The case against Trump is so strong that the only defense that can be mounted makes Republicans like Sen. John Cornyn look like a moron.
Sen. Cornyn (R-TX) tweeted:
Can the Senate convict based on speech protected by the 1st Amendment? Maybe, since impeachment is a political, not a strictly legal, proceeding. (See Federalist 65).
Should it? That is the question that should trouble every patriotic American.
— Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) February 6, 2021
Cornyn’s tweets raise two issues that have already been decided. A public official does not have the same First Amendment rights as a private citizen. Trump used his power and the platform of the presidency to incite a mob to attack the Capitol, he committed an impeachable offense.
Trump also committed a criminal offense when he incited violence. If he would have made those same statements with the same results two weeks later, as a private citizen, he would have been charged with a crime.
The First Amendment is not a criminal waiver. Just as a person can’t yell bomb in an airport, or fire in a movie theater, a president can’t tell a mob to attack the Capitol and then claim that the statements are protected speech.
The case against Trump is open and shut. Trump and his campaign helped to pay for and coordinate the rally that led to the attack. Trump spoke at the rally and urged his supporters to go to the Capitol.
Any Senator who attempts to defend Trump on free-speech grounds is either being intentionally ignorant of the constitution or doesn’t belong in elective office.
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Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association