Notes From My Attendance of Trump’s Impeachment Trial in 2020

  • For the most part, my writing here is strictly apolitical, merely describing my experiences and direct observations, with no partisan political interpretation. The only possible exception is the postscript sections with my views on censure vs. impeachment, voting threshold, and impeachable offenses, which aren’t really partisan per se, but not completely apolitical either.

My first day: Tuesday, January 28, 2020 — Almost, but no luck

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My second day: Wednesday, January 29, 2020 — No luck

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My third day: Thursday, January 30, 2020 — I got in!

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My fourth day: Friday, January 31, 2020 — No luck

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My fifth day: Monday, February 3, 2020 — I got in — closing arguments!

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My sixth day: Wednesday, February 5, 2020 — I got in, for the grand finale and vote!

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Postscript — Thursday, February 6, 2020 — censure

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Postscript — February 7, 2020 — impeachable offense

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  • “The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
  1. Whatever Congress wants it to mean — and can get the votes to impeach and convict.
  2. An indictable crime — an actual crime.
  3. Misdemeanor means maladministration or malpractice or neglect of duty.
  4. Failure to carry out official duties, but more serious than mere maladministration.

Postscript — February 8, 2020 — impeachment voting threshold

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Trump Impeachment Trial 2.0?

Obviously none of us average citizens can attend the second Trump impeachment trial this year due to the virus, but I was thinking of walking over to the Capitol area just to check out the outdoor scene — whether there are any protesters, how much media presence, etc. I have no firm plans at this moment, but it’s an intriguing possibility. I don’t even know if they even allow average people on the Capitol grounds yet.

  1. Is it really constitutional? Will the Supreme Court have an opportunity to rule on that question?
  2. Is it advantageous to Trump to have the trial and prevail rather than circumvent the trial (without exoneration) through a decision of the Supreme Court?
  3. Isn’t the outcome preordained at this stage? Why bother?
  4. Do both sides benefit equally by going through the motions of a trial even with a preordained outcome?
  5. What constitutes an impeachable offense?
  6. Will the House managers be able to simply paint all Trump claims about the election with a single broad brush as baseless and unsubstantiated, or will they be forced to argue against each such claim in detail? Will Trump’s team have the opportunity to air all of their election claims in detail, possibly arguing that the House managers haven’t proven them false per se? Will any of these claims be relevant to the impeachment charge? Are Trump’s election claims key to the House managers’ case, or just an incidental sideshow?
  7. Will Trump’s First Amendment claims be considered relevant?
  8. How many Republicans will defect? Two, four, six eight, ten?
  9. What are the legal elements of incitement which must be proven?
  10. What are the legal elements of insurrection which must be proven?
  11. Will the fact that the FBI investigation is ongoing and not yet complete have an impact on the impeachment trial? How much of the speculation and unproven allegations from the ongoing investigation can be used as evidence in the impeachment trial.
  12. Is the FBI currently investigating any purported incitement by Trump? If so, how might that impact the trial? If not, should that fact have an impact on the trial? Will any evidence or information about any investigation of Trump by the FBI be introduced at the trial?
  13. What standard of proof is required for incitement or insurrection?
  14. To what extent are witnesses needed? Shouldn’t a video of the Trump rally on January 6th be sufficient to demonstrate the purported incitement by Trump?
  15. Will it matter if it can be proven that various aspects of the assault on the Capitol were planned and coordinated without Trump’s direct involvement well before the rally on January 6th?
  16. What might be the consequences of a not-guilty verdict? Both within Congress and in the 2022 election. For both sides. Who wins more by having the trial?

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