According to an attorney with over 40 years of legal experience, the House Democrats have compiled a compelling impeachment case for the U.S. Senate to convict Donald Trump for "incitement of insurrection" that even Republicans should agree with.
Writing in the conservative Bulwark, litigator Philip Rotner stated that articles of impeachment present an "open and shut" case whenever the Senate takes up the trial -- likely after Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) becomes the new Senate majority leader.
Writing, "the case for conviction is clear and compelling," Rotner explains that the articles were written in such a way that the two primary defenses the president's defenders would likely present -- echoing their defense of the president during his first impeachment trial -- are effectively blown to pieces.
"Incitement of insurrection is a crime, full stop: 18 U.S.C §2383 states that any person who 'incites' or 'assists' an insurrection, or 'gives aid or comfort thereto,' shall be fined or imprisoned for not more than ten years, 'and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States," he wrote.
Citing previous Supreme Court decision of the limits of free speech, Rotner explained that Trump's words -- urging the crowd to march on the Capitol building -- would not be protected under the First Amendment.
Writing, "Speech designed to incite imminent lawless action is not protected," the attorney explained, " Trump's pre-January 6 grooming of his supporters wasn't just a campaign of lies, it was a call to action. Trump summoned his supporters to Washington D.C. specifically on January 6, not merely to express their dissatisfaction, but to do something concrete: 'Stop the Steal.'"
Rotner said it was clear that many people in the crowd were planning to take violent action.
"On the morning of January 6, the mob Trump had summoned assembled just a short walk from the Capitol, where a joint session of Congress was underway to tabulate the election results. This group was angry and prepared for violence: Many in attendance were dressed in combat gear, with helmets and body armor. Some were openly brandishing weapons," he wrote.
The attorney said a key part of the case against the president was his statement, "We will stop the steal," as he urged the amped-up crowd to march on Congress where they were certifying the Electoral College vote.
"And so the insurrection was launched. It succeeded in part and failed in part. It succeeded in delaying Congress from performing its constitutional duty—and likely in intimidating a number of members of Congress into supporting their cause, " the attorney wrote. "At the end of the day, there is no legal defense for Trump's conduct. He incited the insurrection."
With that, Rotner put Republicans on notice that failure to find the president guilty of a clear case of insurrection will haunt them for years to come.
"There is nothing to be gained by trying to assuage the feelings of white supremacists, conspiracy theorists, and other MAGA crazies," he wrote before lecturing, "It's time to hold bad actors accountable, not to appease them. It is time to let the truth have its day."
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