World Socialist Website - February 9, 2021

The Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump, which begins today, arises out of an event without precedent in the history of the United States: an attempted coup d’état by the president of the United States, aimed at overturning the result of an election, violently suppressing Congress and establishing a one-man dictatorship. In the course of this attempted coup, the lives of senators, representatives and even the vice president were threatened. Several people were killed.

There is no question that Donald Trump is guilty of not only “high crimes and misdemeanors.” He has committed felonies of the most serious character. His impeachment should be followed by his indictment on criminal charges, trial, conviction and lifelong imprisonment. His many co-conspirators should be identified, subjected to criminal proceedings and thrown into high-security prisons along with him.

But this is unlikely to be the result of the Senate trial. While the 80-page Democratic House managers’ brief released last week lays out a detailed factual case documenting that Trump led a months-long campaign to prepare a coup d’état, the Democrats who control the Senate—not to mention President Biden—have no stomach for this fight. Although Trump’s conspiracy was either directly supported or facilitated by the Senate Republicans, the Democrats continue to bow politely before this right-wing riffraff and address them as “colleagues.”

To the extent that the Democrats’ trial strategy is directed to the Republican senators—i.e., persuading them to convict Trump—the proceedings will evade what should be its central purpose: to expose before the entire country the criminal conspiracy led by Trump and involving sections of the state, including the military-police apparatus and powerful sections of the corporate-financial elite.

There are a number of obvious questions that relate to the operation of the conspiracy that must be answered, including:

  • How was it possible that the Capitol Police, the DC National Guard, the FBI and other federal security forces were so completely unprepared for what was known in advance to be a violent attack?

  • Why was there a virtual stand-down of Capitol security forces despite well documented plans for violence, involving fascistic militias like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers?

  • With whom were the leaders of the mob in contact during the assault? Who visited the Trump White House in the days leading up to the attempted coup? How did the fascists know the layout of the Capitol building?

But there are more fundamental questions that no one is asking, let alone answering. First and foremost: If the coup succeeded, what was the plan?

The Democrats’ own indictment lays out in extensive detail the months-long conspiracy to overturn the results of the election that culminated on January 6. Trump organized a mob to storm the Capitol and stop the congressional certification of the results of the election. This is precisely true. But if they succeeded in seizing hostages, what were they going to do? 
Read full report at World Socialist Website