You may have thought the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump was somehow connected to the fascist mob that staged an insurrection on Capitol Hill last month.
According to Trumps lawyers, you are clearly an idiot.
In actual fact, the former president was impeached for using the word fight a crime committed by everyone in Congress and a good number of other people you might know.
Madonna, for instance. Johnny Depp too. Seriously, America. If its OK for Madonna to talk about fighting, or voguing, or being a material girl, whats the big deal?
If the star of Pirates of the Caribbean can talk about walking the gangplank or shivering his timbers, then who is to deny our beloved former president the right to also don an eyepatch and wave a cutlass in our general direction?
There was lots of video on the day of the greatest Trump lawyering of all. Mostly the same video, played over and over again, sometimes two or three times in quick succession like a Max Headroom compilation of politicians saying the word fight.
There was President Biden, and Vice-President Harris. There were a bunch of former Democratic presidential candidates. Also some House impeachment managers.
The only challenge for Trumps lawyers is that none of them led an insurrection. None of them urged a mob to storm Congress. None of them timed their fight song for the precise moment when elected officials were carrying out their constitutional duty to certify an elections results.
But we digress. Back to the best lawyering in the land, a veritable elite strike force of jurists not seen since the last one outside that landscaping business next to the sex shop in a particularly lovely corner of Philadelphia.
The strike force featured a new striker. Not the bumbling, rambling Bruce Castor, or the endlessly pedantic David Schoen. No, this time Trump bestowed upon his historic impeachment trial a personal injury lawyer from yes, you guessed it Philadelphia. An ambulance chaser, best known in Philly for his radio ads, asking if youve tripped while walking down the street.
If the walkway isnt clear, and you fall and get hurt due to snow and ice, call 215-546-1000 for Van der Veen, ONeill, Hartshorn and Levin, the ads say, according to the Washington Post. The V is for Victory.
Last year Mr V was actually suing Trump for his unfounded claims about mail-in voter fraud. This year, he is not so much chasing the ambulance as driving it.
First, Mr V claimed that Trump was encouraging his supporters to respect the electoral college count, not to stop the steal as the entire mob was screaming in front of him. Then he claimed that the first of the mob to be arrested was a lefty antifa stooge, not a Trumpy fascist thug.
But mostly he claimed that he and his client were defending the constitution at the precise moment when they were burning it to crispy charcoal husk.
OK, so the Trump mob unleashed violence to stop the constitutional counting of the electoral college votes. But the idea that Congress might stop Trumps free-speech rights to whip up that mob is an outrageous, unconstitutional human rights abuse that threatens to silence all politicians everywhere.
OK, so the Trump mob might have silenced Mike Pence permanently by hanging him on the gallows they built on the steps of Congress. But if Congress tries to stop a president from using a mob to intimidate Congress, where will it end?
Pretty soon, Mr V argued, we wont even have access to lawyers. The hallowed right to counsel, if not ambulance chasers, might be threatened. Who would be next, he asked, indignantly. It could be anyone. One of you! Or one of you! Its anti-American and sets a dangerous precedent forever.
To his great, sighing chagrin, Mr V lamented the state of political discourse. Inflammatory rhetoric from our elected officials from both sides of the aisle has been alarming frankly, he said, in sorrow, as if his client were just a hapless symptom of a bigger sickness: a pandemic of mean words from Democrats.
This is not whataboutism, he declared, after rolling his whataboutist video for the second or third or fourth time. Im showing you this to show that all political speech must be protected.
The key to the defense was about incitement to violence and the legal test of Brandenburg v Ohio. Appropriately enough, the Brandenburg in question was a leader of the Ku Klux Klan and the test as Trumps lawyers helpfully explained was about whether the free speech in question explicitly or implicitly encouraged the use of violence or lawless action.
Mr Trump did the opposite of advocating for lawless action, said Mr V. The opposite!
The worst news of all was that Bruce Castor was at the microphone, pretending to be a half-decent lawyer
This is only true if its opposite day, when opposite means the opposite of opposite. As it happens, it was indeed just that day at the impeachment trial of our great defender of the constitution, free speech and peaceful politics.
Which is why Mr Vs partner, the now legendary Bruce Castor, concluded the defense case. Castor explained that because he was the lead attorney in this legal shenanigan, he was going to take the most substantive part of the case for himself. That wasnt to say, he added hastily, that his learned friends had done a bad job, oh no. The good news, he said, was that the case was almost over. The bad news was that it would take another hour for it to be over.
The worst news of all was that Castor was at the microphone, pretending to be a half-decent lawyer.
Did the 45th president engage in incitement they say insurrection, began Castor. Clearly there was no insurrection, he continued, defining the word as taking the TV stations over and having some idea of what youre going to do when you take power.
Bruce Castor makes his case. And some air quotes. Photograph: Us Senate/REX/Shutterstock
As a description of the Trump presidency, that sounded pretty accurate. Unlike the part Castor read from his notes about Trumps attitudes towards mobs in general.
By any measure, the lawyer said in his most Trumpy way, President Trump is the most pro-police, anti-mob president this country has ever seen.
From that point on, the defense case smooshed together some condemnation of the Black Lives Matter protests, some justification of Trumps campaign to overturn the election results in Georgia, and some accusation of a supposed effort to disenfranchise Trump voters who lost the election.
Like so much else connected to the scrambled neural networks inside one Florida residents cranium, it made no sense. It was a radio echo bouncing around the cosmos from a distant star that collapsed into a black hole of disinformation and delusion long ago.
Spare us the hypocrisy and false indignation, said Mr V, as he wrapped up another hypocritical and falsely indignant response to the same old video of Democrats saying fiery things.
Now all we have left is the hypocrisy and false indignation of Republican senators who value their own careers above their own lives or the democracy that elected them. The V is for venal.

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