The timetable for Trump’s impeachment is still up in the air as Democrats balance the need to hold the departing president accountable for the seditious attack on the Capitol by the angry mob of supporters whom he egged on, but at least one veteran Republican political operative thinks he knows how it will all end, at least if Trump picks the wrong lawyer to represent him.
The former top GOP strategist of the George W. Bush-era, Karl Rove, made his prediction in an appearance on Fox News Sunday this morning, saying that if Trump allows former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani to lead his defense team at his Senate impeachment trial — reportedly one of the few options left open to the rejected president who has become a pariah to most major legitimate law firms — then he is much more likely to be found guilty in his second time around.
Rove bases his thinking on the subject on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) refusal to try to influence his fellow Republicans in the Senate to vote against convicting Trump after he placed all of their lives in danger by inciting the deadly insurrection.
He called McConnell’s reluctance to defend the humiliated president “a sign that every Republican senator needs to take this seriously.”
“I think it’s all going to boil down to what the president’s defense is,” Rove pointed out.
Rove is apparently not impressed with Giuliani’s public statements to date regarding his strategy for defending Trump, which primarily consists of repeating the “big lie” that the president’s evidence-free claims of election fraud are true and so he could, therefore, not have incited the crowd already primed by intense anger over the supposedly stolen election.
“Rudy Giuliani charted a very bad course in the morning papers,” Rove described the loud-mouthed lawyer’s bleatings to journalists about the impeachment.
With the legal arguments from Trump’s motley team of attorneys having already “been rejected by over 50 courts,” including by some headed by Trump appointees, having Giuliani present that as a defense actually “raises the likelihood of more than 17 Republicans voting for conviction,” Rove opined.
With one of the most influential figures of the pre-Trump world of establishment Republicanism predicting the possibility of his conviction in his second impeachment trial, Donald Trump’s future political prospects are looking increasingly bleak.
The opinion of someone like Karl Rove can influence some of the GOP senators who may be wavering in their decision as to whether the political risk in convicting the president is worth the blowback that they will inevitably feel from Trump’s irrational base.
Let’s hope that patriotism — and a reminder of how they felt when they feared for their lives as the unwashed massed swarmed the capitol, building gallows and carrying zip ties to detain anyone planning on certifying Joe Biden as our next president — will guide their decisions and that this time next year, Donald Trump will be wearing an orange jumpsuit and pleading for contributions to his commissary fund.
Original reporting by Zach Budryk at The Hill.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.