A Question Of Intent: How The Trump Trial Is Designed To Enrage But Not Convict

Below is my column in the Hill on the trial briefs filed by the House and the Trump team for the second Trump impeachment trial.  The brief of the House promises an emotionally charged but legally insufficient case for conviction. Indeed, there is no evidence that the “prosecution” is designed to win the trial since the House offers little on the issue of intent. Conversely, if Donald Trump insists on arguing election fraud, he could conceivably engineer his own conviction.  Rather the strategy on both sides seems to be to enrage the emotions of viewers rather than prove an actual case for incitement to insurrection.

Here is the column:

NPS photo

I don’t believe Punxsutawney Phil said anything about winter this year. Phil’s handlers claim to speak “Groundhogese,” but there are just some things that should come from the marmot himself. If you’re a groundhog skeptic like me, you will be equally unsatisfied by the filings for the second Trump impeachment by House impeachment managers and the Trump team.

The House brief outlines what will be a highly emotive case but one conspicuously lacking evidence of a critical element: intent. Likewise, the case laid out by Trump’s new counsel may be equally disconnected from the allegations. In this trial, we will hear a lot about how the groundhog appeared, what people thought he said, and even where he went afterward — but little from the groundhog himself.

The House

The House brief is built around how Trump’s speech was interpreted rather than intended. The House reportedly plans to show video clips from the riot and statements of the rioters referring to Trump and his speech. That would show how the speech was received, but not how it was meant.

The House is, in many ways, a captive of its own excess. After refusing to hold a single hearing to look at the language and implications of impeachment, House leaders pushed through an article for “incitement of insurrection.” The ill-conceived, poorly crafted article guaranteed that few Republicans could support it. It also refers to a crime that would be difficult to prove in a court of law; the president’s speech likely would be found to be protected by the First Amendment, if not at trial then on appeal. The Supreme Court has routinely protected speech absent clear advocacy of violence.

Trump’s speech would not satisfy the standard laid out in cases like Brandenburg v. Ohio. Calling on one’s supporters to march on federal or state capitals is common in politics. In his speech, Trump told supporters to “peacefully” walk to the Capitol to show support for his election challenge and opposition to those refusing to back it. However, there is a difference between reckless and criminal rhetoric.

The House filing raises more questions than answers, particularly on the relative passivity of the House to create any record — a “snap impeachment” without hearing, testimony or investigation, which I have criticized. There was no chance that the trial would occur for weeks after Trump left office and, under its own theory, the House could impeach a former president in days or years after leaving office. Yet, it refused to hold even one hearing.

While demanding witnesses in the Senate, the House could have called witnesses before its own committee to lock in their testimony for weeks and create a public record that could be referenced in the Senate trial. As I have previously noted, there are at least ten key witnesses who could be called, including many who have spoken publicly. Those witnesses include former Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller and his two closest aides, Kashyap “Kash” Patel and Ezra Cohen. Some are referenced in this filing, but the House has declined to put them under oath. Why? These witnesses could answer questions on whether Trump impeded or delayed the deployment of the National Guard. Indeed, the House is clearly in possession of information on when the Guard was first offered and interactions with the administration on its deployment. Moreover, while Trump — like prior presidents — is unlikely to testify, others have recounted meetings with him before and after his Jan. 6 speech.

Instead, the House suggests that when Trump later tweeted around 2:30 p.m. to his supporters to “stay peaceful” and “support our Capitol Police and law enforcement,” he didn’t mean it. In this, the House seems to prefer to keep the trial on the level of speculation — trying Trump on how his words were received rather than intended. While the impeachment article refers to a crime of incitement to insurrection, it reads like an impeachment for negligence.

 

The Trump team

Trump’s original legal team reportedly resigned after he insisted that they focus on allegations of electoral fraud. If so, it could prove a case of Trump snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Trump currently is set to secure a second acquittal by close to the same margin as in his first impeachment trial. Converting this trial into an argument over electoral fraud would be viewed as a sign of contempt by some senators who have lost patience with him.

Trump’s filing does address his claim of a stolen election but states, rather obliquely, that “Insufficient evidence exists upon which a reasonable jurist could conclude that the 45th president’s statements were accurate or not, and he therefore denies they were false.”

Trump’s view of election fraud certainly is germane, since it is referenced in the impeachment article. However, it is the worst possible defense to advance before the Senate. It doesn’t matter if Trump was right about fraud; it only matters whether he sought a rebellion rather than a recount.

Beyond the constitutional challenge, the second-best argument is that this is not incitement but protected speech, which is raised in Trump’s filing. The House emphasized Trump’s use of language like “fight much harder,” “stop the steal” and “take back our country.” Yet, that language not only is consistent with previous Trump speeches but is similar to language used by Democrats. Indeed, Democrats have challenged electoral votes in the past, and many denied the legitimacy of Trump’s election on his inauguration day as violent protests erupted in Washington.

Finally, Trump can argue that he has been denied due process by this snap impeachment. Since the House maintains that it could impeach Trump at any time after leaving office, it could have afforded him an opportunity to respond and for witnesses to be heard in the House. But those defenses will be lost if Trump wants to make this a trial on election fraud.

Both sides’ filings bode poorly for this trial, which could become a raw reflection of our age of rage. No minds will be changed — just more weeks of political winter.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law with George Washington University and served as the last lead counsel during a Senate impeachment trial. He was called by House Republicans as an expert witness for the impeachment hearings of Presidents Clinton and Trump, and he has consulted Senate Republicans on the historic and legal precedents of impeachment in advance of the current Senate trial. Follow him with Twitter @JonathanTurley.

252 thoughts on “A Question Of Intent: How The Trump Trial Is Designed To Enrage But Not Convict”

  1. …But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security….

    – Declaration of Independence, 1776

  2. Jonathan: Come on. You don’t need a statutory crime (that requires proof of “intent”) to find Trump guilty of “incitement of insurrection”. Even Professor Dershowitz in the first Trump impeachment trial had to admit that the great weight of of scholarly authority is that behavior supporting articles of impeachment does not require proof of crimes. But you and Dershowitz persists in your delusions. This, of course, doesn’t mean Trump’s motives and intentions in calling his supporters, including the Proud Boys, to the Capitol on Jan. 6 are not relevant in Trump’s second impeachment trial.

    Trump tried his best to overturn a lawful election. He filed over 60 lawsuits that were rejected by the courts. Trump then tried to get state Republicans to select Trump electors to replace the ones for Biden. When that effort failed Trump then turned to states, like Georgia, to force state election officials, in violation of state and federal election laws, to flip the ballots. That didn’t work either. Trump then called on VP Pence not to certify the Electoral College vote. When Pence refused Trump realized he was between a rock and a hard place. So Trump decided to repeat General Custer’s “last stand”. He put out a call to all his followers to gather at the Capitol and prevent the House and Senate from voting to confirm the Electoral College vote. We all saw and heard the incendiary language of Rudy Giuliani and then Trump–and the results. When the Proud Boys and their elk showed up with chains, ropes, guns and planted pipe bombs around the Capitol it was pretty clear what was going to happen. Trump knew that a strictly “peaceful” rally in front of the Capitol would not stop Pence and the Congress from certifying the vote. Only a storming of the Capitol might accomplish that. The time line of what happened starting at about noon on Jan.6 reveals Trump’s real intentions. At 1:10 Trump ended his “incitement of insurrection” speech. At 1:30 pm the rabble started marching toward the Capitol, overwhelming Capitol Police, and making their way up the Capitol steps. At about 2:15 pm the Trump stormtroopers breached the Capitol itself, breaking windows and storming inside. Five minutes later Congress adjourned and members started running for their lives. At this point many of us feared we were going to see a repeat of the 1933 Reichstag fire in Berlin, the key event in the establishment of the Nazi dictatorship. By the time Trump’s supporters were marching on the Capitol he had already returned to the White House. He didn’t want to hang around and be filmed raising his fist. At 2:24 pm, when his supporters were already trashing the Capitol, Trump tweeted: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving states a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify, USA demands the truth!” Did Trump call on his supporters to leave the Capitol “peacefully”? Nope. It wasn’t until 2:38 pm that Trump tweeted: “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!” Of course, by this time much of the damage had already occurred inside the Capitol and members of Congress were in hiding in fear of their lives. I think Trump made his second tweet only because his aides told him that to say nothing to bring his riot squad to heel would invite the charge that he deliberately provoked the riot. .

    The time for Trump to urge his followers to remain “peaceful” was either before or during his rally speech. But to do this would have defeated the whole purpose of stopping the certification of the Electoral College vote. That’s why Trump refused to condemn the Proud Boys in his debate with Biden and only told them to “stand by”. He wanted them to be available should he need them later. And Trump did need them on Jan. 6. Now I think there is ample evidence to convict Trump but Senate Republicans won’t because they mostly still support Trump’s false claims that the election was “stolen” by the Democrats and refuse to acknowledge that their leader is a seditionist.

      1. There are no longer 26K troops.
        The 26K troops were placed there by Trump’s Administration, not Democrats.

        You have a hard time keeping track of facts, Sal Kurtz, just like you have a hard time referring to Trump as one of the billionaires you condemn.

        1. “You have a hard time keeping track of facts, Sal Kurtz,”

          I see Anonymous the Stupid is insulting Sal about the troops in DC. I’m not sure of the origins of all these stories and I don’t claim any answers but I do take note of the inconsistencies.

          According to Anonymous the Stupid Trump is responsible for an insurrection.

          On the other hand he tells us “The 26K troops were placed there by Trump’s Administration, not Democrats.”

          If Trump was looking for an insurrection by a relatively small number of people I wonder why he would make sure 26,000 troops were in place to stop one.

          1. Allan, if you’d been paying attention, you’d know that the 26K troops weren’t stationed until after the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6. Trump did not “make sure 26,000 troops were in place to stop” it.

            1. Anonymous the Stupid if Trump were trying to cause an insurrection he wouldn’t have called the troops in at all unless those troops were to keep Biden out, but that is not what they were there for. You always try to correct your mistakes too late after the fact.

              You were inconsistent as usual. Live with it.

        2. “The 26K troops were placed there by Trump’s Administration, not Democrats.”

          So, what’s the purpose of the trial, again?

          BTW, they are still in DC, along with the fences.

          1. No, most of the 26K National Guard in DC have already returned to their home states.

    1. Denis, when you say that no crime must be present for an impeachment you conveniently leave out the constitutional statement “high crimes and misdemeanors”. According to your interpretation an impeachment can be held just because the party in charge doesn’t like the cut of his Jib. I have an incitement to violence for you. “Pigs in a blanket fry em like bacon”. Oh I forgot. Mostly peaceful frying. You give to much credit to Donald Trump when you assume he can look into the future through his crystal ball and tell us when and how a protest may occur. The Democrats called for a protest at the Capitol during the Kavanaugh hearing. I can still see the picture of Senator Flake when he was trapped in an elevator by an angry mob. He was visibly frightened. 227 people were arrested. They weren’t arrested for peaceful protests. Denis, now that I have pointed out this well known information I am so very sure that you will be calling for the prosecution of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Shumer for their incitement to violence. Do the right thin Denis. You know the “the thing”

  3. Rep. Green represents the Green New Wave. Green Wives Matter. The country got to where we are in a handbasket. We are in Hell and it smells. Hotsie Tootsie! I smell a Nazi. Three stooges in one room. Moe! Larry! Cheese!

    1. We are from France! People have no pants! Trump is in Florida!
      Where’s Obama at?
      George W. is in Texas.
      Clinton:. Where you at?
      Carter is a Farter.

      Truman is in heaven. He was our best Pres. He was from Missoura.
      Read the new book out by Joe Scarborough.

  4. If your looking for some real incitement to violence I got it for you. “Pigs in a blanket fry em like bacon”. Who do you suppose the people in that crowd voted for. When policeman were later killed were you calling for a trial predicated on incitement to violence for those good folks. We should be concerned for some who post here. Such a lack of memory certainly predicts a present or forthcoming condition of dementia.

  5. Professor Turley is correct. The Democrats know that there will be no conviction.The only reason for this trial is to keep their base inflamed. The heat from the fire they are keeping alive can be felt through the my keyboard. It’s all for political purposes. They proclaim that they must save the Nation. The Nation is actually named, The United States of The Democratic Power.

    1. https://www.nationalreview.com/news/tulsi-gabbard-domestic-terrorism-bill-is-a-targeting-of-almost-half-of-the-country/

      The Democrat base consists of well meaning but naive people on the one hand, and insane radicals on the other

      They need to understand that if you bring civil war, there will be casualties on both sides

      Especially when it’s so close to half and half. Locking up half the country is not feasible

      Are you ready for this, really? If not then call off your crazed dogs now

      Sal Sar

      PS maybe this is what our ENEMIES THE BILLIONAIRES REALLY WANT. a CIVIL WAR IN AMERICA where the peasants all slaughter each other

      Then, they will get to their reduced emissions a lot faster than a slow moving virus! Remember, folks, we are just useless CO2 emitters to Bill Gates!

  6. TURLEY RELIES ON WHAT ABOUTS

    Professor Turley writes:  “Democrats have challenged electoral votes in the past, and many denied the legitimacy of Trump’s election on his inauguration day as violent protests erupted in Washington”.
    ………………………………………………………

    Neither Hillary Clinton nor any top Democrat encoured mobs to protest Trump’s inauguration. Hillary, in fact, conceded to Trump on election night ‘before’ her Popular Vote lead opened as wide as it did.  One could even argue that Hillary was unwise to concede that early.

    But ‘yes’, there were rowdy mobs protesting Trump’s inauguration.  Many believed Trump hadn’t really won.  Trump’s ‘victory’ was indeed a ‘fluke’, to put it mildly.  80,000 voters in 3 states had overridden 2.8 million nationally.  The optics were terrible!

    One should note that when George W. Won his Electoral College-only victory back in 2000, that was the first such victory in more than 100 years.  Yet Bush lost the Popular Vote by only 500,000 as opposed to Trump’s 2.8 million loss.  

    One can go round and round and round claiming the Electoral College is a ‘cherished’ institution lovingly created a our founding fathers.  That’s not true, however.  The Electoral College was steeped in controversy from the the very start.  

    At best the Electoral College was intended as a tie-breaking mechanism.  It was never intended as an alternate path to victory.  Yet the Millennial generation saw ‘2’ Electoral College-only victories before their mid 30’s.  So one could forgive Millennials for taking a dim view of that institution.  ‘2’ such outcomes in a span of 16 years does not look like democracy.

    Trump’s schemes to overturn this most recent election were leveraged on weaponizing the Electoral College.  That was only way Trump could overcome his Popular Vote deficit of 7 million.  Therefore Trump’s schemes illustrate how the Electoral College could be gamed by a defeated rogue.  

    1. ANNON Did Obama and his admin nstill a coup attempt beginning in 2015. None of the Dems have ever conceeded to this day that DT won in 2016. What was FBI Dir Comey’s comment on Hillary’s having Classified Gov’t data on a personal server and iphones, and destruction of said email data? He said; he did not persue Hill because of her intent? Hillary distroyed emails that were Under Subpeona by the Gov’t. Hell, that would be a crime charged against anyone when US had a rule of law. It would also be a charge against anyone other than an upper echalon Democrat today. Eliminating the electoral college would render the US to simply a Democrat (Beginning from FDR on down) Democracy. Why don’r you just get your arse off the limb and say so?

    2. “At best the Electoral College was intended as a tie-breaking mechanism. It was never intended as an alternate path to victory. Yet the Millennial generation saw ‘2’ Electoral College-only victories before their mid 30’s. So one could forgive Millennials for taking a dim view of that institution. ‘2’ such outcomes in a span of 16 years does not look like democracy.”

      You and those Millenials either slept through both Civics and American History classes or were intentionally taught Leftists Dogma for. them and/or to believe that as you opine.

      How many times must you be told we have a Representative Republic form of government and not a democratic form of government?

      Have you read the Constitution lately so as to have a founding in the government structure that it puts in place to include an election system that as in all of the other parts of the Document includes safeguards with checks and balances to prevent mob rule by a simple majority?

      Yes it is awkward but the Founding Fathers understood the dangers of mob rule as the French Revolution was still very fresh in people’s minds.

        1. so what? Communist Rosa Luxembourg said that marriage was a relic of slavery too. Want to get rid of that?

          Oh silly me– they answer is of course, yes

          Sal Sar

          1. To repeat: Saying something doesn’t make it true.

            You have an overactive imagination.

      1. The electoral college corrects the aberrations of voters as a mechanism of control in a restricted-vote republic.

        Think about it; turnout in the first election was 11.6%, by design.

        It was the intent of the Founders that capable, reverent, ambitious, motivated, accomplished and intelligent people preside, strictly within the parameters of the original Constitution and Bill of Rights.
        ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

        “the people are nothing but a great beast…

        I have learned to hold popular opinion of no value.”

        – Alexander Hamilton
        ________________

    3. Wow! The Framers were clairvoyant? The Constitution was written in September of 1787 20 months before the start of the French revolution. The French Revolution started in May of 1789, the Bastille was stormed in July of 1789, the reign of terror, the circumstance you seem to think the Electoral college was designed yo prevent, started in September of 1793, a full 6 years after the Constitution was written.
      Do us all a favor and stick to whatever it is that you know, or at least do some research before making these ridiculous pronouncements.
      Don’t just parrot the lies they feed yu.

  7. TURLEY RELIES ON WHAT ABOUTS

    Professor Turley writes:  “Democrats have challenged electoral votes in the past, and many denied the legitimacy of Trump’s election on his inauguration day as violent protests erupted in Washington”.
    ………………………………………………………

    Neither Hillary Clinton nor any top Democrat encoured mobs to protest Trump’s inauguration. Hillary, in fact, conceded to Trump on election night ‘before’ her Popular Vote lead opened as wide as it did.  One could even argue that Hillary was unwise to concede as early as she did. 

    But ‘yes’, there were rowdy mobs protesting Trump’s inauguration.  Many believed Trump hadn’t really won.  Trump’s ‘victory’ was indeed a ‘fluke’ to put it mildly.  80,000 voters in 3 states had overridden 2.8 million nationally.  The optics were terrible!

    One should note that when George W. Won his Electoral College-only victory back in 2000, that was the first such victory in more than 100 years.  Yet Bush lost the Popular Vote by only 500,000 as opposed to Trump’s 2.8 million loss.  

    One can go round and round and round claiming the Electoral College is a ‘cherished’ institution lovingly created a our founding fathers.  That’s not true, however.  The Electoral College was steeped in controversy from the the very start.  

    At best the Electoral College was intended as a tie-breaking mechanism.  It was never intended as an alternate path to victory.  Yet the Millennial generation saw ‘2’ Electoral College-only victories before their mid 30’s.  So one could forgive Millennials for taking a dim view of that institution.  ‘2’ such outcomes in a span of 16 years does not look like democracy.

    Trump’s schemes to overturn this most recent election were leveraged on weaponizing the Electoral College.  That was only way Trump could overcome his Popular Vote deficit of 7 million.  Therefore Trump’s schemes illustrate how the Electoral College could be gamed by a defeated rogue.  

  8. Trump’s lawyer at the rally called for “Trial by Combat.”

    That was Trump’s lawyer. I think it clears up any ambiguity in what Trump might have said. You can’t really blame the people who violently stormed the Capitol from hearing this correctly, even if Turley did not.

    1. From your preposterous mental meanderings it follows that “hostile witnesses” in courts of law are engaged in warfare and acts of war, aka combat.

      Words have meanings…lots of meanings.

      Hostilities

      hostility
      [ ho-stil-i-tee ]

      noun, plural

      hos·til·i·ties.

      1. a hostile state, condition, or attitude; enmity; antagonism; unfriendliness.
      2. a hostile act.
      3. opposition or resistance to an idea, plan, project, etc.

      4. hostilities,

      a. acts of warfare.

      b. war

      – Dictionary.com
      _____________

      Hostile witness

      A hostile witness, also known as an adverse witness or an unfavorable witness, is a witness at trial whose testimony on direct examination is either openly antagonistic or appears to be contrary to the legal position of the party who called the witness.

      – Wiki
      ____

      Definition of hostile

      1a : of or relating to an enemy hostile fire
      b : marked by malevolence : having or showing unfriendly feelings a hostile act
      c : openly opposed or resisting a hostile critic hostile to new ideas
      d (1) : not hospitable plants growing in a hostile environment

      (2) : having an intimidating, antagonistic, or offensive nature a hostile workplace
      2 a : of or relating to the opposing party in a legal controversy a hostile witness
      b : adverse to the interests of a property owner or corporation management a hostile takeover

      – Merriam-Webster

      1. I am not sure why you are sharing the multiple meanings of hostile witness. The term “hostile witness” was not used by anyone in inciting the Capitol riots.

        The term “Trial by Combat” was used. There is one definition of “trial by combat” and it involves violence.

        1. Oh, I apologize.

          Was that a stretch?

          And “Trial by Combat” isn’t?

          Hostilities are acts of war and, similarly, constitute “combat.”

          The hostile hostilities related to hostile witnesses must also be the equivalent of “combat” and equivalently unacceptable, but that they are in courts of law on a regular basis and cannot, therefore, be as repulsive and unacceptable as implied by the overzealous (i.e. wackjob) author of the missive above in which he presented the reference to “Trial By Combat” as a call to war; an order to charge.

          Every word out of the mouths of conservatives is assailable and criminal when rewritten through communist (liberal, progressive, socialist, democrat, RINO) interpretation and spin.

          You do enjoy a cognitive process, do you not?

  9. Panem et circenses.
    Bread and circuses.
    Juvenal, 1st-2nd cent. C.E., Roman satiric poet

    Politics consists of bloodless war; war consists of blood politics.

    A politician has two jobs. One, to get elected and two, to get re-elected, preferably to a higher office.
    dennis hanna

  10. In Myanmar, the military was claiming that there were 8 million fraudulent votes and the candidate who got 80 percent of the seats in the legislature really lost.

    If Turley lived in Myanmar, Turley would be defending the military and saying that the ensuing coup was unrelated to those claims of fraud.

  11. Trump told the rioters, after they had stormed the Capitol, murdered a police officer, and sent all of Congress into hiding, “We love you! You’re special!”

    How does that fit into your narrative that these rioters were doing the opposite of what Trump asked them to do?

    In the absence of Trump’s own testimony – and he is refusing to testify – then what else could you conclude about Trump’s intent here?

  12. Congressional Managers and Senators who vote in this impeachment trial are wittingly and willfully perpetrating the crime of false and malicious prosecution with full knowledge that the power to prosecute has lapsed, that the former president is not “THE” president and that a former president cannot be convicted. Congressional Managers and Senators who vote in this impeachment trial know that the impeachment trial is not legal or legitimate without the Chief Justice presiding. Congressional Managers and Senators who vote in this impeachment trial must be impeached themselves for the crimes of high office of abuse of power, usurpation of power, dereliction of duty, prosecution with malice aforethought et al. Congressional Mangers and Senators who vote in this impeachment trial are functioning outside of the law. Congressional Managers and Senators who vote in this impeachment trial have established that America is now lawless.

  13. What exactly does Turley see as Trump’s intent on 1/6?

    I mean, there was not a legal way to peacefully overturn the election at that point, Trump having lost at the polls, in the courts, and at state legislatures, and Republicans did not control the House. But he still said he was still trying to overturn the election and publicly stating it was still possible, and Rudy was even leaving a message with Sen. Tuberville that night saying if he could just delay the vote for another day something else would happen in state legislatures.

    I mean, if it worked, and the protesters say, killed maybe a dozen Democratic Congressmen and then the rest of the Republicans were intimidated into certifying for Trump despite what the voters did, I think Trump would have been happy. Or maybe they make it so Congress could not meet for a few days for safety reasons and then they argue that the electoral vote does not count so they have to go to the House with each state voting once. Or maybe in the chaos the army declares martial law and does something like that. Because Trump did not really care how it happened as long as he won.

    It is easiest to always give Trump the benefit of the doubt on what he is saying because so often he says something just the opposite of what he just said and so many people are willing to play the “Trump didn’t really say” what he said game. But there is no legitimate way for Trump to win at that point and he was still trying to win.

    1. The electoral votes were being disputed. Pence should have rejected and returned them to state legislatures.

      1. The “dispute” was baseless, based on nothing more than Trump’s ego and fear of being a loser, and he began disputing the results even before Election Day, based on polls predicting he would lose. Secretaries of State decide the validity of challenges to votes, not the legislatures of states or federal government. Recounts were allowed, and so were re-recounts, and in GA, there was signature match validation. All the vote counting was done under bipartisan scrutiny. This was the most-secure election in US history. Trump fired anyone who told him otherwise, including Krebs and Barr. Pence had no authority to do anything other than the pro forma acceptance of the certified results.

        1. Have you read Molly Ball’s Time Magazine article yet? There was a cabal of elites and powers-that-be, tech oligarchs, media, etc, all colluding together to rig and steal the election by technically “legal” means. Once you understand what happened in this election, no reasonable person could conclude that it was a free and fair election that reflected the “will of the people.”

          1. Here’s how I know that whatever you are referring to is pure fantasy: Have you read 4 years worth of approval ratings for Trump, including those of “conservative” polling companies? He never got even a 50% approval. Most Americans didn’t vote for him in 2016, either. He was unpopular from the get-go, and it got worse as time went on: insulting John McCain, refusing to do anything about Putin paying bounties for killing Americans, diverting money from the Pentagon for his vain wall, caging migrants and kidnapping their children, running up an historic deficit…the list goes on. Do you know how bad the economy got under Trump? As bad as the Great Depression. The same is true for unemployment, which is still in the toilet. America has about 4% of the world’s population, but we have 25% of the infections and death, primarily due to Trump’s incompetence, lack of any serious plan for handling the crisis, lying about Hydroxychloroquine and suggesting taking bleach and lights internally and lying about the seriousness of the pandemic. How do you explain down-ballot Republicans winning votes on the same ballot as Biden in swing states? Polls predicted he would lose, even those of Fox News, and he did lose.

            And yet, people like you believe that somehow most Americans overwhelmingly voted for Trump despite disapproving of him for 4 years running and despite a failed economy, a failed pandemic response and historic unemployment.. Just those indisputable facts alone make whatever theory you’re trying to claim not only improbable, but impossible.

            1. President Biden is still in his honeymoon period –his first 2 weeks in office– and his poll numbers aren’t even 50% approval.

              “Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll, for Friday February 05, 2021

              49% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Biden’s job performance. Forty-eight percent (48%) disapprove.

              The latest figures include 34% who Strongly Approve of the job Biden is doing and 39% who Strongly Disapprove. This gives him a Presidential Approval Index rating of -5. (see trends)”

              Say all you want about Rasmussen. It’s a daily tracking poll and it is valid, and probably more so, than many of the others

              https://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/biden_administration/prez_track_feb05

              1. And Natacha — those are Biden’s poll numbers with a friendly media running cover for him day in and day out. Those poll numbers are with Big Tech censoring opposing voices and shutting them down on the internet and social media. Those poll numbers do not reflect a newly elected president who received MORE votes than Barack Obama in 2008 and the most votes for president in the history of the world. Just these facts alone make whatever theory you’re trying to claim highly questionable. Just because you call it a Big Lie over and over, doesn’t make it a lie. Joe Biden’s poll numbers do not jibe with him winning over 80 million votes. Improbable at best.

              2. Rasmussen is NOT RELIABLE. They always skewed pro-Trump, and no knowledgeable person takes them seriously.

            2. Biden admin is now ‘caging migrant children.’ But the media do not call it that, or make it a 5 alarm talking point, of course.

            3. The economy Trump built for ALL Americans was booming and one of the greatest we have seen in a long long time in this country. It’s not Trump’s fault that China unleashed a deadly virus on the world, nor is it Trump’s fault that he listened to the “experts” and went ahead with the recommended lockdowns. Before Covid, Trump’s unemployment numbers across the board were at never-before-seen historic levels. Trump’s economy was working for more people and more people were working than ever. Trump campaigned on promising Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, and he delivered on that promise – along with many other campagin promises.

              Trump delivered on his promise to have a vaccine approved and ready to deliver before the end of the year — against all the media naysayers who called him and Pence liars for saying so. Trump delivered on yet another promise and by the end of his admin they were vaccinating over 900k per day. One day they averaged 1.5 million shots during the final week of his presidency. Yet we have Biden who keeps lying about being left with nothing in place and no plan to deliver vaccines. This is another of Biden’s flatout lies that the fake news media continue to repeat, even though they know it is false.

            4. Natacha —

              You can fool all the people some of the time,
              and some of the people all the time,
              but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

              – Abraham Lincoln

        2. Trump Won.

          Biden required massive manipulation of the truth/media/news, election fraud and vote tampering to force Americans to believe the false results.
          ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

          “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

          – William Casey, CIA Director 1981-1987

    2. John a.p, so you go from incitement to violence to Trump would be happy if a dozen Democrats were killed. You join Alex Jones in the conspiracy theory green room. You should understand that people will notice. A bunch of if this or if that founded in your imagination. Perhaps a better answer to your post would be, if a frog had wings he wouldn’t bump his butt when he hops.

      1. When a lot of people storm the Capitol some with weapons and zip ties to take hostages and some people get killed and some are in Nancy Pelosi’s office it is not an Alex Jones conspiracy theory to say other people, including Congresspeople, could have been killed.

        1. The only person killed was Ashli Babbitt. She was shot dead by a Capitol Police officer applying his own idiosyncratic rules of engagement.

          As for the other five: one was a Captiol Police officer with personal problems who committed suicide some days later, two were older men who died of natural causes (heart attack in one case, stroke in another), 1 was an unhealthy woman of about 35 who appears to have succumbed to some combination of cardiac event and accidental injury, and one was a Capitol police officer who collapsed after it was over with a blood clot in his brain; the coroner has yet to figure out how he acquired it, but someone in law enforcement is leaking information to state media to the effect that there is no evidence of blunt force trauma from the autopsy or the security camera footage.

          1. Ashli Babbitt was NO Raymond Babbitt. She was shot by police because she was trying to break into the Capitol, where she had no right to be, while engaging in an insurrection. There’s nothing idiosyncratic about it–these people were there to intimidate, and kill, if possible, members of Congress in an effort to try to prevent the will of the American people as to their choice of President and Vice President. The Trump Insurrectionists were trespassing, damaging government property, and not only ignored commands of the Capitol Police, they assaulted and beat several of them. There were multiple fractured bones and one will lose his eye. Everyone in the building underwent trauma–some physical, and all, emotional. The Trump Insurrectionists were actually hunting for AOC.

            I am blown away that anyone would try to downplay the deaths on January 6th. The heart attack, stroke and death due to “cardiac event and accidental injury” were both brought on by the stress of the violence instigated by Trump. Brian Sicknick was bludgeoned on his head with a fire extinguisher, and that caused the blood clot on his brain. It is on video, so the “someone in law enforcement” is making this sh%t up. As to the suicide, this officer failed in his duties to protect the Capitol from the Trump Insurrectionists. That was the cause of his death. None of these deaths is independent of the insurrection Trump caused. You’ve been listening to the extreme right media again, and they are misleading you.

            1. The only reporting I have read re the riot indicates none of the “insurrectionists” were armed.

              A number of those arrested for violence have been leftist activists and instigators, not MAGA Trump supporters. Many questions remain. Much is being covered up.

              1. “The only reporting I have read re the riot indicates none of the “insurrectionists” were armed.”

                Then read more. You can see the charges here –
                https://www.justice.gov/usao-dc/capitol-breach-cases
                You’ll see more than one who was armed. For example, Christopher Alberts was charged with “Unlawful Possession of a Firearm on Capitol Grounds or Buildings; Unlawful Entry or Remaining on Restricted Grounds without Lawful Authoirty; Carrying a Pistol without a License Outside Home or Place of Business; Possession of a Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device”

                A number of people are still being sought, including the guy who planted the IEDs.

                “A number of those arrested for violence have been leftist activists and instigators, not MAGA Trump supporters”

                I’m only aware of one, John Earle Sullivan. Name the others you’re referring to.

            2. Ashli Babbitt was NO Raymond Babbitt. She was shot by police because she was trying to break into the Capitol,

              She was separated from the officer by a heavy door and was not advancing on him. He appears to have fired at random into a scrum of people.. You never stop lying.

              1. Video I watched showed a gun and a shot point blank right into Ashli Babbitts head/neck. It did not look like firing at random.

                1. He was about three feet away. Clearly shot for the head, hit her in neck, probably assumed she was wearing body armor and wanted to rack up a kill

                  A current day Lon Horiuchi, who shot an unarmed lady guilty of mere trespass

                  And look at all these shameful liars applauding it

                  Sal Sar

                  1. Exactly. Video I saw shows Babbitt being caught up in the mob piling in front of the doors and then suddenly she was being lifted up (not clear that she even knew what was happening in that moment) and then as she was lifted and kind of pushed to be the first to go through the already broken window, she was shot in the neck by an officer who was standing directly to the left side at point blank range. It was not random firing, she was shot to kill, and she was unarmed, as were most of them.

                    The whole thing stinks like a setup in so many ways.

                  2. At what point can a police officer shoot? She had already broken into the Capitol. She was leading a group of people to break into a lobby where a number of Congressmen were located. The door was barricaded. A police officer stood on the other side, gun drawn. There were police officers trying to block the doorway on the otherwise and Babbitt and others just ignored them, smashing windows right next to them, and then Babbitt crawled through the window.

                    I wonder if someone broke into your house and kept coming and breaking into where your family was hiding when you think you could shoot the intruder?

                    1. This is a legit question. You make an analogy to the crime called burglary. The analogy is flawed. This was at best, trespass.

                      The security guard should stand trial for homicide. If a jury finds that he was in fear of his life, or acting within the statutory outline for terminating the commission of a forcible felony with lethal force, then I can accept it.

                      I wonder why the other two guys did not shoot the people on the other side of the door. Was that security man just a trigger happy sort of fellow? Was he more of a coward than the other two who held their fire? Was he afraid of unarmed middle aged white women crawling slowly through small broken windows? Did he think she was a zombie?

                      We don’t even know his name

                      Sal Sar

            3. Horrible Natch applauds the murder of an unarmed woman guilty of mere tresspass

              And who shot her? what was his name? Not even a police– a Senatorial security guard

              $10 says the executioner was one of Pelosi’s. Why won’t mass media say?

              Sal Sar

              1. “murder”? Really? Did this woman have a right to be there? Was she told by Capitol police not to enter? Did she persist in proceeding inside the Capitol after being told to stop by Capitol oikuce? Was she standing in a group of people trying to break down the door? Yes she was. Why were these people trying to break into the Capitol? Why? It was to try to stop or intimidate Congress from carrying out the will of the American people. If they had been able to get to members of Congress, what would they have done? Kill some of them, like they did Brian Sicknick? Abduct some of them? Hold them hostage, try to destroy the certified votes? Would they have actually hung Mike Pence if they got to him? Was their presence there lawful, and did they have a right to break down the door? No. This was no mere “trespasser”.

                This insurrectionist was shot after being told to stop by Capitol Police. She was told to disperse, but refused.The group she was with was trying to break down a door that the police on the other side had barricaded with furniture. The man’s name is not being broadcast. Know why? Because of pathetically stupid people like you who might try to hunt him down and kill him for doing his job to protect the Capitol. Their actions bought time for members of Congress to be taken to a secure location. Pence barely got away. The officer’s identity is being protected because people like you lack common sense and are devotees of a pathological liar and will believe whatever right-wing conspiracy theories you are fed. This woman was not murdered–she died during the commission of a felony. Her death could have been prevented if she hadn’t stormed the Capitol, or if she had obeyed the commands of the Capitol police. Trump is responsible for her death, and Fox and the other ultra right wing media who broadcast his lies about election fraud bear responsibility.

                1. Yes, murder with malice aforethought

                  In case you slept through both criminal law and torts, generally, both civilians AND Senatorial security guards, and police, may not terminate misdemeanor tresspass with lethal force

                  I thought you Democrats were experts in that. We have heard it a thousand times about “rountine killing of blacks by police” as Vanity fair recently alleged.

                  Do you think that it was ok to kill this unarmed trespasser, because she was a white woman? If so then come out with it.

                  Sal Sar

                2. “Because of pathetically stupid people like you who might try to hunt him down and kill him for doing his job to protect the Capitol”

                  Watch your tongue witch. YOU DEFAME ME. I am law abiding in every respect

                  Saloth Sar

                3. Only forcible felonies may be terminated with lethal force. Trespassing is not even a felony. Let alone a forcible one.

                  You apologize for the murdering security guard and you cast a false light upon myself.

                  Sal Sar

                4. Some of those Capitol Police LET THEM IN THE BUILDING. You know those videos showing this footage are being scrubbed from the internet as we speak.

                5. “The man’s name is not being broadcast. Know why? Because of pathetically stupid people like you who might try to hunt him down and kill him for doing his job to protect the Capitol.”

                  see this is the kind of thinking from people who want a new Democrat bill for “domestic terrorism” to serve as a pretense to lock up their political opponents, to demonize them, to paint all republicans as terrorists– which is precisely what CA-14 Rep Speier said of Republicans on Twitter this past week– here is a small fry far below her Natch dancing to the tune they are calling.

                  the very same people who said police should stand down from terminating the forcible felonies that happened by the thousands in our major cities in 2020– real forcible felonies like arson, burglary, assault, battery, and even murder– now want an unarmed woman to die for trespass because it disgraced the supposed holy of holies.

                  That’s why they want 26,000 troops to remain in DC setting up fences and barriers– they actually intend to harm us. Physically, literally, to harm us, en masse, and not merely tax us to death this time around. they got bigger plans than they ever had before. Isnt that right, witch?

                  Be careful what you wish for, It might not turn out how you expect.

                  Sal Sar

                  1. Jen Psaki was asked today about how the Biden admin defines “domestic terrorist.” She had no answer. She was then asked if it would include Antifa in addition to right-wing groups. Psaki said that “a review” would make that determination.

                    So it’s clear that the “right wing” and Trump supporters ARE being labeled as “domestic terrorists”…even some already being stopped and profiled at airports now! But they need to have further review about whether Antifa are “domestic terrorists”?

                    We see what’s going on here.

            4. Hey Natacha, the FBI reported that pipe bombs were found at both the Republican and Democratic headquarters. Would it be so hard to suppose that these were acts of anarchy for anarchy’s sake? Could it then be considered that the same people who set the bombs were at the Capital rioting not for either side but against the nation as a whole?You automatically assume that the violence was perpetuated be Trump supporters. If this were true why would they plant a bomb at the Republican headquarters. You seem to be a person of intelligence. If you are indeed intelligent, why not let a little reason slip in in order to curtail another preconceived bend toward a new found conspiracy theory. I understand that you base your claims on information given to you by those in possession of the Holy Grail. The grail lies heavy on their shoulders. So heavily that it makes their turning up of their CNN and MSNBC stanchions very difficult when it is found out that they have edited reports to blank out the actual words that one could easily see in the undoctored version. Your stanchion is trailing on the ground. Don’t worry. They come to your rescue and you go to there’s. I am sure that there is a Nobel peace prize in your future.

        2. Olut, sure it’s possible that people could have been killed. To make an extrapolation that Trump would have been happy about their deaths wanders into Fantasy Island.. Alex Jones Fantasy Island or John qp’s Fantasy Island are at exactly the same longitude and latitude in the Archipelago. Why not speak of something that was not a fantasy. In Seattle people were killed for real.

        3. There is reporting out there that indicates the guy photographed with a handful of zip ties did not bring them IN with him with some intent to take hostages; he simply found them inside the building and picked them up along the way. Reporting indicates none of the protestors were armed.

          1. The charges against people who’ve been arrested show that more than one person was armed.

            More than one person had zip ties. You should learn more.

            1. Most were unarmed. The Dems support and enthusiastically champion mostly peaceful protests…they even donate money to bail them out of jail like Kamala did.

  14. Congressional Managers and Senators who vote in this impeachment trail are wittingly and willfully perpetrating the crime of false and malicious prosecution with full knowledge that the power to prosecute has

    lapsed, that the former president is not “THE” president and that a former president cannot be convicted.

    Congressional Managers and Senators who vote in this impeachment trial know that the impeachment trial is not legal or legitimate without the Chief Justice presiding.

    Congressional Managers and Senators who vote in this impeachment trial must be impeached themselves for the crimes of high office of abuse of power, usurpation of power, dereliction of duty, prosecution with

    malice aforethought et al.

    Congressional Mangers and Senators who vote in this impeachment trial are functioning outside of the law.

    Congressional Managers and Senators who vote in this impeachment trial have established that America is now lawless.

  15. Impeachment is Democrat garbage. That is what runs the Democrat Party of today.

  16. Every time the Democrats win they think that finally the people have come around to their way of thinking. They believe that every election they win is a landslide. Consequently they believe that they have been given a license to do what ever they want. This impeachment is a classic example of their hubris. They were amazed when they lost the house after the first two years of the Obama administration. “How could this happen” they cried. They scurried about trying to analyze what happened. They declared that it must have been their tactics that caused their failure. Never once would they admit that it might have been that their policies were rejected by the voters. People don’t forget “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor”. People will not forget “ I will not ban fracking. Biden is in a frenzied race to implement the policies of the left. Some say that he is in a hurry because he is only going to serve one term. In actuality, he understands why his party lost the house under Obama and he knows that the time is very possibly two years and not four. He is sold out on the idea that the people just don’t understand that what he is doing is for their own good. And by God he is going to make them eat their diner whether they like it or not. He doesn’t understand that the children are not going to eat their spinach no mater what he tries or what he threatens. Two years is a short time away. Scurry Joe Scurry.

  17. Moving forward, Republicans must be on Offense, not Defense. They must go on the offensive and fight back as ruthlessly, loudly, and often as the Democrat shameless liars do, from Pelosi and Schumer on down the line. Anyone saying that Republicans should not engage in “tit for tat” is 100% wrong. Neither Biden nor the Democrat Party are acting in good faith, attempting to govern by consesus and compromise. They are ramming it all through, come hell and high water, while lying about it all, every step of the way.

    1. Sorry Anon, I have come to agree with you on many positions. However, I can not agree that we should use the same tactics as the left. Let reason be our sword. When the time comes our motto should be “With malice toward none and charity for all”. If we give up on this principle our doom will be of our own making. I know your angry. I am angry too, but if we lose are moring the ship of freedom will be lost. Stand fast my friend to that which is good.

  18. Thanks for that p..s poor opening statement for the defense Turley. I particularly liked:

    “Moreover, while Trump — like prior presidents — is unlikely to testify….”

    There has only been 2 other presidents impeached and at least one of them – Clinton – did testify., so that should be “Moreover, while Trump — like another president — is unlikely to testify…..”

    1. You might be right Joe. However, once again you deflect to one statement that is not germane to the premise of the post. You may partake of your thin gruel and stale bread as much as you like but please don’t expect the rest of us to join in at your meager feast.

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