‘Trump’s impeachment trial big lessons to Future American Presidents and Authoritarian Regimes in Developing Countries’

By Primus Chuks Igboaka – Cleveland, Ohio

The impeachment trial of Donald Trump resumed at noon (Friday, February 12, 2021) with the former president’s defense lawyers presenting ‘evidences” on his behalf why the charges against DT that he incited the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 should be dismissed.

To say that I am disappointed by the Defense Attorneys’ rambling augments on their defense on a second day of Trump’s impeachment defense is to say the least. In fact, I could say equivocally that they don’t know what they are doing. Take this to the bank. That Attorneys are not focusing on the arguments to defend their client on his roles on January 6 insurrection at the Capitol Hill, but rather making political arguments is troubling.

To my fellow Nigerian citizens who have the chance to either been to court in Nigeria either as an observer, a witness, a client, a suspect or in media like me that have covered the judiciary and the courts and tribunals, you will agree with me that Nigeria has attorneys that could either top the performance of the counterparts around the world.

Similarly, the world is witnessing what GOOD & BAD prosecution and defense legal teams are all about. When you listen to the prosecutors (Impeachment Managers) presented their augments versus the defense deliveries (former President Trump’s) lawyers; you begin to wonder why some lawyers are more prepared than others and understand why some lawyers are top-notch or superstars or SAN and others are not. For the Trump’s Defense Attorneys, no doubt they were unfocused and rambling (before Americans and the world). They presented throughout their two days of presentations that was cut short on day two (day) from 16 hours to less than two hours; I guessed because they have lost air (oxygen) to move further. They have nothing more to say or present.  Just like the first day of their outing that they did not do enough to please their client – at least not me as an outsider observing their presentations not focused on the defense of their client (former President Donald Trump) is very unfortunate weak defense preposterous to say the least.

The world is witnessing what happens when you hire Injury lawyer to defend a Constitutional matter. Thanks to goodness this is a political trial and not a criminal trial even as media is suggesting that with evidences laid by the House Impeachment Managers(prosecutors) that any state or attorney ready to take Trump after the impeachment trial already enough evidences to proceed in criminal court for next Trump’s trial for inciting violence, insurrection and deaths of 5 Americans on January 6, 2021.

On another serious note; what points are Trump’s impeachment trial defense attorneys making by playing disorganized 10 minutes video clips that repeatedly used the word “FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT.” I guessed they were playing these footages to pass time. They meant that they don’t understand or that they cannot fool the jurors or the ordinary people that there is a difference when a crowd or citizens are told to “fight” for example to defend their political rights or to fight for climate change and when an elected President of the United States still in office made a speech or speeches motivating “fight” that in less than 30 minutes saw the crowd he was addressing storm the Capital Hill to commit violence that led to break-in, ransacking and looting of government property, threats to kill the Vice President, Speaker of the House and a violence that 5 Americans eventually died on the day of the insurrection .

Playing those videos make the defense based on these superficial video clips made the defense look and sound more like comedians than lawyers in a serious business of providing best arguments and evidence to exonerate their client. Yes, I guessed, they are appearing comic to appeal to the DT supporters when they should not be, because this is a serious matter. January 6, 2021 was a serious, dangerous, and unprecedented day in the annals of United States history and presidential transition.  

Yes, there is a huge difference playing videos repeatedly of Democrats using the word “fight…fight…fight” but they are not a President of the United States – they were not addressing a crowd that minutes invaded the Capital Hill and 5 people were dead.

When Democrats opposed the Electoral College votes in 2017, there was no violence or mobs matching into the Capital Hill – the seat of power and destroying property and lives – 5 citizens of the United States died from the mob that listened to the former President of the United States – while he was still in office.

On a final note and in fairness to Donald Trump’s impeachment defense team, the only time they made a persuasive argument was during their closing arguments. However, their statements were more political than legal arguments. It was when they warned the Democrats to be careful of their decision  to impeach Donald Trump based on political “hate” and “freedom of speech” of the president, not because of actions of the president on January 6, that led to the insurrection that killed five Americans; rather their warning of retributive justice – what will happen to Democrats assuming that they are minority party and the majority party doing to them what exactly they are doing to Donald Trump – a former President that is now an ordinary citizen. They however did not consider that the President committed the offence while as a sitting president. Even if Donald Trump escaped convicting this time (as he would likely go free), the lessons here is clear, nobody even a serving and a president out of office is above the law when there is expressed or observed evidences that he breached the law. The impeachment trial whether Donald Trump is convicted or not serves a lesson and a precedent as to the check and balances of the three arms of the government and lessons Nigeria and the world should learn about functional constitutional democracy that is not perfect, but rather better than the other forms of government.  


Primus C. Igboaka, PhD is an Interpersonal Communication Professor. He was a former Senior Correspondent that has covered Courts, Judicial Panels including Justice Bello Tribunal 1990 that tried and convicted former Ministers, Governors and political office holders in his native country, Nigeria. 

Related posts