Professor Barb McQuade gives poor grades to Donald Trump's defense attorneys in the Senate impeachment trial.
McQuade, who joined the University of Michigan Law School faculty in May 2017 after seven years as head of the U.S. attorney's office in Detroit, calls out an "insulting and offensive tactic" Friday by lawyers representing the twice-impeached former president:
Trump’s lawyers argue that his critics simply suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome, an old ploy used by abusers to blame the victim and avoid responsibility for their own misconduct.
She sees long-range value in the proceedings that began Tuesday, despite the widely expected result. It's "an important accounting of Trump's efforts to subvert democracy. Even if Senate acquits, history will have a record of what happened here," she tweeted Thursday night.
While watching from Ann Arbor during defense arguments that took less than three hours, the former University of Detroit Mercy School of Law professor (2003-09) tweeted a series of brisk critiques Friday.
She's back at it Saturday, as added at the end of this compilation of the court veteran's frank views. The first is about lawyer Michael van der Veen:
Deliberate mispronunciation of names undermines this lawyer’s credibility. It’s Democratic Party, not Democrat Party, and KAM-ala Harris, not Ka-MAL-a. He certainly knows better and brands himself an untrustworthy zealot with this behavior. Makes it hard take him seriously.— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) February 12, 2021
Trump’s defense is what is known as a “false equivalency.” Jury would be told any misconduct of others is no defense to the person on trial. Defense also wants to narrow focus to Trump’s speech on 1/6 rather than full scope of his months-long campaign to undermine the election.— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) February 12, 2021
Classic defense strategy - parse the evidence to individual pieces and argue that no one piece is enough to convict. Of course, fact finders should look at totality of circumstances. This is referred to as the “a brick is not a wall” defense. Don’t fall for it.— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) February 12, 2021
Motives of prosecutors do not negate actual guilt of a defendant. Hating Jack the Ripper does not make him innocent.— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) February 12, 2021
All violence should be condemned, no matter who commits it. Statements by politicians in support of fighting does not negate Trump’s months-long incitement of violence.— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) February 12, 2021
Defense is now arguing Trump has no responsibility for the violence at the Capitol. The President has a constitutional duty to take care that the laws are faithfully executed. His reckless comments fueled the attack, and his failure to act exacerbated it.— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) February 12, 2021
The attack on the Capitol was pre-planned because Trump invited them there in a December tweet. “Will be wild.”— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) February 12, 2021
Due process requires notice and an opportunity to be heard. Donald Trump has received both. It is frustrating to watch lawyers twist our Constitution into a shield for an abuser of power— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) February 12, 2021
The pithy entry below echoes a classic phrase from a 1949 opinion by Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, who urged five colleagues not to "convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact." McQuade's use is apt, as the 5-4 decision back then involved a suspended Catholic priest charged with disturbing the peace for a virulently anti-Semitic speech that incited Chicago rioting and vandalism. In his dissent, Jackson said the tirades exceeded boundaries of protected discourse.
The Bill of Rights is not a suicide pact.— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) February 12, 2021
Pro tip: When the defense throws up multiple defenses to see what sticks, it is because none of them are strong.— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) February 13, 2021
Witnesses should be heard. Even if some senators are determined to acquit no matter what the evidence shows, learning the truth is an important accounting for history.— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) February 13, 2021
Justice does not fear the truth. We should hear from witnesses.— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) February 13, 2021