The House should have crafted its impeachment resolution to avoid a legalistic focus on the former president’s intent. This could have been done by broadening the impeachment article. The charges should have encompassed Mr. Trump’s use of the mob and other tactics to intimidate government officials to void the election results, and his dereliction of duty by failing to try to end the violence in the hours after he returned to the White House from the demonstration at the Ellipse.
Whether or not Mr. Trump wanted his followers to commit acts of violence, he certainly wanted them to intimidate Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress. That was the whole point of their “walk,” as Mr. Trump put it, to the Capitol. The mob was not sent to persuade with reasoning or evidence.
Moreover, Mr. Trump’s actions on Jan. 6 were of a piece with attempts — nonviolent but no less wrongful — to intimidate other officials, such as Georgia’s secretary of state, to use their powers to thwart the election results. The Trump campaign had every opportunity to substantiate its claims of massive fraud in court and failed miserably to do so.