Hello and welcome to day one of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial. As you may recall, the 45th president struggled to find lawyers to represent him against charges that he incited an insurrection, and on Tuesday it showed. After Democrats used their opening statement to show a harrowing, graphic video featuring Trump’s own words and footage of the violence that took place on January 6, attorney Bruce Castor Jr. took to the floor to argue his side and it did not go well—unless he actually meant to deliver a rambling, nonsensical monologue that culminated in suggesting the Department of Justice should arrest his client, in which case, get this man a raise!
Giving off the strong impression that he started working on his opening statement at 2 a.m. only to wake up 10 minutes before he needed to be at the Capitol with his face stuck to a bunch of half-written pages and had to just shove whatever he had in his briefcase and and wing it, Castor kicked things off with a story about record players:
Then he tried out some material he’s apparently been working on for an open mic night at his next legal retreat, saying, for reasons probably lost on everyone in the room: “You know it’s funny, this is an aside, but it’s funny, you ever notice how when you’re talking, or you hear others talking about you, when you’re home in your state, they will say, ‘you know I talked to my senator, or I talked to someone on the staff of my senator.’ It’s always ‘my senator,’ why is it that we say ‘my senator’?”
Which was followed by a cautionary tale about what happened when Ancient Greece and Rome “devolved into such partisanship.”
(As an aside we’d like to remind the people watching at home that earlier in his career, Castor fought to let Bill Cosby go free while Trump’s other impeachment lawyer, David Schoen, was set to defend Jeffrey Epstein before the guy died in prison.)
At this point, Trump was reportedly on the verge of having an aneurysm while watching the proceedings from Mar-a-Lago. Perhaps sensing the acute danger, Castor snapped to attention, remembered where he was and what he was doing there, and threw out the argument that the only reason his client was being impeached was because Democrats are afraid of competing with him, saying: “Let’s understand why we are really here, we are really here because the majority of the House of Representatives does not want to face Donald Trump as a political rival in the future…. Nobody says it that plainly but unfortunately I have a way of speaking that way.” And then he noted that, despite what you may have heard for months from a certain extremely sore loser, Joe Biden did in fact win the election, and voters made a great decision in denying Trump a second term. “The American people just spoke, and they just changed administrations,” Castor said. “The people are smart enough in the light most favorable to them to pick a new administration if they don’t like the old one, and they just did.”
For his big finish, Castor concluded by telling the group assembled, of his client, “[If you] actually think that President Trump committed a criminal offense…you go and arrest him…. The Department of Justice does know what to do with such people, and so far I haven’t seen any activity in that direction.”
In other words, things couldn’t have gone worse if Trump had hired a bunch of Trump University School of Law dropouts to defend him, but don’t take our word for it! Here’s what one of the ex-president’s longtime allies had to say about the whole thing:
Of course, it doesn’t actually matter how comically terrible Castor was— he could literally tell the Senate “Trump should get life in prison” and it’s all but certain that Republicans would vote to acquit anyway. Yet while justice will very likely not prevail, it’s still good to know that should Trump one day face criminal charges, these are the only attorneys left who’ll work for him.
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Team Trump: We meant for Castor to suck
It’s all part of the plan you see!
One Republican Senator was swayed by Trump’s legal team’s argument
Swayed to the other side because of how bad it was, that is:
Sen. Bill Cassidy (La.), the only Republican senator to switch his vote Tuesday to support moving forward with Trump’s impeachment trial, criticized the meandering opening statements by Trump’s attorney as confusing and nonsensical. “It was disorganized, random,” Cassidy told reporters after Tuesday’s proceedings. “[Trump’s lawyers] talked about many things but didn’t talk about the issue at hand…The issue at hand, is it constitutional to impeach a president who’s left office? And the House managers made a compelling, cogent case, and the president’s team did not.”
Cassidy said at one point that, as one of Trump’s lawyers was speaking, he leaned over, confused, to ask Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) if he was missing something. “If I’m there as an impartial juror, respecting my oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the U.S., and one side makes the argument, and the other side does everything but make the argument, then to live with myself, I make that vote. I’ve always said I’m approaching this as an impartial juror,” he said.
Equally unimpressed was Trump defender John Cornyn, who told reporters: “I thought the president’s lawyer — the first lawyer — just rambled on and on and on and didn’t really address the constitutional argument.” (That naturally did not stop him for casting a vote not to move forward with the trial.) Senator Lisa Murkowski, who did vote to proceed, was similarly unclear on the many meandering points Castor tried and failed to make, saying: “I couldn’t figure out where he was going—[he] spent 45 minutes going somewhere, but I don’t think he helped with us better understanding where he was coming from on the constitutionality of this.”
Republican Senator: Who among us hasn’t tried to overthrow the U.S. government?
Mike Lee wants to live in a country where people get do-overs after these sorts of things.
‘This cannot be our future.’ Raskin makes an emotional argument, describing his family being at the Capitol riot. (NYT)
‘Trump War Room’ Twitter account goes on the attack as impeachment trial kicks off (Politico)
Punished by Democrats, Greene consolidates support at home (AP)
Biden Asks 56 Trump-Appointed U.S. Attorneys to Step Down (Bloomberg)
Twitter is ‘bigger than any one account,’ says Dorsey in first earnings call after Trump ban (CNBC)
How an Online Scandal Put Jack Ma’s Media World in the Spotlight (Bloomberg)
Ivanka Trump Wants Us All To Know She’s Having Fun in Miami, Damn It (TDB)
‘I’m Not a Cat,’ Says Lawyer Having Zoom Difficulties (NYT)
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