a mook and his money

Back in the Dark Times, when Comrade Trump was the actual president (and lawdy, that was only six months ago; it’s still hard to believe that happened), I made routine recon sweeps through the loopiest of loopy right-wing ‘news’ sites. I felt it was important to know what they were thinking and planning–not because I saw them as the enemy, but because they believed people like me were their enemy. You don’t have to actually be an enemy to be perceived as one, and the success of the Republican Party depends on having lots of enemies.

I still do occasional recon sweeps of loopy right-wing sites, but without the same sense of urgency. Now it’s more of a prophylactic measure. They’re still a threat to democracy, but without Comrade Trump squatting in the Oval Office, they’re less of an imminent threat than they were before.

They’d be more of a threat if Trump 1) wasn’t increasingly losing contact with objective reality, 2) hadn’t convinced so many of them to impale themselves on the pointed stick of Covid, and 3) was actually using his influence to further his conspiratorial-authoritarian agenda instead of to make a quick buck for himself.

As I waded through the muck of loopy right-wing sites this morning, I came across a post in which an ardent Trump supporter said he’d donated more of his hard-earned to Trump’s Save America Leadership PAC. You know, to support the audit in Arizona and reinstall Trump as president and prevent the US from becoming a completely communist pedophile nation. He encouraged others to “donate as much as you can afford or more” so other states could conduct their own audits and prove the extent of the fraud.

There’s a part of me that feels sorry for this mook, because as near as I can tell, Comrade Trump hasn’t donated a single ruble to support any audit in any state. It seems Trump’s PAC has taken in somewhere around US$75 million in the first half of this year–much of it from mooks like this guy. Trump has said he’ll probably use some of the money to fund other election audits, but so far the PAC has only spent the cash on travel, legal costs, staff expenses, and on the PR campaign to raise more money. Most of that $75 million is sitting in the bank.

Do you think this mook has a clue how Trump is actually spending his donation? Probably not. Do you think it would matter if he did know? Probably not. This is why only a part of me feels sorry for him. He’s a willing participant in his delusion. He’s not a victim of propaganda; he made deliberate choices about where to obtain information. If he suffers financially, it’s because he has agreed to it.

In effect, this guy is a financial flagellant. Remember the flagellants? Those 14th century religious zealots who made a public demonstration of their religious fervor by literally whipping themselves? Here, let the Dominican friar Heinrich von Herford describe them:

“Each whip consisted of a stick with three knotted thongs hanging from the end. Two pieces of needle-sharp metal were run through the centre of the knots from both sides, forming a cross, the end of which extended beyond the knots for the length of a grain of wheat or less. Using these whips they beat and whipped their bare skin until their bodies were bruised and swollen and blood rained down, spattering the walls nearby. I have seen, when they whipped themselves, how sometimes those bits of metal penetrated the skin so deeply that it took more than two attempts to pull them out.”

This mook whips his checkbook instead of his body. There’s also an excellent chance he’s one of those folks who believe Covid is a hoax, so he’s willfully offering up his health and life as a tribute to Trump as well. This doesn’t mean he deserves to be broke and infected with Covid. It just means that if he becomes broke and Covid positive, he only has himself to blame. Comrade Trump didn’t hand him a whip; he just collects money off the whipping.

This guy deserves our compassion; he doesn’t deserve our sympathy or pity.

did putin just burn trump?

There’s an unoffical mantra in the investigation biz. It applies to everybody who does detective work; it doesn’t matter who you work for, it doesn’t matter if you’re a police detective or a private investigator. Call it the ABC of investigation.

Assume nothing.
Believe nothing.
Check everything.

This mantra especially applies when it comes to information you WANT to believe. And that brings me to this article in The Guardian:

Kremlin papers appear to show Putin’s plot to put Trump in White House

Essentially, the article states The Guardian has come into possession of a reputed Kremlin report of a meeting between Vlad Putin, his spy chiefs, and his senior ministers in January of 2016. At that meeting, they decided to initiate an intelligence operation to help Comrade Trump become POTUS. According to the article, they felt the election ofTrump (who is described in the report as an “impulsive, mentally unstable and unbalanced individual who suffers from an inferiority complex”) would “definitely lead to the destabilisation of the US’s sociopolitical system.” And basically, that’s what’s happened.

Trump after his private two-hour meeting with Putin

The Guardian article also indicates the leaked Kremlin report suggests Russia has some form of kompromat on Trump. I’ve written about all this stuff before, so I won’t repeat it here. I mention it primarily because The Guardian’s article has resurrected the debate of the so-called Steele Dossier.

It’s important to understand that the Steele Dossier is actually a collection of seventeen memoranda containing raw human intelligence prepared by Christopher Steele, a former MI6 expert on Russian security and counterintelligence issues. Steele had been hired by a research firm called GPS Fusion, which had originally been contracted by the Jeb Bush presidential campaign to do opposition research on Trump. After Bush left the presidential primary race, the Hillary Clinton campaign continued the GPS Fusion investigation. Steele’s assignment was to explore Trump’s business concerns in Russia and the former Soviet republics, some of which involved former Russian intelligence agents and/or members of Russian organized crime.

Essentially, the document reported in The Guardian substantiates the main allegations in the Steele dossier: 1) that there was a concerted, coordinated Russian intelligence operation to promote the Trump campaign and damage the Clinton campaign, 2) that members of the Trump campaign were eager (though probable unwitting) conspirators with the Russians, and 3) Russian intelligence services likely has kompromat on Trump.

Somebody’s happy; somebody isn’t.

I believe that to be true. This is where that ABC of investigation comes into it. Because I want it to be true, I have to be doubly skeptical about it. I have to ask how and why this document came into the hands of the Guardian. I mean, Russian intelligence services just don’t leak documents by accident. IF the document is genuine (and apparently both UK and US intelligence agencies have known about it for months), why would Russia ‘leak’ it now?

Assuming it’s true (remember, assume nothing), it would be leaked to serve Russian state interests–which includes increasing US political and social instability while protecting her own international political priorities. I believe (believe nothing) it’s POSSIBLE that Russia MIGHT be deliberately burning Trump as an intelligence asset. His legal vulnerability and age put him near the ‘sell-by’ date as a useful asset. Burning him COULD be a warning to other still useful assets in the Republican party–MAYBE to cut Trump loose and bury themselves deeper into the body politic where they could still help shape US policy toward Russia. Burning him COULD also make Trump valuable as a flashpoint for insurrection and ongoing social instability. The more precarious Trump’s legal situation becomes, the more desperate he is, the more likely he is to actively encourage his supporters to resort to greater political violence. Even as a burned asset, Trump could prove useful to Russian interests.

This serves Russian interests.

Assume nothing. Believe nothing. Check everything. There’s relatively little we can check about this. The checking will have to be done by others–reporters, investigators, agencies, authorities. We’ll have to assess the value of their checking based on their credibility.

This is how investigation is done. Always mistrust what you want to believe.

the moon is made of semi-soft brie

Because I have chores to do, I decided it was time to snorkel through the murky, fetid waters of FreeRepublic and see how those ‘patriots’ were responding to the Recent Welcome News (the RWN being that New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance has convened a grand jury to conduct a criminal investigation of Comrade Trump and the Trump Organization). I expected to see anger, resentment, victim-whinging, and threats (which, to be fair, is what I expect from FreeRepublic regardless of the issue). My expectations were met.

I found a discussion thread entitled The Left is Anticipating President Trump’s Indictment but They Haven’t Thought About What That Means to Everyone. It began with a long introduction involving (and I’m not making this up) the author’s role in helping “a very senior CIA officer” convert to Catholicism. Somehow, that conversion process included a discussion of politics, in which this alleged CIA officer supposedly said this:

“What separates us from the Third World in our politics…are the twin concepts of peaceful transfer of power via the ballot box rather than by military intervention and the unwritten and unspoken principle that victors do not use the police power of the state to punish the vanquished.”

And hey, aside from the slur against the so-called Third World, I agree. I thought perhaps somebody on Freep actually understood that trying to violently overturn the will of the voters is a bad thing. Silly rabbit. He was, in fact, talking about the ‘political persecution’ of Comrade Trump by a vindictive Socialist Biden administration. If Trump is indicted/arrested/tried/incarcerated, he argued, then the next Republican POTUS will necessarily feel obligated to persecute his Democratic predecessor.

The next Republican president will be under enormous pressure to take a similar Democrat scalp. To be on the safe side and make it hurt, hell [sic] probably have to take down several prominent Democrats.

The reasoning here is fascinating, in a perverse way. I mean, the underlying premise (that Comrade Trump is honest, decent, truthful, patriotic, faithful, loyal, and selfless AND actually won the 2020 election) is so flawed and blatantly false that the entire combustible world has to be turned upside down and inside out in order to support it. It’s like saying, “Since we all agree the moon is made of semi-soft brie, clearly the moon landings must be fake; a brie surface lacks the tensile strength to support the weight of the Apollo Lunar Lander.”

Comrade Trump expressing confidence he won’t be indicted.

The ‘patriots’ of Freep had a variety of responses. Some are certain Trump will never be indicted because he didn’t commit a crime. Some believe Vance lacks the cojones to indict Trump. Many are convinced (or claim to be convinced, or are eager to claim they’re convinced) that a Trump arrest will spark another Civil War. Some seem to believe Democrats want a Civil War because “[T]hey think they can win it…they hold, however tenuously, the presidency, and both houses of Congress (wait, wut?)…the FBI and CIA are aligned with them…the military is going full woke…they control almost all media outlets. And some argue nothing at all will happen if Trump finds himself in an orange jumpsuit, because too many Americans are cowards and the institutions of US democracy are already too corrupt.

Re: “The next Republican president will be under enormous pressure to take a similar Democrat scalp. To be on the safe side and make it hurt, hell probably have to take down several prominent Democrats.”
That is absurd. The GOP will do NOTHING – even if by some miracle we win a national election. The Trump DOJ, the Trump FBI, the Trump Intelligence Community, and the Trump appointed Judges, did NOTHING to stop the rampant criminality of the Democrat Party.

It’s simply impossible for these fuckwits to consider that Trump’s claims of election fraud were so obviously false that even his own appointees in the DOJ, the FBI, the IC, and on the courts couldn’t take them seriously. No, the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Intelligence Community, and even those federal judges appointed by Trump–ALL of them must be completely corrupt, all of them must have turned their backs and stared vacantly into the sun while Democrats openly rigged the election in all 50 states in order to steal the election from Donald Trump. It’s obvious. There’s no other explanation.

Since the moon is made of semi-soft brie, the moon landings must be fake.

loyalty test

I started to read an article about the evolution of the ‘core ideological principles’ of the modern Republican Party. I stopped reading after the first paragraph, because I remembered this simple fact: the modern Republican Party doesn’t have any core ideological principles. They don’t have any ideology; they don’t have any principles. They don’t have any fucking core.

The only thing the modern Republican Party has is a loyalty test. That’s it. Are you loyal to Comrade Donald J. Trump? It’s a simple yes or no test. If the answer is ‘no’ then you’re not a Republican anymore. If the answer is ‘yes’ then you still have to be measured by another metric. HOW loyal are you to Comrade Donald J. Trump?

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Comrade Trump — loyalty test.

Will you give him money? If he lies, will you cover for him? Will you shade the truth for him? Will you tell a direct lie for him? Will you let him kiss you? Will you kiss him? Will you cover for him if he commits a crime? Will you commit a crime for him? Will you commit a misdemeanor? Will you commit a felony? Will you commit a crime for him if he promises to pardon you? Will you commit a crime for him knowing he won’t or can’t pardon you? Will you cover for him if his children commit a crime? Will you refuse a vaccine for him? Will you consider injecting some sort of ‘disinfectant’ if he suggests it’s good for you? Will you eat a live cricket if he tells you to? Will you eat a dead cricket? Will you cover for him if he cheats on his wife? Will you cover for him if he cheats on his wife with the wife of a friend? Will you consider giving him a blow job? Will you destroy evidence against him? Will you cover for him if he collaborates with people considered to be enemies of the United States? Will you cover for him if he gives national security secrets to nations considered to be enemies of the United States? Will you assault the Capitol Building and disrupt the Electoral College if he asks you to? Will you cover for him if he shoots somebody on Fifth Avenue?

It’s an uncertain dynamic metric. How loyal are you to Comrade Trump? It’s a variable standard of measurement — inconsistent, volatile, wildly mutable. It changes moment to moment. If it was consistent, it wouldn’t require blind faith and obedience to be loyal. It can only be measured by what Trump wants when he wants it.

Just HOW loyal are you to Comrade Trump?

Loyalty to Comrade Trump is the only metric that matters. In the modern Republican Party you don’t have to have any strong personal feelings about how the government should act. You don’t have to bother with cobbling together some sort of consistent political position on the environment or policing or race relations or whether trans teens should participate in high school sports or the value of tariffs or immigration or education or firearm safety or regulation of wetlands or food safety or freedom of the press. Comrade Trump will do all that for you. You just have to agree with him.

What are core ideological principles, anyway? How do they help you? Are they useful? Can you make money with them? What exactly is the point of core ideological principles?

liz cheney? really? fuck.

See, I assumed that when Comrade Trump lost the election, a lot of Republicans in Congress would be secretly relieved to be rid of him. I thought they’d be glad to see the back of an ignorant, petulant, vindictive, corrupt, serial liar who was completely lacking in self-discipline, decency, and honesty, and who had absolutely no sense of loyalty to others.

That was before the January 6 insurrection. After Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol, eager to disrupt the Electoral College vote, and apparently willing to assassinate Trump’s vice president, I believed a lot of Republicans would be openly relieved to be rid of him.

Lawdy, was I ever wrong. I mean, sure, I knew there’d be some weasels–unprincipled hacks like Gym Jordan and Matt Gaetz and…what’s the name of that Republican weasel from California? (Okay, I google ‘Republican weasel from California and Devin Nunes was the third result.) But I guess I believed that even the worst Republicans would still support the concept of the peaceful transition of power.

And hey, I was right about that. Sorta kinda. I mean, Liz Cheney IS one of the worst Republicans. She’s awful on just about any political metric you could name. Despite the fact that her sister Mary is a married lesbian, Liz opposed marriage equality. Like her daddy, the former vice president, Liz DOES support torture (yeah, okay, she calls it ‘enhanced interrogation’ but that shit is torture). She’s opposed to expanding voting rights, and supports most of the new state GOP anti-voting legislation. She voted to end the protection of grey wolves in the Endangered Species Act. She suggested the texts between FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page were evidence of a coup and they should be investigated for treason. She voted WITH Trump 93% of the time. She is completely fucking awful.

And yet, Liz Cheney is being hailed as something of a hero. Why? Because she’s one of the few principled conservatives left in public office. Yes, her principles are appalling and backward and short-sighted–but she’s consistent with them. She did, after all, publicly condemn Trump when he abandoned our Kurdish allies when it was politically convenient for him (and for Russia). But at the same time, she suggested Trump’s decision was possible influenced by the Democrat’s attempt to impeach Trump (you know…that first time he was impeached).

This is the state of the modern Republican Party. One of the most horrible GOP politicians is also one of the few who holds consistent principles, and is the only real hope they have of remaining a viable (if selfish and amoral) political party rather than a loosely-affiliated collective of white nationalists, conspiracy theorists, religious bigots, and rabid fucking whackos (or is it ‘whackoes’?).

Next week the House Republicans will likely vote Liz Cheney out of any position of power. The week after that, there’s a better than average chance they’ll toss her in a stream to see if she floats (while chanting ‘Burn the witch!’). In the meantime, Republicans in Arizona are re-re-recounting presidential ballots, only this time they’re looking for evidence of bamboo, because somebody somewhere said it was possible that forty thousand fraudulent ballots were flown into Arizona from China, and that’s where bamboo grows. Jesus suffering fuck I am NOT MAKING THAT UP.

Help us, Cheney-wan Kenobi, you’re the GOP’s only hope.

and he tried

Sometimes you have to say it like it’s three separate words. Not motherfucker, but muh thur fucker. Because it’s that bad. I’m talking about Kevin McCarthy here. We all know McCarthy is a sniveling coward entirely lacking in integrity, a pathetic soulless wretch with the moral fortitude of a runny blancmange. But even so, his conversation with Chris Wallace this morning was an embarrassing, humiliating display of spinelessness.

Wallace asked McCarthy about a phone call he’d made to Comrade Trump while the January 6th insurrection was in full swing. He asked Trump to call off the rioters, to help stop the violence. During the impeachment hearing–wait, sorry, I mean Trump’s second impeachment hearing–a GOP member of Congress testified under oath that McCarthy had told her Trump responded to his request for help by saying, “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.” Wallace asked if that was in fact what Trump said.

McCarthy tried to dodge the question, but didn’t deny it. First he said Trump ended the call by saying he’d put something out to ‘stop’ the rioting. Asked again, he refused to directly answer the question by saying, “My conversations with the president are my conversations with the president.” Which, let’s face it, is pretty much an admission that Trump said exactly that.

But let’s look at the transcript of the video Trump DID eventually release.

I know your pain, I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side.

“I know your pain.”

But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt.

“We don’t want anybody hurt.”

It’s a very tough period of time. There’s never been a time like this where such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us — from me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election…

“There’s never been a time like this…”

…but we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. 

“We love you.”

You’re very special.

“You’re very special.”

You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel.

“You see the way others are treated, that are so bad and so evil.”

But go home, and go home in peace.

“Go home in peace.”

In his interview with Wallace, McCarthy also said this: “I engaged in the idea of making sure we could stop what was going on inside the Capitol at that moment in time and the president said he would help.”

For once, I’m willing to take McCarthy at his word. I believe Comrade Trump DID want to help “stop what was going on inside the Capitol at that moment in time.” I believe that because what was going on in the Capitol at that moment in time was a GOP attempt to stop the Electoral College from confirming that Joe Biden had won the election. It was an attempt to prevent the peaceful transfer or power–an attempt made violently by the insurrectionists and bureaucratically by Republican members of Congress. They both had the same goal in mind.

McCarthy says Trump wanted to stop what was going on inside the Capitol. And he tried.

a strong adverse inference

Yesterday Congressman Jamie Raskin, the lead impeachment manager, sent Comrade Trump an email inviting him to testify at his impeachment hearing. The email was in response to Trump’s reply to the House’s trial memorandum (which I discussed earlier).

The email (which you can read here) began Dear President Trump, which I thought was nice. I doubt if Raskin really holds Trump dear, but the term is a traditional courtesy. And like my poor old momma always said, “It never hurts to be polite when you can.” Raskin then got right down to business. He wrote:

[Y]ou filed an Answer in which you denied many factual allegations set forth in the article of impeachment. You have thus attempted to put critical facts at issue.

You’re probably asking, “Greg, old sock, what critical facts would those be?” I’m glad you asked — although really, you need to stop calling me ‘old sock’. The trial memo basically said Trump “gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government” and “threatened the integrity of the democratic system” and “interfered with the peaceful transition of power” AND “imperiled a coequal branch Government.” He did all that by lying about the election results frequently and in public. Trump, in his response, basically said, “What? Me? No way. I didn’t do any of those things.”

“I swear that the evidence that I shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help me God, help me.”

Raskin, in his email, responded:

In light of your disputing these factual allegations, I write to invite you to provide testimony under oath, either before or during the Senate impeachment trial.

Again, very nice. Very polite. Trump is offered the opportunity to present his side of the events and defend himself. He can explain how he actually won the election. He can explain his phone calls to the Georgia secretary of state; he can explain what he meant when he said he wanted to ‘find’ those extra votes. He can explain his call for Vice President Pence to “do the right thing” and refuse to certify the election results. All he has to do is show up and testify under oath.

But…and we all know that it’s what comes after the ‘but’ that really matters…Raskin also included a bit of iron fist inside that velvet glove.

If you decline this invitation, we reserve any and all rights, including the right to establish at trial that your refusal to testify supports a strong adverse inference regarding your actions (and inaction) on January 6, 2021.

In other words, put up or shut up. Trump has the absolute right to present his side of the story. But in order to do that, he has to swear to tell the truth. If he refuses to take advantage of that opportunity — if he refuses to make, under oath, the same claims he’s been making in public speeches — then Raskin (and the Senate, and the public in general) is free to infer that Trump was, as we say in the justice system, a lying sack of shit.

A few hours after he received the email, to nobody’s surprise, Trump declined to accept Raskin’s polite invitation to testify.

“Testify? Under oath? Like a loser? Naw, I don’t think so.”

You’re probably wondering, “Greg, old sock, can the Senate compel Mr. Trump’s testimony?” You bet your ass, they can. Once the trial starts, the Senate can vote to issue a subpoena to Trump (or any witness, for that matter). All it takes is a simple majority vote.

Let me amend that. I think he can be subpoenaed. Here’s the problem: in a criminal case, if the accused chooses to remain silent, the prosecution can’t call them as a witness; nobody can compel a criminal defendant to testify. In a civil case, defendants can be forced to testify. But an impeachment is neither a criminal nor a civil matter; it’s a legislative process. Trump hasn’t been criminally charged with a violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 2383, the federal crime of insurrection. But that IS the impeachment charge. So you bet your ass the Senate CAN subpoena him, but it’s not clear to me whether Trump could be compelled to actually testify.

My guess is that IF the Senate chooses to subpoena Trump (and I hope they do), his lawyers will do everything they can to quash the subpoena. That will require a hearing. Probably several hearings. And a lot of time — time that might be better spent passing President Biden’s legislative measures.

Would it be worth all that time and effort if Trump could be compelled to testify under oath? Historically, yes, absolutely. But is it worth it at the risk of disrupting Biden’s attempt to get the pandemic and the economy under control? Probably not.

I suspect we’ll be forced to settle for the ‘strong adverse inference’ that Trump’s refusal to testify under oath means he’s a lying sack of shit.

the gingerbread man defense

The House of Representatives has filed its trial memorandum, outlining the case it will present to the Senate in the looming repeachment trial of Comrade former-president Donald J. Trump. You can read the memorandum here.

You can also read the answering brief presented by Trump’s attorneys. His most recent attorneys, not the attorneys who quit over the weekend, or the attorneys who represented him in his last impeachment and declined to represent him in the repeachment. (Also, yes, I know, ‘repeachment’ isn’t an actual word, but I’d argue that we’ve never needed it to be a word because until now there’s never been anybody in US history who ever needed to be repeached.)

I’ve read both the House’s memorandum and Trump’s response. In order to save you the effort, I’ll summarize them here (I’m a goddamn saint, is what I am). But here’s the TL;DR version of Trump’s defense:

Run away, run away, fast as you can!
You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!

First, the House managers set the stage, noting the US Constitution says the House of Representatives “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment” and that the President “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

Trump’s response: admitted in part, denied in part, not relevant. Yes, the Constitution says Congress can impeach and try POTUS. But hey, guess what, Trump isn’t POTUS, and therefore it doesn’t apply to him.

Second, the managers say the Constitution prohibits any person who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against” the United States from holding any federal office.

Trump’s response: admitted in part, denied in part, not relevant. Yes, the Constitution says that, but Trump didn’t do any insurrectioning or rebelling. Also, he doesn’t hold any federal office, so there.

Third, the managers say Trump violated his constitutional oath to “faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

Trump’s response: denied, and irrelevant. They claim Trump totally faithfully executed his duties as POTUS, and he never ever not even once did any high Crimes or Misdemeanors. Also, he’s still not POTUS.

Fourth, the managers say Trump DID SO engage in high Crimes and Misdemeanors, on account of inciting violence against the government by repeatedly lying about the Presidential election results and telling folks the results shouldn’t be “accepted by the American people or certified by State or Federal officials.”

Trump’s response: admitted in part, denied in part, and irrelevant. Trump, they say, only exercised his First Amendment right “to express his belief that the election results were suspect.” Plus, there isn’t sufficient evidence to show that Trump knew his lies were lies, and besides, he believes them. Also? That First Amendment thing again.

Fifth, the managers point to Trump’s speech to the crowd at the Capitol ellipse, in which he repeated his lies, claiming “We won this election, and we won it by a landslide.”

Trump’s response: admitted in part, denied in part. Yes, Trump spoke to the crowd. Yes, he told them he’d won the election. But that was just Trump being Trump and expressing his opinion. First Amendment, and all that.

Sixth, the managers say Trump willfully made statements that “encouraged – and
foreseeably resulted in – lawless action” at the Capitol building. That action resulted in an attempt to “interfere with the Joint Session’s solemn constitutional duty to certify the results of the 2020 Presidential election.” You know, on account of all the rioting and violence and murder.

Trump’s response: admitted in part, denied in part. Yes, some people “unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol” and yes, “people were injured and killed.” But POTUS denies they did it on account of what he said. Also, Trump never “intended to interfere with the counting of Electoral votes.”

Seventh, the managers assert that Trump’s behavior on January 6, 2021 were part of “his prior efforts to subvert the certification of the results of the 2020 Presidential Election.” Those efforts included calling Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia Secretary of State, and urging him to ‘find’ enough votes to overturn the Georgia Presidential election results. Also, Trump sorta kinda threatened Raffensperger if he failed to ‘find’ those votes.

Trump’s response: admitted in part, denied in part, denied as irrelevant. Yes, Trump spoke to Raffensperger, but not to “subvert the certification of the results of the 2020 Presidential election.” He only wanted Raffensperger to do a really really really thorough count. Also, the term ‘find’ is taken out of context. Also too, Trump never really threatened Raffensperger. And besides, none of that matters because Trump still isn’t POTUS.

Eighth, the House managers assert that Trump, by doing all the shit he did, “gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government.” Also, he “threatened the integrity of the democratic system.” Also too, he “interfered with the peaceful transition of power.” Also too plus, he “imperiled a coequal branch Government” by sending murderous rioters to the Capitol building, none of which he should have done because it was a betrayal of his trust as President.

Trump’s response: Denied, and denied as irrelevant. Nope, Trump never endangered the security of the United States, never endangered its institutions of Government, never threatened the integrity of the democratic system, never interfered with the peaceful transition of power, never imperiled a coequal branch Government, and never betrayed his trust as President. In fact, Trump “performed admirably in his role as president, at all times doing what he thought was in the best interests of the American people.” Also, he’s still not POTUS, so this is irrelevant.

Trump’s current crop of lawyers sum up his defense, claiming 1) the Senate doesn’t have jurisdiction to try him because they can’t remove him from an office he doesn’t hold, that 2) the House denied him due process by impeaching him without giving him an opportunity to defend himself, that 3) even attempting to try him under those circumstances is equivalent to a bill of attainder (okay, quick note: a bill of attainder is a legislative act that declares a person guilty of a crime, and punishing them, without the benefit of a trial), and 4) the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court isn’t acting as the trial judge (which is true, because the Chief is only required to act as judge in an impeachment of a sitting president), and 5) the impeachment is constitutionally flawed because it includes multiple allegedly impeachable offenses in a single article (they seem to be suggesting there should be MORE articles of impeachment), and 6) there’s that whole First Amendment business, which is being ignored.

In other words, Trump is saying, “I didn’t do it. But even if I did do it, it was legal. And even if it wasn’t legal, you shouldn’t do anything about it. And even if you should do something about it, you can’t. It’s basically the Gingerbread Man defense.

Run away, run away, fast as you can!
You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!