Susan Estrich: The traitor in the Oval Office
Summary: The terrorists will not defeat us. President Trump will disappear to someplace where they will take him. In two weeks. Or sooner. Never to reappear on the political stage. At least there is that. He cost his party the Senate, but he cost us all far more.
What do you say of a man who openly seeks to subvert the Constitution and incites his supporters to take over the Capitol of the United States?
He's not a president. He was never a president.
This is what he would say if the shoe were on the other foot: "Traitor! Traitor! It is your presidency that is on fire!"
There were ugly chapters in American history where labor union organizers and civil rights activists, not to mention members of the Communist Party, were imprisoned in the United States under trumped-up charges that they were trying to incite violence against the United States.
So what happens to someone who succeeds?
The Capitol barrier has not given way since 1814, two years into the War of 1812, when the British made their way into those hallowed halls.
This time, it wasn't an army of our enemies but terrorists unleashed by the president of the United States, who, after seeing policemen injured, shots fired, tear gas fired in the rotunda and members of Congress locked in the basement, told the terrorists, "We love you."
This after hours of unimaginable scenes to which his only response was a tweet telling his followers to "remain peaceful," long after every available member of the police and the D.C. National Guard was risking their lives. This was not, and had never been, a peaceful demonstration.
Yes, I know, the president has been trying to subvert the democratic process for two months now, with the help of the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz and the no-longer-youngest member of the Senate, Josh Hawley, not to mention the rabble-rousing frat boys in the House who think that real life is a cable news studio.
It's bad enough that Trump refused to concede the election, bad enough that his soon-to-be disbarred and disciplined lawyers aided and abetted his attempts to subvert democracy, bad enough that his appointees have refused to honor the tradition of peaceful transitions that are the hallmark of a democracy.
It's worse still that Trump would call the Georgia Secretary of State and demand that the secretary find enough ballots somewhere — Trump had the exact number — to overturn the election.
It's horrifying to almost any lawyer in the country that a member of the American Bar Association was on the call with him, backing up and restating his wildest accusations, and indulging in his conspiracy theories. How dare she blame liberals for the ethical breaches that left her partners no choice but to ask her to leave.
The violent crowd overwhelmingly filled with white people who committed acts of violence aren't protestors; they are terrorists seeking to undermine the Constitution. As is their leader, the man who told them they should never abide by the Constitution and then sent them to storm the Capitol.
Imagine Black Lives Matter protestors endangering the lives of thousands of white officers. What would the Trumpers do then? Shoot.
Those who have supported and encouraged and incited the insurrection are just as guilty as the rioters. The law recognizes this in punishing those who aid and abet a crime as seriously as the principal. The law recognizes the danger posed by groups in traditional conspiracy law, which requires only an agreement — implicit as well as explicit — to purse an unlawful goal and a single act by any one of the conspirators. And if that weren't enough, we have the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization law, which punishes anyone who is part of a larger enterprise engaged in illegal acts.
I'm not just talking about the Proud Boys.
I'm talking about the White House, the Trump family and the sleaze buckets preparing for their close-ups in the Oval Office.
I'm talking about Mr. Law and Order himself, Rudy Giuliani, who tweeted that POTUS wanted his rioters to be peaceful, when POTUS refused to say anything at all.
But the terrorists will not defeat us. President Trump will disappear to someplace where they will take him. In two weeks. Or sooner. Never to reappear on the political stage. At least there is that. He cost his party the Senate, but he cost us all far more.
God save the United States of America.
Susan Estrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.