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Open and Shut

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: President Donald Trump is seen on a screen as his supporters cheer during a rally on the National Mall on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathered in the nation's capital today to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks to his supporters at his “Stop the Steal” rally on the National Mall on January 6, 2021 right before the insurrection. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
February 11, 2021 12:57 p.m.

Donald Trump’s trial for incitement to insurrection is bound by two key facts. First is the fact that all but three or four Republican senators will vote to acquit him no matter what. The second is the nature of ‘incitement’ as a crime. Incitement is at the outer bounds of what we normally consider to be criminal actions inasmuch as it amounts to using words to get other people to do things absent compulsion. It is a crime, as it should be, but in a criminal trial context it is a high bar for prosecutors to meet. Still, we are left to consider how much the President inspired and directed what happened on January 6th, 2021.

The House managers are doing a good job of it. But in terms of what the President thought he was doing … well, he told us in real time.

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