack began. Many of the rioters themselves believed they were doing exactly as Trump wanted, and that belief was entirely reasonable, given his actions and words. Even if Trump were merely reckless rather than acting with deliberate intent, that is still a violation of his constitutional obligations as president, and still sufficient to justify conviction.

Ultimately, the reasons for acquittal were far more political than legal or moral. While Donald Trump is highly unpopular with the public as a whole, he retains a great deal of support in the GOP base. Some Republican senators feared being "primaried" by Trumpists if they voted to acquit, while others feared the party as a whole would suffer if it angered them.

More generally, the extreme polarization of American politics leads politicians and other partisans to excuse even grave failings by their own party's leaders—especially when it comes to the president. This problem is especially severe in the Trump-era GOP, but Democrats are also far from immune to it. As I have noted before, few objected when President Barack Obama when he started two wars without constitutionally required congressional authorization, even though Obama himself and other Democrats vehemently denounced similar actions when contemplated by Republicans. The seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump is a figure seven times greater than the total number of senators who voted to convict a president of their party in any previous impeachment trial (that number is one: Sen. Mitt Romney in Trump's first impeachment trial, last year).

Nonetheless, it is clear that the combination of partisan polarization and the two-thirds supermajority requirement for conviction has undermined impeachment as anything more than a marginally effective constraint on presidential abuses of power. We will need to rely primarily on other mechanisms, ranging from criminal prosecution (where appropriate), to nondeferential judicial review of presidential actions (including in areas where courts have a history of excessive deference in the past), among others.

Despite the failure to secure a conviction, the second impeachment of Trump has done some real good. Impeachment and fear of a possible conviction probably restrained Trump from further dangerous actions during his last two weeks in office. In addition, the strong case put on by the House managers helped remind people of Trump's egregious abuses of power. It may also further damage his reputation and political standing, making a comeback in future elections at least marginally less likely. The unprecedented bipartisan support for conviction may further damage Trump's standing.

It is theoretically possible that the impeachment process will redound to Trump's benefit, as people will seem him as being vindicated. Time will tell on that score. But I am skeptical that such an outcome is likely. Polls show that a majority of Americans (about 53%) supported conviction and an even larger one backed barring Trump from holding federal office in the future. Views on this issue are strongly held, and are unlikely to be reversed by the acquittal. Trump's acquittal in his first impeachment trail did not end up boosting his standing, and this one is even less likely to do so, given the more egregious more readily understand nature of his offense.

In the long run, I believe the acquittal will be remembered as a grave error, and the historical reputations of those who made it possible will suffer accordingly. That said, I readily admit that it is difficult to predict what the ultimate verdict of history on these sorts of events will be. Much of what I wrote in the aftermath of the Trump's first impeachment trial is applicable today, as well:

Regardless of what the senators say, it is still far from clear what lessons the rest of us will take away from this case. It may well be a long time before we have any consensus on the rights and wrongs of this episode. I hope most Americans will eventually agree that the Senate committed a serious error in refusing to [convict] Trump. But… it is possible that public and elite opinion will eventually coalesce around the opposite view: that the Democrats overreached by impeaching Trump in the first place. Unlike many people, I don't believe that moral progress is inevitable. Regression has happened before, and could happen again.  So even if my view of this episode is right, the tide of opinion could still move against it.  Perhaps more likely, the issue will continue to split people along ideological and partisan lines.  That state of affairs could persist for a long time, given the severe polarization of American politics.

Even if a consensus does develop, it might eventually be challenged or even reversed. For many decades, the 1868 impeachment of Andrew Johnson was seen as a grave error, and John F. Kennedy (or at least his ghost-writer) famously celebrated the senators who voted Johnson's acquittal in his Profiles in Courage. More recently, however, the consensus has been broken as more and more people come to recognize that Johnson richly deserved to be removed for his attempts to sabotage Reconstruction and preserve white supremacy in the South….

If majority opinion coalesces around the view that Trump's acquittal was a mistake, then it will stand as a negative precedent future political elites will strive to avoid, not a positive that should be emulated.

Hopefully, more and more people will come to understand that Trump's acquittal—like Andrew Johnson's—was a gross miscarriage of justice. And both will go down in history as among the worst and most evil presidents in our history.

NEXT: SCOTUS Refuses to Let Alabama Execute Willie Smith Without His Pastor Present (Without Noting Who Cast the Fifth Vote)

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  1. Useful purpose….exposing the farce that was a midnight impeachment pushed by the butthurt House Democrats. Will be extremely useful in 2022.

    Also exposed the mass media lie that there was an insurrection. What came out was that some tourists wondered around a government building taking selfies and when asked to leave they did so.

    Finally exposed the hypocrisy of the left is that they spent a summer being complacent with actual coups and violence, in fact calling for it, only to turn around and feign outrage at one simple sit in style event.

    So yes, very useful….

    1. Get back on your meds.

      1. I really do wonder if those who consume mass media are all on anti-depressants and benzos because of the pandemic. No sane person who watched the summer of BLM violence unfolds and then watches the same video of the capitol hill event could come to the conclusion the media did all at the same time as their “journalistic standard” of what they call a “mostly peaceful protest” as opposed to “riot” evaporated in one minute, collectively, as they “discovered” the use of the term “insurrection”.

        So, my real question is how many out there are eating these simply unbelievable lines because they are drugged up? My guess is it is easily 75%.

        1. You see it one way, Jimmy the Dane, with the other poorly educated bigots, superstitious clingers, disaffected right-wingers, and obsolete conservatives.

          Most Americans see it differently. Now better Americans will resume shoving progress down Republicans’ whining, impotent throats.

          Enjoy the rest of the culture war, clingers. I know I will.

          1. The House Impeachment Managers were diverse. The impeachment is a preview of what will happen to real Americans when the US becomes a permanent, Democrat, one party state.

            1. The House impeachment managers were diverse. The Volokh Conspirators are not. Let’s see who shapes America’s future, the diverse liberal-libertarian mainstream or the White male clingers.

              1. All those diverse people risking death to reach the USA are coming to be with real Americans, especially Republicans, not with more diverse shithole people. They are running away from the shithole people.

                All Democrat jurisdictions are unlivable shitholes, even if very wealthy. You own a beautiful $50 million home in San Fran, facing the Bay. You walk outside, shithole people are pooping on your side walk. You may not even criticize them. You are living in the 19th Century, before the sewer was built.

                I am in Palm Beach. The police are lifting and holding up a half naked man from the sidewalk. That is outside the walls of a $30 million home, considered a knock down in that area. I have never seen a homeless person in Naples, FL, solid Trump country.

                1. All Democrat jurisdictions are unlivable shitholes, even if very wealthy.

                  You know what, Behar? Fuck you.

                  I live in a heavily Democratic city. Biden carried my town by more than 10-1. And it’s a very pleasant place to live – low crime, reasonable taxes, lots of amenities, etc.

                  1. Bernie. I am interested in any exception to that rule. Where do you live?

                  2. Of course, you don’t say the name. Heisenberg.

          2. Yup….75 million at least supporting President Trump so you just stick with your idiotic belief that we’re all bigots and clingers while we’ll collectively refer to you as an idiot.

          3. Yup. The plot couldn’t be more interesting.

            * democrats target the Trump administration for destruction even before it begins, with a corrupt intelligence community complicit (which should scare anyone, party nonsense aside)
            * leftists actively promote a false charge of Russian interference, treasonous enough itself
            * the national media goes all-in on complicity, burying anti-dem stories and promoting anti-trump stories, and bolstering a large number of bullshit narratives
            * meanwhile… the left waits and listens to every word, seeking an opening, and finally gets one when Trump opens his stupid mouth to Zelensky
            * meanwhile… Trump loses his shit about elections, and opens his stupid mouth once too many times. Media completely flips their view about violent protests; a band of idiots and a man dressed as a viking are apparently now an insurrection (and not just a band of idiots) dangerous enough to destroy democracy. Antifa commandeering parts of cities for months is apparently not an insurrection. Media buries the fact that the “fire extinguisher death” was hearsay and likely made it (the NY Times quietly retracted it).

            Brilliant play by the dems. Truly sad all around, though.

          4. Has it occurred to you that conservatives have become simply surrogate minorities for you? The people that it’s okay to hate without quite being able to explain why, because it’s no longer acceptable to go after real minorities any more? Try changing conservatives to blacks, read your post back out loud, and tell me what it sounds like to you.

            (LOL, Reverend indeed. Nice one, Centurion, like it, like it.)

          1. Thank you.

      2. Come on Jason, Jimmy’s right. And those people with eyes gouged out? Nope, that was just the mob, oops–harmless tourists–trying to help. [“Oh, you’ve got some schmutz in your eye? Let me help you get it out with this long sharp spike.”]

        I’d say that it was Jimmy’s dumbest VC comment ever. Nah…it’s probably not his dumbest comment this week.

        1. Check out the raw video from the BLM “most peaceful protest” in Times Square last night, then compare that to what happened at the capitol. So, yes, they were mostly tourists taking selfies that left voluntarily. If you don’t like truth though keep on refreshing MSNBC…

          1. When you’re best defense of a *President’s* behavior is to point to what you think was a riot and say ‘well, he didn’t encourage any worse than that,’ then that speaks volumes.

            1. What is your excuse for how Joe Biden encouraged riots, looting, arson, and murder? That he didn’t go as far as Nancy Pelosi in encouraging widespread insurrection?

              1. How did Joe Biden ‘encourage riots, looting, arson and murder?’

                  1. “fact check” hahahhahahahahahahaha…..

                    1. Hahaha about the quotes? Or just wishing your cult leader had said the same things?

                    2. “fact check” has become a media dog whistle for “cover up facts not convenient to leftoid arguments…”

                  2. You continue to impress with your willful blindness. Donald Trump explicitly rejected violence several times in the speech that he was impeached for.

                    Compare that to Joe Biden, who leads the entire Democratic apparatus in releasing domestic terrorists to terrorize their cities again. And again. And again.

                    1. You continue to impress with your willful blindness. Donald Trump explicitly rejected violence several times in the speech that he was impeached for.

                      False. He perfunctorily used the word “peacefully” once. After explicitly calling for violence.

              2. Biden appears several times in this video, glorifying violence, along with other Democratic leaders. https://youtu.be/XG5BcU1ZGiA

                1. No, come on, give me Biden specifics. This is the lynchpin of your argument, surely you can do that. I’ve, for example, given you specific examples of where he *condemned* said violence.

                2. But it doesn’t matter because they don’t actually care about any standards. They only use the idea of standards of behavior to launch attacks.

                  1. Ben: And my opponents are people whose name ends in ‘en’ and starts with B!!!;

            2. Then why isn’t Jodie Foster in prison?

          2. It’s not possible to easily find any such coverage any more, since the left-dominant media has squelched/censored all such things. Any chance you can point to a link (or search terms that get me there)?

      3. There is literally tons of video and transcripts of Dem leaders saying the same and worse than Trump. If you got your information from only the MSM these past few months you’d think the Capitol protest was the only riot in history. I think you should take that prescription for yourself.

        1. Conservatives and an understanding of context, never the twain shall meet.

          1. Yeah, because every single conservative is retarded. No exceptions. Absolutely none. Half the voting country can’t get dressed without help. Can’t piss without getting it all over themselves.

            I mean, I’m sure that’s right. Isn’t it?

            1. It’s funny that bevis, not on either side I say!, jumps in to argue my generalization but not any of the many rightists here doing the same.

              At least I can tell when someone is pissing on my leg and telling me it’s raining.

              Cool story, bro.

            2. because every single conservative is retarded. No exceptions.

              No. But a lot of them are. Including Amos, JtD, and a few other commenters here.

              1. No, they are not retarded. That would be an excuse. You can’t blame a stupid person for believing stupid things and making stupid statements. But these people are not stupid in any sense regarding intelligence. It would be easy to dismiss, for example, sad_Krakenhead as stupid. But whatever he or she is, it’s not stupid. It’s much worse.

                We were talking about Trump the other day and how he claims to be the least racist person in the history of the universe. So, back in the 70s, Trump ran a real estate empire that deliberately discriminated against black people. The policies were deliberately racist and there can be no doubt that Trump himself was responsible for those policies and it was because of money. The Trump organization viewed complying with the law as a financial risk. Who is worse, the racist who discriminates against black people because he hates them or the real estate mogul who discriminates for financial advantage, for venal motives. Who is worse, the idiot or the idiot pretender.

                1. Who is worse? The racist politician who opposed school busing in the 1970s for racist reasons.

        2. I think it’s great that disaffected clingers have this blog as a place where they can huddle together for warmth.

          But it can cause some of you losers to believe that you are any more relevant to the charting of America’s future than the Conspirators are to the future of decision-making at Georgetown, UCLA, Emory, Berkeley, or any other mainstream, liberal-libertarian, legitimate law school.

          Your betters tolerate movement conservatives. Nothing more.

        3. No, there isn’t. There are no videos or transcripts where Dem leaders incite people to attack the Capitol.

          1. And all true libertarians believe that government property is sacrosanct, while private businesses must fend for themselves, and few tears are shed when they are torched and looted.

            1. A person can believe that private and public property should be protected *and* think that an unprecedented attack on our national capitol is something uniquely awful.

              Again, I note that the defense of Trump often seems to be ‘but there were terrible riots that the other side encouraged!!!’ That’s a pitiful defense of a President. Don’t you want more from your President?

              1. I want a president who takes his opponent behind the gym and beats the hell out of him.

              2. That is the perfect defense.

                Speaker Pelosi defamed federal agents for protecting a federal courthouse.

              3. Your argument here is terrible. You are excusing the impeachment of Donald Trump because of what his political opponents said. Yes, your argument is that incomplete — I assume intentionally, because otherwise you have to admit that Democrats advocated far worse, far more often, than Trump did. And if what Trump did justifies impeaching him, so much the more for so many of the Democrats backing his impeachment.

              4. You are not following the argument well. The defense of Trump is he did not incite violence and insurrection by any stretch of imagination, while “there were terrible riots that the other side encouraged!!!’

                It a wonderful defense and a completely accurate condemnation of Democrats.

          2. They are busy inciting Democrat people to burn down cities, federal buildings, and to kill real Americans.

          3. David, a city boy like you! Who’d have thunk that you’d be into mud wrestling with the pigs here? You think there’s satisfaction to be had in it?

        4. Unlike you, I actually watched the trial. Perhaps you’re too obtuse (or downright idiotic) to have noticed the repeated statements that this was not just about January 6th. This was about Trumps’ pattern of behavior over months – including long before the election even occurred, which drove his supporters to incitement after his speech on the 6th.

          Absent the months of his lies and claims that their election was stolen, and rigged, and every other piece of bullshit you’re still wiping off your chin, his words on the 6th would not have been such an issue.

          1. So, if you makes claims of oh…selective police brutality against minorities over months….and then there’s a riot and people get killed…

            You’re liable for inciting the riot.

            1. “You’re liable for inciting the riot.”

              Especially if those claims are true.

              1. And the election was rigged…

          2. This was about Trumps’ pattern of behavior over months – including long before the election even occurred, which drove his supporters to incitement after his speech on the 6th.

            And those statements, of course, are beside the point.

    2. And separated those loyal to voters from those loyal to corrupt news media liars in the house and senate. No illusion survives.

      1. We now have a list of seven Republican Senators who can start looking for another job. And a reminder that there are no “good” Democrats in the current traitorous party.

        1. Open wider, Jimmy. You will continue to swallow the progress obsequiously. You get to whimper about it as much as you like.

          1. Artie. Progressive policies are not natural, and only violence can make people accept them. You are correct in that assertion.

        2. I don’t think it’s a good strategy to have an idealogical purge right now when we’ve got the 7 Republican apostates, Krysten Sinema, and Joe Manchin between us and losing the filibuster and court packing.

          Loyalty to Trump shouldn’t be a litmus test. I didn’t approve of Romney’s vote to convict in the first impeachment, but I appreciated his vote for Barrett’s confirmation.

          Let them all face their own voters when the time comes, unit then we will need all their votes.

          1. I don’t think it’s a good strategy to have an idealogical purge right now when we’ve got the 7 Republican apostates, Krysten Sinema, and Joe Manchin between us and losing the filibuster and court packing.

            An ideological purge? “Dear Leader can do no wrong” is not an “ideology” in the first place.

      2. Loyal to one weird dude and loyal to standards. FTFY.

        1. Leftists pretending to believe in standards only to attack. Alinsky rule #4.

          Leftists never actually behaving according to standards or accountable to standards themselves.

          1. Guy defending Trump accuses others of never behaving according to standards, see, least self aware guy in the world.

            1. but Trump! used as defense for being a terrible person

              1. Again, look, least self aware in the world. He doesn’t even get this argument.

                1. Tries to change the subject again and again, flailing from one defense to another, always deflecting. But Trump!. But what about anonymous internet commenter no one gives a shit about!.

                  Anything to avoid the sad personal reality of leftist’s vindictive hatred of Americans and the left’s strategic use of deliberate dishonesty.

                  1. Notice how Ben can’t help but conflate Trump and ‘Americans.’ That’s how this thread started and he returns to it.

                    Anything to avoid the sad personal reality of rightists weird cultlike devotion to one weird dude and the right’s strategic use of deliberate dishonesty in the defense of that dude.

                    And by the way, that weird dude has no standards. Which was the point at the beginning, but, Ben.

                    1. Is Ben talking about himself and his posts here? Hard (for him) to know.

    3. Essentially the Dems used their win in the elections and wasted tons of tax payer money, time, and political capital and untold oceans of deranged anger and tears to giftwrap and hand Trump the final victory and last laugh.

      LOL you couldn’t write comedy this delicious.

      1. Like Trump’s efforts to investigate/prosecute his political enemies? At least the Dems went through the correct normative process.

        But I get it, conservatives, norms, how do they work?

        1. Nobody gives a sh%& about any of that. It will be forgotten just like all the billions of other meaningless political tiffs throughout history have come and gone and are remembered and forgotten.

          The only thing that matters is you had your chance. The Dems could have let things be and Trump may have gone down in history as the loser. But instead due to your noble sacrifice he will be forever remembered as having the last laugh over his opponents. Good job lol.

          1. So,

            “It will be forgotten just like all the billions of other meaningless political tiffs throughout history ”

            BUT!

            ” he will be forever remembered as having the last laugh over his opponents. ”

            Trumpists’ reasoning my friends.

            1. How many people remember the ins and outs of Lincoln’s relationship with McClellan or that he even knew a guy named McClellan vs his assassination? Are you seriously this dense or just pretending?

              1. Looks like Ben has a rival for least self aware person in the world.

                Look at my post again for a second. See a tension in your two excerpts?

        2. “the correct normative process”. Is that opining how it would be good to take an opponent behind the gym and beat the shit out of him? Asking whether being stuck in an elevator with him means you could kill him? Remarking that maybe there should be uprisings all over the place?

        3. Screwing up the procedure doesn’t make either joe Biden or hunter Biden innoceyof corruption

      2. Concern troll is concerned.

    4. “Many of the rioters themselves believed they were doing exactly as Trump wanted”

      Hinkley shot Reagan because he believed that’s exactly what Jodie Foster wanted.

      What scares me is that Ilya is a law professor….

      1. You ellided the rest of that sentence, you lying sh*t.

        , and that belief was entirely reasonable, given his actions and words.

    5. This is a lot of garbage. Did anyone read the linked citations that are meant to be proof of the article’s commentary? You’ve got VOX on here blaming Donald Trump for disruptive public behavior before he was president and without any tie to Donald other than someone said his name. I’m not joking – go read it, it’s one of the first linked articles for a long history of promoting violence.

      How did this make it onto Reason.com? Did anyone edit or look over this? This is CNN level BS and shouldn’t be allowed on a platform that’s aiming to be balanced and based on logic or reason.

      Woof.

      1. Holy good god! Well said. This commentary is a complete shit show. I’m a libertarian because I had hoped the party is somewhat immune to this kind of ignorance of reality and susceptibility to BS media narratives. I guess the poison runs deep in every party and culture.

  2. I think America is well-served by forcing Senators (generally-speaking, a politically cowardly bunch) to make a public vote. Will Senators from ruby-red states be punished? Very doubtful. Will Senators from deep-blue states be punished. Equally doubtful. Whores like Graham and Cruz? Possible, but doubtful. But Senators Scott or Rubio? Maybe. Our elected officials had to cast a public vote, and that vote will be used in their next elections to argue for or against re-election. As it should be . . . infinitely better than if the House has covered up his offenses and not impeached him.
    (I’ll point out, off-topic, Trey Gowdy’s hysterically-funny comments yesterday, now that he’s flogging his services for Fox News. Where he looked into the camera and dolefully said (I’m paraphrasing), “Oh, if only the House had taken its time and gathered up all the available evidence, like statements about how Trump was gleeful while watching the mob storm the Capitol. But no, the House rushed the impeachment through, and missed out on collecting all this evidence.”
    Which is true, of course. But that would have meant 100% certain that the impeachment could NEVER have taken place while Trump was still in office. And this would have been an actual good-faith argument that the Constitution does not allow a president to be impeached once he has left office. Sadly, no one on Fox News pointed out this obvious fact to Gowdy.)

    1. If they have to rush the process that much then it’s clear that an impeachment is moot anyway.

      1. So you ARE in favor of a January exception.
        I don’t think it’s a wise precedent, but at least it would be a consistent one.

        1. I think the Senate shall be sole judge of all impeachments.

          And according to the Senate, there was enough support for a trial, but it looks like Blackman’s arguments were sufficient for an aquittal.

    2. Nobody gives a s^&t about this impeachment except far left twitterites and Trump supporters. So by the time the next elections roll around and the media has moved on 30 outrage cycles later. among the ~5-10% who more than vaguely remember this it will probably mostly hurt swing area Dems and the 7 Republicans dumb enough to fall for Ilya’s rhetoric and will stand out as names from the crowd. Can’t really see John Q moderate Leftist coming out in force about this after years of other dumb stories and being distracted by the latest LOTR series with transgender hobbits.

      1. Of the seven Republicans who had the balls to do the right thing, the only one likely to pay a price is Cassidy and he doesn’t face re-election until 2026. Maybe Murkowski, but she seems to be more interested in doing the right thing than in worrying about a Trump sucking backlash.

  3. Due process is crucial to the equal and fair administration of justice, whether it’s “Constitutionally required”. Every lawyer and especially law professor should both know and champion this. You sound like Henry VIII.

    1. It’s funny to see conservatives suddenly discover due process, as I’ve said now let’s see if they can actually apply the concept beyond billionaire ex-Presidents.

      1. Since when don’t conservatives honor due process?

        1. When do they?

  4. Mitch is right now arguing that he voted against conviction because Trump was out of office and ignoring that he alone had the power to hold the trial before Trump left office and chose not to.

    1. The Senate has discretion on when to hold the trial. Remember how this is a political process and anything goes, at least that was the argument the left was pushing when it came to the First Amendment….Well when you hold the trial seems like a political questions, especially when the House does a knee jerk impeachment…

      1. You can’t say that the Senate can hold off on the trial, and then argue that the delay invalidates the impeachment. That is not an honest argument, and that argument is what the Managers called the “January Exception”.

        1. Sure it is. Apparently “political process” was the dog whistle for “whatever we can do to get Trump” so why not chalk up delaying the trial to run out the clock? I understand you don’t like turnabout, but it is fair play.

    2. The House didn’t transmit the impeachment article to the Senate until Jan 25, that was out of Mitch’s hands. And as he explained, if it were transmitted earlier Senate rules would require unanimous consent to change the calendar and start the trial before innaugaration day.

      1. Mitch clearly stated right after the House vote that he would not hold the trail before the inauguration. There is no doubt that if Mitch said he would call back the Senate then the House would have sent over the articles quickly.

        1. “There is no doubt..”
          You know this how?

      2. So the “January exception” is now the rule. That’s your argument.

        1. The Senate makes the rules not me, and I will defer to them.

          But I will say it’s only a lynch mob that insists on a trial at the heat of the moment without allowing anytime for the facts to be fully developed and a defense prepared.

          If the trial was held in January the House managers would be falsely insisting that officer Sicknick was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher at Trump’s orders.

    3. Your wrong there, Molly. The Senate could not hold the trial until the House sent over the bill of impeachment.

      1. You’re missing a few facts, as usual Don.

        Try asking yourself “Why couldn’t the House send over the article, and who told them they would be turned away at the door if they tried?”

        1. Try asking yourself “Why couldn’t the House send over the article

          Tried. Apparently I still have too many normally-functioning synapses — “couldn’t” keeps getting corrected to “deliberately didn’t.”

          What’s your excuse?

        2. Smart ass, your stock in trade, since when does the House take orders from the Senate? Or Pelosi take orders from McConnell Seems like you are the one missing a few facts.

          1. I notice that you’re unable to answer the questions, even though the answers were widely reported, and even mentioned during the trial.

            If you can’t answer, then that clears up any confusion someone might have as to whether you have any idea what you’re talking about, and thus whether you should have any attention paid to your remarks.

        3. Nobody told the House that.

          1. You know better than the House impeachment managers themselves?

            What’s your source?

    4. That’s a fair point, but Mitch made a very strong statement against Trump today that suggests he didn’t delay the trial out of fear of Trump or his base.

      1. I agree that he didn’t delay the trial because of fear of Trump. It appears that he knew he couldn’t get unanimous consent from Trump supporters to hold the trial before the inauguration, which meant there was no way a trial could be held. I won’t accuse McConnell of being Machiavellian about delaying the trial; it was a rapidly evolving situation, and his views about whether it was constitutional to hold a trial after Trump was out of office may have still been unformed. But the end result is that the Republicans precluded a trial before Trump left office and then said they wouldn’t convict him because the trial could only have been held before he left.

    5. The senate cant hold the trial until the house delivers the articles of impeachment to the senate – which was after Biden was sworn in.

    6. The Senate cannot hold a trial until the House submits the impeachment articles. Pelosi held the Articles of Impeachment until January 25. Mitch was powerless to start the trial before then. Read real news, not listen to the WOKE narratives that are rarely correct.

  5. Yea! America, a country so great that even its haters, e.g., Somin, Soros & Kirkland won’t leave.

    1. You will comply, WJack. And I hope you will continue to whine about complying with the preferences of your betters. I find it entertaining, because I dislike bigots enough to enjoy their wailing.

  6. Vengeance denied.

    Leftists will have to go on hurting America and Americans in their regular ways, like Biden’s collusion with the teachers’ unions to deny American children an education.

    1. You do know it was the Rs who attacked the capital and the Rs who voted that attacking the capital is ok?

      1. Ben is the least self aware person in the world.

      2. believe anything CNN tells you, no matter how many times they get caught lying

        1. Losing the culture war and knowing you will be your betters’ compliant bitch for the rest of your life has made you quite cranky, Ben.

          Good.

          1. “knowing you will be your betters’ compliant bitch”

            Ben is Kirkland’s mom? That’s weird.

  7. I genuinely don’t understand your point about unsuccessful impeachments constraining presidential behavior. Would a criminal justice system that never produced convictions act as a deterrent against criminal behavior?

        1. Least. Aware. Person. In. The. World.

  8. I love this. There is no win state for the Dems. They just made themselves look like fools. Outside of the Twitter BlueCheckmarkSphere and Beltway from what I’ve observed both online and in RL even leftleaners who dislike Drumpf see this as a waste of time. Of course the Republicans are even dumber than the Dems and fell into the trap of spreading some of the blame for this farce on to themselves just like the Dems wanted. Oh well, these idiots should also be replaced.

    1. Nope. It is the Rs that went on record to vote in favor of treason.

      1. Foolishness. There was no treason. Stop throwing around words in a meaningless fashion. What the Senate did was to make Federal prosecution extremely unlikely.
        Do you honestly think that an impartial jury could be empaneled at this point?
        Are you in the least disturbed that 93 Senators had their minds made up before the trial began.
        Did it occur to you that the optics of having a voting member of the Senate preside were poor; the was no reason why Harris should not have presided?
        Why did Ms. Pelosi wait to send our the articles of impeachment until the D’s presided?
        In many ways the Senate did not do itslef proud.

        1. “Why did Ms. Pelosi wait to send our the articles of impeachment until the D’s presided?”

          Indeed. I wonder if the answer is out there in easily-accessible form. Perhaps even you can find it.

          1. Smart ass, because it was politically expedient to have the Senate presided over by her own party.
            Tune up that brain Jason. Try some fish oil.

            1. That’s an opinion, but it isn’t a fact.

              Maybe I over-estimated your ability to search the web for factual information.

              Allow me to assist you:

              https://www.congress.gov/days-in-session

              The answer is somewhere on that page.

    2. I love this. There is no win state for the Dems. They just made themselves look like fools.

      The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

  9. I wish they had called witnesses – Rep Schiff would have been a star. You could ask him if he had said Trump was a traitor (there is video proof of him saying so several times), if he had proof (also video proof, some as recent as last September), and demand that he present the proof to Congress immediately. This has bearing on an impeachment, one would think. Whatever he says would be great fun.

    1. Yeah the sudden reversal by Democrats is really the cherry on top of this farce sundae. I would have loved to see a parade of witnesses for the next three weeks, but boy they did not want to see that record constructed. Still was a “sweet” ending…

    2. “Whatever he says would be great fun.”

      What’s fun is winning the culture war.

      You’ll have to take my word for it. May the better ideas continue to prevail.

      Carry on, clingers.

    3. This is indicative of the asymmetrical stuff we see.

      I remember when Schiff won the Presidency and then when he had lost it by every objective, sane measure he started an unprecedented, months long campaign of bizarre and shifting theories about how the Republic was going to be lost because the election had been Stolen and he called up state and local election officials (especially of the same party!) and urged them to take unprecedented steps to overturn the results and publicly castigated them when they didn’t and then called on his Vice President to just decide the election in an unprecedented and incredibly undemocratic move and then when the VP didn’t do as he asked he publicly berated him and then held and helped coordinate a promised ‘wild’ protest and then when they marched on the Capitol while they were officially certifying the result he publicly castigated the VP again and hyperbolically suggested the Republic was over and then when he knew his protest had turned into the first ever mob attack on the capitol seeking to stop the certification he called Senators to try to get them to go along….

      Yeah, Schiff and Trump both called opponents traitors, so totes the same.

      See, what we are dealing with here is that Trumpists have little familiarity, concern for or actual disdain of proper tradition, standards and behavior in this area. So even when they try to tu quoque it’s like hearing a parrot make a lecture. It can say things but it doesn’t understand what it’s talking about.

    4. Ah, yes Schiff. He had his moment of glory and then was screwed by Gavin Newsome

    5. Looks like Schiff is going to be the new Attorney General of California, too.

  10. There were almost no rules, and no procedures. No discovery, no witnesses were allowed to be called. No definitive standard to even conclude that a former President can be convicted. Any kind of evidence – hearsay and edited videos were okay, as was smearing the opposition. No particular law was cited. The only fairness was that both sides were equally untethered by courtroom standards.
    As a result, Senators were free to vote on any frivolous grounds based on any flimsy evidence; most of them thus voted in a fashion that would appeal to their constituents.

    1. They called for Trump to testify and he refused. Remember? It was two days ago.

      1. Which proves exactly nothing.

        1. It proves two things, at a minimum:

          1. The Democrats were willing, eager even, to let Trump speak in his own defense.

          2. Trump did not want to testify.

          1. Bernard,
            I grant you both BUT both are hardly significant. Trump already spoke sufficiently that Biden won the election. He is the Great Orange Flame Out.

    2. Thus proving both

      1. That it’s political
      2. The wisdom of requiring a supermajority such that you get buy in from the president’s party that it was sufficiently wrong.

      Nixon probably would not have made it. Clinton did in spite of actual proven crime, as it was over covering up an affair, and a terrible reason to thwart the will of the people.

      This idea makes both sides furious. You’re welcome.

  11. If the evidence Trump’s responsibility for inspiring the attack on the Capital is overwhelming (I disagree that it is), going far beyond his “inflammatory speech” on January 6, including “his long history of promoting and defending violence by his supporters . . . , his continued backing and praise of the rioters even after the attack began[, such that many] of the rioters themselves believed they were doing exactly as Trump wanted, and that belief was entirely reasonable, given his actions and words,” and that Trump’s recklessness would still violate his constitutional obligations and be sufficient to justify conviction; then which Democratic lawmakers could NOT be impeached for support and encouragement of the deadly riots throughout the summer of 2020?

    1. The “rioters” this summer were not supporters of the Ds in office and did not care at all what those politicians said. Those who attacked the capital were Trump supporters and did what he said.

      1. What a “moronic” claim.

      2. Trump said to protest “peacefully and patriotically.” The rioters thought differently. Just as Antifa and BLM caused billions in damages, thousands of injuries and numerous deaths following the media and politician instructions to “protest peacefully.” Based on your assessment all those politicians should be impeached and media talking heads tried for incitement.

      3. “Those who attacked the capital were Trump supporters and did what he said.” Before he said it. The protest started a half-hour before Trump’s speech.

        And if that speech was inciting violence, there are a lot of Democratic politicians that should be on trial for their rantings in support of BLM and Antifa riots.

        Molly is a random internet poster and evidently an idiot. What is Ilya Somin’s excuse?

    2. If the evidence is overwhelming the Acting US Attorney for DC should have has Mr. Trump arrested and prosecuted in a bona fida court before an impartial jury.
      Now the Senate has poisoned the jury pool.

      1. Don,
        Do you think that impeachment is limited to what can be successfully criminally prosecuted?
        Are you a lawyer, and if so do you seriously think ‘the Senate has poisoned the jury pool?’ C’mon, the concern trolling is making you say some silly things.

        1. QA,
          You ask a meaningless question. The impeachment was bound to fail. The most it could have accomplished was embarrassing Trump. But embarrassment is not in his vocabulary.
          I do think that the Senate has poisoned the Jury pool. Do you know any mentally competent person who have not heard the back and forth ad nauseam and have no opinion.
          I’ll believe that the US Attorney thinks that he has a prayer of a case when he actually has Trump arrested and charged.
          As for trolling, keep your petty insults to yourself.

          1. 1. It’s not an irrelevant question it’s your reoccurring main one against the impeachment, that he should have been criminally prosecuted if he were thought guilty of incitement.

            2. Have you never heard of a celebrity criminal case?

            3. Georgia DAs are investigating Don, not US Attorneys.

            1. Yes, The Atlanta DA is investigating him for election tampering.
              Insurrection is a Federal crime that would be prosecuted by the DC US Attorney. That I what I said.

          2. It wasn’t an insult to note, in the context of your ladling of legal insights by the scant thimbleful, that you are not a lawyer.

            You’re just a clinger who reads the work of fringe-inhabiting law professors on the intertubes.

            1. RAK, you are a mean-spirited hater, who knows nothing of my training or expertise; I have contributed chapters to four American Bar Association books.
              You are full of hateful venom, mockery and insults. You contribute nothing but wasted bandwidth.
              Crawl back under the rock from whence you emerged you live.

              1. OK, great legal genius, is it your justified legal opinion that it is possible that someone accused of a crime can be immune from prosecution because the alleged criminal and his criminal acts are so well known that just about everybody likely has some inchoate opinion about them? I doubt that that is the case, though I do not fulsomely declare my legal genius (which is lacking) at every available opportunity.

        2. No. But if not, it is incumbant for those asserting wrongness to convince the president’s supporters what he did was so wrong, they agree.

          If it’s that damned serious, do your job instead of just putting a megaphone at the opening of your echo chamber and feigning back, aghast, that people cannot see the beauty of the emperor’s new clothes.

          Neither side is honest. A pox on both your destructive houses.

          1. What do you do with a President whose supporters, according to him, would gladly support him even if he committed public murder?

            1. You prosecute in an Article III Court.

  12. I’m mystified as to why you assume that the acquittal of Andrew Johnson was “a gross miscarriage of justice” and would be interested in knowing the cause. It appears to me that Johnson ignored an act of Congress (that saddled him with an unhelpful cabinet member [Stanton] unless congress permitted the removal) that Johnson felt was unconstitutional and wanted the courts to address the issue and say so. The courts did, indeed, ultimately rule the law unconstitutional, so Johnson was correct in his belief that the constraints Congress laid on him were invalid. In what way is it a travesty that he wasn’t impeached for failing to follow an unconstitutional law?

    1. Prof. Somin is of the William Roper school: he believes in a higher law that does God’s will without regard to legalisms and procedural niceties.

  13. Remind me again who said ‘elections have consequences’.

    No one with an IQ over room temperature expected there were 67 votes to convict Trump. No one with an IQ over room temperature expected this to be anything but a show trial with made for TV lines for the dems and pubs.

    After Clinton’s impeachment trial impeachment has become nothing more than kindergarten show and tell with the results baked in before hand.

    There is a reason the founding fathers set such a high bar for conviction. As an example (I have used before) if Biden sold top secret military plans to the Chi Coms two weeks before Trump had beaten him in the 2024 election with his son Hunter getting one hundred billion dollars in return does anyone doubt the House would have impeached him before high noon and the Senate would have convicted him before sunset.

    The only thing this accomplished is the MSM will again look like the clowns they are when the BLM riots because Trump was not convicted destroy more property and kill more peeps than what ever happened on 6 Jan and are described by the MSM as mostly peaceful protests as the fires burn in the background.

  14. We will need to rely primarily on other mechanisms, … criminal prosecution … nondeferential judicial review of presidential actions … among others.

    Voting, perhaps?

  15. {Points at Ilya — Nelson laugh}

  16. Trump could have been caught on tape personally ordering Pence to be murdered, and Pence could have been shot right in front of those Republican Senators, and they still would not have voted to convict.

    1. Keep making up sad fantasy stories

    2. Trump himself publicly gloated at the lemmur like qualities of his fan base (I could shoot someone…etc).

      It’s not that Trump is a great con, it’s that conservatives have largely become such eagerly yearning marks. They tried anti-intellectual buffoons like Palin, but she was powder to Trump’s crack cocaine.

    3. Trump could have died two weeks ago, and Democrats would have insisted that the impeachment continue.

    4. It’s easy to imagine that people would ignore fictional evidence, because it’s fictional, you don’t risk being proven wrong. So you’re free to imagine anything you want.

      And we’re free to laugh at your fantasies.

      1. I’m only quoting Trump, or rather, his “Fifth Avenue” comment.

    5. In that scenario- every republican senator would have voted to convict .
      Republicans have ethics
      Unlike democrats who never would have voted to convict hilllary for her bribery aka pay to play or uranium one or the intentionally unsecured server.

      Huge difference in ethics

  17. The Founders would be proud to think of themselves as an ‘elite’ (a natural aristocracy), they hoped our leaders would be imbued with what we today would call a sense of professional standards and personal integrity and would eschew vulgar, boorish demagogues and the factions that follow them at the expense of professional standards and personal integrity. They did not foresee that not only would we develop parties that would override this sentiment easily, but that one of our major parties would actually be largely unaware of, unconcerned with and or hostile to professional standards and personal integrity. This is why one sees the deep hate for the ‘deep state’ (professional civil servants), the highly trained and educated (academe, scientists, etc.,) the innovatively successful (‘big tech’), professional groups (the ABA) and an incredible lack of understanding of the basic concepts of good government (and good business) such as aversion to nepotism, conflict of interests practices, etc.,.

    The GOP is essentially the Jacksonian Party of our age.

  18. Votes to acquit or convict should be by secret ballot.

    1. Says you. That is not they way the legislature works.
      If you wanted secret voting a true prosecution before a jury would have done that.

      1. You do know this is being looked at, right (Georgia)?

        1. I do know that and also that your comment is irrelevant to today’s events.

          1. You’re playing dodgeball here. Why?

            1. Not dodgeball. We are talking past each other. GA is not investigating insurrection. It is investigating election tampering.

              Also your comment and my answer have nothing to do with captc calling for a secret vote in the Senate.

              I strongly preferred prosecution from the get go as the chances for conviction in the Senate were always infinitesimal. I have mad that comment many times in the past. Fortunately the Senate trial lasted only a week.

              This mater of insurrection could be prosecuted in the DC District which is where Trump’s actions took place. I would now be extremely surprised if the US Attorney would prosecute. Perhaps it will still happen; we’ll see.

      2. Lyn Cheney kept her post via secret ballot. Were you paying attention?

        1. Stop lying.
          The vote about Ms Cheney was a vote in the R caucus which has rules different from votes on motions before the House. Motions before the House require a roll call.
          Nothing to do with the Motion to convict on the floor of the Senate, which demands a roll call.

          1. They could change the rule, you know.

    2. No, it has to be out in the open, if The People are to have any faith in it. For the same reason, the secret accuser should have been out in the open, again, to prevent “secret witnesses” and evidence from being used to thwart democratic votes.

      This pisses off both sides. You’re welcome.

      1. What secret accuser? What secret witnesses?

    3. Votes to acquit or convict should be by secret ballot.

      I understand the sentiment, but I can’t agree. Much as I wanted Trump convicted, think he should’ve been convicted, and think he would’ve been convicted in a secret ballot, I don’t think our legislators, or any elected officials, should be allowed to dodge accountability with secret actions.

    4. Given that one-fifth of the Senators could demand that the yeas and nays be recorded in the Journal of the Senate, the only way to keep the results secret would to vote to make the relevant part of the Journal secret. And that’s no solution either because it would get leaked really quickly.

      Thus, the government in this case is forced to operate right out in the open for the proles to see.

  19. What Trump actually did wrong was lie about the election being stolen. And disgraceful as that behavior is, I don’t believe it’s impeachable.

    The case for incitement was never very strong. Putting aside the 1A issues, I don’t think what he said would have been understood by a reasonable person as advocating unlawful violence.

    1. I find it likely that is way the D’s did not call for prosecution instead. The chances of a “beyond a reasonable doubt” conviction were slim.

    2. Even some of the deranged leftists don’t think he was advocating violence. But they’re all happy to pretend, as always. Truth or falsehood means nothing to them. Only storytelling and drama and the power and money they can get by cultivating followers.

    3. I agree if you’re talking about the legal crime of incitement it was a tough row to how.

      But, I’m curious, why wouldn’t such a consistent and unprecedented months long campaign of selling preposterous election lies not be impeachable? That certainly can do some serious damage to our polity, and on the other hand of the ledger is not much.

      1. Ah, QA, you admit that you like the impeachment for incitement because you thought that the changes of conviction in an Art. iii Court were too low.
        You show your true colors.

        1. Don, you need to at least work to state my view correctly *when it’s written right above yours.*

          Or, hey, maybe you don’t. Trump rules and such.

          1. QA,
            Again you are wrong I refer to
            “if you’re talking about the legal crime of incitement it was a tough row to how. ”

            beside the fact that the word is “hoe” You admit that you believe that conviction is unlikely.
            Then again you resort to a bullshit ad hominem, “Trump rules and such.”
            If any thing was unlikely, it was conviction in the Senate.
            If the evidence were as incontrovertible as you think it is, then conviction in a court of law would have bee easy.

            1. From the beginning my point, and my question to you, has been: is a charge convictable in a court of law necessary for an impeachment?

              You dismissed this as ‘irrelevant’ but, as you see, it’s the crux of your argument yet again.

              1. i addressed as irrelevant your question, “Are you a lawyer?”
                Regarding the question of whether impeachment requires a criminal offense, the answer is clearly “no.”
                A president can be impeached for any reason that can get the necessary votes.

      2. I mean we can’t impeach every politician who lies….

        My view is that the an officer can be impeached for either an abuse of power or a statutory crime. Trump falsely saying that the election was stolen is neither. What he did is morally repugnant. But I’m not sure impeachment is a remedy to such situations.

        Interestingly, I think Congress could make it a crime if it where so inclined. The First amendment doesn’t protect false speech to the same degree.

        1. Yeah, I certainly don’t think impeachment is for every politician who lies.

          I think Trump’s *campaign* of really silly lies is unprecedented and dangerous and should be game for whatever (I personally, for tactical reasons, think censure was better). But I appreciate your response and reasoning. Take care.

          1. We was not impeached for “really silly lies”
            The bill of impeachment was for insurrection which is a felony in the US Code.
            I agree that censure would have been a more likely course to follow, but that is not what Ms. Pelosi (presumably in consultation with Mr Biden and Ms Harris) choose to do.

            1. The impeachment was not for the exact penal code crime. It does’nt have to be, does it?

              1. No, it does not. But the article of impeachment covered all the aspects of the offenses in the US Code. In that case my comment has been, for weeks, that he should be prosecuted as I think he belongs in an orange suit.

          2. I’m fully supportive of censuring him for the record.

    4. Trump’s counsel parried the charge of lying about the election by showing numerous prominent people claiming Trump had not been a legitimate election. Trump thought he could get away with such tactics times 10+.
      If we collectively can agree from all this that election challenges much not be made frivolously, and that rioting is bad, the long-term result will be a true silver lining.

      1. Two wrongs don’t make a right. And I think a sitting president should hold him or her self to a higher standard.

        But yes. It’s not like the Democrats have clean hands. Trump is hardly the first politician to have lied about something important.

    5. The case for incitement was never very strong. Putting aside the 1A issues, I don’t think what he said would have been understood by a reasonable person as advocating unlawful violence.

      There’s not a single person who didn’t think on 1/6 that he was calling for violence. There’s not a single person who still doesn’t think he was calling for violence. Everyone knew what he wanted.

      1. There’s not a single person who didn’t think on 1/6 that he was calling for violence.

        Waiting for the most assuredly sage and cutting-edge lecture from the Too Clever Lawyer on what now does and does not constitute personhood.

      2. Yes, there were.

        Pretty much the same people who did not think Speaker pelosi was calling for violence against DHS agents protecting the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse in Portland.

        1. You remember when Pelosi called for a crowd of violent people to assemble at the Portland courthouse? Remember when she stood in front of that crowd and told them that they had to stop the crimes occurring inside the building?

          Yeah, me neither, Mr. Full of Shit.

      3. I suspect the 59% of Republicans that would vote for Trump and the 81% that support Trump did not think his rhetoric was a call to violence. Nearly all of them believed the riot repugnant.

        But then again, “There’s not a single person who didn’t think on … that Waters/Pelosi/Booker/Omar/Ocosio-Cortez was calling for violence all throughout the summer.”

        Fixed it for you.

  20. I’ll be a shiny nickel you wrote this column two weeks ago. Are you ever going to stop beating dead horses?

    1. Hello, shiny nickel!

    2. Don’t make them bring out their spreadsheet model that says beating dead horses increases GDP.

  21. The House Impeachment Managers were diverse. The impeachment is a preview of what will happen to real Americans when the US becomes a permanent, Democrat, one party state.

    1. Trumpistas folks!

      1. Astonishingly shameless.

  22. Schumer looked like the biggest and dumbest hypocrite ever to stand up in the well of the Senate and announce Capitol cops were getting the medal of honor for their service after spending the summer trashing cops especially NYPD. Then absolutely no mention of the BLM riot in Time Square last night leaving at least two cops with life threatening injuries.

    America does not believe your lies anymore liberal media. You are done. Have fun trying to find new jobs with all your lack of real skills and all….

    1. If you ever criticize any cop ever then you can’t ever be said to defend one!

      Jimmy is the uber-authoritarian.

      1. Not what I said at all, just pointing out the hypocrisy of the left. Back in summer all cops were racist and should be defunded/fired. Then comes a carnival like sit in to for election transparency and all cops are awesome. The left is just using them as a pawn which is just sad.

        1. One way to know a Trumpista is that they will make their argument.
          Then you make a counter.
          And they just repeat their first argument. They really don’t know what you were talking about. Like parrots trained to speak but not understand.

      2. Schumer didn’t have a change of heart or uncover new information. He was just being a sleazy politician, showing two faces in different contexts. And not a person alive believes otherwise, to borrow a phrase.

    2. And what exactly did Officer Sicknick die of?

      And who exactly murdered Ashli Babbitt?

      1. Officer Sicknick’s cause of death has not yet, as far as I know, been publically announced.

        Ashli Babbitt was the victim of a felony murder. The most likely culprits were, in my opinion, the insurrectionists in her close proximity when she was shot.

      2. Over a month after the event, there is still no autopsy report showing that Sicknick died from a blow to the head, or even that he was hit on the head. There is video of a moron tossing a fire extinguisher at a group of helmeted cops, but the cop who was hit has not been identified.

  23. among the worst and most evil presidents in our history

    Many presidents caused a whole lot more deaths than Trump did.

    1. They only care about words.

      1. Ben certainly doesn’t care about words, he uses them willy-nilly!

    2. Many presidents caused a whole lot more deaths than Trump did.

      Well, half a million and counting for Trump.

      1. Name one death caused by trump

        Can you name one caused by Cuomo?

      2. “Well, half a million and counting for Trump.”

        And, that’s how we know we can’t have a serious conversation.

  24. To the Trump cultists in this thread whatabouting and otherwise defending behavior you’d call impeachable and prosecutable in a heartbeat if a Dem did it, you’re everything you purport to oppose. You just lie for a different team. You’re sad, small, and utterly unprincipled.

    1. They don’t know what principles you’re talking about. They’re not part of the professional world, not very educated, and they really think that ‘draining the swamp’ is fine with hiring your family and pardoning your supporters but going after career civil servants. After all, if you ran your own drywall business, wouldn’t you hire your son-in-law? And those fancy talking experts…argh!

      1. I would probably trust my cousin over anyone who was an “expert” inside the beltway….

        1. Exactly, Jimmy and other Trumpistas represent tribalism. Your cousin knows more than a fancy talking expert.

          Let’s turn the government over to people like this. What could go wrong?

          1. My cousin is a pretty smart guy.

            1. There are many, many people within the beltway who are at least pretty smart. But, to be trusted to offer good advice, or to make good decisions, it takes more than being pretty smart. One must know the subject matter pretty well. That is, one needs to be pretty smart and pretty well informed. That is, one needs to be an expert.

        2. Jimmy, sincere question: What do you do for a living?

          If you think that’s some sort of gotcha question (it isn’t), don’t answer it. I only ask because, whatever you do, if you’ve been doing it very long, I bet you’re good at it. And I doubt you have much patience for people with zero training or experience of what you do who think they know your job better than you do.

          In other words, training + experience — taken together, “expertise” — matters. It makes you better at something than a random dude off the street. And that applies to every line of work. So why would you think expertise loses its meaning in the 202 area code? What would think of someone who said that about what you do?

          1. Success inside the Beltway means being a good politician, not a good person, a competent leader, a capable legislator, or a skilled bureaucrat.

            1. I have news for you. Political skill is a competitive advantage in every line of work. And you’re deluding yourself if you think it’s the only skill that matters in governing and administration. Believing expertise is irrelevant in a profession you despise isn’t some profound insight. It’s self-congratulatory and dumb.

    2. No one was asking for your approval. No one will miss it when you withhold it.

      1. Thanks for self-identifying as a defender of Trumpian behavior you’d call impeachable and prosecutable in a heartbeat if a Dem did it. Unsolicited confessions are welcomed and appreciated.

        1. What behavior? Using the word “fight” in a political speech?

  25. Thanks, Nancy! Now President Trump has another record: The most acquitted President in History!

    1. OJ acquitted! Thanks for vindicating the Juice!

  26. I will give props to any media outlet that uses the headline “Motherfucker Acquitted” though….

    1. C’mon, he doesn’t seem to want to fuck his mother.

      His daughter, maybe another story.

      1. I don’t think you get the reference….

        1. Reference to Papish? I had to look it up.

          1. Ding, ding ,ding. Give this man a prize!

  27. What was best part for you?

    For me it was watching Van der Veen school Ilya and the rest of the 140 supposed experts on whether the first amendment had any bearing on the trial.

    A close second was Van der Veen’s impression of Pelosi flippantly saying “people will do what they do” in response to violent rioters tearing down statues.

    1. The Senate was laughing at Trump’s lawyers, including the illiterate personal injury lawyer pounding the table and asking why everyone was laughing at him.

      Hansberry found him very impressive, though!

      The reason you guys think we are condescending is that we find you pathetic.

      1. You mean, Democrats were laughing…
        Typical of your distortions.
        Carry on, hater.

        1. His defense brought the receipts.

          http://www.cnn.com/2018/06/25/politics/maxine-waters-trump-officials/index.html

          Can you imagine appointing Harvey Weinstein or Vinson Filyaw as a special prosecutor in a rape case?

          Not even Kirkland is that incompetent.

      2. So “Phillydelphia” was your favorite part?

        Not surprising as it was the only high point for the Dems while Van der Veen was speaking. Being exposed as knaves for pretending not to know the difference between a government employee and an elected official was not embarrassing at all to the Dems, who after all want to eliminate first amendment protections for all americans except themselves, not just the President. As with Schiff’s absolute proof of collusion or the 50 ex-intelligence officials’ letter, a few lies perpetrated upon their pathetic constituents is how their game is played. Yes, the Dems condescension towards the american public was on full display.

  28. Who wants to bet that Ilya will advocate relentlessly for removal of the VP considering her support in words and deeds for the rioters over the summer?

    1. Prof. Somin is kind of a nut, and politically ignorant. He will periodically, in his ineffectual and borderline nonsensical way, advocate that Biden and maybe Harris be impeached and removed from office for launching drone strikes or issuing executive orders. No one will listen.

      1. Really think that? Let’s see if he calls for impeaching either over the next four years.

        Remember all the times he called for impeaching Obama, over the course of 8 years?

        Oh, wait, even when he thought Obama was violating the Constitution by starting wars without Congressional approval, he didn’t think it should result in impeachment, just Congress backing down and approving Obama’s wars.

        1. Fair enough, given the typical Somin hypocrisy. He will claim hysterically on numerous occasions that Biden is violating the Constitution, but probably will not advocate impeachment, because he doesn’t have Biden Derangement Syndrome.

  29. Trump will be criminally prosecuted (for a number of things), but I don’t think he’ll ever be convicted.

    Jurors’ names are public. Anyone sitting in a Trump case will understandably fear that if the verdict is guilty their names and faces will be plastered all over the right-wing web and they will be hunted down by any number of armed MAGA terrorists.

    1. The same ploy used by those who dox others.
      Most likely the jurors will be sequestered.
      The rest of your conjecture is nonsense as the claim of domestic terrorism.

      1. They broke into the Capitol and tried to kill the Vice President and the Speaker of the house. Hunting a private citizen whose address is all over the internet will be easy.

        Once the verdict is rendered and the jurors are discharged, bullets may fly.

        1. No one tried to kill anyone on the 6th. It was just tourists snapping pictures and when they were asked to leave, shockingly, all of them did.

        2. You’re on dope again.

          1. Well one cop did kill an unarmed protester. But according to the media he did not intend on doing that, so….

            1. Jimmy, was it a cop — or private security?

        3. “They broke into the Capitol and tried to kill the Vice President and the Speaker of the house. ”

          With zip ties and a viking’s helmet? And in the real world….

    2. Like Hillary will be prosecuted for her crimes?

      1. What crimes? Specify. Provide proof. She’s been investigated incessantly for years and no one even sought an indictment.

        1. foundation corruption, uranium one, pay for play, intentional unsecured server set up, just to name a few

  30. Lots of moral indignation about over Trump’s acquittal, but nothing but silence about the over 100 death threats Trump’s defense attorney got just last night, his need to hire private security, and the vandalism in front of his house. No calls to denounce the extremists who are perpetuating this violence, in fact no even real coverage outside of some local press. A few liberals apparently think it is funny if you look on twitter, but at least as of right now no suspensions of those accounts or disclaimers by twitter.

    And outside of Foxnews no mentions on liberal media of the police officers injured last night at the Time Square BLM riot.

    This is why half of America could care less….

    1. No one should threaten that guy. Mock him, sure. Disdain him, probably. Refer some of his conduct to a bar association, maybe. But no threats.

      1. Except that his defense was on point.

        Maxine Waters should be mocked.

        “If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere

        1. If you want another example of media hypocrisy the Dems video montage of some tourists was “a powerful case!!!!” and when Trump’s defense team used the same tactic it was “trolling!!!”

  31. Of course the impeachment served a useful purpose.

    It brought to the forefront how so many of the Democratic leadership (not just random crackpots) exzcused last summers’ violence, including arson and murder. As Jack Marshall pointed out,

    http://ethicsalarms.com/2021/02/13/regarding-the-trump-defense-fight-montage

    Throughout the last four years and what Ethics Alarms has referred to as the 2016 Ethics Train Wreck, Democrats have been accusing President Trump of doing what they, in truth, have been guilty of: endangering democracy, defying the Constitution, debasing America, and undermining establishes and important norms. It has been the most spectacular episode of mass hypocrisy in U.S. history, and the claim that Donald Trump was doing when he urged on protesters to demonstrate peacefully was somehow impeachable when Democratic leaders and prominent figures in the party had explicitly encouraged violence, including the summer’s widespread Black Lives Matter rioting, is breathtaking in its audacity.

    1. People are not going to forget the sheer hypocrisy of the left with this entire thing. And they shouldn’t either.

    2. Mitch McConnell eviscerated the comparison:

      The leader of the free world cannot spend weeks thundering that shadowy forces are stealing our country and then feign surprise when people believe him and do reckless things. Sadly, many politicians sometimes make overheated comments or use metaphors that unhinged listeners might take literally. This was different. This was an intensifying crescendo of conspiracy theories, orchestrated by an outgoing president who seemed determined to either overturn the voters’ decision or else torch our institutions on the way out.

      1. Time magazine documented the conspiracy theory at some length, even if the rest of the media are still in full denialism mode.

      2. McConnell should have had the honesty to fall on his sword, and voted for both impeachment and an end to his career. I’m disgusted with his trying to have it both ways here, vote to acquit so he can claim he was on Trump’s side when he’s up for reelection, but then slime Trump in terms that really should have had him voting to convict.

        Whatever you think of Trump, McConnell is a real piece of work.

    3. In the article Michael Ejercito links to, Jack Marshall bases his conclusion on a montage. The first clip in the montage is from Nancy Pelosi’s June 14, 2018 weekly briefing. At about the 9:27 mark, she is asked about the child separation policy, and she gives a long and impassioned answer. Here is a snippet:

      The Association of Evangelicals, the evangelicals, testified that refugees and asylum, they called it the crown jewel of America’s humanitarianism. The crown jewel of America’s humanitarianism. And in order to do away with that crown jewel, they are doing away with children being with their moms. This is–I just even know why there aren’t uprisings all over the country. Maybe there will be when people realize that this is a policy that they defend. It’s a horrible thing.

      The point about this being “a policy that they defend” is that Pelosi wasn’t talking about a screw up by the Administration, but rather a deliberate choice.

      Jack Marshall doesn’t tell you that this clip was from 2018, well before the 2020 riots. He doesn’t tell you that the issue Pelosi was discussing was asylum claims and child separation. When Pelosi referred to uprisings, she was struggling to find a way to put into words how deeply immoral the Administration’s policy was. Jack Marshall implies that Pelosi was speaking in a context where “uprisings” means “violent uprisings.”

      I think it’s clear that Jack Marshall intended to deceive, and since you write that, “It brought to the forefront how so many of the Democratic leadership (not just random crackpots) excused last summers’ violence,” it seems clear that he did deceive.

  32. The fun is just beginning. Before too long, all of Trump’s time and money will go toward defending himself in the numerous criminal and civil cases that are coming down the pike. It will be mesmerizing entertainment.

  33. “More generally, the extreme polarization of American politics leads politicians and other partisans to excuse even grave failings by their own party’s leaders—especially when it comes to the president.”

    The reciprocal nature of political polarization is unavoidable: Even as it raises the bar for seeing grave failings in one’s allies, it lowers the bar for seeing such failings in one’s enemies. It simultaneously makes wrongful acquittal AND wrongful impeachment more likely.

    It’s just unrealistic to acknowledge one side of this equation, and not the other.

    The President’s defense aimed at highlighting this: Demonstrated that Democrats had used the exact same rhetoric, and that rhetoric was no less in the context of violent rioting.

    This doesn’t demonstrate Trump’s innocence, but if Trump deserved to be on trial, he deserved to have bipartisan company in that. Even if you think him guilty, you think him guilty under a double standard.

  34. Somin, where ever you got your fucking degree from should strip you of it immediately. This farce of a kangaroo banana republic trial violated not just the Ex Post Facto ban but also the Bill of Attainder ban as well. The fact I have to defend Trump from fucktards like you makes me furious. All you shitheels have done is open Pandora’s Box. Impeachment will be common with every POTUS where Congress is held by the opposite party, and if the Republicans regain The House and The Senate in 2 years (which seems likely cause the dumbass Democrats don’t know when to quit when they’re ahead), you better believe they will Impeach that bitch Kamalama-Ding-Dong Harris (cause let’s be honest, Old Kid Sniffer Joe isn’t long for this world).

    YOU, fuckchop, and all the fucking drooling idiots like you, are what is causing the divide in this country to widen. As it is, there is likely going to be a gigantic purge of the military and the results from that are going to be enormous. We are fast approaching the point where we’re going to start pulling knives on one another and the results will be a mountain of corpses.

  35. Excellent article, as always. The GOP (my party) now has as its political leader Donald Trump. His incompetence cost them the House in 2018 and the Senate and Presidency in 2020. Now his attempt to overthrow our government has cost the GOP what little legitimacy it had. Trump and his gutless puppets are scum.

  36. I can’t figure out the logic behind McConnell’s vote and speech.

    He doesn’t seem to be trying to mollify voters – if anything, declaring Trump morally guilty but refusing to vote to convict seems calculated to piss off everybody.

    I can’t believe he thinks Trump supporters will closely parse Mitch’s actions and realize he is a GOP hero because he engineered a jurisdictional excuse despite believing that Trump was guilty. That logic is far too subtle, they won’t get past the fact that he thinks Trump was guilty.

    But the other alternative – that he really believes the unconstitutionality excuse he used – just isn’t credible for someone with his legal and political background.

    So if he didn’t do it to help himself politically, and he didn’t do it out of a sense of duty to the Constitution, why did he do it?

    1. There is no logic, McConnell is part of the swamp. He is also probably trying to keep the fact that the riot was planned ahead of time and some senior members of the House and Senate knew about the riot before hand and refuse more police help.
      i.e. Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell.
      Why else did they back down so fast on witnesses? Collusion!

  37. Every Presidential impeachment in the history of the USA has been totally political. The one that would not have been would have been Nixon’s, but Nixon knew it and resigned first. He was also left alone at that point, no impeachment after her resigned. Also President Ford pardoned Nixon to make sure their would not be political retribution.
    We need to change impeachment law. A certain number of parties from both parties need to be need to vote for impeachment before the President can be impeached. If a majority of the President’s own party thinks he committed a crime, then it is time for him to go.

  38. Here’s something about how the Dem impeachment managers falsified evidence, complete with news media “reporter” trying to hand-wave away the falsification:

    https://redstate.com/jenvanlaar/2021/02/14/in-must-watch-clip-trump-attorney-michael-van-der-veen-citizen-destroys-media-n326804

    Seems like Dems always lie, at least a little bit, and news media always try to hide it and downplay it when Dems get caught.

    It apparently never occurred to any of the Dems that they shouldn’t falsify evidence. Because Dems only pretend to believe in standards to launch attacks.

    1. Point out what evidence was falsified. Be specific.

  39. “The outcome shows that it is almost impossible to convict a president in an era of severe polarization.”

    Would any democrat senator vote to convict president Hillary for the criminal email, her pay to play scheme, the corruption with the family foundation, or the uranium one bribe – the answer is an obvious No

    Would any democrat senator vote to convict president Biden for the corruption involved with his family, or with Hunter and the china corruption or the Ukraine bursuma corruption.
    The answer is an obvious no to both questions.

    1. That’s because none of those things happened.

      1. Astonishing the extent that democrats will go to deny reality.

  40. Ultimately, the reasons for acquittal were far more political than legal or moral.

    The entire exercise is far more political than legal or moral. It is all being played out on a political field. Accusations are political. Defense is political. Decision is political. Analyses are political.

    The reasons for everything involved are political. Nobody stands above the political in this.

    1. Way to ignore facts.

      1. “Way to ignore facts.”

        Facts? “Facts”… lol

        And in the real world, Elliot is right. The impeachment and acquittal were entirely political.

  41. Oh yes, a very useful exercise!

    It showed us that the beatings will continue until morale improves.

  42. “And both will go down in history as among the worst and most evil presidents in our history.”

    Somin, your Presidential Derangement Syndrome has really gotten out of hand. If you think Trump was Evil, you really need a reality check. I’m wondering how many of the Left Wing Hoaxes you believe are true and I’d really like to quiz you on that some day.

    1. If you think Trump was Evil, you really need a reality check.

      He literally has no redeeming qualities. He is a true sociopath who cared and cares only about himself.

      1. Wow, you really laid out some evidence there. I don’t understand how you people can generate enough brain power to turn on a light switch, let alone respond to posts on the internet.

  43. Had the Impeachment succeeded it would have set a very dangerous precedent. How long in this age of polarization would it be before convicting the opposing Party’s previous President of some questionable act would become a “Tradition” ?

    The President used “political speech” in what even Time magazine calls a “conspiracy” by a “Cabal”. It was just that. It takes a fool to believe that the highest paid man in our government who graduated top in his class from Cornell Medical School and a specialist in virology told people not to wear masks during an outbreak of a influenza like illness. It flies in the face of the Hypocratic Oath “…to do no harm.

    Furthermore, one must be obtuse to believe that he said that on the asinine grounds he was preserving the supply of PPE for hospital workers on a planet where a T-shirt over mouth and nose = a mask. Yet, somehow this brilliant doctor neglected to mention this in the most important scripted, edited, vetted, rescripted, re-edited, and approved address of his entire medical career to the 328 million patients from a serene looking set in an American television studio.

    Not I’m sorry, but that was an intentional act of mass murder.

  44. “Worst and most evil presidents in history”…seriously.

    Wilson gave us the Fed, the income tax and a war that in all honesty ensured the worst of the 20th century (there was NO reason other than JP Morgan and European Banking concerns why the US entered WWi). FDR ensured a decade of misery and pain when he pushed the harmful “new deal.” Bush’s actions killed at least 200K civilians in the middle east along with 10K Americans..and his bailouts ensured cronyism and corruption will reign in DC and Wall Street for a century. LBJ killed at least 500K Vietnamese and set up the modern welfare that destroying the black community and creating vast inequity by printing money to pay for his idiotic social programs and the Vietnam war. I could go on for a long time..Trump was simply not in the catagory of Wilson, FDR, or Bush…man get a life you sound like a bolshevik

    1. Ilya does not think any of those things were bad.

      But, Trump was a poopyhead meanie.

  45. All it shows is that fake made up absurd claims won’t convince enough sane people to get a conviction under the very reasonable standard of a 2/3 vote.

  46. Reason Mag used to evince some evidence of reasoning in their articles. Now it’s just a parade of TDS vomit splashed on “paper”.

  47. If Trump WAS CONVICTED it would have been useless. You kicked him out of a job he didn’t have. What an incredible waste of time. If you really believe that he somehow led people to vandalize the Capitol and do not much of anything else but do what politician’s normally do (a photo op) then bring criminal charges. Set up a grand jury and do a fair trial. The crap they did was just bullying 50 senators to try and get them to do what you wanted, the reason not mattering one little bit. How did this crasp get on Reason in the first place? What libertarian wants money spent on a trial that has absolutely no consequence. The only reason for it political? Not one, or at least not one I ever met

  48. Rename your magazine from Reason to Absurdity.

  49. ‘The outcome shows that it is almost impossible to convict a president in an era of severe polarization.’

    It makes it even harder when you fail to investigate and instead falsify the evidence.

  50. The arguments for acquittal might be weak, but they are strawmen in your article anyway, since the arguments for conviction are substantially weaker.

    What the “House team” presented would never have been allowed in a real court and the procedures which did allow it would not meet anyone’s criteria for a fair process.

    1. what? an edited series of spliced video tape and pretend animations aren’t evidence? our democrat friends disagree. besides, it’s WAY easier to make your case when you create the evidence. what we just endured was nothing more than theater for the simpletons

  51. A piss poor article. Trump is guilty of being a bloviating ignoramus and that is about it. These clown show impeachments are, were and always will be considered a waste of time and a waste of money. Par for the course when it comes to congress and the senate.

    What the kabuki theatre of the absurd that these hearings were, only proved that this country is deeply divided since the media made second coming, Barry Hussein, put the wheels of identity politics and division in motion.

    It is long past time for term limits. There are 350 million people in this country and we allow near the same five hundred and thirty five of them lord over us for decades. On top of that we need a balanced, truthful and fair media that, if you think about, it has rarely if ever existed. The media, along with congress are nothing more than carnival barkers marching to the drum beat of their preferred and programmed Weltanschauung.

    That being said I will not vote for anyone that isn’t for term limits.

    1. with ya pedro! when they outlaw bloviating DC will be a ghost town. what we saw was bald faced grandstanding and theater for the dimwits they peddle their pap to.

      term limits? not the problem…our problem is a dimwitted electorate. that people were willing to allow edited videos, crafted animations as “evidence” is a frightening sign that we are well on our way to something VERY far far away from a republic.

  52. You may think that the jurisdictional argument is weak. But any good lawyer should have been able to see it coming from a mile away. So why did Pelosi wait a week to appoint managers? She should have appointed them immediately, asked Schumer to lean on McConnell in the ten days left in Trump’s term to start the trial immediately. If McConnell agrees, the jurisdictional argument goes away. If he does not, it will be obvious that he his just trying to run out the clock.

  53. You reveal more about your own political/social proclilvities than about Trump OR the “impeachment”.

    I am a Trump supporter, and I NEVER HEARD HIM promote violence as a means to swaying politics, or anything else.

    Go ahead and REread the Constitutoin. it provides a clearly laid out method for impeachment.. AS A TOOL TO REMOVE ONE FROM OFFICE. Once he was gone, he could not be “removed” as he’d already gone.

    As to your bogus facetious claims about “fair election” and how Trump maintained it was not… well, if HALF of what I’ve seen is false “evidence” the election was STILL seriously rigged and at least suspect. And no, NOT ONE SHRED of evidence has been examinedby any court of law. They refused to hear on petty blowoff “issues”. Prcess stuff, not evidence.

    Guess its plain on which side the bread YOUR butter is slathered.

  54. its getting very hard to keep Reason on the reading list. already dropped the print mag…

    can we have ONE week of no Trump? you kooks are looking TDS’y

  55. Somin: “The evidence of Trump’s responsibility for inspiring the attack on the Capitol is overwhelming,”

    Just the opposite is true. The evidence is clear beyond reasonable doubt that the House knowingly impeached an innocent man in order to tamper with the 2024 Election. This is barely even debatable. All Trump’s comments are public, and the only reference to violence was to ask people NOT to do it. Trump has no history of inciting violence unless we play the usual games (i.e. “Fight like hell” means violence if you say it, but not if I say it.”) The evidence of that is also clear. As a private citizen, the real police could arrest Trump if he were guilty of inciting violence. They haven’t so much as questioned him, because there’s absolutely no case. A partisan court is the only one that could possibly have convicted him.

    To the contrary, it’s Biden and the Democrats who have a long history of openly supporting violence. They’ve supported rioters for the last year because of the color of their skin. Kamala Harris has collected money for their legal defense, which is an impeachable offense by her. Maxine Water’s infamous comments about chasing administration members out of restaurants and confronting them in the street are well known. Cory Booker urged the public to “get in the face of Congresspeople”. “When they go low, we kick ’em.” — Eric Holder. “There needs to be unrest in the streets.” — Ayanna Pressley. Nancy Pelosi told people to “be ready to throw a punch for the children.” Biden wanted to take Trump behind the gym and beat him up. Senator Testor wanted to punch Trump in the face. Hillary Clinton said civility wasn’t even an option.

    If all these people are innocent (and none of them are facing impeachment), then surely Trump, who told people to protest peacefully and respect the law, is also innocent. The Republicans came up with these nonsense arguments for voting Not Guilty, not to make excuses for his guilt, but because they didn’t want to admit the real truth, that he actually WAS Not Guilty. But the evidence clearly shows that he is.

    P.S.: Somin badly fudged one argument by claiming people said the First Amendment protected Trump from impeachment. Nobody said that, they said that the First Amendment allowed him to support protest, which it does. Even the Democrats I mentioned, who openly endorsed violence, are probably not criminally liable, under the standard set in Brandenberg vs. Ohio, which Somin, supposedly a law professor, seems oddly unaware of in this article.

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