Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Does Donald Trump Deserve to Be Impeached Again?

             The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is impeachment of the President of the United States. Article II, Section 4 states: The President … shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

            After more than two years of the Russian Collusion delusion and no recommendation for impeachment in the Mueller Report, the U.S. House of Representatives led by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi impeached Donald Trump for a telephone call to Ukraine. The House impeached him for “abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on December 18, 2019,” and the vote fell along party lines. With this vote, Trump joined Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton as the only presidents ever impeached. None of the three left office because the Senate did not convict any of them.

            A little more than a year has passed, and Democrats are calling for another impeachment of Donald Trump. The given reason for the calls for impeachment is that Trump called for an attack on the U.S. Capitol when he invited his followers to Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021. Trump spoke to the crowd of hundreds of thousands to two million people, and a “mob” of so-called Trump supporters attacked the Capitol about the same time. Trump is being blamed for the violence at the Capitol, but Allan J. Favish, a Los Angeles attorney, stated that the timing is wrong to blame Trump. Here is his reasoning.

Trump's speech can be seen here courtesy of NTD.  The speech lasted about 1 hour and 12 minutes.  At 18:10 into the video, Trump says, "I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol Building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard."  The Hill omitted that quote from its article, which is consistent with the rest of the mainstream media's coverage of the speech.  In this article by ABC News, a full transcript of the speech is provided.  However, in the first part of the article, in which the speech is described, this quote is omitted, and other quotes from the speech are given that lead the reader to conclude that Trump was inciting the crowd to violence.  The best video of the entire event before the lawbreaking began is from Right Side Broadcasting Network, which shows the crowd and the stage and loudspeaker system. 

To the best of my knowledge, neither the Democrats calling for Trump's impeachment nor the mainstream media have specifically told us who was incited to break into the Capitol by Trump's speech.  The speech began at noon Eastern time on January 6, 2021, as seen from the time stamp on this video broadcast of the speech on C-SPAN2.  Given the speech's length of about 1 hour and 12 minutes, it ended at about 1:12 P.M. Eastern Standard Time (EST).

As noted in the ABC News article, Trump's speech was delivered from the Ellipse across the street from the south lawn of the White House.  From the location of the speech to the Capitol is a little more than a mile and a half. 

According to tweets by Washington Post reporters, barricades were first breached at the Capitol at about 1:00 P.M. EST.  Post reporter Rebecca Tan tweeted this video at 1:00 P.M.  The tweet was retweeted by Post reporter Mike DeBonis at 1:06 P.M.  Note that the time stamp on tweets is based on the location of the person viewing the tweet, as explained in this article in Adweek.


Based on this information, it appears that the breakdown of the barricades began at least 12 minutes before Trump's speech ended, by people who were over a mile and a half away from Trump.  Although the loudspeaker system was massive, it is doubtful that the people bringing down the barricades could hear Trump from the loudspeaker system.  Extremely vivid videos of the prelude to and a breach of barricades and entry into the Capitol Building are here and here on a YouTube channel that identifies "independent photojournalist Jon Farina" as the videographer.  It does not appear that people in the crowd was listening to Trump's speech over their phones.  The phones are mostly seen when being used to take pictures and videos.  The videos show plenty of faces of people who should be arrested for defying the law.  But where is the evidence that they were incited to do it by Trump's speech? (Emphasis added.)

            IF the times and distance given by Favish are correct, there is no way that people listening to the speech could have been the same people who broke into the Capitol. Favish wrote that the barricades were breached twelve minutes before Trump’s speech ended, and I do not believe that his supporters would have left the Ellipse until he finished speaking.        

After the speech ended, they still had the mile-and-a-half walk to the Capitol that would take some time – at least 20-30 minutes – in a crowd of people. This means that Trump could not have incited his followers to attack the Capitol. If they were close enough to hear his words, they were too far from the Capitol Building to attack at given the times and distance.

            We can all see that people dressed in MAGA hats and patriotic colors attacked the Capitol. They may have traveled to Washington, D.C., because of Trump’s invitation to his supporters. However, none of this means that they are Trump’s supporters. It seems to be more correlation than causation. The simple fact is that they had to hear the speech before it could incite them to riot. Plus, Trump spoke of them “peacefully and patriotically” making their voices heard, not attacking the Capitol, causing damage, and assaulting members of Congress.

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