Because of the unlikelihood of Trump being convicted, it often seems as if this second impeachment trial is being conducted for the public, and for history. The managers took a chaotic, traumatic day and turned it into a coherent narrative, crosscutting between the rampage and the actions of the president who inspired it.
The most powerful moments of their presentation were the temporal juxtapositions, like Trump tweeting, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution,” even as cable news showed the MAGA horde hunting him. (One insurrectionist read Trump’s tweet through a bullhorn.) It was both gutting and more riveting than I would have expected, an indelible documentary of Trump’s culminating crime against the Republic.
Yet in one regard, the story the House managers told was a distortion. “What our commander in chief did was wildly different from what anyone here in this room did to raise election concerns,” said Eric Swalwell of California. That’s not quite true. Many Republicans were not Trump’s victims, but his enablers. Indeed, one of the most perverse things about this impeachment is that the jury is stacked with the defendant’s accomplices. [Continue reading…]