By JOHN KANELIS / firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald Trump’s defense in his second impeachment trial is beginning to take shape.
It will not center on the high crime for which the House of Representatives impeached him. What he did was visible on TV screens around the world: He incited the terrorists to storm Capitol Hill on the Sixth of January and seek to prevent Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election that determine Joe Biden the winner.
Instead, the former president’s defense will hinge on some constitutional language that suggests that the House acted beyond the scope of its power by impeaching a man who no longer would be serving in the office of president.
Except for this little item: Trump was president when the House impeached him on Jan. 13. He left the office a week after that. The Senate is trying him now to prevent him from seeking public office ever again.
As I ponder this event, which begins on Feb. 9, I am left to wonder whether a second acquittal for Donald Trump will be on a technicality. You know, the kind of verdict that hardline prosecutors detest when they lose cases in which they present incontrovertible evidence, only to see it swept aside because of some technical matter.
You can bet your final dollar that the House managers who present their case will rely solely on the evidence that everyone saw with their own eyes and heard with their own ears. Think as well about the fact that senators will be hearing this evidence in the very scene of the crime that the rioters committed … at Donald Trump’s behest.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered the single count leveled against Trump to the Senate. The House managers have a steep hill to climb if they hope to persuade 17 GOP senators to do the right thing and vote to convict Trump.
However, as we have seen with all too much maddening regularity, congressional Republicans too often exhibit cowardice when faced with political repercussions. Donald Trump is now a cult leader in exile … but the cultists who follow him remain committed to him far more than to the country they profess to love.