Don’t fall for it, senators

Alan Dershowitz, an attorney for President Donald Trump, in the Senate in Washington on Jan. 27, 2020.


When a college basketball player shoots free throws, he can expect opposing fans sitting behind the basket to wave their arms, shout and hold up clever signs to distract his focus from the rim. During opening arguments at the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, his lawyers attempted the same tactics.

A former colleague once used the analogy to free throws during a trial in the prosecution of a massive fraud case. She asked members of the jury to maintain focus on their mission of finding the facts after the defense offered a number of irrelevant arguments to distract them from their job. Similarly, Trump’s team offered several arguments to divert public attention from a quest for the truth.

One bit of arm waving that Trump’s lawyers have engaged in is the argument that House Managers are attempting to undo an election. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone argued that Democrats are asking the Senate to “tear up every ballot” from the 2016 election, characterizing impeachment as an affront to democracy. But our Constitution includes impeachment to protect our citizens from a leader who abuses his power. Concerned about a monarch with too much power, the framers specifically included a method for removing a president from office. If impeachment were improper because it reverses an election, then no impeachment of a president could ever occur. Our Constitution provides otherwise.


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