In President Trump’s impeachment trial, the target audiences vary

In President Trump's impeachment trial, the target audiences vary


WASHINGTON – You talking to me?

The obvious audience in the impeachment trial now heading into its second week is the one sitting in the Senate, of course, the 100 senators under orders to listen silently at their desks without the diversion of cellphones or snacks. The House impeachment managers and President Donald Trump’s attorneys have directed their arguments to the jurors who will decide whether the president should be removed from office.

But they’re not speaking only to them.

The prosecution and the defense, the president and the House speaker, the Democratic presidential hopefuls stuck in the Senate and those out on the campaign trail, the advocacy groups and the others in the galaxy that is impeachment have various audiences in mind. That helps explain why they often seem to be talking past each other and, occasionally, living on different planets.

It also makes calculations about winners and losers more complicated than simply whether the president is convicted, an unlikely prospect. Trump’s trial could have other important consequences, potentially affecting the opening Democratic caucuses in Iowa and crucial Senate contests in Maine, Colorado, Arizona and elsewhere. The ultimate verdict may arrive in November, when voters decide whether to give Trump a second term in the White House, or to boot him.


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