“Six Hours of Paralysis”

Update: I agree with Jeff (in comments below) that “paralysis” is an awful way to describe what was happening with Trump. Title should read “Six Hours of Seditious Paralysis” or something like that.

Dereliction of duty gives the GOP the fig leaf they need for impeachment. Just read the opening of this story, as reported by Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey and Philip Rucker at the Post:

Hiding from the rioters in a secret location away from the Capitol, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) appealed to Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) phoned Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter.

And Kellyanne Conway, a longtime Trump confidante and former White House senior adviser, called an aide who she knew was standing at the president’s side.

But as senators and House members trapped inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday begged for immediate help during the siege, they struggled to get through to the president, who — safely ensconced in the West Wing — was too busy watching fiery TV images of the crisis unfolding around them to act or even bother to hear their pleas.

“He was hard to reach, and you know why? Because it was live TV,” said one close Trump adviser. “If it’s TiVo, he just hits pause and takes the calls. If it’s live TV, he watches it, and he was just watching it all unfold.”

Even as he did so, Trump did not move to act.

More here.

4 thoughts on ““Six Hours of Paralysis”

  1. In your earlier post on this topic yesterday, linked to your stunningly good article in The Bulwark, you invited us to converse about your idea that dereliction of duty should be the focus of impeachment rather than incitement to insurrection.

    I don’t see why there needs to be a choice. Both can be alleged. My own experience with The Bulwark is that their editors always made my pieces better. I think that was true for yours yesterday. It is stronger precisely because it does not try to game out what would be most appealing to the GOP members of Congress. One of the problems of the past four years has been over-concern with what irresponsible people think and would might appeal to them.

    In the first impeachment, Jeffrey Isaac and I repeatedly urged a broader set of charges rather than excessive concern to persuade the unpersuadable. That is even more justified now.

    This newspaper article on so-called paralysis is written from the perspective of Trump and his staff — not from an objective assessment of what he did and did not do.

    Seth Abramson recently wrote an extraordinary twitter thread that deconstructs Trump’s rally speech that makes it absolutely clear how the speech worked and how incited an insurrection. For the purposes of impeachment the evidence is clear, whether or not convictions in ordinary courts would be sustained.


    And Phillip Bobbitt gives a chilling account of what could possibly have been the reason for an insurrection that was bound to fail if its objective was really to overturn the certification in Congress.


  2. I guess at this point I still cling, weakly, to the notion that some kind of message discipline on the part of Dems could bring some Republicans back from the brink of total irresponsibility and actually get Trump out. I cling to this hope precisely because I think the situation remains awful and dangerous.

    I guess the question is whether the impeachment stuff is mostly meant as a (meaningful) rebuke and gesture, or whether we are gaming out the most realistic way to actually get Trump out. My sense is that a focus on dereliction, and a very quick vote on dereliction does the latter better.

    1. I think you are saying message discipline would be more likely to get 17 GOP Senators to back conviction. Are you also saying that Mitch McConnell would be more likely to initiate a trial with message discipline? I can’t either support or refute either prediction — not in my skill set. I have no idea what would work best to get Mitch McConnell to live up to his oath. He violated it openly last time. I think I can say that nothing would prevent the Senate from coming together on one article whether or not they came together on multiple charges. If dereliction of duty appeals to Senators the could just vote yes on that.

      1. I’m just saying the former – that it would make it easier to get more GOP Senators to back conviction (and then defend that choice on TV etc – “I had no choice”). I think the danger with more than one article is that they then split up the vote strategically so they can split the vote and save face while not convicting. But honestly I really don’t know. I’m coming around to the idea that what Liz Cheney just did is the only thing to do: speak the full ugly truth and let the chips fall.

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