February 10, 2021

The only way John Avlon could make sense of yesterday's trial is to compare it to the comic book staple of Bizarro World.

"So we should have known things would get weird when Trump finally unveiled his defense team because instead of being constitutional experts, his lawyers' past clients included the KKK, accused mob bosses and Roger Stone," he said.

He pointed out Schoen had been in talks to represent Jeffrey Epstein, and Bruce Castor was best known for refusing to prosecute Bill Cosby.

"But even with that somewhat bizarre background, you probably didn't expect to see a Bizarro world defense on the floor of the Senate. Now, for the uninitiated, Bizarro World is a D.C. comics alternate universe where everything is backward. Trump's legal team didn't bother with linear arguments that addressed evidence about how impeaching an ex-president is constitutional. One of the scholars had to step in to say they had misrepresented his research. But if you could find a thread to connect their presentations, which Paul Begala joked belonged to the firm of Meandering & Furious, it was this Bizarro World argument: that the most bipartisan impeachment in our history would be too divisive for the country to handle.

This trial will tear this country apart. This is a process fueled irresponsibly by base hatred.
Republicanism, throughout history, has always and without exception fallen because of fights from within.
They are willing to sacrifice our national character to advance their hatred and fear that one day they might not be the party in power.

"You know what's divisive? Inciting an insurrection. Lying to your supporters about a free and fair election being stolen, and then watching them attack the Capitol, causing five people to die. That's hate and fear for partisan gain. But irony is dead in Bizarro World. Schoen said impeachment was an attempt to disenfranchise 74 million Trump voters, when Trump was actively trying to disenfranchise 81 million Biden voters. He criticized house managers for showing a 13-minute video, calling it blood sport and then turned around to show video of Democrats criticizing Trump with scary music as a backing track. Every step of the way, they deployed Trump's projection and deflection. It was all backward Bizarro world. But amid the rambling there were some unexpected revelations, like Castor admitting that Trump actually lost the election.

People are smart enough. They're smart enough to pick a new administration if they don't like the old one. And they just did.

"But while some Republicans said Trump's lawyers were unprepared, only one senator switched his vote as a result of this dumpster fire defense. That was Bill Cassidy.

The house managers made a compelling, cogent case, and the president's team did not.

"Which brings us to the final insult in this Bizarro World. Senators take an oath to do impartial justice in an impeachment, but 44 Republicans just indicated that evidence might not matter in this trial. They seemed to have already made their minds up on the opposite of their oath. And that's a deeper sign of the danger for our democracy.

"And that's your reality check."

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