The trial brief filed Tuesday by House impeachment managers argues the obvious: That Donald Trump's actions on and leading up to his Jan. 6 incitement of a mob that stormed the Capitol were "a betrayal of historic proportions."
The brief accuses Trump of whipping his supporters into a "frenzy" and describes him as "singularly responsible" for the mayhem that followed.
The former president is not protected by the First Amendment's freedom of speech provision, the managers wrote. That provision was never intended to allow a president to "provoke lawless action if he loses at the polls."
"If provoking an insurrectionary riot against a Joint Session of Congress after losing an election is not an impeachable offense, it is hard to imagine what would be," the brief states.
Later Tuesday, Trump's legal team denied that he incited the deadly assault on the Capitol, and they argued in a responding brief that the Senate has no right to try him.
The Senate trial is scheduled to begin next Tuesday. That's not a moment too soon.
This country is exhausted by Trump.
That's not just our opinion. It also was the nut shell of a 27-page Trump pollster's "autopsy" of his November loss. And it was the view of other political analysts who gave their post-election conclusions to former Vice President Mike Pence.
The pollsters advising Pence "made clear that while there was substantial support for Trump's policies, there was widespread exhaustion with the president," Politico wrote this week of the reports.
In short, the former president's chief pollster Tony Fabrizio said Trump "was crushed by disapproval of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and a voter perception that he wasn't honest or trustworthy."
Politico added: "And while Trump spread baseless accusations of ballot-stuffing in heavily Black cities, the report notes that he was done in by hemorrhaging support from white voters."
The American people knew what to do with Donald Trump: Dump him.
Now the Senate needs to do the same. And Republicans need to help.
Interestingly, it seems most Senate Republicans will not defend Trump's conduct around the Jan. 6 Capitol siege — especially as more becomes known about the Trump campaign's preparation of the rally that became the mob. Instead, most Republican senators for now are still rallying around an argument about the Congress's constitutional powers and the supposedly dangerous consequences for our politics if the Senate tries a "late impeachment."
In other words, Trump's no longer in office, and they are arguing that what he did in the last two weeks of his term doesn't matter. It lets them avoid a defense of his actions — and of their own silence about it — while they pose instead as guardians of the Constitution.
Don't be fooled. They are not guardians of the Constitution. We could argue they are not even being reasonable guardians of their own party.
The House impeachment managers have urged senators in their brief to bar Trump from ever again serving in elected office.
"This is not a case where elections alone are a sufficient safeguard against future abuse; it is the electoral process itself that President Trump attacked and that must be protected from him and anyone else who would seek to mimic his behavior. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine a case that more clearly evokes the reasons why the Framers wrote a disqualification power into the Constitution," the managers wrote.
But remember, these timid Republican senators are the same ones who said Trump couldn't be prosecuted while he's a sitting president. And the same ones who said he couldn't be impeached for that Ukrainian phone call because America should wait for the election. And then they said he couldn't be impeached for Jan. 6 because he will soon be out of office. Now they are saying he cannot be prosecuted afterward for his actions while he was president. Republicans apparently think all presidents — at least all GOP ones — have complete and forever immunity to prosecution or even simple accountability.
Oddly, Minority Senate Leader Mitch McConnell chose Monday night to finally call out Georgia freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
"Loony lies and conspiracy theories are cancer for the Republican Party and our country," McConnell said of her. "Somebody who's suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.'s airplane is not living in reality. This has nothing to do with the challenges facing American families or the robust debates on substance that can strengthen our party."
McConnell is no dummy. He never called out Greene when she was saying those things on the campaign stage. What he was doing in calling her out on Monday was sending a message to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy whose job it is to discipline her.
But maybe he's also trying to send a message to the Senate before they let the nation's biggest conspiracy theorist receive a permanent get-out-of-jail-free card.
This country is exhausted. The GOP should be, too.