Let's go through Trump's second impeachment trial, from least contriversial to more contriversial. These are my thoughts on the matter, after having watched much of the trial. Let's go through these one at a time.
- There was a riot at the Capital Building when the Congress was meeting to certify the election.
- President Trump spoke at that rally. He did use the word "Fight" 20 times, and encourage the crowd to march to the capital building. It is worth noting that he said "I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard."
- Before President Trump started speaking, a crowd was already forming at the Capital Building. Some of those individuals had already crossed barriers before he started speaking.
- President Trump was challenging the results of the election.
- Of the many court cases, over 60, only 1 was ruled in Trump's favor. That was to allow observers closer to the ballot counters in Pennsylvania. Many courts, both high and low, conservative and liberal, were involved in this judgement.
- President Trump had repeatedly said the only way he could lose was if there was some kind of unfair play involved.
- President Trump, while he didn't specifically call for the rally, became involved with it. The date and time was changed to correspond to that of the time of the counting of the Electoral College votes.
- President Trump sent some tweets after events started happening. These did call for respecting police, staying "peaceful". 2 hours after it started he called for "No Violence".
- The worst parts of the violence at the Capital were planned before the day.
- Many of the rioters believed they were following President Trump's orders.
- His last tweet of the day, set just after 6:00 pm "These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!"
- President Trump didn't request the national guard to reinforce the Capital when it was under attack.
- President Trump condemned the actions a week after the attack, after he was impeached for a second time by the House. That speech, in my opinion, is what he needed to do on Jan 6 in the evening.
- It was known before the attack that there was a possibility of things getting out of hand. The national guard was activated, but was not present at the attack itself at the capital.
- There have been two proposed standards for judging incitement. The one that I will judge is that of the defense, the Brandenburg test. This calls for two items. I have included a third that the Impeachment Managers included in their test as well.
- The speech is “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action,”
- The speech is “likely to incite or produce such action.”
- The speech was willful.
- We know that the second was true, as it did produce some action. The first is a bit more questionable. An argument could be made that he tacitly encouraged it, which would be the first point. The last point, the willful, is the hardest to know.
- Trump's tweets after the rally show that to at least some extent he was pleased with it, and expected it.
- There was considerably intelligence that something bad might be happening, but the details seem sketchy, at least in the public view.
- He was trying to intimidate at the very least Vice President Mike Pence and several Republican senators to question the results of the election and try to overturn them.
In conclusion, I will say that President Trump at best was ignorant of the mob's intent, and at worst was tacitly approving. He didn't seem disappointed by the actions taken until well after the day. The central question is really, did President Trump incite the riot? I think President Trump was deliberately fanning the flames. I don't think it was his ultimate desire to cause the riot, but he does seem pleased with it. He was trying to intimidate people to overturn the results of the election. There are still too many questions to before he could be convicted in a court of law. If he were still in office, I would support him being removed from office. And I certainly support continued investigation. I think there's enough to warrent the social media bans as well, even if Trump didn't intend it his words are inciting. What would I do if I were a US senator when voting? I think it would be worth convicting him to send a message to future Presidents that trying to intimidate Congress to change the results of an election is not acceptable. Even "primarying" a canidate that certifies the lawful election should be considered, while that is an excellent recourse in some situations, it should not be used to alter the certification of an election, in my opinion. There is a time and a place for challenges, and some exceptional cases might be challenged when counting the electoral college votes, but those should be extremely exceptional. The courts should really decide before that happens.
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