Trump's lawyers quit because he won't give up. Plus: Is Biden serious about unity? 'The Sit-In'

By Gary Abernathy

Trump’s lawyers quit because he just won’t give it up

Former president Donald Trump is insisting that his lawyers for the upcoming impeachment trial focus on his insistence that he actually won the election. This is insanity. What Trump’s lawyers should do – what they want to do – is make the argument that the entire impeachment trial is unconstitutional because Trump is no longer in office and therefore cannot be removed from office, which is the constitutional penalty for conviction. They should do that in part because it’s right, and in part because most Republican senators are ready to defend Trump on those grounds, but not on the election fraud scenario.

The Washington Post reported Sunday night that “South Carolina lawyer Karl S. “Butch” Bowers Jr. and four other attorneys who recently signed on to represent the former president abruptly parted ways with him this weekend, days before his Feb. 9 Senate trial for his role in inciting the attack on the U.S. Capitol. On Sunday evening, Trump’s office announced two new lawyers were taking over his defense.

“Two people familiar with the discussions preceding the departure of the original legal team said that Trump wanted them to make the case during the trial that he actually won the election. To do so would require citing his false claims of election fraud — even as his allies and attorneys have said that he should instead focus on arguing that impeaching a president who has already left office is unconstitutional.”

If he won’t help himself, there just comes a time when you conclude that he deserves whatever he gets.

Whether Biden is serious about unity will soon be known

Whether President Joe Biden is seriously about uniting the nation and working across the aisle will be something known in short order after 10 U.S. senators, including Rob Portman, R-Ohio, issued an open letter to Biden on Sunday asking him to negotiate with them on the latest covid-19 stimulus package.

"Our proposal reflects many of your stated priorities, and with your support, we believe that this plan could be approved by Congress with bipartisan support," the joint letter reads. In addition to Portman, the letter was signed by Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.; Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.; Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine; Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan.; Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah; Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Sen. Michael Rounds, R-S.D.; and Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind.

USA Today reported Sunday that “some moderate Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., have also advocated for more targeted aid to individuals, state and local governments, as well as small businesses.”

Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion in additional spending is madness. The economy is already recovering and, according to reports, no longer in recession. Why have we no compunction about going deeply in debt when there’s no justification for it? Whether Biden is serious about embracing bipartisanship will be revealed by whether he puts his proposal on hold to talk with the GOP senators, or ignores them and forges ahead with a purely partisan, party-line vote.

An update from the Washington Post on Monday says Biden has invited the GOP senators to the White House Monday afternoon. We shall see.

‘The Sit-In’ worth watching when you get a chance

A few weeks ago I was invited to participate in a Washington Post columnist year-end reflection to “share one book, TV show, movie, album, video game or other piece of culture, broadly defined, that had a big impact on them this year.”

I chose an obscure documentary called “The Sit-In,” about one week in 1968 when entertainer Harry Belafonte sat in for Johnny Carson as host of the “Tonight Show.” Here’s a link to my short piece describing the show on the Peacock network, and I encourage you to watch the program sometime.