NASHVILLE, TN – For a second time, the House of Representatives has impeached Donald Trump on a new charge of “incitement of insurrection”. He likely won’t be convicted because it requires a two-thirds vote in the U.S. Senate and the Democrats don’t have 67 votes.
For a guy who became President on a promise to drain the swamp in Washington, Trump’s acquittal rests with a denizen of that place, Senator Mitch McConnell, who has been trying to stop President Biden from rolling out his agenda by keeping the filibuster as one of the Senate rules. He gave up on that Tuesday, January 26. The Democrats can now seat their people in leadership positions on Senate committees. But the fate of the filibuster is still in question.
If the Democrats don’t nuke the 60-vote rule and kill the filibuster, Republicans will thwart Biden’s best-laid plans to reset the political landscape. This is much more serious and important than Trump’s impeachment because it will impact the next four years of the Biden administration.
But there is no question that Trump is guilty as charged. A number of news organizations like the AP and Bloomberg News reported that former Trump campaign aides organized the rally on January 6. Their names are listed on the park permits.
They collectively took $1,089,710 from the Trump campaign or one of his dark money donor shell companies and some of those aides were still on the payroll just a week before the attack on the Capitol.
The Trump campaign paid out a total of $2.7 million to individuals or companies behind the January 6 rally. Anna Massoglia of the Center for Responsive Politics followed the money. (see graph). In short, Trump paid for it.
After whipping up the crowd for more than an hour, Trump called on his supporters to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue with him to the Capitol. They did by the thousands. Some had already started to move on the Capitol as Trump was speaking.
Then they overwhelmed the barricades manned by police and National Guardsmen, some of whom were quite chummy with the insurrectionists.
But where was Trump? According to Maggie Haberman of the New York Times, Trump did not march on the Capitol after his speech but returned to the White House and watched on television as his supporters breached and vandalized the Capitol.
Trump’s supporters searched for Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats. It was a lynch mob turned loose by Trump and his political allies. But just like Trump, they were kind of clueless, milling about, and not quite believing what they had done or what they were supposed to do.
Sixteen minutes into his 73-minute speech Trump said: “After this, we’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you. We’re going to walk down. We’re going to walk down any one you want, but I think right here. We’re going walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators, and congressmen and women. We’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
After speaking for more than an hour, Trump finished up with this:
“So we’re going to, we’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, I love Pennsylvania Avenue, and we’re going to the Capitol and we’re going to try and give… The Democrats are hopeless. They’re never voting for anything, not even one vote. But we’re going to try and give our Republicans, the weak ones, because the strong ones don’t need any of our help, we’re going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.
So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. I want to thank you all. God bless you and God bless America. Thank you all for being here, this is incredible. Thank you very much. Thank you.”
Trump didn’t march on the Capitol with his supporters. He abandoned them.
This story was updated January 26.