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BRENDA BLAGG: Loyalty to Trump or nation?

History will remember votes on president’s impeachment by Brenda Blagg | February 3, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

Repeated exposure to images of that riotous mob smashing its way into the U.S. Capitol has done nothing but strengthen the case against those who incited and carried out the attack.

Countless cameras were trained on the events of that day and many days leading up to it.

The images pop up in local and national news reports almost daily as federal law enforcement continues to identify, locate and arrest people who swarmed the Capitol on Jan. 6, interfering with the Congress as it was counting the Electoral College votes that ultimately made Joe Biden president.

Indictments against those who broke through barricades, including a couple of high-profile insurrectionists from Arkansas, have already helped to flesh out what happened there.

Thankfully, many bragged on social media, capturing their time in the people's house in video that will provide evidence for trial.

Hundreds have reportedly been charged with something, although their charges may be upgraded as investigations proceed.

All of their eventual trials will tell us more, as will the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, which is set to begin next week in the U.S. Senate.

It, too, will likely feature potent video from Jan. 6 and the days and weeks leading up to it. Certainly, the House managers who will prosecute Trump will want to play that video to refresh the memories of the senators who witnessed the melee that cost several lives, including a Capitol policeman's.

Trump faces trial on a single article of impeachment brought by the U.S. House of Representatives within days of the insurrection.

The former president is accused of inciting supporters he recruited to gather on Washington, D.C.'s, Ellipse that historic day, then dispatching them to the Capitol where they chanted "hang Mike Pence," endangering the vice president who barely escaped the mob, and searched for Speaker Nancy Pelosi as she and other members of Congress hid from armed protesters roaming the Capitol.

Trump had stirred up the crowd, repeating his big lie that he, not Biden, had won the 2020 election. He encouraged that crowd to march to the Capitol and "fight like hell" for what was -- and is -- a lost cause.

The inciter-in-chief said he'd be with the marchers but instead returned to the White House, where he watched the assault on television.

The article of impeachment reads in part:

"Incited by President Trump, a mob unlawfully breached the Capitol, injured law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress and the Vice President, interfered with the Joint Session's solemn constitutional duty to certify the election results, and engaged in violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts ...

"He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coordinate branch of government. He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States."

The resolution concludes that Trump has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy and the Constitution. He "thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States."

Anyone who has paid attention in the weeks since the insurrection has heard his words on that day and been reminded over and again of his failed efforts to overturn a fair election that he plainly lost.

The resolution for impeachment aptly charges him.

But his Senate trial won't be like those his followers will face in the courts of this nation. It will be more of a political exercise than a judicial one.

What's more, 45 of the 50 Republican senators/impeachment jurors have already registered their opposition to holding the trial, endorsing a theory that his trial is unconstitutional because Trump is no longer president.

The full Senate turned down the controversial move on the votes of 50 Democrats and five Republicans.

House managers must have a mighty persuasive case to win all the Democrats' votes and persuade enough of the Republicans to convict Trump of inciting the insurrection.

The managers will have the evidence, if it is allowed into the trial. They will have truth on their side.

How will these senators/jurors respond? Will they care only about the next election and what Trump or his followers might do to them?

Or will it matter that history is watching and will record for all time what happened on Jan. 6 and how the Senate votes on this, Trump's second impeachment?

Brenda Blagg is a freelance columnist and longtime journalist in Northwest Arkansas. Email her at [email protected]

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