February 12, 2021

ABOUT THAT IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: John Daniel Davidson points in The Federalist to a fundamental weakness in the Democrats’ case against Trump: To be guilty of incitement, Trump had to clearly and without a doubt instruct his supporters to go to the Capitol and riot.

And that in turn means there must be rioters who did so because they thought that’s exactly what Trump told them to do. But no rioters saying that were produced as witnesses during the House impeachment debate or the Senate trial so far, so the Democrats use carefully edited video to prompt emotional responses that cultivate the assumption that’s what they thought. Well, no, says Davidson:

“But here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter if they thought they were carrying out Trump’s orders. It’s not Trump’s fault these people are idiots. And unless Democrats can produce some evidence that Trump gave the rioters instructions to attack the Capitol, we’ll have to rely on what we know Trump said, which was to encourage the protesters to march ‘peacefully.’” Davidson’s entire critique is arguably devastating.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): Related: Ann Althouse: “The question I think should be at the core of the impeachment trial but is not: Did Trump intend that the crowd break into the Capitol and terrorize the members of Congress? . . . I want to be pointed to the part of the trial that addresses the question: Did Trump intend that the crowd break into the Capitol and terrorize the members of Congress?”

Well, they can’t point to that because he didn’t. That’s why they’re blowing smoke and peddling doctored videos for emotional impact.

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