Cartoon: Exhibit I(nsurrection)

Now that Donald Trump’s crack legal team is doing such a bang-up job, I thought I’d help them out with their very own video presentation. The Democratic impeachment managers have put video to good use in Trump’s second impeachment trial, why can’t the defense team do the same?

Um, maybe because they have no case and Trump is guilty as sin? Never mind that, though, the Inciter-in-Chief is nearly certain to avoid conviction thanks to the morally bankrupt Trumpist Republicans in the Senate.

When around half of the Republicans who will help decide Trump’s guilt or innocence pushed the very conspiracies and lies that sparked January’s attack on the Capitol, it doesn’t look like conviction is in the cards. And, yes, I think those Republicans should be impeached as well. (See: Fourteenth Amendment.)

Enjoy the cartoon, and remember to join me over on Patreon, where you can help support my work and get prints and other behind-the-scenes goodies!

On day one, the contest between House managers and Trump’s legal team wasn’t even close

Tuesday wasn’t officially the start of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial—that would be today—but as a warmup round, it certainly served as a preview of what to expect. On Tuesday, both the House impeachment managers and Trump’s legal team got their chance to make a presentation to the Senate that was supposedly meant to address the question of whether the Senate could, constitutionally, proceed with Trump’s trial even though his time in office has expired. But both sides used the time to present something that was more of an abbreviated view of the case they’ll present over the next four days of trial.

For House managers, that meant a powerful presentation filled with images of the assault on the Capitol and even their own personal stories of being driven from the chambers by the hate-filled mob. In particular, Rep. Jamie Ruskin’s story of being separated from his family as the House was evacuated was extremely moving. On Trump’s team the response was … incoherent, with lead attorney Bruce Castor performing an uncanny imitation of someone in far over his head and bereft of any plan.

The House team opened with a video presentation that recounted just a few of the moments from the Jan. 6 event. Even for those who had been there on the day, or watched the events unfold on television, the video was shocking. Compiled mostly from on the ground camera and cell phone footage, the video spoke to the anger and ferocity of Trump supporters as they beat their way past the police and smashed their way into the Capitol. By interspersing the images with shots from inside the House and Senate chambers, the video also made the timeline of events clear. 

Overall, the presentation was enthralling. The Senate chamber was absolutely silent as the video unfolded, with most senators transfixed by the images. However, some Republicans—notably Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul—made a point of not looking at the screen, spending their time scribbling or pretending to read the papers on their desk.

Following the video presentation, the House team went on to lay out both their case for why the Senate trial of Trump was absolutely constitutional. That included both citations going back into British Common Law and moving forward to the most well-known cases of impeachment in the 19th century. 

When the House managers sat down, it was time for Trump attorney Bruce Castor to rise and … what happened next is difficult to summarize. Castor provided the Senate with an hour of talking for which even the word “rambling” doesn’t seem to apply. At times Castor praised the House managers. On at least two occasions he insisted that the whole event was pointless because the voters had already made a new choice and selected Joe Biden. At other times, he seemed to be threatening the Senate with some vague action. This was particularly true during a puzzling sequence in which Castor addressed Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse and appeared to announce that some court in his home state was preparing to move against him. It was a sequence that left everyone, especially Sasse, completely puzzled.

Finally, after reaching nothing that appeared to be a conclusion, and not even coming close to the question of the constitutionality of the trial, Castor sat down and handed things over to Trump’s second attorney David Schoen. In what was apparently a distracted cop/angry cop paring, Schoen spent the next hour haranguing the Senate with a presentation that featured lengthy diversions into topics such as bills of attainder, that verged on Giuliani-esque while never dropping below a boiling point of mixed disdain and disgust for his audience.

The best view of how the Trump team did may be in the response of Rep. Raskin. Given thirty minutes to reply to the statements from Trump’s attorneys, Raskin simply said that he didn’t see the need. Instead, he handed back his time, allowing the Senate to move on to a vote. In that vote, six Republicans joined with all Democrats to vote in favor of continuing the trial. That meant a gain of one from the last time the Senate voted on the constitutional question. In addition to Sasse, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney, and Patrick Toomey, the vote on Tuesday added Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.

It’s a long way from six to the 17 Republicans necessary to actually convict Trump. But then, the trial is just starting. If it continues to be this lopsided in the performance of the two legal times … there could be surprises ahead.

‘Like a loaded cannon’: House Democrats argue Trump trained murderous mob on U.S. Capitol

House Democrats didn't mince words in the 77-page brief they filed Tuesday arguing for the conviction of Donald Trump on impeachment charges. "He summoned a mob to Washington, exhorted them into a frenzy, and aimed them like a loaded cannon down Pennsylvania Avenue,” wrote the nine Democratic impeachment managers led by Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland.

Trump's actions on Jan. 6, they said, endangered the lives of lawmakers, threatened the peaceful transition of power and line of succession, and damaged U.S. national security. Democrats called those actions a "grievous betrayal of his Oath of Office" that should clearly preclude Trump from ever holding office again.

"To protect our democracy and national security—and to deter any future President who would consider provoking violence in pursuit of power—the Senate should convict President Trump and disqualify him from future federal officeholding," they wrote.

The brief is intended to rebut several arguments Trump's defense team might employ, including the notion that impeachment would violate Trump’s First Amendment rights or that it would be unconstitutional or simply unnecessary to impeach him now that he is no longer in office. 

"The Constitution governs the first day of the President’s term, the last day, and every moment in between. Presidents do not get a free pass to commit high crimes and misdemeanors near the end of their term," write the impeachment managers. Later, they add, "There is no 'January Exception' to impeachment or any other provision of the Constitution."

Democrats also used the characterizations of prominent Republicans to buttress their case, noting that Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney said no president had ever committed a "greater betrayal" of their oath to the Constitution and Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the mob "was fed lies" and had been "provoked by the president."

The brief also calls upon the words of the rioters themselves to indict Trump. 

Provoked by President Trump’s statements at the rally, many insurrectionists who assaulted the Capitol proudly proclaimed that they were doing President Trump’s bidding. One told police officers that he came as part of a group of “patriots” “at the request of the President." In a livestreamed video from inside the Capitol, another declared that “[o]ur president wants us here. … We wait and take orders from our president." Yet another rioter yelled at police officers, “[w]e were invited here … by the President of the United States!”

The brief lays out a timeline demonstrating how long Trump allowed the murderous siege to go on before addressing his supporters and encouraging them to leave the Capitol. Even within that scripted video address, Democrats note, Trump continued his incitement, saying the election was "stolen from us" and telling the violent insurrectionists, "We love you, you're very special."

"President Trump’s incitement of insurrection requires his conviction and disqualification from future federal officeholding," the Democrats conclude. "This is not a case where elections alone are a sufficient safeguard against future abuse; it is the electoral process itself that President Trump attacked and that must be protected from him and anyone else who would seek to mimic his behavior."

Failure to convict, they add, would only "embolden" future leaders to retain power by any means possible and "suggest that there is not a line a President cannot cross."

Lawyers for Trump were also expected to file a brief Tuesday that will likely steer clear of Trump’s election fraud claims, according to the New York Times.

UPDATE: Trump’s impeachment response has been released. CNN’s Jim Acosta says, “It argues constitution ‘requires that a person actually hold office to be impeached’ and that Trump was exercising his First Amendment right to question election results.”

McConnell, feeling the heat of GOP mega-donors, turns on Trump

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, who just one year ago led the charge to acquit Donald Trump of impeachment charges, has been going through a head-spinning donor-inspired evolution over the last couple weeks since Trump incited violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

After more than five weeks of silently endorsing Trump's efforts to overturn the election results, McConnell has moved from accepting President-elect Joe Biden's win to getting to "maybe" on convicting Trump to publicly blaming Trump for the murderous rioters who stormed the Capitol.

"The mob was fed lies," McConnell said from the Senate floor Tuesday, as he prepares to hand off the Senate majority to Democrats. "They were provoked by the president and other powerful people," McConnell added, conveniently failing to define "other people," since the vast majority of GOP congressional lawmakers helped fuel the fire of outrage among Trump supporters. Nonetheless, McConnell’s comments are still by the far the furthest he has gone in trying to disentangle himself and his caucus from Trump. Among GOP congressional leadership, only Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Republicans' No. 3 in the House, has gone further with her statement skewering Trump for lighting "the flame of the attack."

McConnell spent four solid years diligently avoiding leveling any direct criticism whatsoever at Trump, whether he was calling white supremacists "very fine people" or trying to steal a second election by extorting foreign officials. In fact, McConnell rallied his caucus to end the Senate trial last year without hearing from a single witness. In the process, McConnell and Senate Republicans taught Trump he would never suffer the consequences of his actions, no matter how abhorrent or harmful they were to American democracy.

But surprise, surprise—the mighty dollar is proving more powerful than opportunistic loyalty to a man now ending his term as the grossest, pettiest, and least liked American president in modern history. And Republican lawmakers are indeed facing a reckoning for building Trump into a monster and then fanning the flames of his bogus claims that the election was stolen from him. Not only are corporate donors pulling back from their widespread support of Sedition Party candidates, but other big-dollar donors are making their demands for a break with Trump perfectly clear. The New York Times reported over the weekend:

William E. Oberndorf, an influential Republican donor who gave $2.5 million to Mr. McConnell’s super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, in the 2020 election, said that donors should be closely watching the impeachment votes as they formulate their plans for giving. A longtime critic of Mr. Trump, Mr. Oberndorf said it had been a mistake for the party not to oust Mr. Trump during his first impeachment trial last year.

“They now have a chance to address this egregious mistake and make sure Donald Trump will never be able to run for public office again,” Mr. Oberndorf said. “Republican donors should be paying attention to how our elected officials vote on this matter.”

McConnell, who has never really liked Trump, may be legitimately angry over the violent mob Trump sicced on congressional lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans alike. But he's also sure gotten some monetary help in getting there. And given the choice between continuing to endear himself to Trump and securing the cash to help him win back the Senate majority? Sorry Trump, you lose.

In fact, McConnell doesn't even have the time to attend Trump's supposed celebratory send-off Wednesday morning at Andrews Air Force Base—he'll be attending Catholic mass with Joe Biden instead. 

.@senatemajldr on the U.S. Capitol Attack: "The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people."

— CSPAN (@cspan) January 19, 2021

McConnell might vote to convict Trump, but only if it includes a giant GOP payday

Soon-to-be Minority Leader Mitch McConnell got the headline he wanted on Tuesday when he unleashed anonymous sources to tell reporters he believed Donald Trump may have committed impeachable offenses. In other words, he just might vote to convict.

The next day, McConnell got the other headline he wanted when he declined the invitation of soon-to-be Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to reconvene the Senate for an emergency session to take up an impeachment trial. That means any Senate movement on impeachment won't happen until Jan. 19—which importantly buys McConnell at least another week or more to see which way the political winds are blowing before making a final decision on his vote.

McConnell, the perennial craven opportunist, has chosen to leave the nuclear codes at the finger tips of a mad man for another seven days for no other reason than to find the least painful political path to placing Trump in the GOP's rear view mirror. And he has conveniently planted himself right in between the two House Republican leaders who have taken polar opposite positions on impeachment: Reps. Kevin McCarthy of California and Liz Cheney of Wyoming. 

Cheney voted to impeach Trump on Wednesday, stating he had "summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack." McCarthy, who eagerly backed Trump's sedition efforts and voted against certifying the election, offered among the most disingenuous and repulsive of justifications for his traitorous vote against impeachment. "We solve our disputes at the ballot box," he said, despite the fact that he worked diligently to overturn what happened at the ballot box in November. 

But in these two House GOP leaders, McConnell gets to spend a week surveying the upsides and potential wreckage of their approaches. Key to all of it will be money—because McConnell has built his entire career on wielding the power he gains from selling his soul to Corporate America and, more recently, dark money interests. He will almost surely be burning up the phone lines trying to figure out what he has to do to keep from becoming a political pariah to the corporate donor class. If there's a way for McConnell to thread that needle without fully convicting Trump, he will surely take it. But if he concludes that the only way to escape McCarthy's fate is to take a stronger stand, then that's where he will come down.

To date, 10 major companies have paused donations to Republicans who voted to object to certification of the election results. More have suspended their contributions to the Republican Attorneys General Association after it was implicated in organizing the rally-turned-riot. And still more corporations have paused all donations while they reevaluate their donations going forward. 

All of that puts McCarthy in a great deal of jeopardy since his No. 1 charge as GOP Minority Leader is raising money to dole out in order to win back the majority. On MSNBC Wednesday, former GOP strategist and Lincoln Project Co-Founder Steve Schmidt predicted, "Corporate America is never coming back to Kevin McCarthy." Cheney, on the other hand, now has to fight off members of the House sedition caucus, which is already calling for her removal from leadership.

Where that leaves the prospects for conviction of Trump in a Senate trial is somewhere between possible and unlikely. McConnell could go either way and will likely sit back and watch the trial play out at the direction of Schumer and Senate Democrats while he collects data points on the fallout. 

On the bright side, the more we learn about the planning and execution of the violent Capitol siege and the role some Republican lawmakers played, the more horrific the entire picture will get for the party. In the end, the GOP might be such a toxic waste dump that McConnell's hand is forced.

Following the impeachment vote, historian Michael Beschloss was moderately optimistic about Senate conviction, which will require 17 GOP votes in the Senate by the time Democrats take control of the chamber. "I think there's a real chance that this guy could get convicted," Beschloss told MSNBC.

But it will really all come down to the calculation of McConnell. If he votes to convict, enough members of the GOP caucus will likely follow his lead to prevent Trump from ever abusing the power of the American government again.

Solid majority of Americans say Senate acquittal did not clear Trump of wrongdoing

By a 15-point margin Americans say that, despite being acquitted in the Senate, Donald Trump has not been cleared of wrongdoing in the Ukraine matter. Fully 55% say Trump has not been exonerated by his acquittal while 40% believe he has, according a new Quinnipiac poll released Monday. The views of independents track almost perfectly with those findings, with 54% saying Trump has not been cleared and 40% saying he has.

Wanna restore sane leadership to the Senate? Give $2 right now to oust Trump’s GOP-led rubber stamp in the upper chamber. 

What this means more broadly is that Americans weren't fooled by Republicans' sham trial one bit. In the poll, 51% still believe that Trump's actions were serious enough to warrant impeachment, while 46% believe they didn't reach the threshold. Independents are split on that question 49% to 49%. Perhaps even more telling are respondents' views on whether the Senate trial was conducted fairly:

Unfairly: 59% Fairly: 35%  

That finding is almost identical to Monmouth polling also released today, showing 58% say the trial was unfair, while 35% say it was fair. In effect, Senate Republicans’ sham trial only inspired confidence in GOP voters, 54% of whom called it fair, while Democrats (78%-18%) and independents (56%-39%) overwhelmingly found it unfair.

Romney delivers scathing rebuke of Senate GOP’s fecklessness, calling Trump’s abuses ‘appalling’

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney pledged Wednesday to do what no other GOP senator would: take a vote of conscience to convict Donald Trump of impeachable offenses. Romney's vote seals Trump's fate in the annals of history as the only president to ever draw bipartisan support for removal of office.

But Romney’s declaration from the Senate floor was much more than just a recitation of what he planned to do, it was an unmistakable rebuke of all his Republican colleagues who had abandoned their responsibilities as public servants for the comforts of the GOP's herd mentality. "Were I to ignore the evidence what has been presented and disregard what I believe my oath and the Constitution demands of me for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history's rebuke and the censure of my own conscience," Romney said from the Senate floor. Wow.

In explaining his vote, Romney filleted the arguments of Trump's defense team, namely that Trump couldn't be impeached without having committed a crime, that Biden's conduct warranted Trump's actions, and that the ultimate decision should be left up to the voters. In response, Romney said it "defies reason" to believe that a president can only be removed from office for criminal behavior. As for Joe and Hunter Biden, he concluded there was no evidence of criminal conduct on their part and therefore no justification whatsoever for Trump's call to investigate. "There's no question in my mind that were their names not Biden, the president would never have done what he did," Romney noted. Finally, he explained that the framers had charged the Senate with the power to remove a president precisely so the partisan sentiments of voters wouldn't dictate a president's fate. 

After ticking through a list of Trump's actions, Romney concluded, "The president is guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust. What he did was not perfect. No, it was a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, our national security, and our fundamental values."

Romney added that "corrupting an election" in order to stay in office was "perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one's oath of office that I can imagine."

In short, Romney held up a mirror for the Republican caucus so they could see what a trash heap it had become. In speaking his conscience, he also provided Senate Democrats with a wealth of material for defeating vulnerable Senate Republicans in the upcoming election. Prior to giving his remarks, Romney told the New York Times, “I think the case was made.” He isn't the first GOP senator to agree that Trump did what he’s accused of doing, he's just the first to actually uphold his oath of office. Kudos to him.

Wanna restore responsible leadership to the Senate? Give $2 right now to make that vision a reality in November.

Here’s some excerpts of Romney’s speech. 

ROMNEY: "Were I to ignore the evidence that has been presented & disregard what I believe my oath & the constitution demands of me for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history's rebuke & the censor of my own conscience."

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 5, 2020

Sen. Manchin calls for censure of Trump. Bet you Senate Republicans are too weak to even do that

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia called for a censure vote of Donald Trump on Monday from the well of the Senate floor. It's nowhere near as good as removal from office, to be sure. And under any normal circumstances, it could be seen as a gift to Senate Republicans, giving those who are bear hugging Trump a chance to vote against it while offering GOP members who need to signal disapproval for electoral reasons a way to claim they held Trump accountable.

But guess what? This is going to squeeze all the GOP squishes who have spun their no-witness vote by saying what Trump did was inappropriate but not impeachable. Okay, then: Put your money where your mouth is.

Just off the top, that list of GOP senators includes Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Rob Portman of Ohio, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Marco Rubio of Florida, and perhaps others. 

Sen. Alexander, for instance, led the way in justifying his vote against hearing witness testimony in the Senate trial by admitting that Trump's actions were improper but asserting they didn't rise to the level of removing him from office. “I think he shouldn't have done it. I think it was wrong,” Alexander told Meet The Press Sunday. "I don't think it's the kind of inappropriate action that the framers would expect the Senate to substitute its judgment for the people in picking a president,” he added, saying voters should make the final determination this November.

Great! If it's wrong and Trump shouldn't have done it, let's make that crystal clear, amiright?

Manchin has already written the resolution, but he will need agreement from GOP Leader Mitch McConnell to put it to a vote. In theory, this should be a no-brainer for Senate Republicans. They would all get to vote their conscience without a total governmental disruption, and it could help insulate some vulnerable GOP senators that are up for reelection this fall. But in practice, this Republican Party is just too subservient to Trump. Trump insists his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was a "perfect call" and he would blow a gasket if any Republican senators voted to censure him (immediate enemies list status!).

So go ahead and watch Republicans squirm out of this one. In all likelihood, McConnell will kill it as soon as possible, so no one in his caucus has to answer for it.

Here’s the most infuriating Republican excuse for deep-sixing witnesses at the Senate trial

Watching Republican senators take the unprecedented vote Friday to entirely exclude witness testimony from Donald Trump's impeachment trial was infuriating enough. But when Republicans made the rounds on Sunday morning to rationalize that vote, Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee—who was key to sealing the sham trial—made clear that he was simply too much of a coward to be faced with more reality. 

"If you have eight witnesses who say someone left the scene of an accident, why do you need nine?" Alexander said on Meet The Press. "I mean, the question for me was: Do I need more evidence to conclude that the president did what he did? And I concluded no."

Wanna help restore the U.S. Senate to responsible leadership? Give $2 right now to kick Senate Republicans to the curb. 

Alexander was among the first GOP senators to openly concede that he agreed with Democrats' House managers—Trump clearly did ask Ukraine to investigate the Bidens in 2016, and he withheld aid from the country to pressure its officials into doing what he wanted. But Alexander had also decided to vote against hearing from more witnesses anyway. So what he's really saying is: He didn't need any more people to testify to the miscarriage of justice he was about to deliver to the American people. He didn't need another person to make it any more difficult for him to look in the mirror when he gets up in the morning. Sure, Trump did it. Sure, it's wrong. And deep down, he knows it's an egregious affront to our democracy. But why dwell on what a craven vote he was about to cast? Especially when the person holding up that mirror—John Bolton—was among the most-trusted and well-regarded national security experts in GOP circles.

It's also worth remembering that Bolton’s testimony almost surely would have brought even more of Trump's damning betrayal of the country to light, making the GOP’s eventual acquittal vote even worse for Republicans like Alexander. Bolton’s testimony also clearly would have implicated Trump’s chief defense counsel, Pat Cipollone, in the scheme, which is exactly why Republicans couldn’t risk hearing from Bolton no matter what the cost.

In short, sorry, America, Alexander was feeling a little squeamish and was just too much of a coward to hear any more of Trump's abuses. 

Alexander ultimately told NBC’s Chuck Todd that he was leaving Trump’s fate up to “the people” to decide. What a terribly dishonest justification for abdicating your duty as an elected official and letting Trump off the hook. The whole reason Trump was impeached is because he’s trying to disenfranchise “the people” and rig the election in his favor. In other words, Trump is a proven threat to the sanctity of the very vote to which Alexander is purportedly deferring. Good luck with that morning look in the mirror, senator. 

Highlights from the first two weeks of the Republican Party’s sham impeachment trial

Two weeks of history came to something of a head on Friday. The Senate Impeachment trial, while a coverup orchestrated by the Republican Party, is also a historic attempt by American patriots to begin the process of fixing a corrupted executive branch before irreparable damage is done. Lead House Manager Adam Schiff began by explaining the seriousness of the charges against Donald Trump.


And then a quick reminder of how Sen. Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Republican party has hamstrung this essential Democratic process,


House Manager Jerrold Nadler from New York spoke on the Senate floor on Thursday, and brought some receipts. First the fact that the evidence is overwhelming.


And then a relentless barrage of video showing that the conservatives arguing on Trump’s behalf, with names like Alan Dershowitz and Lindsey Graham, arguing the absolute opposite just a few years ago. 


One of the most glaring realities of the “perfect” phone call, and subsequent statements about Trump’s personal interest in getting an investigation started into the Bidens is the fact that he didn’t care if there were actual investigations into corruption … just the perception of investigations.


Schiff came back and delivered what many called an “historic” 30-minute closing argument to end day two of the Senate Impeachment trial. The final eight minutes included a powerfully stark reminder of what is at stake.

x x YouTube Video

On Friday, House Manager Hakeem Jeffries once again reminded the world that this is not a partisan process—at least it is not supposed to be one.


On Saturday, the Republican Party—who has made this a thoroughly partisan procedure—had their chance to begin the defense of Donald Trump. As all the president’s men began their disinformation campaign to muddy the waters with conspiracy theories, news began circulating of an almost 90-minute long audio tape purportedly secretly recorded by Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas. Highlights included Trump angrily saying he wanted people to “get rid of” then-Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Besides the myriad questions this should bring to anyone’s mind didn’t seem to faze Republican lawmakers: 1) Does Donald Trump not realize he has the right, as president, to replace her, and if he does 2) What was he suggesting be done with Yovanovitch, and 3) What kind of crap national security is being run if any dubious character can record the president secretly for almost 90 minutes? 

On Sunday, news came out that former Ambassador John Bolton’s new memoir would feature smoking gun statements of Trump’s guilt in the Ukraine affair. Calls for witness testimony were reinvigorated. It would seem that allowing for such testimony as Bolton’s would be a fait accompli but, with the republic under fire from inside, there is nothing we can take for granted.


This, of course, was followed by the deafening silence of Republican officials, and vitriol on Twitter from the the chief executive of our country. On Monday, all the president’s men went back to their posts to defend the indefensible. This might have to do with their fear of their fearful leader. Who is more cowardly, the coward or the cowards afraid of him? And while they went to work, trying to figure out what to do about the John Bolton-sized elephant in the room, the Trump defense spewed lie after lie after lie.


Oops. Sorry, that’s a different Republican Senator clearly from an alternate reality.




It is hard to sum up how outrageous the Trump-defense presentation on Monday was.


A considerable amount of Monday’s “defense” was dedicated to figuring out ways to use old-fashioned phraseology that could be succinctly grabbed for headlines. Words like “poppycock” provided the deepest defense Trump’s team had to offer. The day ended with a promise of one thing, though.


To place you in time, Monday also included Iowa Sen. Jodi Ernst embarrassing herself in remarkable fashion.


By Tuesday it became more and more clear that the leaked John Bolton manuscript was becoming too hard to control and witnesses would likely need to be called in to testify. However, the plan for Republican leadership at this point was how best to hide testimony from the public, so that the rightwing propaganda machine could more easily lie about the framing and characterization of said testimonies. The summary of Trump’s defense by the end of Tuesday was best summarized by Steve Vladeck.


By the end of Tuesday, Republican Majority Leader McConnell had brought fellow GOP senators into his lair for a closed-door session, to discuss whether or not they had the votes to stop witnesses from actually being called during this “trial.” Reports from numerous media outlets contradicted one another, with the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post reporting that McConnell did not have the votes secured to stop something resembling a real impeachment trial from breaking out, while Politico and The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman saying he did. 

By Wednesday morning, it seemed that the Republican Party was exactly where they’ve always been—inside of Donald Trump’s pocket. The White House, after telling everybody that John Bolton’s memoir meant nothing, decided to threaten legal action against Bolton and his publisher. Republican leadership sent out the new day’s talking points which consisted of admitting that Donald Trump did indeed hold up money in order to force Ukraine to publicly “investigate” a political rival, but … so what? “#WeWantWitnesses” went viral as protestors descended upon our nation’s capital.


And then the questions began:

Sens. Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz thought they were able to put together a real stumper, using the old Obama whataboutism.


Trump attorney Dershowitz took the fragments of what was left of his career and integrity and flushed them down the drain of history, by arguing that a president couldn’t be impeached for crimes, because his belief in himself as being awesome made it not a crime. The law scholar he repeatedly cited during this extraordinary argument went on television and also wrote an op-ed in The New York Times to say that Alan Dershowitz was as full of shit as you suspected him to be.

Meanwhile, news broke that Chief Justice Roberts had denied Republicans from outing the “whistleblower,” in the most cowardly fashion available to them: by getting Chief Justice Roberts to read their name as one of the submitted questions. Chief coward amongst them, Sen. Rand Paul.

Lead Manager Schiff  presented the Joseph Heller-level Catch-22 breaking news story of Trump’s Department of Justice, arguing in federal court—resisting subpoenas—that a president can’t be impeached by the House if they cannot be in court to fight for subpoenas … because they are in the Senate making their case for impeachment. “You can’t make this stuff up.”


And sadly, none of us have made any of this up. It’s just the lazy writing of corruption and cowardice and incompetence. Americans rolled out of their beds on Friday to news that Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Lamar Alexander, and Cory Gardner—all possible swing votes—were all in agreement that there was no such thing as crime. Just as Donald Trump’s new favorite lawyer Alan Dershowitz instructed. The rest of the day was filled with the bad, illogical theater one has come to expect from this Republican Party. Sen. Murkowski voted against new witnesses and new evidence, even with Bolton revelation after Bolton revelation getting leaked to the public. Her statement on the matter should truly disabuse anyone of the belief that Lisa Murkowski is anything but a corrupt tool of a politician, with zero ethical convictions whatsoever.


#RIPAmerica began trending on Twitter.


And the cowards we have come to know under Donald Trump continued to fly their bright yellow colors.


The Republican Party made their decision clear. Our democracy means far less to them than the promise of short-term power. As Friday wore down, we were left with murmurs of amendments and promises of votes to come.


In the end, this was the takeaway for next week, when the United States Senate, led by the Republican Party, decide to set the precedent that a president can be corrupt as long as he—and they are definitely talking about a man—thinks it is in his best interests to be corrupt.


But before the very end of Friday, Republican Senators all stepped up to write the first line of their obituaries, voting to nix witnesses and to block five amendments Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer put up.

Commiserate below in the comments. If you feel up to it.