My Findings of Fact from Trump's second impeachment trial
Vote to convict was 57-43 in favor of conviction.
Most bi-partisan impeachment vote in American history against a sitting or former President. Chuck Schumer, Majority Leader, D-New York
Apparently, lawyers are not required to uphold a ‘duty of absolute candor’ when addressing an impaneled Senate or the impeachment trial’s presiding officer…
Okay, Trump was acquitted. Did anyone expect differently?
On the bright side, the vote was 57-43 to convict. The vote to convict has to be two-thirds of the Senators present. When all 100 are there, it requires 67-votes.
When I was a lawyer we used to regularly try cases to judges who literally didn’t want to do anything apart from hear the case and make evidentiary rulings. These jurists would basically “farm-out” to trial counsel the rest of the job.
One way to farm out having to make a decision, or even to have to listen to the case at all, was to require the lawyers in the case to draft competing, “Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law.” The two sides would file their findings and conclusions and the judge would pick one or the other, based on how he or she intended to rule. He was also free to amalgamate the two submissions in arriving at his order or judgment. I always wanted to bill the Judge for my indentured clerkship.
I thought of that as I watched last week’s impeachment trial. I couldn’t provide you with any "conclusions of law" as three impeachment trials (one for Clinton and two for Trump) under the belt have made me wonder whether there is any law applicable to impeachments or if the parties can just “wing-it.”
That aside, there were some "findings of fact" I would share with you from my having observed the proceedings pretty much from gavel to gavel. Your findings may differ from mine and, if they do, feel free to send them to the newspaper, over your signature, and we will run them as an Op-Ed in our next print edition.
On behalf of the Times-Voice, as the newspaper’s editor, here are the paper’s findings of fact. Here is what we saw:
It appears convincingly proven January 6, and the riot, occupation, property damage, injuries, and casualties were months in the planning. The riot and resulting insurrection didn’t just happen on the fly, and it wasn’t just some spur of the moment event, at least not for the Trump hierarchy who planned it.
Donald J. Trump has been stoking the passions of his base with his “Big Lie (that he had really won an election he didn’t)” well in advance of January 6. Donald J. Trump and operatives were involved in the planning and execution of the January 6 insurrection.
Donald J. Trump had numerous examples from which to draw that his followers were prone to commit violent acts against his political opponents. They would do these things to gain Trump’s approval and Trump would praise them with offers to pay legal bills, by calling them "Patriots," and other similar commentary interpreted as both rewarding and an honor.
Donald J. Trump attempted to “fix” the Georgia outcome by pressuring state election officials to “find” him enough votes to win the state and be awarded its electoral votes. He suggested Georgia’s Secretary of State faced criminal penalty if the Secretary didn’t do for Trump what he was (not too subtly) demanding.
When all “peaceful” avenues to overturn the election were exhausted (court challenges and extortion attempts) and proven ineffective, Trump (and his people) turned toward violent alternatives. The insurrectionists were summoned to Washington for a January 6th event which was promised would be “wild,” and it certainly was.
The insurrectionists stormed, took control of, and occupied America’s seat of democracy. These same insurrectionists believed they were acting at the behest of the sitting President of the United States.
Donald J. Trump, for a period of approximately two hours after the insurrection reached the Capitol, elected not to send any help to rescue those in danger at the Capitol building though he could have. Donald J. Trump didn’t make any attempt to protect his own VP from the insurrectionists.
In an angry phone call between Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader and republican from California’s 23rd district, and Donald Trump; McCarthy in an angry, profanity-laced conversation demanded Trump call off his supporters who had stormed the Capitol, taken the Capitol, damaged the Capitol, and killed at least one police officer, injuring 138-others. Trump refused.
Trump claimed the insurrectionists were Antifa. They weren’t. The insurrectionists were MAGA, Trump supporters. McCarthy told this to Trump during the phone call where he called on the President to stop the riot and send reinforcements, of which Trump did neither.
Mr. Trump seemed unconcerned for the safety of any of the lawmakers, staffers, personnel, or police officers his inflammatory commentary had put in the zone of danger, to include his own VP. Mr. Trump made a flippant remark to the House Minority Leader, and ranking member of Trump’s own party in the House of Representatives, which was both reported and entered into evidence by stipulation.
The content of the flippant remark attributed to Trump was the following, “Well, Kevin, I guess these people (the insurrectionists who were occupying and terrorizing the Capitol while this call occurred) are more upset about the election than you (Kevin McCarthy) are.” The contents of this statement came into the record through information provided by lawmakers who either overhead the call or were briefed on its contents after the fact by McCarthy.
Donald J. Trump Tweeted out an inflammatory exhortation to the insurrectionists about his own VP knowing his VP had to be rushed from a joint session of Congress by his Secret Service detail. This Tweet further inflamed the mob and prodded the mob to find and do something terrible to the VP (like lynching him).
Donald J. Trump never told the insurrectionists to go home and leave the building they were occupying and substantially damaging though he had every opportunity to do so. The insurrectionists killed a Capitol police officer and injured 138 Capitol and Metropolitan police and Donald J. Trump, with knowledge of all of that, told the insurrectionists they were "very special," that he "loved them," and that they should go home, “in peace.”
Donald J. Trump didn’t condemn the riot, the insurrection, the damage, the threat of danger to the Congress, the threat of danger to his VP, the deaths, including that of a Capitol police officer, or the 138-police injuries which occurred anytime that entire day. When Donald J. Trump made a statement, the evening of the next day on Twitter, Trump told the insurrectionists, “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”
The Senate affirmed the constitutionality of the impeachment trial in a 56-44 vote as the commencement of the proceedings. This ruling failed to prevent Trump’s defense team from arguing it, though it was meritless, in fact, the defense led off with it. This ruling did not prevent Senators from voting to acquit on this basis, though it was completely meritless and voted down by the Senate in a bi-partisan vote.
Concerning impeachment, Senate votes concerning evidentiary or constitutional matters appear to have no effect. The law is inapplicable in an impeachment setting as are the rules of ethics; particularly the rule which would frown on three jurors having sworn to be impartial engaging in a “closed-doors,” strategy session with the defense the night before it opened its case. Lawyers appear relieved of their “duty of candor” when addressing either the Senate or the President Pro Temp, the presiding officer over an impeachment trial.
Trump incited an armed insurrection against America’s seat of democracy and endangered the Republic. These acts were definitively and unquestionably the commission of a “high crime or misdemeanor.” Membership in the Grand Old Party makes one immune from that finding.
The only thing about which Trump was entirely correct is that we should all remember January 6, 2021 FOREVER!
This is Fletcher Long, and you can take these findings for whatever you find they're worth but THAT’S THE LONG VERSION!
Note: Mr. Long is an award-winning Kentucky journalist recognized for excellence in both writing and reporting by the Kentucky Press Association.