At this point, it’s just a lingering after-effect


You know what’s nice? My in-box and Twitter feed are no longer filled with noise about Donald Trump. I have no interest in watching the current impeachment proceedings, which will be full of posturing airheads and bad lawyers making arguments in bad faith. I get a brief distillation of all stupid chatter in the morning, and then I ignore it the rest of the day. It feels good!

So the impeachment trial began yesterday. It went badly for the ol’ orange asshole, with the senate deciding that sure, they could go ahead and impeach him. That’s about it. Now the question is whether they’ll actually do it.

The Democrats are decisive (there’s a phrase I never thought I’d write): yes, they will.

The Republicans are in a dither. What they do is not going to depend on their conscience, or an objective assessment of the evidence, but entirely on the basis of the polling, because they’re all amoral conniving cowards. A substantial number of Republican voters are still in the Cult of Trump, so they’re afraid that voting to impeach will trigger an angry backlash against them…but at the same time, they’re concerned that the ongoing prosecution is going to make such a strong public case that they’ll get a backlash if they don’t vote to impeach. Squirm, you creeps, squirm. I hope they’re all sweating profusely right now.

As for Trump himself, the reports are mixed. The New York Times says he’s furious.

On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the angriest, Mr. Trump “was an eight,” one person familiar with his reaction said.
And while he was heartened that his other lawyer, Mr. Schoen, gave a more spirited performance, Mr. Trump ended the day frustrated and irate, the people familiar with his reaction said.

I’m a terrible person who likes to hear that the ex-president is suffering, but it is the NYT, and I do not trust the NYT. The Washington Post says something different: he’s sanguine.

But Trump’s seeming quietude, said one confidant who recently spoke with the former president, is less the result of newfound discipline and more a consequence of Twitter’s decision to ban Trump, who no longer has an instant public forum to blast out his latest grievances.

Both papers conclude, unfortunately, that the impeachment is not likely to succeed, so maybe he’s got good reason to relax. About the trial, at least. His financial empire is crumbling around him and he’s got a future of lawsuits to shred his declining years.

That’s a wrap. Now I have to think about genetics all day long.

Comments

  1. beer says

    “It went badly for the ol’ orange asshole, with the senate deciding that sure, they could go ahead and impeach him…… Both papers conclude, unfortunately, that the impeachment is not likely to succeed,”

    More conflation of “impeachment” and “conviction”. He was impeached [again] in January. His conviction will be decided next.

  2. brucegee1962 says

    Being a Senator is nice and all — you get lots of perks, apparently money just magically appears in your bank account, people suck up to you. But I’d think that, at some point, you’d stop and consider how you’re going to be seen by your descendants. Future historians are not going to be kind to the Trumpists — I don’t see how there can be much doubt about that. Why doesn’t that give a few more of them the temptation to vote to convict, even if it means getting primaried out in a blaze of glory?

    I guess the answer to my question is that all the Republicans with an ounce of dignity have already resigned. The only ones left are the snivelers.

  3. erichoug says

    The whole thing is a complete waste of time. Republicans have decided that Mr. Trump is far more important than petty things like the Constitution, the rule of law, the lives of ordinary citizens or the American tradition of representative democracy.

    He’s going to skate. He’s going to receive no punishment for anything, he’s not going to jail, he’s not going to die in the gutter.

    The real lesson from Donald Trump is that, In America, if you end up getting convicted, that just means you didn’t steal enough.

  4. robro says

    “I hope they’re all sweating profusely right now.” Yeah, me too, but that’s not clear. Here’s Heather Cox Richardson’s take on yesterday’s proceedings in her daily “Letters from an American”:

    During the video of the insurrection, Trump supporters Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) looked at papers on their desks, Rick Scott (R-FL) looked at papers on his lap, and Rand Paul (R-KY) doodled.

    Paul was one of those who argued that the Senate can’t try the former president. Guess he lost that round.

  5. christoph says

    “The Washington Post says something different: he’s sanguine.”
    Exsanguination could help with that.

  6. raven says

    No Trump won’t be convicted.
    We already know that.

    .1. The real audience here is the American people.
    The US congress is trying to send a simple message.
    Trying to take over the government by force with an armed mob is not a good idea!!!
    It is essentially a defense of our democracy, for once.
    Congress had to do it or the constitution is just a piece of paper and easily tossed into a paper shredder.

    .2. The other message is that the GOP is an extremist, anti-democratic party.
    Paul Krugman points out that either they are going away or we as a democracy are going away.

  7. robro says

    erichoug @ #3 — “The whole thing is a complete waste of time.”

    I share your pessimism for the outcome of the impeachment trial, but I don’t think that’s clear. The Senate might not (probably won’t) convict Trump, sure, but there are other mechanisms they can use to keep him out of the White House in the future…and even Republicans may buy that option particularly those who have aspirations to run.

    The other effect is putting pressure on Republicans. The next election cycle starts a short year away. Already several Republican Senators have announced they are retiring, opening possibilities. What’s perhaps more important is the number of corporate donors who are bailing on them, particularly those who did not accept the election results. While I’m not overly optimistic for a big shift in American political life, January 6 may mark the high-water mark for the fundamentalist/hyper-conservative/racist juggernaut in the GOP.

    However, a major challenge is preventing state legislatures from further voter suppression measures and further gerrymandering election districts with the new census. That’s going to be a difficult battle.

  8. stroppy says

    Republicans happily rollover for Trump, one more reason why Democrats shouldn’t. Better to fight the good fight, better in the long run as opposed to just melting into a pool of passive goop– I should think we’ve had enough of that by now, it’s how we got into this mess in the first place.

  9. raven says

    PAUL KRUGMAN: GOP in the doom loop of bizzaro
    by Paul Krugman The New York Times | January 30, 2021 at 7:42 a.m.

    Here’s what we know about American politics: The Republican Party is stuck, probably irreversibly, in a doom loop of bizarro. If the Trump-incited Capitol insurrection didn’t snap the party back to sanity–and it didn’t–nothing will.

    What isn’t clear yet is who will end up facing doom. Will it be the GOP as a significant political force? Or will it be America as we know it? We don’t know the answer. It depends a lot on how successful Republicans will be in suppressing votes.

    Once again, here is Paul Krugman’s take on the GOP.
    They will get worse not better.
    It’s them or us, us being the US democracy.

    The GOP is still very strong.
    They hold most state governments. They own the Supreme court. The senate is 51 to 50 and the House is 222 to 210, Democractic to GOP.
    If it hadn’t been for the Covid-19 pandemic, Trump would have probably won.
    His huge incompetence worked for the Democratic party.

    Ironically, the Democratic senators represent 41 million more people than GOP and represent 71% of US GDP. The GOP will be a minority government even if they end up ruling over us.

  10. ardipithecus says

    As a foreigner, I do not understand why the votes are not by secret ballot. It seems to me that impeachments and trials of top ranking people are much too important to be left in the realm of rank partisanship.

  11. whheydt says

    The Republicans would be better off–in four years, if not two–if they help convict Trump. After a vote to convict, it is a simple majority vote to prevent him from ever holding office again. McConnell clearly knows that a conviction is in his party’s best interest, but unless he can get enough of his party’s Senators to go along, he won’t vote to convict. He’t taking the cowards way out.

    (All this assumes, of course, that Trump will still be alive in another 4 years. That’s not something I’d bet on.)

  12. DrVanNostrand says

    The Republicans have already shown their hands with respect to how they’ll vote, and how they’ll justify it publicly. About 45 will vote against and say it’s because you can’t convict him after he left office. It’s a disingenuous and stupid argument, so at least it’s consistent with Republican values.

  13. jrkrideau says

    @ 10 ardipithecus

    As a foreigner, I do not understand why the votes are not by secret ballot.

    Indeed but we have to remember that the USA operates under a constitution that is over 200 years old. It appears that most of the procedural parts have not been changed since it was over 200 years ago.

  14. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    I bet both the NYT and WashPost are correct, reporting on different periods of time.
    NYT reported his anger while watching the lawyers on CSPAN,
    Post reporting about when he is sitting in an empty room with TV off, and nothing to do because Twitter is closed to him.
    HE always seemed completely unstable emotionally. Flying off the handle on a moments notice and quick smiles when given a single word of praise. Consistently inconsistent. Stable as a dollop of tapioca

  15. robro says

    ardipithecus @ #10 and jrkrideau @ #13

    The reason for open and recorded congressional votes is to ensure accountability to the voters. If we don’t know how our members of congress vote, we don’t know whether they are representing us the way we want. That cuts both for and against us, and it does not guarantee that they are ever representing “we the people” versus their big donors, but that’s the idea. It’s not really about it being an old idea.

    Some procedurals are by voice, but that’s usually things like voting to adjourn.

  16. unclefrogy says

    unfortunately, that the impeachment is not likely to succeed, so maybe he’s got good reason to relax. About the trial, at least. His financial empire is crumbling around him and he’s got a future of lawsuits to shred his declining years.

    and not to forget that all of this is also occurring in the court of public opinion. and because he is a former president very public.
    It amazes me how such a cheap crook would think that such a public position would end up any other way but controversial with little staying secret for long?
    uncle frogy

  17. Ridana says

    One thing that kinda worries me about the prosecution is that they’re hammering home that the rioters truly believed they were acting on orders of the President. I think we can expect to see that used as a defense to get all these yahoos off.

  18. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    One thing that kinda worries me about the prosecution is that they’re hammering home that the rioters truly believed they were acting on orders of the President. I think we can expect to see that used as a defense to get all these yahoos off.

    I hope not. I hope we have all learned that “I was just following orders” is not a lawful excuse.

  19. lumipuna says

    I don’t think these far right goons are very eager to take orders from anyone, unless they’re ordered to do something they really like to do, or something they believe is urgently necessary anyway. They probably thought they were saving the country/white race/conservative values. Trump just suggested them that storming the Capitol is a) a feasible method for achieving something b) actually a legal right, or something that will be pardoned/not even prosecuted once the coup succeeds.

    When it comes to legal defense, perhaps some of them felt that “following orders” is better than nothing. People in desperate circumstances tend to grasp at straws.

  20. stroppy says

    It amazes me how such a cheap crook would think that such a public position would end up any other way but controversial with little staying secret for long?

    Over many years, there’s little that’s been secret about Trump that couldn’t be known or inferred by anyone paying attention. The last four years he’s been rubbing everyone’s face in the obvious and so far still lived a consequence free life in the sense that he as been allowed to thrive in a toxic chaos that would make any decent human sick. Money, threats, puffery, yammering, lawyers and God bless downward normalized America.

    Hopefully the hearings will bring new light to the court of public opinion. We’ll see how that goes.

  21. stroppy says

    I should say that pundits have been repeating a bit dismissively that the managers have been making an “emotional” case. But we already know that simply relying on reason and he-said-she-said is not enough to shock the conscience. As they say, show don’t tell.

  22. Ridana says

    18) @GerrardOfTitanServer: I hope you’re right, but unless a judge specifically instructs the jury that, I think a lot of people still believe it is.

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