Tag Archives: Senate trial

Why acquit this potential foe?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

If there are any major villains among the cast of U.S. Senate Republicans willing to acquit Donald John Trump on charges that he incited that hideous riot on Jan. 6, they likely are Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri.

Think about this little bit of political dynamism, if you will.

Both of these men seem to care little about the Senate. They both want to be president of the United States. Cruz ran for the big office in 2016, only to lose to the guy he called a “sniveling coward,” a “narcissist the likes of which we haven’t seen,” a “pathological liar” and an “amoral” individual. Hawley also appears to have his eyes on the prize beyond the Senate.

So, here’s the quandary they face. How do they vote to acquit someone and, therefore, enable him to possibly enter the 2024 presidential race having been freed of the charges leveled against him by the House impeachment? Trump might be seen in some circles as a major obstacle to anyone among the GOP ranks of pretenders seeking to ascend to the presidency.

Why not, then, vote to convict and lobby your other colleagues to do the same? Keep the Trump monster caged up by voting to ban him from ever seeking federal public office again.

Oh, wait! I almost forgot something. Doing all of that would anger the Trumpkin Corps of voters who remain loyal to the former Insurrectionist in Chief.

Whatever. I am one American voter/patriot who believes Donald Trump’s future as a political candidate is, shall we say … toast! No matter what the Senate decides at the end of this trial.

Minds are made up?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It’s time for me to step out of my advocate shoes and take a brief — and dispassionate — look at what is playing out on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

I am hearing from a lot of my social media friends and acquaintances about how Republican senators have “made up their minds” to acquit Donald Trump of inciting an insurrection.

A cautionary word is in order. So have the Democratic senators … made up their minds.

A big part of me shares the disgust that Republican senators appear to be digging in on their insistence that Trump doesn’t deserve to be convicted of inciting the riot that damn near destroyed our democratic process.

I wish they would keep an open mind and wait until they hear all the evidence before throwing in with the ex-president.

Fairness, though, compels me to play the devil’s advocate. Democrats have done precisely the same thing they accuse their GOP colleagues of doing. They, too, have dug in. Only their instinct is to convict Trump, which is an instinct I happen to share.

Let us note as well that this isn’t a legal trial. It is a political trial. The Senate — aka the jury — isn’t bound by strict rules of law to be “fair and impartial.” They are politicians who are playing to their respective bases of support, be they progressive or conservative.

If only more of them shared my own view of how to decide this trial.

Lesson needs to be learned

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Well, my fellow Americans … we have been treated to a serious lesson on the fragility, yet sturdiness, of our democracy.

The first half of the Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial has concluded in the U.S. Senate. The House of Representatives prosecutors — members of the House, the managers — made, in my view, a compelling case for conviction. That Trump incited an insurrection against the government he took an oath to protect and defend.

He didn’t do either during his single term as president. He incited a riotous mob of terrorists on Jan. 6, exhorting them to march on Capitol Hill and intervene in Congress doing its job on that day, which was to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.

We saw in graphic terms how close the terrorists came to bringing physical harm to Congress, and to the system of government we cherish.

They didn’t succeed. Our democracy stands to this day. It stands strong and it will survive this horrendous episode.

Donald Trump’s legal team takes the Senate floor on Friday. They say they can make their case in a single day. I am going to go out on a limb here: Trump’s team will talk past the House managers. They will divert the argument, send it down another path.

They cannot argue against the constitutionality of the trial. The Senate has voted already that the trial met constitutional standards. Nor can they possibly defend what transpired on Jan. 6. I double-dog dare them to suggest that Donald Trump’s remarks on The Ellipse didn’t incite the mob to attack the Capitol Building, egg the mobsters to smash windows, to ransack offices, to injure and kill people.

They won’t go there. Instead, I am going to presume Trump’s lawyers might hang their defense on the First Amendment, suggesting that Trump merely was exercising his constitutional free-speech guarantees by declaring his opinion that the election was stolen from him. You know, though, that it wasn’t.

Sigh …

I am left then to salute the founders of this great nation for establishing a governing framework that can withstand the assault that developed on Jan. 6. It was a full-on frontal attack incited by a lame-duck president.

He is likely to get away with what he did; the Senate won’t convict him of the deed I happen to believe he committed. However, his hideous conduct is now on the record for history to judge. Americans have seen it unfold in real time. I don’t know about you, but I never will forget what we learned on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

We must not commit such a horrendous error — electing someone of this individual’s ilk — ever again.

Waiting for Trump team defense

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The prosecution is about to wrap up its argument against Donald John Trump.

I now am steeling myself for the other side of this riveting U.S. Senate impeachment trial.

Acknowledging my own bias,  I believe the House managers put on a stellar case against Trump. He incited the riot on the Sixth of January that sought to derail a constitutional process, which was to certify the results of the 2020 election.

They presented stunning physical evidence. They made their case.

Now it’s about to be Trump’s turn to defend himself through the legal counsel he has hired. Again, admitting my own bias, I must say that Trump team’s legal opening was, shall we say, disjointed and virtually incoherent.

I intend to listen to their case intently. I do not want to prejudge what Trump’s lawyers will present.

I acknowledge, however, that it will be difficult to avoid dismissing their presentation the moment I hear them.

Conviction still unlikely

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The evidence of incitement of insurrection has been searing, heartbreaking, graphic and it reveals a profound danger to our republic.

Despite what I believe we have seen in the impeachment trial of Donald John Trump, I fear it won’t move a sufficient number of Republican U.S. senators to do what they should do … which is convict the ex-president of the crime for which the House of Representatives impeached him for the second time.

Trump will get an acquittal. He likely will crow about it. The good news from my standpoint, though, is that his legacy — and I use that term with great caution — will be scarred forever by the knowledge that most senators believe he violated the sacred oath of his office.

He stood before the crowd of terrorists on the Sixth of January and implored them to march on Capitol Hill. He told them to “stop the steal” of an election he lost fair and square to President Biden. They tried to do as they were instructed to do by their hero, the disgraced president.

It won’t move enough senators to convict Trump. Which means the Senate cannot vote to ban this monster from ever seeking federal public office.

That will be to the shame of all the Republicans — and I am talking specifically to Texas’s two senators, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, both of whom indicate no interest in doing the right thing.

They will hide behind the phony argument about the trial’s alleged unconstitutionality. They will look indifferently at the evidence, at the sight and sounds of terrorists storming the Capitol building, ignoring how many of their colleagues came to being physically harmed … or worse.

The good news, as I see it, will be that Trump will be marked forever as someone who sought to destroy the very government he took an oath to defend and protect.

Trump-Pence: Done!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Imagine where former Vice President Mike Pence is at this moment and then ponder: What is he thinking if he is watching the U.S. Senate trial of Donald John Trump?

The House managers who are prosecuting the ex-president today told a chilling (true) tale of what happened on the Sixth of January, the day Trump incited the riotous mob to storm Capitol Hill.

Vice President Pence was at work in the Capitol Building at that time doing his constitutional duty, which was to preside over a joint congressional session that was meeting to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election — which Trump lost to Joe Biden.

Trump said Pence didn’t “have the courage” to go far beyond his constitutional responsibility and reverse the outcome of the election. The rioters went looking for Pence, declaring their intention to “hang” him.

Did Donald Trump call the VP to offer him comfort? Did he deploy security officers to rescue Pence from the murderous mob? Did he do anything to protect Pence, let alone members of Congress who were doing what the Constitution required them to do? No to all of it! Donald Trump did nothing.

So now I am left to wonder about the former vice president: What in the world is he thinking? How does he remain silent based on what I believe he has seen? How in the name of all that is decent does he maintain any kind of relationship with the man for whom he stood foursquare during their joint term in office?

I noted a while ago that Pence’s relationship with Trump likely ended when he did his job and declared that the 2020 presidential vote was legal, just and that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would become the next president and vice president of the United States.

Today’s testimony only cements my view that former Vice President Pence likely loathes the individual who asked him to join the clown car parade that ran the executive branch of the federal government.

Testimony tears at our soul

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

My heart is breaking.

It breaks as I watch the video being presented by the members of Congress who are making the case to convict Donald John Trump of inciting an insurrection against the federal government.

I fear that it will shatter into a zillion pieces if Republican senators who are sitting in judgment of the ex-president decide to hang with him and vote to acquit this monstrous individual of the crimes for which the House of Representatives impeached him … for the second time!

Make no mistake about this: I have no illusion about whether the video, audio and the text that House managers have presented will sway enough of them to convict this ghastly individual of incitement.

We keep hearing throughout the day that members of the GOP Senate caucus aren’t even watching the videos that House managers present them. They reportedly are doodling on note pads, reading books, looking everywhere except at the screen. Are they not moved? Do they remain committed to the cult leader who masqueraded as a Republican president of the United States?

My goodness! The evidence today tells the world about how the riotous mob that stormed Capitol Hill intended to — and this is tough to write — assassinate Vice President Mike Pence. How in the name of all that is holy and sacred does one accept any portion of that as being normal? I fear the worst, that there will be an insufficient number of Senate Republicans who will listen to their conscience and vote to convict the ex-president of what they know he has done.

That’s in good measure why my heart is breaking while watching this Senate trial unfold.

What is left of my eternal optimism is being tested mightily by what I fear will be the result of this trial.

My broken heart might be healed partially, however, by the knowledge that more than five or six GOP senators will heed the whispers from their conscience.

And that a majority of senators will render a verdict that destroys this monster’s political future.

Managers make the case

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

There’s a good bit more time to go, but I feel the need to offer a brief comment on what is unfolding on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

I am listening to the U.S. House managers make their case that Donald J. Trump incited an insurrection on the Sixth of January.

To my mind and my ears — and surely to my own admitted bias — they are making the case. They are demonstrating with videos, Twitter messages and with Trump’s own rhetoric that the then-president of the United States intended for the riotous terrorist mob to derail our democratic system of government when he exhorted them to storm Capitol Hill.

I will await Trump’s legal team’s rebuttal to this compelling presentation.

Video is difficult to watch

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The more I see the video that came to light once again today at the impeachment trial of Donald John Trump, the more difficult it becomes for me to watch it.

U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, one of the House managers presenting the case against Trump, unveiled the 13-minute video today while arguing that Trump had committed an incitement of insurrection.

The video of those lunatic terrorists storming into the Capitol Building is taking its place among the annals of infamy. It ranks with the video of the jets flying into the World Trade Center on 9/11. That video chokes me up. It gets harder to watch that event unfold nearly 20 years ago.

So it is, then, that the monstrous acts of the Sixth of January have taken their place in the annals of infamy.

Whether all of this results in a conviction for Donald Trump, of course, remains an open question. My sense is that the high bar set by the Constitution for convicting an impeached president makes it damn near impossible for those presenting the case against Trump.

I just know  that when I see that video of those loons seeking to destroy our democratic system of government the angrier I get.

My anger spills over as well to the Insurrectionist in Chief who exhorted them to commit their heinous act.

Restore ‘peaceful transition’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This myth must be dispelled … which is that the presidential transfer from Donald Trump to Joe Biden was not the “peaceful transition of power” we all cherish about our system of government.

That transition included the infamous terrorist riot of the Sixth of January, the one that killed five people, including a Capitol Police officer who died trying to keep the mob from overpowering the Capitol Building.

So, a Senate trial is about to commence. We must never — not ever! — lose sight of what we nearly lost on that terrible day and in the weeks that preceded it. We nearly lost what arguably is the most significant positive aspect of our system of government.

We go through a presidential election every four years. They produce a winner and a loser. The winner is filled with joy and anticipation of assuming the awesome power of the office. The loser is disappointed, and understandably so. But the candidate who loses that contest usually then calls the winner, offers a word of congratulations and then pledges to “work with” the winner in continuing our national journey.

That didn’t happen in 2020. The loser bitched and moaned about phony “vote fraud” and said the election was “stolen” from him. He mounted legal challenges ad nauseum against the result; state and federal courts threw them all out.

Then we had the riot. We all witnessed the horror.

Have we lost our bragging point? Has it been consigned to some historical trash heap? No. It hasn’t. The only way we can lose it forever would be if it were to repeat itself in four years, or any time after that.

We must be mindful of what happened during this transition. It wasn’t peaceful. It wasn’t orderly. President Biden took office after harvesting his vast knowledge of government to ensure that when he took over the executive branch that he had as much of his team installed and ready to go as he could.

The transition from Trump to Biden should have been peaceful. It wasn’t. Let’s  not forget what we all witnessed and let us be sure we remind those who come after us about the danger that lurks when a losing presidential candidate refuses to concede that he or she has lost a free, fair and democratic election.