A little over a year ago I wrote about the impeachment trial of Donald Trump. I’m writing about his second impeachment now. In my writing, I noted that last year’s impeachment hearings showed a Congress split between those who believed in bourgeois law and those who tended towards fascism. On January 6, 2021, Donald Trump encouraged a crowd of trumpists to attack the US Capitol building. I agree with those who argue that that would not have happened if the Senate had done its job a year ago and convicted their leader.
Call it what you want—coup attempt, attack, riot, insurrection, whatever—the event that occurred on January 6th at the Capitol and Donald Trump’s role in inciting it make this round of impeachment hearings quite simple. Although there is little room for wiggling on the trumpists’ part, one can be certain that the Jim Jordans of the House will do their best to turn the fascist assault into something it clearly was not. That’s why Trump gives people like Jordan medals; because not only will they lie for him no matter what he does, because they don’t know they are lying the lies are even more convincing.
In the prelude to this impeachment hearing, a few Republicans denounced them as adding to the divisions in the nation. This approach seems especially disingenuous given the past four and a half years where every goddamn Republican in power encouraged the very same divisions they are decrying now. As I write, there’s a GOP clown representing Utah telling the PBS reporter that there needs to be an investigation before there is a vote on the single charge of inciting the riot. He tells the world that he needs more proof that Trump was involved in the incitement. His argument is as convoluted as one might think. It is no real argument, just a twisting of everything we saw with our own eyes not only on January 6th, but also in the weeks leading up to the election and in the weeks between. If you recall, Trump insisted (and continues to insist) that he won the election no matter what the courts, the electors and the votes themselves said.
Congressman James McGovern from Massachusetts began the proceedings attacking the calls for unity from people who refused to accept the results and reminding us that “every day Donald Trump is in office” the nation is in danger. Then the GOP representative from Oklahoma steps up, says something about God and then goes on about how impeachment only widens division. He wants healing, which from where I sit sounds like surrender. Although he makes certain points supported by constitutional scholar Jonathan Hurley (who called for war crimes prosecution of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for war crimes), he renders them mute by then quoting stooge Alan Dershowitz. A couple Democrats used a couple minutes of their time to say that nothing would unify the country more than a broad bipartisan vote to impeach the SOB. Steny Hoyer jumps in and quotes Liz Cheney’s attack on Trump in her call to impeach. This is what they mean by unity. The good part though, is when he calls out Jim Jordan as a liar and “not his friend.” He then goes on to call Donald Trump a liar. I do have to admit that it’s nice to hear someone with power use the word lie in regards to Trump’s words. That’s a lot more than what the mainstream media will do.
The Republicans cry crocodile tears and ask for a bipartisan commission, acting as if their party had nothing to do with the fascist mayhem of the week before. Republican Jason Smith from Oklahoma is calling for unity by asking Congress to listen to the people. It sounds to me like he’s talking about the people who swarmed the Capitol, leaving at least five people dead in its wake. In response, Democrat Brownley from California calls for impeachment. Then, a novice GOP representative from South Carolina, Representative Brownley, misuses Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words, equating the protests against police murders with the fascists carrying arms into state capitols and attacking the US Capitol all because their fuhrer denies his electoral loss. Then, after Peter Welch from Vermont speaks, up comes the asshole from Ohio, Jim Jordan, whining about Trump’s loss and lying about the election. He needs to go away. His lies and falsehoods are only made more obnoxious by his whiny voice. Like Congressman James McGovern who followed Jordan said, “Give me a break!” DeFazio from Oregon points out that Trump talked about stopping the certification in September. What any listener or viewer would note is that it is the Republicans who all of the sudden want unity and demand cooling off. It’s as if one person wrote their single speech. Some clown from Georgia begins that same GOP speech but gets blocked because he doesn’t have a face mask on.
A predictable but somewhat striking aspect that comes across in the speeches and the interviews in between sessions is the fear some of these legislators have for the durability of the US government. While Jim McGovern of Massachusetts is the only speaker who mentioned the fascist element involved in the mayhem, it is clear that almost all of the speakers realize that nothing, not even the US government, is indestructible. Unfortunately, most of them are unwilling or unable to see their role in its disintegration. Meanwhile, the trumpist stalwarts like Jim Jordan charge stupidly to their own demise. This observer wonders how much longer the entire charade can continue without a major regrooving. Many are worried about the potential security laws likely to be debated and approved by the next Congress in the wake of the January 6th event. Equally concerning is the ongoing existence of a fascist movement. The question as to whether or not liberalism can defeat fascism is once again in the political livestream. Tougher laws against speech and actions will not do the trick, nor will granting fascists a platform without challenge. The left needs to make the defeat of fascist movements a major part of its organizing.
The debate on the actual article was similar to the morning’s procedural debate. Invocations of their god and a white supremacist understanding of US history marked the opponents of impeachment while invocations of democracy and denouncement of Trump describe the bulk of those in favor. One telling remark from representative Butler from Washington, a Republican for impeachment, was that her vote was against fear. Over and over, the hardcore trumpists refer to their refusal to allow evidence to be presented in previous congressional investigations against trump’s actions as proof that he did nothing. Then there’s Matt Gaetz. As my friend Mark posted after Gaetz’s two-minute diatribe: “I think Matt Gaetz just set a record for the most lies told in a 2-minute period. I expect he just exceeded his shelf life.”
The Republicans who voted for impeachment aren’t heroes, but for the time being, they aren’t trumpist zombies either. In the world that is Washington, that’s something. It was different and it was the same. I doubt it will save this republic and I’m not sure it deserves to be saved. However, it can buy it some time, but only if we put the fascists in their place. And deal with the neocons and neoliberals next.