Inside Impeachment

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S1: This ad free podcast is part of your Slate plus membership, these senators who are all victims of this impeachable crime are going to be sitting in judgment as to whether or not Donald Trump should be disqualified from future office because he incited the riot that ultimately jeopardized their lives. That would never happen in a courtroom, but that’s the nature of this beast.

S2: Hi and welcome back to Amicus, this is Slate’s podcast about the courts and the law and the Supreme Court and the rule of law. I’m Dahlia Lithwick. I cover Justice for Slate. And this week opened with the House impeachment managers walking somberly across the Capitol to bring an article of impeachment to the Senate floor. The week ends with forty five Republican senators voting for a procedural motion that would have declared the impeachment of a former president unconstitutional. So in just over a week, the Senate trial will begin.

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S3: And today we’re going to talk on the show about whether and why it’s worth pressing forward with an impeachment trial that is pretty much doomed to end in acquittal. And we’re going to talk with Daniel Gouldman, who served as Democratic counsel for the House Intelligence Committee in the first impeachment of Donald Trump just over a year ago. Later on the show, we’re going to talk to Slate’s very own Mark Joseph Stern about the attempt from a Trump appointed judge to stymie Joe Biden’s immigration pause. It comes less than a week after inauguration. We’re also going to talk about the commission that is being pulled together to at least consider court expansion. That segment is only accessible to Slate plus members. And we thank you, as we always do, for supporting our work.

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S4: With the permission of the Senate, I will now read the article of impeachment, House Resolution 24 in the House of Representatives, United States, January 13th, 2021 resolve the Donald. John Trump, president of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors and that the following article of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate. Article of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives of the United States of America in the name of itself and of the people of the United States of America against Donald John Trump, president of the United States of America, in maintenance and support of its impeachment against him for high crimes and misdemeanors. Article one Incitement of Insurrection.

S3: We are back at impeachment, almost an annual holiday in America. And last week, Senate Democrats agreed to delay the impeachment trial of Donald Trump until February 9th. That was to give him a little time to prepare his defense. And thus, in a year of interregnum, we find ourselves adrift in yet another interregnum. It’s a pause between the House impeachment vote on the one hand and the Senate trial itself. And the person I wanted to talk to most this week was actually the lawyer who spearheaded the last impeachment effort in the House. That’s Daniel Goldman. Goldman served as the senior adviser and director of investigations for the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on the majority side. He is also former deputy chief of the Organized Crimes Unit of the Office of the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York in his 10 years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Goldman prosecuted a huge variety of cases, including securities and White-Collar fraud cases, as well as a racketeering and murder conviction against the acting boss of the Genovese crime family, Dan Goldman. Welcome to Amicus. It’s wonderful to have you. Thank you so much for having me. So I want to start, if we could, with the fairly obvious table setting issue. Dan, this is you just over a year ago.

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S5: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Chairman Nadler, Ranking Member Collins, members of the committee. We are here today because Donald J. Trump, the 44th president of the United States, abused the power of his office, the American presidency, for his political and personal benefit.

S3: So after those hearings, you essentially handed the car keys of the impeachment to the House managers and they went on for a trial that was clearly going to end in acquittal. And I think we can say after the vote this week in the Senate, that’s where this one is going. And so just as a matter of. Initial inquiry, was it worth it to plow through with all that, was it worth the time and the expense and the recriminations and the drama? Do you does any part of you think it was futile?

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S6: No, I don’t. I think it was important to do for several reasons. One, it was the right thing to do. And sometimes you just have to do the right thing, even if it’s futile, even if it’s hard, even if it won’t accomplish the ultimate goal that that you hope to accomplish, too. I do think it had an impact on the election year. It had less of an impact that I think it would have because of covid. And when covid hit right shortly after impeachment, it just kind of blew everything else out of the water and became the central issue in the election. But I do think that there was value in putting people on record as to what whether they condoned activity or opposed activity by a president that should not occur. And then the final thing is, you know, there’s historical value in it. And I think when people look back at it, even as they do now with this second impeachment, people look with a fresh eye and they think, OK, maybe, you know, we had our chance, maybe we should have used it. And so I do think it will teach future leaders, future representatives, future citizens about what is right and what is wrong and provide some some guardrails that hopefully will be adhered to in the future.

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S3: I do want to ask you, which is slightly connected to your very last reason for why we do this was your visceral reaction to the events of January six. Some version of. We put this on the record that I’m glad we did the impeachment because we made it clear to all of the people who didn’t know this was coming that we knew it was coming. Was there some sense in watching the events that the Susan Collins, the Lisa Murkowski, the acquittal that came from people who said he’s learned his lesson, he’s not that bad, this wasn’t that serious, that you were vindicated by all that the we told you so mentality? I wasn’t going to say it that way. I was going I was trying to dress it up nicer, but. Yeah. Do you have a little. I told you so.

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S6: So there’s a little bit of that in there is mostly in the sense that. And this is really dates back to my decade as a prosecutor, you know, people don’t learn lessons when they get away with bad behavior. And so the idea that, you know, somehow Donald Trump had learned his lesson because he was impeached and then acquitted in the Senate was really far fetched. And in addition, there was another element of it, which is that which we tried to stress. And as you’ll recall, there were several Republican senators at the time who said that they felt we proved our case, but it was really up to the citizens and the voters to make that decision because we were so close to an election. Well, Donald Trump tried to overturn the will of the voters and a number of the senators and congressmen in the Republican Party kind of went along with it. And that, to me, was even beyond the pale of anything that we foreshadowed. And Adam Schiff, I think, did a brilliant job of trying to make that case that, you know, this is not just about this particular case. This is about a human being who would do something like this and will continue to do something like this. But when he failed in cheating to win the election, as the impeachment really somewhat curtailed his ability to do that, then he just moved on to stealing the election. And I think that’s that’s what this impeachment is about. And I don’t know that anyone would have necessarily anticipated it, but I was not surprised. And spending so much time drilling down on the actions and the psyche of Donald Trump, as I did over the course of the year, plus that I was there, I sadly was not surprised that he was doing this.

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S3: Dan, I spent a couple of days watching your game tapes, and one of the things that I really noticed watching your opening statement in the House just over a year ago is that you were trying to tell a pretty complicated legal story. And there’s a lot of names and there’s a lot of Ukrainian names and there’s a lot of players and there’s a quid pro quo, but maybe there’s no Kwoh. And you’re talking about a pretty elaborate conspiracy and all credit to you. You made it clear, but it was confusing. And this time the story feels really simple. We have it on tape. I guess you would say we have it on tape with Donald Trump saying, do me a favor. But this is a very easy narrative. If you are presenting it to a jury, this is your dream. It’s all not only are the folks who you’re talking to witnesses, some of them are victims. And yet we’re in this strange upside down world where if the story you were trying to tell was a little too complicated to compress into a sentence, the story Jamie Raskin has to tell is so obvious, there’s almost nothing to say. And I wonder where you locate all this. You know, you’ve had years trying cases, but it seems that if what you were trying to do was complicated, what Raschein now has to do is almost so simple that I don’t know how one does it absence saying you were there, you saw what happened, you heard the speeches. It’s a really huge gulf between the alleged actions then, the alleged actions now.

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S7: You make a very good point, there’s a huge Gulf, I mean, one of the challenges that we had was to to reach people who would have no idea where in the world Ukraine is, would not understand why it’s at all relevant to us, why we care. There was there was a there was a lot of sort of ground breaking material that we had to convey that and this is the polar opposite.

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S6: I mean, everyone witnessed the Capitol building, our quintessential democratic building where our government resides, our federal government resides, was stormed and was there was rioting and mobs and murder and killing and people dying and injured. It is so tangible and so real from the video that you raise a very good point. You know, if I were putting this case together, though, I would keep in mind that a lot of the senators and certainly a lot of the American public has not spent a lot of time with the video. And I think that when you weave together the video that you can look at on ProPublica and all of these individual videos posted to social media of people who were there, and you really start to get a sense of how much they had been riled up over the previous two months, how much they listened to and worshipped and hung on every word that Donald Trump said and how they interpreted what he said based on his prior actions and his prior statements, in addition to what he said that day. You know, there will be, I think, a really compelling case that you can put together in a succinct way, but a powerful way that will remind the senators what how they felt that day, but can really, I think, reach the public. And so, yes, it’s it’s not a complicated legal case. It’s it’s not a the bear. The the core facts are not that complicated. But you’ve got to really show, I think, the emotional aspect. You have to convey the emotions that those senators felt that we should all feel as citizens as we watch our our location of government and a sacred process of certifying the vote and having a peaceful transfer of power, which is the most fundamental democratic norm and value that we have under attack. And so, you know, we’re we’re further removed from it. You’re right that we’ve now extended this two weeks in part for Donald Trump to be able to mount a defense, in part for the Senate to be able to do other business.

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S7: But if it gets further and further away from January 6th, those emotions kind of ebb a little bit. And I think the key for Jamie Raskin in the House managers will be to trigger those same emotions that the senators felt and put them in the average American person just watching on television.

S3: This is going to seem like a nit picky criminal law point, but I want to make it because I want you to respond, it seems to me, and and let’s stipulate there’s no case to be made. Right. This is the same as last year. We don’t have to say this was incitement. We don’t have to say this doesn’t need to map on to any theory. At the same time, I wonder if the more we see evidence. What you’re describing really clear, coherent evidence that this was planned for a long time, that there was a lot of money involved, that this was going to happen. Does all of that work to somehow absolve the president? In other words, the more it looks like this was in motion for months and that other people were ring leading and that this was not a spontaneous outpouring that was effectuated as a result of something that Donald Trump said or that Rudy Giuliani said earlier that day on the 6th. This had nothing to do with them because this was going to happen anyway. Does that in any way weaken the impeachment case?

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S6: No, I think it strengthens it. I think if you could show. Definitively and conclusively that Donald Trump knew of the very public. Premeditated plans for protesters to storm the Capitol, and he went out and said what he said anyway. I think that’s a I think that’s a pretty strong criminal case, and I think it’s much more of an open and shut case here. I think Donald Trump’s defense is going to be. I said peacefully, I didn’t know this, these plans were in the works and there may not be evidence that he did know to refute that. And so the fact that this had been in the works for so long and then he went out notwithstanding that and with the crowd into a frenzy and encourage them to fight makes it worse because you don’t have that defense of, wow, I didn’t know this was where it was going to go. If I did, I certainly would not have spoken in that way. And that’s not what I had. That’s not what I intended. So I I don’t think the fact that this was a two month long scheme to overturn the election is helpful to Donald Trump. I think it goes to his state of mind and his motive and his intent, because this was the last gasp effort to stop the election certification of the results that Joe Biden won. This really was the last gasp that Donald Trump had to. Overturn the election, you’ve just made this.

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S3: Very eloquent observation, which is really all you need to do is roll the tape and you need to create recreate that visceral sense of fear that presumably these senators were feeling right there, crouched under desks there, hiding in underground spaces. And yet they’ve got a perfect, elegant response, which is it’s unconstitutional. Right. And this seems to be we had a couple of days where we talked about unity from the GOP in the Senate and now we’ve moved on to the Rand Paul theory of the case, which is we’d love to have a reckoning of some sort, but it’s unconstitutional. And we can listen for a second to Rand Paul making that argument this week at the Senate as of noon last Wednesday.

S8: Donald Trump holds none of the positions listed in the Constitution. He is a private citizen. The presiding officer is not the chief justice, nor does he claim to be his presence. And the chief justice’s absence, chief justice’s absence demonstrates that this is not a trial of the president, but of a private citizen. Therefore, I make a point of order that this proceeding, which would try a private citizen and not a president, a vice president or civil officer, violates the Constitution and is not in order.

S3: So this, I guess, leads me to this inevitable question, which is we’re going to do the same thing we did last year in impeachment, where we have two arguments that never meet in the middle. We have a facts, truth, reality, accountability argument that comes from the Democrats. And then we have this process argument from the Republicans just saying, wish we could engage, can’t engage unconstitutional. We’re not even going to talk about what happened. And in that sense, it does feel like Groundhog Day to me than it feels like this is a setup in which they’ve made it plain that they’re just going to blinker themselves from the effects of the case that you’re suggesting Jamie Raskin put on.

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S7: It is one of the very frustrating aspects of impeachment that even when it was Chief Justice Roberts presiding last time, it really doesn’t matter who presides because the presiding officer makes no decisions. The Senate makes decisions by vote. They make decisions on motions. They make decision on witnesses, they make decisions on the schedule, and they ultimately make the decision as to conviction or acquittal. And so, you know, we had a vote on this. I mean, well, we didn’t actually have a vote on the substance. It was a motion to table. But if we were to have a vote on it, this theory, which is the the vast preponderance of the evidence, far more than the preponderance, but the the weight of the evidence is, I think, pretty clear that the Rand Paul theory of unconstitutionality is incorrect. So but there’s no judge to make that decision in an ordinary trial. You would make this argument to a judge. The judge would weigh the the weight of the evidence. You’d have to present evidence. You’d have to present law. And then the judge would make a decision. And that’s the decision. And then you move forward based on that decision. Well, we had a decision on Tuesday and we probably will have a more fulsome discussion about this when the trial begins. There’s no judge to say you’re wrong. Rand Paul and forty five Republicans, so then, well, then you hope, OK, there’s a vote. So there’s a vote of fifty five to forty five. Well, you made the claim you lost. Let’s move on. But what’s going to happen is that they’re going to they the Republicans, a number of them I’m certain, will cite the unconstitutionality of this process as a reason why they are voting to acquit. And that is, I think, a real sad aspect of the inherent nature of an impeachment trial as opposed to a courtroom trial that you just don’t get that satisfying result that you would like to have.

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S3: And in so many ways, that’s so emblematic of how this looks like a legal process, but it’s in fact a wholly political process or a hybrid that with a heavy thumb on the scale of politics, and then you expect the rules of truth and the rules of, as you say, finality and some sense that. There’s some authority here, all of that falls away, you just get to vote, it’s just a political process and that’s what this is. And we’re going to see that play out again.

S7: And I think that it doesn’t do anyone a service to start to make analogies to a courtroom trial. And that is one lesson I learned from the last impeachment for sure. It’s not it’s not a courtroom trial. There are no rules of evidence. There are no restrictions. There is there are no instructions as to what you can consider, what you can consider. You know, these senators who are all victims of this, you know, impeachable crime are going to be sitting in judgment as to whether or not Donald Trump should be disqualified from future office because he incited the riot that ultimately jeopardized their lives. That would never happen in a courtroom, but that’s the nature of this beast and it’s going to happen and no one’s going to recuse themselves. There’s no conflict of interest here. So, you know, everybody who’s out there clamoring and saying, oh, well, how can the Senate judge on this? Well, that’s the nature of the beast. And it happened last time there were senators who were involved in the Ukraine matter. They sat there and they listened and they were potential witnesses and they voted. And that’s just that’s the process.

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S3: And so I guess it raises this question about how you thought about the process when you were preparing, at least in the house, your you knew going in this wasn’t a jury the way you would construct that and that whatever you would do in a criminal trial, this was not analogous. The jury, the fix was in. So what were you thinking about? Were you just does this go back to your first answer? You’re creating a historical record. You were getting facts out that needed to get out. I mean, clearly, I don’t think went at this as an exercise in persuasion or in getting to the truth. So then it raises this larger question for me, right? If we put aside the truth seeking function of what a trial is, what is this mean?

S6: Well, I don’t think that we did fully put that aside. And I don’t think that you should put it aside. I think at the end of the day, there are many ways to get to ground truth. One is a courtroom trial. And I think the courtrooms are generally designed as best as possible to do that. But there are many failings in courtrooms and getting to ground truth. We took the view that we needed to make a persuasive case as much to the public as to the senators and that we needed, in part because it was you pointed out it was more complicated. We needed to present a persuasive, convincing narrative that was digestible and emphasized the abuse of power that the president entertained and conducted and executed about Ukraine. And it wasn’t really, frankly, was my a lot of my courtroom trial experience that I drew upon in putting together and drafting the presentations, which we as the staff did, and then the managers took it and really fine tuned it. And given that they are politicians, they were able to turn a lot of those sort of facts and nuts and bolts and video and and make it a little bit more politically persuasive. And I think Adam Schiff in particular just did a brilliant job of doing that. But in that case, I think there was some question as to whether this was an abuse of power. I don’t really think in this situation, anyone would anyone has or anyone would defend Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn this election. I mean, I think they got to be so absurd and so ridiculous that you had many Republicans who were who were who were not on board with them, who were criticizing his efforts to do that and recognize that this was just way, way beyond the pale and way overboard from anything that that resembled a proper legal process to challenge the election. I think those justifications which occurred sort of in the November, December time frame were bogus as well. I don’t think they were legitimate efforts to challenge it. But even though they went through a courtroom, I thought they were spurious without any supporting evidence. And ultimately they were thrown out of court because of that. So, yeah, there’s a process for that. They were thrown out of court and then he just went over over the deep end and just tried to steal the election by arm twisting, etc.. So I don’t think they need to spend as much time persuading the American people or the senators that what he did was wrong. I think they do need to spend a little bit more time focusing in on why Donald Trump’s actions, how they were connected very closely to what occurred at the Capitol, because that’s going to be the defense. And I think that having a lot of these videos on social media and parlor of the protesters themselves saying we’re going to the capital, as the president said we should and we’re going to get violent, I think that’ll be very persuasive.

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S3: So, Dan, one of the reasons I really wanted to talk to you is I can’t help but want to mine your experience in these big mob prosecutions, because I feel as though there has to be some interesting nexus for you watching this between you. And I imagine every mob conversation is like, I’m not asking you to break his kneecap. You know, like this what we talked about last time on the show about stochastic terrorism, about the use of language to get results even without the direct ask, which I realize I’ve watched way too much Tony Soprano. But I do feel like this has to be some kind of through line for you about these claims that he didn’t exactly say when he said, you know, we’re all going to march to the capital when he said, you know, everybody come to D.C. and get while. But he wasn’t exactly certainly for First Amendment purposes inciting. And I wonder if if I’m just being fanciful when I say, does this in any way rub along with your experience in thinking about how. People who are in charge get other people to do things without directly asking them to do it and how you make that case one hundred percent.

S6: And the parallels of Donald Trump to my bosses are rampant, are just overflowing.

S7: I think back to what Michael Cohen testified about in the House when he said that, you know, Donald Trump doesn’t say anything directly, but he makes himself understood to the people who are closest to him. And that’s exactly what my bosses do. They don’t say, you know, hey, buddy, please go kill this person.

S6: They say, you know, do me a favor or, you know what to do, take care of this for me. And that is intentional, right? I mean, that’s to protect themselves from getting caught. And that’s exactly what Donald Trump’s defense is going to be. I said peacefully. I said peacefully. It’s like you said, peacefully. And you also said a lot of other things that were both implicit and explicit in directing the mob to do exactly what they did. And this is why those social media videos are going to be so important, is what did the protesters understand Donald Trump to be saying? They understood him to be encouraging them to storm the capital. And that is that’s really what you need to know. It’s not a function of what the actual words are. It’s what the understanding of those words are.

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S7: So there are a number of parallels to the last four years to mob cases that I prosecuted and including that one that you referenced at the top, the acting boss of the Genovese family. He used to meet one of the best pieces of evidence we had in that case was a photo of a laundromat in the Bronx that was a total nondescript laundromat. And that’s where he would meet with anyone who he wanted to meet with. And he would do a traditional walk and talk in front of it. And we had four different witnesses in the trial, none of whom knew each other, who all identified that laundromat is where they met with him to do a walk and talk so that they would not be overheard by a wiretap or other surveillance and that they would testify. And they did testify. Of course, like all my bosses, he didn’t give direct, explicit instructions to kill someone, but he made it clear that he wanted someone to be killed. And, you know, Donald Trump, I’m not at all saying that he intended for anyone to be killed, but I think that he absolutely intended for the joint sessions certification of the Electoral College to be impeded and delayed. And that was his goal. And that the longer it could be delayed, that the more opportunity there was to try to twist some arms and do something to get in the way of the certification of the election, because this was the very last step and that’s what he wanted to get done. And he conveyed that message, I think, very clearly, even if not explicitly.

S3: So, Dan, I think I just want you to say this really clearly, again, what you’re saying is that will be his defense. I did not intend it. It was not my intent to foment a riot and that that can be overcome in trial, that you have overcome it in trial, that you don’t need to have a sort of but for causal nexus. He expressly directed them to do a thing that this can be overcome if this trial goes the way you think it should go. That’s what you’re saying.

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S7: Yes. I don’t think it’s a persuasive defense to say I said peacefully and therefore that’s what I meant. And so you should credit that one word. But close your eyes to all the other words that I used my past encouragement of violence over the last four years and the general connotations that come with, you know, you have to be strong, not weak. We need to fight for this. We need to stop the steel. All of this language is very much designed to whip people into a frenzy of some sort. And I think he certainly knew and should have known that the result was going to be what had been out on the Internet and social media leading up to January 6th was that they were going to storm the Capitol and they were going to try to invade the Capitol. So, you know, there’ll be other evidence as well that I think will be very persuasive. In particular, what did he do after he saw the mob and the riots and the violence? By all accounts, and this is media reports, really, he did nothing. We know that he didn’t actually tell them to stand down. And the argument that I would make is.

S6: Well, if you really intended for it to be peaceful and you turn on the TV and you see people who, you know, are your supporters violently invading the capital, then you, of course, would get on Twitter, would get on television, would get every possible medium to tell them to stop and to turn around and to get out of the capital and to let Congress do its job, because that’s what the law requires. You would, of course, do that. He did none of that. And even as his statement a couple hours after it happened was so mealy mouth as to, you know, not even I’m sure that the people would not even have interpreted it to to be a message to stand down. And then the other thing that I think will be very important is what happened with the National Guard. Why were there so few law enforcement personnel at the Capitol that day? And why did the National Guard not come storming in or other law enforcement officers come storming in? And what did Donald Trump do in response to the requests for authorization for the National Guard to do that? And you’ll see Larry Hogan, the governor of Maryland, at his press conference. I’m sure we’ll see this video and saying we waited for two hours, we were ready to go, but we didn’t get the OK. So, you know, there are some technical defenses to all of this.

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S7: But at the end of the day, I think the broader picture is just overwhelming, that this was incited and spurred on by Donald Trump and with the desired outcome of delaying Congress’s certification of his loss in the election.

S3: So you’re very prescient because my next question was going to be a year and three months ago, every episode of this show, I think for a while was why only the two articles, right? Why only abuse of power and obstruction? Why aren’t they throwing in emoluments and why aren’t they throwing in everything? And I’m sure you know better than I why the decision was taken to go really narrow with the articles of impeachment. And I’m already hearing a lot of carping saying this one article doesn’t capture everything you just said and why so narrow and how are you going to get in? Because I actually have to confess I agree with you. I think the astonishing part is the failure to act right. That’s almost to me more horrifying that people are calling you and you’re accidentally calling Mike Lee because you want to call someone else to have them still throw the election as this is going on. That stuff is, to me, smoking gun stuff. And I guess what you’re telling me is that’s all going to get swept in. But I do wonder if you feel like the aperture was just too narrow. The way this was laid out is too narrow and it doesn’t capture the phone call to Brad Raffensperger. I know it’s mentioned in the articles. It doesn’t capture the stuff that came later. It doesn’t capture the reporting we got just last week about an attempted coup at the Justice Department. And I guess this is always this problem, right? Is is is how much of this endless garden hose of crap you can filter to make your case and how what you sacrifice for clarity. But I am wondering, as I’m listening to you, whether. The House Democrats gave up too much.

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S9: This is where I think we lawyers lose the forest through the trees a little bit for what is a political process. I would bet a lot of money that there will not be a single senator who says, you know. I think the president’s conduct in trying to steal the election was. An egregious abuse of power that was impeachable, but the House did in charge that in a very technical way. And so therefore, I’m going to vote to acquit.

S6: It’s just not going to happen and it didn’t happen last time, and I don’t think it’s going to happen this time, I think that the article is drafted sufficiently broadly by specifically referencing the Raffensperger call, but to include that conduct, the type of of conduct that was designed to essentially overthrow an election, overturn an election, and then it will focus it will culminate with the climax of January 6th, but January six and inciting the insurrection, the the evidence you’re talking about, about the after after the speech part where you’re saying that is the smoking gun, that, of course, goes to his state of mind and what he intended at the riot. So that would be included in a criminal trial for sure. And it would clearly also be included in the Senate trial because everything is included in the Senate trial. Last time around, I spent hours and hours discussing and debating how to draft the articles, whether to include other conduct or not.

S9: That was a tougher case. I mean, look, there were multiple different ways you could charge the Ukraine affair. And then there were other episodes of misconduct that could have been included. The Mueller obstruction is the the one that was sort of last left on the cutting room floor. And there were a lot of reasons for that, including that a lot of the front line House Democrats did not support the Mueller obstruction article and probably would not have voted for it. But we did include that obstruction as a pattern and practice in the actual Ukraine obstruction article. So what the conduct was included and we spent some time discussing the pattern and practice of related to the Mueller investigation in the last impeachment trial.

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S6: But at the end of the day here, you know, I don’t think anyone is going to drill down into the weeds of what incitement is or what it isn’t and whether or not, you know, Donald Trump technically met the elements of this crime.

S9: At the end of the day, you’re going to have to draw a direct line from Donald Trump to the actions and effects that occurred at the Capitol. And if you can do that persuasively, then you’ve made your case.

S3: I feel like we have to talk about the one thing we haven’t talked about, which is really profoundly different from the first impeachment, and that is Republicans. As far as I’m talking to you, we have Republicans who are insisting on carrying guns, who are refusing to wear masks. We have certainly allegations, Dan, that there are Republicans who were in some ways helping some of the rioters. Certainly some Republicans who were tweeting the locations of people. This is. Really complicated, and it’s a complicated thing to build into the legal story that needs to be told, and I think it’s also in some sense, the middle that’s fallen out of this impeachment conversation, which is there’s a lot of strange complicity. There’s a lot of, you know, Josh Holly and Ted Cruz, who are similarly denying the legitimacy of the election. And I guess it’s all orthogonal. It has nothing to do in some sense with the claims about Donald Trump. But I feel like I don’t quite know where to put it in terms of causation, in terms of accountability. And I wonder I’m sure you’ve thought heard more about this than me, but I feel as though I don’t know how to fold it into the formal impeachment trial that’s coming. And yet I feel as though for the national conversation to have all of that off and not included in this conversation really would be a missed opportunity. So I’m not even quite sure what the question is. I guess I’m saying Republican collaboration, Colen discuss.

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S9: I agree that it needs to be addressed, but I am hesitant to say that it should be addressed at the impeachment trial and I think that. You run the risk of veering off course, and so there’s. While, you know, we just had a conversation about the articles themselves and whether they should be narrowly tailored and narrow and thin or whether it should be everything. You know, it’s a it’s sort of a similar conversation when you’re talking about presenting the evidence, you can present whatever evidence you want, but what does it get you if you want to be focused on. Donald Trump and what his role was, which is really what this impeachment trial is about. I think you will get Republicans back up if you start to lump Donald Trump in with every Republican, and I do think that you need to be cautious of that. I also think that the House Republicans, particularly some of the newer ones who may be complicit in this, I think they need to be dealt with, but in a separate process, that should get a lot of attention if necessary.

S6: We also need to set an example as to what is appropriate for an elected representative, but that’s not, in my view, for the Senate trial.

S3: So before I say goodbye, I guess I want to ask you to make your best case for why. We can’t do this reckoning in some other fashion, right, Tim Kaine is talking about censure, Susan Collins is talking about censure. There’s a lot of folks out there who are saying, why can’t we just have criminal trials for the actual insurrectionists and leave Donald Trump out of this? There’s an immense amount of pressure to move forward, to do covid, to do the economy, to fix the environment. This is expensive. It is time consuming. What’s your best argument for why all of those other resolutions aren’t sufficient? And I guess throwing into the column of insufficient resolutions, just ignoring him, he’s gone. What’s the best argument for doing this thing that I think, as we agree, is going to end up with an acquittal in the face of all these other lesser, less costly, less polarizing, forward looking interventions.

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S6: So I think that there are a couple of concepts that are critical here. One is deterrence.

S9: One is a moral compulsion.

S6: Within our democracy to lay down a marker that this kind of anti-democratic, authoritarian conduct will not be accepted in the future.

S9: And finally got to put everyone on record as to whether they think this kind of behavior is OK or it’s not OK and, you know, the greatest. Metric to hold anyone accountable is what we saw actually in November and Donald Trump was voted out of office, that is ultimately the greatest threat that every politician has. And if Donald if if Donald Trump is gone, he should never be able to run again because of his conduct. But it’s also a message to anyone else, not just Donald Trump, but anyone else who’s considering doing something like this in the future, that if you do, it’s been done before, you will be swiftly removed from office. And so there is a measure of accountability, there’s a measure of justice, and there’s a measure of deterrence to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. And then the final point is there’s a message to the world that we need to send, which is that what happened on January 6th. Is not what our country is about, and we have taken action to isolate the individual primarily responsible for it and disqualify him from ever serving again.

S3: Daniel Goldman served as the senior adviser and director of investigations for the US House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on the majority side. He’s also former deputy chief of the Organized Crimes Unit in the office of the US attorney for the Southern District of New York. You can see him all over your TV, but this was also very much the deep dive I needed that couldn’t have happened in three minutes. So, Dan, thank you for your time. I’m glad you’re well. And I hope you will come back someday to talk about prosecutions of Trump in the after times, because I think you probably have lots to say about that, too. Thank you for being here.

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S9: Thanks so much for having me. Dahlia was really a pleasure.

S3: And so we come, as we do to everybody’s favorite part of the show, which is our little check in for Vapes with Slate’s own Mark Joseph Stern, who covers all the things the courts, the law, the state courts, voting rights, gerrymandering. What am I missing? All the things. And Mark, this is the week of tired. Are you tired? I might. Tiredness is running over.

S10: I have been sleeping nine to 10 hours a night. Not ashamed to admit it, but it has been good sleep for the first time in roughly four years. You know, the nightmares have been about like missing flights, not the literal end of the world. And I’m just going to chalk that up to a win.

S3: Last night, when my husband saw what I was taking in order to fall asleep, he asked why we don’t just use one of those tranq darts that they use for, like, feral rabid animals like I don’t. So I am still a little sleep challenged. But let’s let’s dig in, Mark. And the first thing that I want to talk about is the thing that everybody missed because it was a news drop at the very end of last week and it came after the inauguration and everybody was chuffed and happy. But it was the crazy almost coup at the Justice Department and reporting really astonishing reporting that came out on Friday and then I think was followed up in The Wall Street Journal, essentially saying that Donald Trump was trying to remove the acting attorney general and had an actual plan with some lower level person at Justice to have a little coup, replace him, install a new acting attorney general, and then steal the election night summarizing that fairly.

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S10: Yeah, I mean, not just a plan, but an actual conspiracy. Right. In which two people took overt acts to further their attempted coup because Trump apparently persuaded Jeffrey Clark, who was this mid-level guy at the Justice Department, to, you know, play along as he fired the acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, and then come in and try to overturn the election in Georgia. Right. By using the force of the United States Justice Department to nullify every vote cast in Georgia, overturn the results, and somehow that would lead to some kind of cascading effect that would eventually secure Trump. And under in second term, that was the plan.

S3: And it’s worth saying high level. Everyone else at the DOJ essentially gathered together in a panic and agreed they would all quit if that hit. So let’s let’s be clear that that was the thing that deterred the coup. Not that somebody involved in this conspiracy had second thoughts, but that there would have been no one at the Justice Department. So this is an act of valor. I wonder what you think of it beyond the fact that. It arrives after it almost doesn’t matter, Trump is gone, we have a new. President, there’s a new attorney general there or there will be one, so maybe none of this matters, and yet it matters for all the reasons you say this was another part of a conspiracy, no different from Trump pressuring Brad Raffensperger in Georgia, just an attempt to use his power, his executive power to throw the election to himself. What lessons do you derive from this? What feels like a Monday morning after the fact story?

S10: Yeah. So the first thing I thought when I read the story was, wait a minute, I know this guy. I mean, not personally, thank God, but I you know, I know who he is. And the reason why is because Slate dot com has written about him. Jeffrey Clark, this guy was like a big time Federalist Society loyalist, OK? He led there Environmental Law Group some years back, and he was sort of their climate change denier in chief. So this guy, Jeffrey Clarke, he had a bunch of corporate clients, big polluters. They gave him money to deny the reality of climate change. And he used the platform that the Federalist Society gave him podcast’s articles, speaking gigs to peddle this propaganda that he was getting paid to peddle as a lawyer for very evil companies. And for that work, he was rewarded by the Trump administration. He was basically put in charge of the environmental law, parts of the DOJ, which is terrifying and insane and should obviously never have happened. But that position put him in a really great spot to try to lead a coup in the final days of Trump’s Justice Department, because the way this works is everybody starts retiring at the end of the term and all of these guys in the middle start to kind of like float up to the top. Right. So I think the main lesson for me here is like Jeffrey Clarke, this crazy coup plotter, he was in the same bucket of people who were being chosen for federal judgeships. Right. He was friends with these people who were elevated to the bench. He was, I am certain, on some lists to be elevated if he didn’t get this spot in the Justice Department. And, you know, all throughout Trump’s term, defenders of the Federalist Society and of, you know, its leaders told us, look, we should actually be grateful that Donald Trump is picking people from the Federalist Society to install in the government because they have integrity, they’re scholars, they have independence. You know, they’ll do the right thing. They aren’t chained to Trump. They might be conservative, but they aren’t corrupt. And we were told, you know, we should be thankful he’s not picking Miss Kentucky or whatever to fill these positions. And that just was never true. It was simply false from the beginning. And we now have, I think, a very clear example of why, because these folks were not really independent and not all of them were even real scholars. Many of them were propagandists. Some of them landed in the federal judiciary where they will remain for the next 50 years. Luckily for us, Jeffrey Clarke landed in the Justice Department, where he served a much shorter term. But I have no doubt that there are many Federalist Society members in the federal judiciary who would have done what Jeffrey Clarke tried to do if they were in his position. Because Trump is a radicalizing force, the conservative legal movement has been radicalized to an extreme degree under Trump. And I just don’t think we should be surprised as we hear more and more of these stories about Fed sock loyalists trying to help Trump overturn the election, because in a way, that’s what they were hired to do. They were hired to facilitate Trump’s agenda by any means necessary. Yeah, some of his judges laughed, his ridiculous appeals out of court. You know, Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell were jokes by that point, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a real threat here and a threat that will remain that we’ve got Trump loyalists at every level of government and they are going to do immense damage to American democracy.

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S3: Speaking of Trump judges, Mark, I guess that’s about as good a Segway as we’re going to get to. The fact that Donald Trump did not pass any major legislation was no important force. Most of the things that he tried to do were thwarted or stymied. And yet you and I have co-authored at least a dozen articles saying it was always the judiciary stupid that all these Trump judges are going to pretty much do everything they can to set aside whatever. Joe Biden attempts to do by way of executive order and we’ve already seen not get a week out, we’ve seen evidence of this alone. Trump judge in Texas issues a national injunction on Biden’s decision to pause deportations. What is it? I don’t want to say so. We’re right. Right. But we’re right. This is what we’re going to live under. What you and I have dubbed the dead hand of Trump is going to be these embolden the young judges who work to set aside everything that having the House and the Senate and the presidency. It doesn’t change that.

S10: Yeah. And I think emboldened, young and arrogant is the key here, because this judge, judge tipped in a Donald Trump appointee, a Federalist Society member going going way back. He admitted during this hearing that he was not familiar with immigration law broadly, this particular immigration law, even though he’s serving as a US district judge in Texas, where lots of immigration cases are heard, in part because Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton loves to forum, shop and run to Trump judges in that state to try to block immigration stuff. And yet this total lack of familiarity with immigration law did not stop this judge from issuing a decision that purported to halt Joe Biden’s 100 day pause on deportations. I say purported to halt because I think this judge is so ignorant of the law that his order may wind up doing absolutely nothing. What he did, in short, was get tricked by Ken Paxton, who took this one sentence out of immigration law that says people who are eligible for deportation have to be deported within 90 days and then ignored the entire rest of that statute and broader immigration law, which says actually there are a million exceptions and the president has inherent authority to use his discretion to defer deportations. Just seized on that one other sentence and said, OK, this entire order is unlawful or this entire pause on deportations is unlawful because the federal statute says Biden has to deport everybody within 90 days. That is absurd. If that were true, then every president has violated immigration law every day of their term because deportation takes a very long time. Even people who are eligible for their final deportation, this takes months, years. I mean, even just on the the level of arranging travel for people to be flown out of the country, that is a complex process. And this judge seemed to be saying that unless Biden, like, highers up every travel agency in the country and forces them to fill planes with undocumented immigrants and send them away, that it would be illegal and that he would be violating the law. That’s ridiculous. That is not how immigration law works. It’s not how our system works. And I don’t think that his order is actually going to stop any deportations, because the reality is that Joe Biden has unquestioned discretion to defer deportations in a million other ways. And so I think this was, you know, an early shot across the bow for the Biden administration. Like you are going to see Trump judges issuing nationwide injunctions, the exact thing that conservatives spent the last four years complaining about, saying we’re illegitimate and unconstitutional, this is going to happen. But some of these judges are going to be so ignorant that their orders aren’t going to mean anything. And I guess that’s a silver lining that some of these Trump judges are so unqualified and so stupid that they’re going to try to block up the Biden agenda and they’re just going to fall flat on their face in the most embarrassing fashion possible.

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S3: And just quickly, it leads, of course, to the commission, the court reform commission that Biden told us in October was going to be his solution to. He was being pressured after Amy CONI Barrett was pushed through. He was being pressured to pledge that he was going to expand the courts. He did what a good politician does and punted and said, I’m going to set up a commission. This week. We started to get names of people who are going to serve on that commission, Bob Bauer, Christina Rodriguez at Yale, Jack Goldsmith, Caroline Fredrickson, good people all. But that’s the very beginnings of a commission that we know is going to get bigger in the coming weeks. We don’t quite know what the brief is. We don’t know how long it’s going to take. But do you have any thoughts on whether there’s any chance that a court reform commission is going to come up with a bunch of solutions that are going to make any difference?

S10: I am skeptical. I would say about two. Notches below, cautiously optimistic. Look, these are good people, people who are friends of Slate and in some instances friends of us and I admire them, including Jack Goldsmith, who is conservative. I think these are really smart folks. And I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with. But I am skeptical that it will be anything particularly helpful because these are also institutionalists at heart. I think they are people who believe deeply in American institutions as they are as they stand. And there were kind of two different strains of thought among anti Trump folks over the last four years. Right. There were some folks who said, look, this is, you know, a total hijacking of our institutions, which are otherwise strong. We need to simply restore those institutions as they were and get back to that status quo ante. And then there are other folks who said, actually, this is proof that our institutions have gone haywire. There are too easy to sabotage. It’s too easy. Mark, we need to think down on the atomic level of how we restructure parts of American government to stop this from happening again. Everybody on this commission falls into that first bucket of people. I think they are institutionalized and they have a lot of integrity and they believe in the Supreme Court as an institution, as a legitimate institution. And I don’t think that anything is going to be able to shake their faith in that. This is just speculation for me. I’d love to be proven wrong. Right. But I worry that they’re going to come up with a bunch of kind of half measures like statutory term limits, which I support, or stronger ethics rules, which I support, but that are not really going to do anything to solve the immediate problem of the Supreme Court’s like legitimacy crisis. So, you know, these people are set to issue a report in the summer. By that point, the Supreme Court will have issued a bunch of really brutal, bloody conservative decisions that break the nose of the liberal legal left. Perhaps that will change the calculus, right? Perhaps that these folks will realize that the danger is a lot more imminent than they realize. But right now, it looks to me like these are the people you put on a commission that’s going to come out with a report that says basically the Supreme Court is fine, but we could tweak around the edges to make it even better. And that is just not what we need right now.

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S3: And we should note that Joe Biden himself said he’s opposed to court expansion, that he doesn’t think that the court should be a football, that the winning team gets to take the ball and go home. We do know that Bob Bauer has talked approvingly of term limits. We know that Caroline Fredrickson has talked approvingly, I think, of some version of court expansion, although I don’t know what exactly that includes. But I think your larger point is that there’s an enormous number of people for whom the lesson of the last five months was the institutions held and the courts held. And because the courts held, we don’t need to really deeply examine the federal judiciary because they came out. In favor of democracy and query whether that’s actually true. But also, I think it does really lend credibility to the narrative, your sort of narrative, A, which is we can tweak around the margins, probably should tweak around the margins, but the notion of blowing the whole thing up and starting again or doing really radical work to make the courts more responsive, more fair, less powerful, and certainly less depressed, more more diverse, more diverse, that’s not going to happen. I certainly have seen a little bit of a critique that’s come out just in the past couple of days saying this is not. The bones of a commission that looks like it’s got bomb throwers who are going to. So that’s your point? I guess that leads us to where we started in some sense, which is the ways in which. Bomb throwers from the Trump administration, a. institutionalists, people who oppose democracy are embedded in all sorts of places. And I wondered if he would talk a little bit about you wrote this week, if there are people Biden should be firing that are still holding really important jobs. And I wonder if you want to speak to that.

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S10: Yeah. So burrowing in something that Trump did to great effect, I think, which is basically when a president appoints people of his ideological persuasion to these positions in government that are super powerful, that often have some protections, job guarantees, some independence, that makes it really hard for the next president to fire them to clean house. And there’s a couple of folks I highlighted this week. I actually think I will be highlighting more. But the guy who is in charge of regulating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, that the the mortgage giants, Mark Calabria, he is serving a lengthy term that will stretch through most of Biden’s presidency. And his goal is the total opposite of what this agency exists to do. He wants to reprivatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, take them out of government conservatorship, basically deregulate them, which is like what led to the 2008 financial crash. And in some ways, there is a contributing factor that goes against the mission of this agency. And that’s why Trump put him there. Right, to try to sort of dismantle this agency from the inside the FSA. And he theoretically has protections. He’s theoretically independent. But the Supreme Court, as we all know, ruled last term that basically when there is a federal agency led by a single director, the president has constitutional authority to fire that director no matter what what the law says. And this is an instance where I think very clearly Biden could just step in and say, you’re out. He hasn’t done it yet. Perhaps he’s waiting for a follow up Supreme Court decision that will make it even clearer that he can fire this guy. But in the meantime, Mark Calabria, he’s burrowing in. He’s continuing to pursue this. Trump is the gender of deregulating mortgage giants. It doesn’t make any sense to keep him around. And I think people will hold Biden accountable for his bad deeds and they should because Biden has the power to kick him out. Turning to the Social Security Agency. Right, incredibly powerful agency run by two awful Trump holders, Andrew Solen, David Black. They have done so much to destroy this agency, to try to bust its unions, which have consistently voted no confidence in them. They have tried to strip away the independence of the folks who actually adjudicate Social Security claims, disability benefits, that kind of thing, tried to deny due process to Americans who are trying to get these benefits, who have a right to them, try to manipulate this process of adjudication, giving bonuses potentially to people who deny claims, you know, making it harder for people to get claims by creating incentives for them to be turned away. That’s messed up. It’s never been done before. Trump put them in there to sabotage the agency. Biden needs to take them out to save the agency. It’s not norm busting, it’s norm preserving, because these guys are going to end up burning down the little section of government that they have been put in charge of. And that is very bad news for all of us.

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S3: So that kind of is a nice segue to my very last question mark, which is news on Friday morning that the Heritage Foundation. So now we’re not talking about burrowing, we’re talking about giving cover. But the Heritage Foundation welcomes Chad Wolff, Ken Cuccinelli and Mark Morgan as their new fellows. And again, it raises these same questions about is anyone out of bounds? And I don’t think that I need to do the whole bio of Ken Cuccinelli when he was acting director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. You know, he tried to speed up asylum screenings. He tried to make it harder for kids of active service members who are born abroad to get citizenship. He was trying to force immigrants with life threatening illnesses to return to their home countries. Don’t get me started on what he was doing as Virginia’s attorney general, but it was just a shocking anti-immigration, rabidly anti women’s reproductive health, rabidly anti LGBTQ rights, rabidly anti environment. This guy, this guy is now welcome with open arms at Heritage, as is Chad Wolf. And. I just want you to pass with me before you go, we talked about it a little bit with Joshua Matz, but how do you think about the fact that people who have done real harm, meaningful harm, have really, truly done violence to American values, get welcomed into the public sphere? Because why? Because they’re just conservative. Because they’re heroes. Because it’s always good to have two sides. I mean, is there no argument for just saying no, Ken Cuccinelli, Chad? Wolf, they don’t actually get to have a big public facing role in the national discourse around immigration and LGBTQ rights and climate change because they don’t believe in basic American values.

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S10: Right. I mean, the argument for excluding these monsters is, I think, like human decency and the rule of law. And those arguments don’t hold a ton of sway these days on the right. I think we’re sort of talking about two different things here. When we’re talking about evil trump people in their post Trump lives, you’ve got people like Rod Rosenstein who are going to big law and just getting their, you know, six, seven, eight figure checks and doing just bad corporate work and pretending like they didn’t rest young babies out of their parents arms at the border. And then we’re talking about also the conservative advocacy world places like Heritage that are trying to sort of carry the torch for the Republican Party while it is out of the White House. And to focus on on that second group, which involves people like, you know, Ken Cuccinelli, I think we’re seeing a very revealing trend here, which is that the conservative movement, the broader mainstream conservative movement, is not trying to cleanse itself of Trump or Trump ism in any way. You know, there was a possibility here that when Trump left office, he’s off Twitter, he’s off YouTube, places like Heritage said, OK, we’re not going to bring in the absolute worst people in the Trump administration to try to carry on Trump ism in exile. We’re going to try to bring in more moderate or mainstream voices, trying to maybe tamp down the cruelty. There was a an option, a kind of off ramp for these organizations. They did not take that off ramp. Instead, what they are doing is preserving the Trump administration in exile, carrying on Trump ism and in a way, kind of burrowing in Trump ism into the broader conservative movement, which is led by organizations like Heritage. So they are saying what Ken Cuccinelli did, trying to take away citizenship from children of U.S. service members born abroad, trying to make it impossible for asylum seekers to stay in the United States to get citizenship. All of this evil stuff, that’s OK. And we want more of it. You know, we want a sort of white nationalist agenda for American immigration law. We want Trump is a Trump is. And, you know, this view of all immigrants as rapists and murderers as Trump kicked off his campaign. Right. That is what these folks are hungry for. There is no option B anymore. Trump ism is Republicanism is conservative ism. And that is like really horrifying and is going to probably break my streak of good nights of sleep.

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S3: And it’s it’s got its analogue in Marju Taylor Green in the house. Right. The embrace of Kuhnen on the embrace embrace of overt white supremacy and antisemitism. So it’s not like heritage is alone in this. It’s that institutions that have the option, as you say, not just the option, but were absolutely free to say we are not going to embrace and cleanse the worst stains of the last four years are making a really mindful decision to not just embrace it. But in some cases, if you look at the house to punish those who have tried to take the off ramp. Right. So it’s Liz Cheney that takes it to the gut. And I guess my last question for you, Mark, is there’s a claim often to be found in the mouth of Judge Holly that what you and I are doing right now is either some kind of vengeful victor’s justice. You know, we want the to run them out of town or more boldly that this is speech suppressive, that what you and I are doing is trying to silence their voices. And I’m sure the critique of the conversation you and I are having is they just don’t want Ken Cuccinelli and Chad Wolfe to have a voice. Respond to that.

S10: This might be a little too simplistic, but not by much. In the last four or five years, Republicans, conservatives have sort of reframed the free speech debate. And we are now in a place where simply criticizing conservatives is the equivalent of suppressing speech. And this whole idea of a marketplace of ideas where we do criticize each other, the best ideas win. Conservatives have rejected that in in in fact, if not openly, because they have reached a point where Josh Hawley says, all of you people who are criticizing me are actually trying to silence and censor me. And he writes that for The New York Post and appears on the front page and people on the right don’t see any hypocrisy or inconsistency there. And so I think that the task for people like us is to figure out how to make sure we are immune to that kind of extreme bad faith because it’s simply not working. It’s simply an attempt to protect themselves from public criticism. And we should play no role in that. And we should not pretend like speech means censorship. That criticism equals silencing. Those are two different things. They are, in fact, opposites. We are not silencing anyone. We are using our own free speech to point out that these people are anti-democratic, fascist goons.

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S3: And maybe I would just as a gloss on that, I would say. To listeners, watch really carefully in the impeachment trial for this rhetoric of speech suppression, because it’s become really a go too line and it’s a way of not focusing on what’s being said or who’s saying it, but a way of talking about how we’re talking that is, in fact, absolutely a distraction, even though in the days after the capital riots, the conversation immediately turned from the death and violence and horror to why are you suppressing my speech? So this is a move we’re going to see again and again and again with increasing intensity. And my own sense right now, Mark, is that this is a tell the louder. Josh Hawley is screaming about his speech being suppressed and the more of a platform he has to scream about his speech being suppressed, the more he is distracting from the thing we should be talking about.

S10: Yes, absolutely. I will. Thank you for those wise words. I will pay attention to the extent that I can watch these impeachment proceedings through my hands because I am terrified of the avalanche of bad faith that is coming our way.

S3: I have a tranq gun with the ability to shoot darts into rabid feral animals that I will give you for these purposes. Marc Stern covers the courts and the law, the state courts, democracy itself and justice for Slate. This has been the least sleep inducing conversation we’ve had in a long time, but I wish you a good weekend and good health. Thanks, Mark, for joining us. Thanks.

S2: And that is a wrap for this episode of Amicus, thank you so much for listening in. And thank you so much for your letters and your questions and your feedback. You can keep in touch with us at Amicus, at Slate, Dotcom, or you can always find us at Facebook dot com slash amicus podcast. Today’s show was produced by Sarah Birmingham. We had research help, ample, copious research help from Daniel Maloof. Gabriel Roth is editorial director. Alicia Montgomery is executive producer. And June Thomas is senior managing producer of Slate podcasts. Thank you for listening. We will be back with another episode of Amicus in two short weeks.