Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial in the US Senate is upon us and, like the first trial, it’s the source of much controversy. Unlike his first impeachment trial, however, this one seems to find Trump in a particularly bad way. And that’s a good sign for the nation.
We learned late last week that Trump had to hire new impeachment defense attorneys after the lead attorney on his team refused to follow Trump’s desired course of action. It’s never a good sign when an attorney quits because he or she finds a client’s request insupportable, and indeed lawyers have limited ethical backstops to rely on in withdrawing from representation. In other words, Trump either effectively fired the lead attorney or the lead attorney left because Trump was asking him to do something untenable or illegal. When it’s a lead attorney on a fantastically high-profile case for a high-profile client, it makes the situation appear all the worse.
And yet, it gets even worse for Trump. Reports are out that one of Trump’s attorneys believes the conspiracy theory that Jeffrey Epstein was murdered in prison and another one of his attorneys refused to prosecute convicted serial rapist Bill Cosby. In sum, none of this is a good look for Trump.
But this is a good look for the US as a whole. The fact that Trump can’t procure legal counsel that at least has a veneer of integrity, professionalism, or even sanity, frankly, is telling. People are not swarming to defend Trump the way they were when he was president. Trump’s world began deflating long ago, but after the January 6 insurrection, it began to truly implode. It’s clear when nobody wants to defend you, you’ve lost many allies. And it’s clear when you so quickly become an untouchable after being held in high esteem by a party of lackeys, cronies, and shills, that you did something unforgivably vile.
I think this is the sign that Trump, finally, has used up his monkey’s paw. Does he still have rabid supporters? Yes; some even in Congress. Does he still plan on being politically relevant? Yes; and so do at least some of his children. But that inertia isn’t enough to overcome the fact that the elites who cravenly propped up Trump for political leverage are no longer there for him. That’s perhaps the clearest political death-knell we’ve seen to date for Trump, and a sign of bettering health for the nation.