The Trump Defense Team Were Beamed In From Dimension X

Charles P. Pierce
·3-min read
Photo credit: SARAH SILBIGER - Getty Images
Photo credit: SARAH SILBIGER - Getty Images

From Esquire

At the end of the first day of the Second Impeachment, the Senate took a vote in which its members decided, by a 56-44 count, to allow the trial to proceed. Mitch McConnell voted "no," thereby giving up one of the Senate’s important constitutional prerogatives. Also voting for the trial to end were Senators Rob Portman, Richard Shelby, and Chuck Grassley, none of whom are running for re-election, and, therefore, have nothing at all to lose, but all of whom now leave office reckoned to be big piles of that out of which one cannot make chicken salad. Bill Cassidy, Republican of Louisiana, was the only surprise. Earlier, he had voted not to proceed with the trial. On Tuesday, he reversed himself and voted with the majority.

As for the legal beagling, it’s hard to compare the two teams of lawyers because they appeared to be arguing from separate dimensions. The House managers, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, opened up with a truly terrifying collage of videos made in the middle of the January 6 insurrection. (Observers in the Senate chamber noted that several Republican senators, including Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio, pretty much ignored the presentation.) As a statement of what the Republicans are choosing to overlook in their abject cowardice, that video was more eloquent than any argument Raskin et al. could make. However, both he and Joe Neguse of Colorado, the latter of whom got to be the civics professor of the prosecution, were clear and cogent and drew clear lines from the riotous mob to the previous administration*, largely by pointing out that the violence came not from the speech the former president* delivered on January 6, but from a campaign against the election itself that the former president* had conducted beginning last summer. Not that any Republican cared to look, but the historical record is now irrefutable. The insurrection began long before the windows broke.

Photo credit: WIN MCNAMEE - Getty Images
Photo credit: WIN MCNAMEE - Getty Images

On the other side, we had Bruce Castor and David Schoen, who apparently beamed in from Dimension X. Castor started out trying to schmooze the senators and then went woolgathering all over the lot. If there was a theme to Castor’s presentation, it was pitched at a frequency that I couldn’t hear. Schoen at least was able to get from A to B to C without breaking his leg chasing butterflies. Schoen leaned hard into Tuesday’s fundamental question: whether this impeachment is illegitimate because the former president* is not president* anymore, although constitutional scholars from across the ideological divide have expressed the opinion that this is all hooey. He also was obviously tasked with being the defense team’s ambassador to The Base. (It was Schoen who got the phrase “cancel culture” into the record of the trial, for which he may get a prize.) But to sum up the defense case is to point out that the lawyers didn’t even address the events presented in the video. Their case was bloodless and incoherent. The riot was neither.

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