There has been a ton of media coverage regarding the words and deeds of Trump’s impeachment defense team. Much of this coverage has centered around what the defense team did wrong or incorrectly or the invalidity of their arguments. Shockingly however, there really hasn’t been much coverage regarding the House managers fabrication of evidence, lying and purposefully manipulating video evidence in a willful attempt to mislead Senators. Those are all serious, serious issues. Lying to the Senate, especially about something as important as a Presidential impeachment, is not something that people should simply get a pass on.
Now, House managers cannot be impeached. The Constitution’s impeachment clause only applies to the Executive and Judicial branches. But some form of punishment must be forthcoming. It cannot be allowed to stand that House managers are allowed to outright lie, intentionally ignore context and manipulate evidence in formal impeachment proceedings before the Senate. It’s absurd that there would not, at the very least, be censure although a more appropriate punishment would be expulsion. The evidence is overwhelming. Raskin’s doctored tweet from the New York Times article aside, it was never presented as evidence against Trump on the floor of the Senate, there are plenty of other instances where evidence was outright fabricated and lies were told to intentionally mislead Senators. Let’s do the list:
- Lying about the text of a tweet – Eric Swalwell lied about a tweet from January 6th stating, repeatedly, that the tweet read “cavalry” (armed militia) when the tweet clearly read Calvary (a public display of Christ’s crucifixion). The House managers used this as evidence that Trump knew there would be armed insurrection at the Capitol. If not drummed out of office for blatantly and purposefully lying to the Senate, he should be expelled for being illiterate.
- Fabrication of evidence in the same tweet – House managers fabricated the blue checkmark next to Jennifer Lynn Lawrence’s account. Blue check marks are “verified” accounts and thus have greater authority behind their words, often representing organizations or persons of authority within organizations. Again, House managers used this as evidence that Trump knew there would be armed insurrection at the Capitol. They doctored the evidence.
- Lying about a phone call – House managers lied about a purported phone conversation between President Trump and Senators Mike Lee and Tommy Tuberville. Mike Lee stated: “Statements attributed to me moments ago by the impeachment managers, statements relating to the contents of the conversations between phone calls involving Trump and Senator Tuberville, were not made by me, were not accurate,”. The statements were withdrawn but David Cicilline still lied on the floor of the Senate and Representative Raskin subsequently and inexplicably defended the lie after Senator Mike Lee himself said the statements were untrue.
- The Charlottesville “very fine people” lie – House managers used words out of context to support their outright lie that President Trump supported and encouraged white nationalist groups like The Proud Boys. The full context of Trump’s remarks makes it crystal clear that he emphatically called out and condemned white nationalist and Neo-Nazi groups. Specifically condemned them. Biased and journalistically corrupt media organizations doing this is one thing, but to present such a blatant lie intentionally to mislead Senators on the floor of the Senate?
- Lied about the Georgia phone call – House managers clearly, intentionally took President Trump’s words out of context in his call with the Georgia secretary of state in claiming that Trump demanded that the secretary of state ‘find’ just over 11,000 votes. The House managers told the Senators that this was evidence of Trump attempting to forcefully subvert the election. In the full context of that entire phone call, however, it is clear that Trump is stating his belief that if Georgia were to recount the ballots through legal means that they would “find” inadmissible ballots. Trump was under the mistaken belief at that time that Georgia rejection rates had declined dramatically from previous elections. But House managers specifically twisted the words to lie to and mislead Senators about the true nature of the phone call. They did this purposefully and they did this willfully.
- “You have to get your people to fight” lie – This one is probably the worst of the bunch. House managers manipulated video to selectively take out of context Trump’s words from his January 6th, 2021 rally to claim that Trump ordered his supporters to go fight at the Capitol. As House managers claimed, “He told them”, meaning that Trump told the rioters to storm the Capitol. But, the full context of the speech makes clear that Trump is referring to primarying lawmakers, not physically combatting them. The attempted deception here is simply not something that can be allowed on the hallowed floor of the Senate.
Now, these are just a few of the cases where House impeachment managers fabricated evidence, lied and sought to intentionally mislead Senators. The list doesn’t even include the misleading testimony regarding the Biden bus which was never “run off the road” or Rep. Madeleine Dean’s blatant falsehood “[Trump] had a pattern and practice of praising and encouraging supporters of violence — never condemning it,”. Digging into the entirety of the 12+ hours of the House managers’ tortured testimony is simply too much work and this article would drag on for an eternity. But someone, someone, should take the time. The media telling these lies is one thing but there should be a higher standard from our elected representatives, especially in the halls of Congress.
If a lawyer in a court of law engaged in even one or two of these things, they would be disbarred. Therefore, the only sensible, adequate punishment for the House managers is expulsion from the House of Representatives. Faking evidence, lying and intentionally misleading Senators can never, ever be tolerated. How can the American people be expected to have faith in their institutions of government if this flagrant betrayal of trust is allowed to go unpunished? The American people were lied to. Not expelling the House managers immediately only proves, unequivocally, that the second impeachment of Trump was nothing more than the very definition of a show trial.
Look, none of this is a statement about Trump’s culpability in the January 6th Capitol Hill riot or even whether or not he should or should not have been convicted in the impeachment trial. Everyone can have different opinions on that. But what we should all agree on is that nobody, nobody, should be able to take to the floor of the Senate, present fabricated evidence, lie and intentionally attempt to mislead Senators of the
United Sates of America with impunity. There must be, must be, some sort of repercussions and consequences for such actions. And if we can’t all agree on that, this republic is truly lost.