Trump Is Already Doing The One Thing Republicans Warn Will Destroy Him In Impeachment Trial
The outcome of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial may seem like a foregone conclusion, with the votes to convict or acquit firmly along partisan lines. However, one Republican is warning that there’s something the former president could do to further alienate right-wing senators and hurt himself in this trial — and he’s already started doing it.
Politico reporter Andrew Desiderio shared Tuesday afternoon that Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had discussed with him the potential problem in the trial. While Republican senators are largely against a conviction for Trump, Graham suggested that one thing that could sway them might be if the former president and his legal team tried to use the trial to relitigate (again) the election outcome, he could lose some support.
Lindsey Graham tells me that if Trump’s legal team starts trying to “prove” that Georgia/Pennsylvania/Wisconsin were “stolen” from Trump, “that’s when you’re going to lose everybody. That’s when most of us will be ready to move on.”
— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) February 2, 2021
The trial hasn’t even started yet, and they’re already doing exactly this. Once the impeachment charge was issued, Trump’s legal team was on deadline to issue a formal response. That came on Tuesday, and the Washington Post notes that the defense leans on two points.
The first is that expressing his opinion that the election was fraudulent is protected under free speech. That, in itself, is not yet clear.
The second, however, is essentially that the election was rigged and the outcome is fake.
Okay, it’s slightly more complicated — Trump’s team argues that “Insufficient evidence exists upon which a reasonable jurist could conclude that the 45th President’s statements were accurate or not and he therefore denies they were false.”
Still, this is essentially a claim that the election outcome wasn’t clear, that a rational person could not affirm that Trump’s false claims of fraud were, indeed, false, and that he, Trump, denies that they are false.
If Trump’s legal team goes to the impeachment trial pushing his fraud claims, Republican Senators will be forced to choose who to stand with — again.