I've been listening to the second impeachment trial and hope everyone else has too. Trump's words and actions during the campaign and post-election clearly paint the picture of a leader bent on overthrowing our constitutional democratic process.

When, long before the election, he said the only way he could lose is through fraud, he was clearly out of touch with the way elections work. Then, after the election he said he would never concede and incited his hardcore followers to overturn the electoral process, culminating in the Capitol riot and threats on the lives of our elected officials, including his own vice president, Mike Pence.

Finally, when he saw the carnage his words and actions caused, he failed to lift a finger to call them off, clearly showing his disregard for his oath of office, our Constitution, the rule of law and the lives of our elected representatives.

Against this, his lawyers' defense is First Amendment rights to free speech. Ridiculous. Also that he cannot be removed from office since he is already out. A technicality, especially in the face of the monstrosity of the crime that was committed.

I thought this second impeachment would just be another empty show of partisanship. I no longer think so. If after the damning evidence presented in this trial Trump is acquitted on a party-line vote, I believe it will signal the end of respect for democracy in the Republican Party and possibly the end of the republic as we know it.

Dave Felley

La Grande

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