Democrats, bless their naïve little hearts, are trying to impeach Donald Trump using only the law while staying within the bounds of fairness and what’s relevant. That is very democratic of them; that being said, if they proceed this way, my prediction is they are bound to lose and no one is going to remember the trial.
I’ve been a successful trial lawyer for 33 years. If I were conducting the Trump impeachment trial here’s what I’d do :
Step 1: Call Up the Sicknick Family to Testify
My first witness in the Trump Impeachment trial would be the next of kin of Officer Sicknick, the Capital Police Officer who was killed by an insurgent who threw a fire extinguisher at him, hitting him, and we believe is what killed him. It would set the stage. I would have her/him testify about the real-life impact of his death on Sicknick’s family. Humanize him. Let the Senators see what their supporters did in real time. Don’t let the murder of this officer be any different than any other police officer who has been killed in the line of duty. Let the Senators know how dedicated Officer Sicknick was to his job and his country, how there was never a doubt that Sicknick would put his life on the line for democracy.
Let the Senators vote against that.
Step 2: Call In the Capital Police Officer who begged for his life:
Next up, I’d call the Capital Police Officer taken captive by the insurgents who held him down and tried to take his gun away, chanting “kill him with his own gun,” prompting the Officer to beg for his life, imploring the insurgents that he had a family, children, and that he didn’t want to die. Let the Senators see, and be reminded of graphically, what their supporters did and make their approval of this conduct known.
In fact, I’d call every living Capital Police Officer who tried to hold back that crowd and protect the Congress, including the Senate. Have them testify to the fear they felt, the urgency to keep the House and Senate safe. How they risked their lives. Let these Senators know how these officers put their lives on the line for them.
Step 3: Call an Insurgent As A Witness
After that, I’d try to call an insurgent, perhaps pursuant to a cooperation agreement for the Trump impeachment trial. Have the insurgent testify that he was there because Donald Trump told him to be there. Let him testify that if it weren’t for Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani egging him on, he would not have broken into the Capital. Let him tell the Senators that he was following the directions of his leader, Donald Trump, and that when Trump said to march down to the Capital, he knew that to mean to break into the Capital. Let him tell the Senators that when Trump said he doubted that Vice President Pence could be trusted to do the right thing, he took that to mean Pence had to be stopped. Let the Senators hear it from the horse’s mouth: he was there because Donald Trump directed him to be there. Let the Senators know that Giuliani and Trump shared a common goal and objective, making them accomplices and therefore responsible for the acts of the other.
Step 4: Roll the the Video Please!
Then it gets easier: play the video of Trump’s speech, of Guiliani, acting in concert with Trump, as a co-conspirator calling for “trial by combat.” Make the Senators listen to that whole speech, from beginning to end. Then play the video of the insurrection itself. Show the insane faces of the insurgents as they broke windows, crashed through barricades, used bricks, wood and guns to get into the Capital. Show those videos over and over.
If the House Managers tried the case like good trial lawyers, maybe they’d stand a chance of getting a conviction in the Trump impeachment trial. If they play it safe and try to be cordial, they will lose. This case demands some Big Guns ( no pun intended).