On this quiet January Sunday, as we await the start of the Senate trial of the buffoon who, for purposes of the ritual, is always referred to as Donald John Trump, I find myself idly speculating on how it will all go down. The outcome is settled, of course, but that hardly matters. When I saw the first, great, film version of Death on the Nile, I knew how it would come out, having read the book, but that did not diminish my pleasure in the performances of Peter Ustinov, Maggie Smith, Angela Lansbury, Bette Davis, Mia Farrow, David Niven, George Kennedy and Jack Warden.
I confess I had not realized that the senators will be required to sit silently, stripped of their cell phones, for hours on end – for many of them probably the longest unbroken period of waking silence in their lives. The Republicans, having already decided their votes, will be condemned to listen to the excruciatingly detailed recitation of the evidence against Trump, unable to determine, until the bathroom breaks, how it is playing on cable TV. Jim Jordan will be absent, but even the Senate version, Lindsey Graham, will be silent on pain of imprisonment [if the pro forma warning from the Sergeant at Arms is to be believed.]
The commentariat is obsessed with the possibility of testimony from Bolton and the threat of compensatory testimony from Hunter Biden, but I must confess my hopes are pinned on a nuclear eruption in the Senate chamber that I think is at least notionally possible.
The affair will begin on Tuesday, and as it drones on, Trump will be glued to his TV, tweeting obsessively. After days of unbroken anti-Trump presentations [at least as I understand the rules], Cipollone, Sekulow, Dershowitz and company will get their chance. It will all be terminally boring, and as the days go on, Trump will lose what little self-control he retains from his bone spur youth. I genuinely believe there is a chance that at some point Trump will burst into the Senate Chamber and announce that he is taking over his own defense from his idiot lawyers, whom he scarcely knows.
Mind you, this would not change the outcome, but it would be a moment of world-historical deliciousness.
We shall see.