As this is written a formal defense of the president’s actions is coming. It is hard to believe his lawyers will argue his innocence of the charge that he incited a crowd to move on Congress and thwart its certification of the 2020 election. Everyone knows he did that. More likely the defense will speak of extenuating circumstances—Democrats now speak violently too, and they didn’t care when cities exploded in violence last summer.
Beyond that I don’t understand the defense being mounted informally in conservative media. This is that everyone knows the storming of the Capitol was being planned before the president’s rally, and the government knew. This exonerates him? If the government Mr. Trump headed knew trouble was coming, it’s evidence of both imminent lawless action and Mr. Trump’s intent—the legal elements of incitement. It makes him more culpable, not less.
I do not see how Republican senators could hear and fairly judge the accumulated evidence and vote to acquit the former president. If we want to keep it from happening again, all involved must pay the stiffest possible price. That would include banning Mr. Trump from future office.