‘Ours is a dialogue with history,’ Pa. Rep. Madeleine Dean says during Trump impeachment trial

U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-4th District, speaks on the Senate floor on Wednesday, 2/10/21 (screen capture)

Former President Donald Trump spent months methodically arguing the case that the 2020 election was stolen by Democrats, stoking grievance and unrest among his supporters, as he laid the groundwork for the explosion of violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean argued Wednesday.

Dean, of Montgomery County, was among the House managers who addressed the U.S. Senate Wednesday, as they urged the evenly divided, 100-member chamber to find Trump guilty on the single article of impeachment charging him with inciting the riot that left at least five people dead, one of them from Pennsylvania.

As she began laying out her case, Dean, a lawyer, and a member of the House Judiciary Committee told senators that she planned to “present the actions of a desperate president.”

Dean and her fellow Democrats spent hours Wednesday arguing that Trump spent months laying the groundwork for the Jan. 6 violence that left at least five people dead, one of them from Pennsylvania. That effort began with a blizzard of litigation across a half-dozen states — including Pennsylvania, she argued.

Trump came up empty in all but one of the 62 lawsuits he filed. And the one he did win, a case involving “ballot curing” in Pennsylvania did not make a dent in President Joe Biden’s more than 81,000-vote margin of victory in the Keystone State, she said.

Dean credited the federal judges in the case, many of them Republican appointees, saying they “resoundingly rejected Trump’s fraud allegations and upheld the results.”

Dean made specific reference to U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann, a conservative Republican judge appointed to the bench in 2012 on the recommendation of U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.

Brann dismissed a Trump lawsuit challenging the state’s election results as a “Frankenstein’s Monster” of legal claims that would have, if successful, resulted in the disenfranchisement of millions of Keystone State voters.

“One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption,” Brann wrote in a withering, 37-page ruling. “Instead, this court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations … unsupported by the evidence.”

In short, Dean argued, Trump was not fighting for electoral integrity, “he was asking the judiciary to take away votes from Americans so he could steal the election from himself,” Dean said.

When Trump came up empty there, he moved on to pressuring and haranguing elected and appointed state officials, including those in Pennsylvania, Dean, a former member of the state House of Representatives, said.

Dean particularly highlighted the case of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, whom Trump referred to as an “enemy of the state.” Raffensperger was later party to a controversial phone call, where Trump was caught on tape pressuring officials to find the votes he needed to win the state. Biden carried the Peach State last fall.

“Let that sink in, a Republican public servant doing his job, whose family had received death threats, and the president of the United States labeled him an enemy of the state,” Dean said. “It was attack after attack.”

Dean also reiterated the warnings of Georgia elections official Gabriel Sterling, who urged Trump to tone down his rhetoric, prophetically warning that “Someone is going to get hurt, someone is going to get shot, someone is going to get killed.”

“Mr. Sterling saw what Trump was doing,” she said, noting that his “pleas were played over and over on every network. Rather than heed that warning, Trump escalated again.”

Dean and her fellow House managers sought to convince senators Wednesday that Trump deliberately incited the riot and was not merely urging his followers to peacefully protest the election results.

“Senators, ours is a dialogue with history, a conversation with the past and a hope for the future,” Dean said as she concluded her remarks.

John L. Micek
A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press