Friday, February 12, 2021

Not Guilty, With an Explanation

Naturally I believe Donald Trump deserved to be impeached and to be found guilty by the Senate. Of course, the latter won’t happen. 

But not because Trump did not act egregiously on January 6. It is because the House of Representatives confined its article of impeachment to just one count—inciting an insurrection. 

Words, as most people can attest, may be variably interpreted. So it follows that most Republicans see no incitement in Trump’s Stop the Steal rally speech prior to the ransacking of the Capitol by his supporters and to his many orations prior to January 6. Democrats view his words as lighting a tinder box of rebellion and carnage. 

Perhaps a guilty verdict might have been more forthcoming had the House tagged him for failure to provide timely and effective aid to the Capitol, its occupants and especially his vice president, all under attack by a mob bent on upending the constitutional process of certifying the votes of the Electoral College. 

There can be little doubt that Trump neglected his duty to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Moreover, he could have been charged with trying to undermine the integrity of the election in Georgia by pressuring the Georgia secretary of state to “find” 11,780 votes so that Trump would win the state’s electoral votes. Trump threatened the secretary of state with criminal prosecution if he did not comply with his solicitation. 

Trump deserves impeachment, conviction, removal and disqualification from holding any future elective office. But the House’s failure to specify those impeachable actions make it easy for senators to vote for acquittal.