Should Trump be tried by the Senate for insurrection?

January 13, 2021 • 9:00 am

It looks pretty certain now that the House of Representatives will vote today to impeach Donald Trump for “high crimes and misdemeanors”, namely fomenting insurrection. You can watch the impeachment proceedings live at the site below, which are underway:

The charges are laid out in the following five-page document (click on screenshot below). The heart of the charges is this:

Further, section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution prohibits any person who has ‘‘engaged in insurrection or rebellion against’’ the United States from ‘‘hold[ing] any office . . . under the United States’’.  In his conduct while President of the United States—and in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed—Donald John Trump engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States. . . .

 

The House will certainly vote for impeachment, and at least five Republicans will join what will certainly be nearly all House Democrats, ensuring a majority vote—all that’s needed to send charges to the Senate.

As VP Pence has rejected the House’s demand that he use the 25th Amendment to expel Trump from office, impeachment would be the only way to get him out before Biden’s inauguration. A Senate hearing could in principle be held and dump him before January 20th, though that seems unlikely since there would be just one day to have that hearing. A Senate impeachment trial could of course proceed after Trump’s out of office.

There’s also the possibility of Congress censuring Trump in a resolution, but that isn’t in the offing yet.

Now four House Democrats didn’t endorse the impeachment resolution (one voted “present” and another is likely to become a Republican), but the other two oppose impeachment, at least one because it’s “divisive.”

The question at issue is not whether the House should vote to impeach Trump, as that’s a fait accompli. The question is whether the Senate should try him for insurrection. I think that they are required to have a trial if sent the bill of charges approved by the House, but I’m just laying out the pros and cons.

Here are the arguments I see both in favor of and against trying Trump in the Senate:

IN FAVOR:

A.) It is a punishment of the man for all the bad deeds he did, culminating in his reprehensible and unconstitutional behavior last week. He would be the only President to have been impeached twice, and it’s a black mark on his record.

B.) He can be prevented from running for future office even if he’s not convicted. As Reuters notes:

Impeachment could be used to remove Trump from office and to disqualify him from holding political office in the future.

Two historical precedents, both involving federal judges, make clear that the Senate could also vote to disqualify the president from holding office in the future, with only a simple majority needed.

Paul Campos, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Colorado, said that even if the Senate does not convict the president, senators could hold a second, separate vote to prevent him from future office.

That would mean Democrats, who will take control of the Senate later in January, could bar Trump from running for president in 2024 even without the support of Republican senators.

C.) As Mitch McConnell thinks, kicking Trump out of office (or convicting him after he’s gone) would rid the Republican Party of Trump, whose actions are fracturing the party.

 

AGAINST:

A.)  He will not be convicted, as that requires 17 Republicans to join with all the Democrats in the Senate to get the necessary 2/3 majority. Convicting him is, at this time, a futile hope.

B.)  It will be a symbolic vote since he’d be out of office even if he were convicted.

C.) It smacks of retribution, of Democrats getting back at him, and not just for his reprehensible actions last week. This occurs at a time when Biden is calling for “reaching across the aisle.”

D.) It makes Trump even more of a martyr to those of his minions who see him as persecuted. It’s thus divisive.

E.) It takes up time that the Senate needs to enact new legislation under Biden.

The most powerful argument for trying him, at least in terms of doing something concrete, is B above: he might be barred from running for office again, and that requires a simple majority vote which would surely occur in the Senate. The symbolic shaming will do little, I think, to stop his reprehensible behavior, which is hard-wired in his neurons and not subject to change. The fact that an impeachment vote will surely fail in the Senate does, however, tell the world that we will not tolerate a fascist, and at a time when the world’s opinion of America has fallen quite low.

Though there are arguments on both sides, I tend to approve of both the House impeaching Trump and the Senate trying him, even though they won’t secure a conviction. The symbolic act is a powerful one, which, though it may be divisive, will only divide those who support America’s democratic values from those who support fascism. Congress needs to make a statement, and impeachment, even without conviction, is a statement.

And, of course, if the Senate can secure that majority vote, it may be able to bar Trump from holding any federal office, which is a good thing. HOWEVER, even that might not work. As Reuters adds:

Trump could, however, try to challenge such a determination [the “can’t run for office” vote] in court, Campos said. The Supreme Court in 1992 said it would not second-guess the Senate’s decisions about how to handle impeachment proceedings.

“The Senate has great latitude in deciding how it wants to conduct a trial,” Campos said.

Other legal experts, however, said the Senate could only prevent Trump from holding office if it first votes to convict him in the impeachment trial.

So even a majority vote might not be enough to keep Trump from running again.

In the end, though, we can expect Trump, even if he doesn’t hold office, to remain a major figure in the Republican party, a “senior statesman”—horrible as that sounds—who will continue to make pronouncements and foment hatred. There’s nothing that anybody can do about that now.

But we can be heartened by realizing that Trump will now likely face state charges for tax evasion and other issues, and he cannot pardon himself for those. For the rest of his life he’ll be embroiled in legal and political fighting. Maybe he’d like that, as it feeds his narcissism, but I sure wouldn’t want to spend my dotage fighting the law—and perhaps sitting in jail.

Weigh in below, of course.

160 thoughts on “Should Trump be tried by the Senate for insurrection?

  1. Barring Trump from running for President again may seem a worthy aim, but arguably it is potentially removing democratic choice from the future electorate, and could be interpreted by many as political spite.

    The democratic way of rejecting future candidates is through the candidate selection and the ballot box.

    1. This is a good point – unlike the R’s objections.
      A.) Just because the Rs won’t do the right thing doesn’t mean the right thing shouldn’t be done.
      B.) The symbolism of the vote is at least something.
      C.) Retribution? Reminds me of Monty Python and the Holy Grail: “Let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who.”
      D.) Makes T a martyr in opposites land? The base needs to get with what’s real, not have their delusions catered to.
      E.) This is such a big deal – T trying to steal the election – that it can’t be ignored.

      I don’t think they should strip away T’s right to run again because of how that looks, democracy-wise.

      1. How does it look not to hold Trump accountable for his misdeeds? (I only say misdeeds because I’m not a legal expert and do not know if they are technically crimes, but lying about election fraud to the American people, trying ever since the election to overturn the election while knowing there was no evidence of fraud, and helping plan the Capitol riot are heavy duty misdeeds which I’d argue Trump needs to face some kind of consequence for whether or not they are technically crimes.)

  2. Leaks from McConnell’s office indicate that he’s not only happy with the House impeachment, but likely to vote in favor. He wants Trump GONE, forever. Kevin McCarthy, minority leader in the House has asked his members not to criticize other members who vote for impeachment. Lynne Cheney, third-ranking Republican in the House, will vote to impeach and released a thoroughly damning statement.

    It’s looking likely that the Senate will convict.

    1. ‘He’s disrupting my political party ‘ is not a good justification for impeachment. Impeachment should be about job performance, and the job of relevancy is President, not Head Republican. If he’s doing a crappy job as Head Republican, that’s for the Republican party to deal with internally, not the U.S. legislative branch.

      ***

      Personally, “Against: (E)” is important to me. More important than punishing Trump, even if he deserves it. We have two years to deal with the whole ‘he might run for another high office’ thing. So if I were grand Pooh Bah, I’d kick the trial down the road a bit and focus on legislation that (a) speeds up immunization and pushes out more resources to our health system, then (b) economically supports people until we can get back to normal, then (c) does all the other normal stuff needed to keep the country running (budget, taxes, etc…). Then (d) impeachment, if at that time everyone still agrees it’s the right thing to do.

        1. No, I’m criticizing the logic of “Hey, if McConnell is supporting it, that’s a good reason to hold the trial.”

          1. You’re misconstruing my statement. I didn’t say that impeachment was a good move BECAUSE McConnell is allegedly for it. I don’t need McConnell’s approval to favor impeachment, although I suspect a number of Republican senators do. I said McConnell’s position makes conviction more likely. Much more likely.

      1. These are smart people. There was never any real question that Trump was guilty in both the first impeachment and the second. The calculation for pretty much all of the GOP congress hinged on the power question. This is why their arguments against the first impeachment were mostly procedural and faux outrage, not questioning the evidence. If they vote now to get rid of Trump, it’s because their Golden Goose has stopped laying eggs. Trump has flipped from being an asset to a liability. McConnell, the ultimate DC power-meister, seems to have given this signal.

    2. I wouldn’t care to guess how likely, but it definitely is looking more likely than it ever has before. Some additional developments that suggest the Senate could possibly vote to convict . . .

      Trump Owes Deutsche Bank $340 Million As Company Cuts Ties With President

      Corporate America halts donations to Republicans who voted to overturn the election

      It appears as if for a lot of the financial supporters of the RP the cons of supporting Trump are beginning to outweigh the pros. I think the RP, the old school faction of it, are in for a fight for their lives against the Trumper faction and more of the RPs big money supporters seem to be withdrawing their support every day.

        1. Or corporate vs. the other interests (religious fundies, small government folk, conspiracy folks, etc.) The Corporate’s just told their legislators that the kowtowing to the other factions will only be tolerated so long as it doesn’t interrupt the gravy train. Make all the crazy speeches you want, but if you delay the regular flow of $1 lobbying -> $10 legislative perks, no $1 lobbying money for you.

      1. The financial implications are dire for the Trump brand. The 2022 PGA tournament will no longer be held at Trump National. My guess is that all of the major tournaments will avoid Trump courses. Trump hotels will suffer a similar fate. That’s gotta sting.

        1. An article in the Times s couple of days ago stated that there was no possibility of reinstating Trump Turnberry Scotland as an Open venue. Turnberry was last used in 2009, before Trump acquired the Course.

    3. “C.) As Mitch McConnell thinks, kicking Trump out of office (or convicting him after he’s gone) would rid the Republican Party of Trump, whose actions are fracturing the party.” This point admirably sums up
      the best reason for not kicking Trump out of office at the last minute, but rather allowing him to continue running amok in the Republican Party.

      On the other hand, come to think of it, Trump might be even more useful in his exile if he started his own Party, providing his acolytes with a way to adore him in votes other than Republican, thus splitting that side’s voting constituency. Do any questions arise about the legitimacy of the judicial appointments made by a chief executive who has been impeached twice, convicted once, is running a cuckoo political party from his headquarter in Mar-a-Lago Moscow, and tweets by means of RT?

  3. Continuing to try to mollify the Trump cult is pointless, they’re not going to be reasonable, they are only interested in insurrection and the reinstallation of their leader. By forcing a trial in the Senate, Republican senators will be forced to publicly acknowledge whether they’re in favor of legitimate government or insurrection. Their party is currently fracturing along those lines, and that should be pushed along.
    And the first choice should include barring the man from public office. Either he is held accountable or we will be normalizing everything he did.

    1. “Continuing to try to mollify the Trump cult is pointless, they’re not going to be reasonable, they are only interested in insurrection and the reinstallation of their leader.”

      This is quite true, but we need to ask ourselves why this is the case. In another important op-ed in the NYT, Tom Edsall explores the question of why Trump has been able to install such a frenzied cult following. As is his approach, he asks experts in the field for their views. He concludes that Trump has played to the major fear of the white working class: loss of power and status. They are panicked that they are declining economically, losing social dominance, and perceiving that their religion is under attack. As a result of this, they have turned to the false messiah. Edsall quotes political scientist Bernard Grofman:

      “He speaks in a language that ordinary people can understand. He makes fun of the elites who look down on his supporters as a ‘basket of deplorables’ and who think it is a good idea to defund the police who protect them and to prioritize snail darters over jobs. He appoints judges and justices who are true conservatives. He believes more in gun rights than in gay rights. He rejects political correctness and the language-police and woke ideology as un-American. And he promises to reclaim the jobs that previous presidents (of both parties) allowed to be shipped abroad. In sum, he offers a relatively coherent set of beliefs and policies that are attractive to many voters and which he has been better at seeing implemented than any previous Republican president. What Trump supporters who rioted in D.C. share are the beliefs that Trump is their hero, regardless of his flaws, and that defeating Democrats is a holy war to be waged by any means necessary.”

      I think Grofman has gotten to the heart of the matter. White working class identity is perceived to be under assault by Democrats that seem to favor minority groups. This, combined with a sense of economic decline and religion under assault, and egged on by right-wing media is why the Trump cult has emerged and struck out with rage against a government it perceives is oppressing them. Thus, we have social disorder than can morph into full-scale civil war. Trump will be gone, but not his cult. There are no easy answers to restore unity, no matter how much Biden begs for it.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/13/opinion/capitol-riot-white-grievance.html

      1. I agree with your assessment (and Grosman’s).

        I’ve a question. You say; “White working class identity is perceived to be under assault by Democrats that seem to favor minority groups.”

        Do you think that the Democrats, then, should think about why their policies are perceived this way or ought they continue with calling them “deplorables”?

        1. Their (Democrat’s) policies are perceived to favor minority groups, because Republicans have been telling their supporters that for years. Remember Nixon’s Southern strategy?

            1. No, not unless you include having opinions opposite to Republicans as divisive. Are you trying to tell us you think Democrats have been divisive? If so, spit it out. Putting it in the form of a question is a common GOP trick: “Was their fraud in this election?”

            2. To the Trumpers, my very existence is divisive.

              I have not ever aggressed against any of them. But I have been called names (Dumbocrap, Demon Rat, Libtard, Libturd, etc.), hassled for wearing a mask in my own business, had lies spread by them about our business, and been told I’m “not a real American” because I’m not one of them.

              If they are so f-ing worried about divisiveness, maybe they should start looking at their own behavior.

              L

              1. What is “basket of deplorables” if not divisive? Are the 12% of African Americans who voted for Trump in 2020 now in that basket too? What about the 27% of Latinos? 31% of Asian Americans? Are they deplorable too?

                I know this will get me into trouble with you folks here and I recognize that I appear to be engaging in what-aboutism; one of the weakest and most derailing kinds of arguments one can make.

                But I just don’t care anymore and anyway, I don’t think it is (Historian brought it up, after all). Things have come to such a low point in our social and political lives that I think one is either part of the solution or part of the problem.

                Attitudes like I see here and, well, everywhere, lead me to believe that there is no hope for change. We will continue the hatreds and divisions that have consumed and overwhelmed us and, after Trump is gone from office (however it happens) we will continue our slide into chaos, disorder and, ultimately, collapse. No one -anywhere- is willing to look at what they might have done to contribute to the end of our great experiment; it is entirely the other guys fault. There will be no introspection, no compromise, no understanding. Just hate and invective, however well deserved they may be.

                If it wasn’t for the fact that I have two sons about to enter a blighted and hopeless adulthood, I wouldn’t care so much about what will befall this benighted country.

                I’m done here.

            3. I don’t. Not to any significant degree. Sure, in any population different views can be said to be the cause of division among subgroups. The magnitude of the divisions between Right, Center and Left in the US today is something else entirely.

              One could say that the Dems bear some responsibility because they have failed to counter the decades long, purposeful, propaganda campaigns of the RP machine. But RP rallying points like “the Dems have failed working white class Americans” are false, particularly when compared to the actions of the RP. It’s like opposite day in kindergarten. And all the information necessary to see that has been pointed out repeatedly and is free for anyone to look up any time they feel like making the effort. And yet belief in the lie persists. Is that the Dem’s fault or the fault of the marks that have allowed themselves to be conned?

              Some may think that the extreme left (wokeism, etc.) has contributed to the extreme divisions we suffer today. No doubt there is some truth to that. But, how come extreme right nastiness and violence over the decades never caused the Dems / Left, or even merely a sizable chunk of it, to behave towards Republicans / Right the way the majority of those on the right today, politicians and constituents alike, do these days towards anything with the slightest whiff of Dem / Left? I submit that if wokeism hadn’t burst onto the open stage in recent years it would not have made any difference whatsoever in how the RP and its constituents vilify the Dems / Left.

              You often hear arguments from those on the Left that we shouldn’t do X because the Right will react badly. For example, we shouldn’t pursue impeachment because the right will think we are just looking for revenge. I think this sort of argument is ludicrous. No matter what we do, even nothing, the right will invent reasons to vilify us. They’ve shown us that over and over again.

      2. I‘m not so sure. Probably most Trump voters have never voted for a Democrat in their lives (except for those old enough to have voted when the Democrats, especially in the South, were more anti-civil-rights than the Republicans). Thus, they didn‘t turn away from the Democrats, because they were never there. By the same token, they probably can‘t be won back.

        There are many people here, including our Host, who are highly critical of wokeness (which seems to be what you are hinting at). However, it is a question of the lesser of two evils (always the case in a two-party system), and I doubt that there are many who prefer Trump just because some Democrats are too woke.

        The secret to Trump‘s success seems to be that he managed to get the vote out. The Democrats haven‘t been so successful here. Without the Bernie-or-bust crowd, Clinton would have defeated Trump.

        1. “The secret to Trump‘s success seems to be that he managed to get the vote out.”

          Trump has NOT been successful in getting out the vote relative to the Democrats. It is the Electoral College that allowed him to win in 2016 and he could have won in 2020 if a few votes in key states went the other way.

          1. The non-linear effects of the Electoral College are another issue. Trump was not the first to become President despite not getting the most popular vote. That has happened a few times before. (Another issue are third-party candidates which siphon off votes; if Nader had not run, there would have been one more Democratic President.)

            However, although the system should be changed, it is what it is. Had Trump been less successful in getting the vote out, then he would not have won, despite the problems with the electoral college. Similarly, without the boycott by the Bernie-or-bust crowd, Clinton would have won.

      3. A long-winded way of repeating LBJ’s “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

        Trump gave them people to look down on.

  4. The Judgement Clause of Article I, Section 3 of the US Constitution says:

    “Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.”

    While I am not a lawyer, that reads to me like Donald John Trump could be held accountable in a criminal court for his actions and would not be able to hide behind any Executive Powers immunity.

    So, yes, he must be tried and convicted in the Senate, barred from office, then tried in federal court for all his many crimes.

    1. And it also seems that he would not be able to run for President again. THAT is the selling point for me.

      1. The trouble for Democrats is that Harris will not appeal to many undecided voters, yet, so who is there to stand in 4 years against Trump or whoever…

          1. Based on my view of how prejudiced the US electorate still is. She is a black woman – many people will – ridiculously in my view – feel that threatening. In elections it is a comparatively small number of voters in certain states who hold the balance & effectively decide votes.

    2. It is pretty clear here that the constitution prohibits a presidential self-pardon, for if it were, how could the “Party” be indicted “according to Law” after conviction in an impeachment?

      1. It’s not clear at all.

        Article II, Section 2:

        [The President] shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

        Exactly where do you read that limit?

        I predict Trump will pardon himself and it will be fought in court. I agree that the SCOTUS will not go along with a self-pardon: For reasons of historical record and also because it would throw the door wide open to any sort of presidential malfeasance.

        1. SCOTUS may also interpret “grant” as referring to a transaction requiring two parties. No one talks seriously about granting oneself something. Language matters.

          1. Hi Paul,

            I am not seeing a distinction there. I agree that the idea of self-pardon is absurd — but when has that ever limited Trump’s behavior? His entire life has consisted of pushing everything up to and beyond the limits and only stopping when forced to.

            I continue to predict he will self pardon. It will be immediately challenged, will end up at SCOTUS, and SCOTUS will reject it for the reasons noted.

            There is nothing in the Constitution that prevents him issuing a self pardon.

            1. I was not offering an opinion as to whether Trump will self-pardon. I give that a 50-50 chance. I read something about there actually being a downside for Trump but I don’t recall the argument. I imagine Republicans are trying to convince him not to do it as it is not a good look for their party. Everyone but his most besotted supporters will see self-pardon as ridiculous and likely not legal. And, unlike the storming of the Capitol, there’s no way Trump will be able to distance himself from doing it.

              1. Yes, maybe that was what I was remembering. On the other hand, I can’t see Trump worrying about that. Guilty of what exactly? Not a problem for this guy.

      2. I think the US Supreme Court would invalidate a presidential self-pardon, but not based on the language you cite. That language occurs in Article I, Section 3 and applies to the impeachment of all federal officials, not just the president, and was included to make express that a trial for impeachment does serve as a double jeopardy bar to a subsequent criminal prosecution.

  5. There is now evidence (see here) that the FBI knew that there would be violence, and an attempt to enter the Capitol. Add to that that the mob made their entry twenty minutes before the President finished his speech (which had no incitement in it, unless anger is incitement, which it isn’t, and a positive message to demonstrate peacefully), and it becomes hard to argue that he directly caused or provoked the mob to storm the Capitol. At the same time the left has blood on its own hands over the summer riots where scores of police were injured, and property, including Federal property, was damaged. (And one shouldn’t forget when the anti-Kavanaugh mob occupied a Senate office building.) I don’t like Trump, but I like the Dems even less for their clear vindictiveness in trying to remove someone who has already been removed by the voters. As a friend commented, this is the Dem’s Reichstag Fire, and social media is leading the way on the purge.

    1. “Add to that that the mob made their entry twenty minutes before the President finished his speech (which had no incitement in it, unless anger is incitement, which it isn’t, and a positive message to demonstrate peacefully), and it becomes hard to argue that he directly caused or provoked the mob to storm the Capitol. ”

      Not true.

      Trump finished his speech inciting the rioters at 1:10 PM. The attackers first broke into the Capitol at 2:10 PM; an hour after Trump incited them to do it.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_2021_storming_of_the_United_States_Capitol#Wednesday,_January_6

  6. I would be in favor of anything that we could get agreement on, any condemnation that would be quick, and widely supported. I fear lengthy impeachment proceedings will keep media, and us, focused on the great narcissist and not on the new administration.

  7. I’m skeptical that a “forgive and forget” approach is a good idea. Ford pardoning Nixon is on few “greatest hits” lists. Likewise the failure of the Obama administration to punish the bankers for their actions that led to the economic crash was also, IMO, mistaken. Catharsis would seem to require imposing punishment on the guilty. And that should start at the top.

    As to whether it’s an empty exercise doomed to failure, I would concur with Stephen’s comments above. I think McConnell wants him gone, never to return. He lost his senate majority and is losing donors at a rapid rate. I’m not suggesting McConnell is acting out of anything but self interest. However, if his self interests gets Trump banned from running in future I’ll take it.

    1. Yes, and I think impeachment (whether or not convicted) sends a stronger, necessary message that such behavior will not be tolerated.

  8. There are a lot of politically tactical and strategic reasons for not impeaching Trump.

    There’s really only one reason to do it – we are either a country of laws that apply to all, or we aren’t.

  9. “E.) It takes up time that the Senate needs to enact new legislation under Biden.”

    Yep, that one.

    Biden et all have 100 days, then at most two years, to demonstrate what a competent government can do. Remember that? So many crucial things to get done with a narrow majority: pandemic relief, climate change, healthcare, economic measures, revitalization of the Fed agencies, and general cleanup of the mess left by Trump. And, don’t ignore appointments to the judiciary.

    1. Yes-Trump is a distraction. His brood of vipers need stamping out but you need liberalisation, education, & demographic change to reduce that. These lunatic non- fringe people have always been there though & I am dubious the US is ready for change.

      Maybe Trump will do us a favour & die…

    2. Your SC justices are a very good point. Justice Stephen Breyer is 82, he should retire well before 2022, in order to prevent another right wing Justice, since we do not know what the Senate will look like early 2023. The Justice RBG saga must have taught a lesson.
      Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito are also in their 70’s (72 and 70 respectively), but I do not think it is likely they will retire before 2023 or even 2025.
      Justice Sonia Sotomayor is only 66, but suffers from diabetes, reducing her life expectancy. I don’t want to appear callous (in fact I think she is the most likeable of all SC Justices*), but if I were her, I would have some in depth discussions with her physician (do I have micro-angiopathy, how’s my renal function, what is a realistic life expectancy, etc.).
      *[I heard rumors that in personal contacts Justice Thomas is great company].

    3. Well, we can hope that Trump will offer such contrast that the propaganda that has worked to give the RP the upper hand in political power for about 90% of the past 30 years, won’t be effective enough to do so anymore. However, both the Clinton and Obama administrations oversaw very significant improvements in our economy and foreign affairs after the RP administrations before them had driven them into the toilet. And yet somehow RP voters believe an alternate reality in which just the opposite is true, and that Clinton and Obama are evil enemies of the American Way.

      That’s the problem we have to overcome.

      1. I wish people would also realize that since the Nixon disgrace, every Republican who has left office has left the country in shambles: exploding deficits, economic collapse, misguided wars. Then a Democrat POTUS comes in, balances the budget, lifts the economy, creates jobs, does their best with the wars Republicans start and the chaos such wars create (like Isis), and all of their success is ignored by the GOP (and right-wing media) or ridiculed. (Did they even give credit to Obama for killing bin Laden? Nope.) And the GOP never gave Obama due credit for saving the American automobile industry and getting us out of the 2008 financial crisis. And then Trump acted like he’s the one who saved America from financial ruin and the previous eight years didn’t happen. It really comes down to the fact that Republicans and their constituents are immune to the truth and in their world, for whatever reason, a Democrat is a godless heathen whose very existence poses a threat to America; that’s their narrative. I’m sure Biden will do a great job finally getting Covid under control and improving the economy, but the GOP will find a way to impede his efforts, smear and distort said efforts, and give Trump the credit if they indeed give anyone credit. It was “Operation Warp Speed” or some such bullshit. Yes, as you stated, the problem is that millions of Americans have adopted a different reality, and don’t want to believe facts that counter said reality. Just look at how they regard the facts of climate change…that’s the clearest example for me of just how debased the GOP is.

        1. If you ignore facts, the world is your oyster. Did you hear about incoming GA Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene? She’s just announced via Twitter:

          On January 21st, I’m filing Articles of Impeachment on President-elect
          @JoeBiden
          .

          75 million Americans are fed up with inaction.

          It’s time to take a stand.

          I’m proud to be the voice of Republican voters who have been ignored.

          #ImpeachBiden
          #QuidProJoe
          #BidenCrimeFamily

          https://twitter.com/mtgreenee/status/1349519602888355840

  10. The President wouldn’t get convicted in the Senate because it’s heavy with Republicans.

    Let that sink in.

    Imagine being let off the hook in traffic court because you’re a Republican and so is the judge.

    1. “Imagine being let off the hook in traffic court because you’re a Republican and so is the judge.”

      Do you really think that could only happen in the imagination?

  11. I will add another reason to impeach and convict—deterrence. I don’t think trumpism is going away and the insurrectionist Repugnicans are jockeying to inherit his mob. Impeaching and convicting tRump will send them a clear warning that this type of crap will not be tolerated by Congress.

  12. One word: Yes.

    I think there’s a fair chance of conviction in the Senate. The sane segments of the GOP would like a lifetime ban on the Orange Moron.

  13. Regarding point 1 of the against, it should be noted that successful impeachment in the senate only requires two thirds of members PRESENT to vote in favour. IOW if 10 GOP senators were absent, then only 11 GOP votes would be needed for a 61-29 result. It is possible that some GOP senators would view absence as the most desirable action.

    1. Absence would surely be the most honorable action for every GOP Senator, except Senator Romney. In fact, maybe after being absent from a Senate trial of their very own president, they would stay away for the rest of 2021 and 2022.

  14. I’ll also add that the Trumper faction, the true believers, which I reckon at about 25%-35% of the electorate are, in my opinion, un-reachable. Placating them is simply not possible. They will never accept the results of the election (as Trump himself has said over and over: He would not accept the results unless he won — anything else was by definition a fraud (from the mouth of the arch-fraudster)).

    The 5th Avenue Effect is real. And apparently permanent. Last week, the head of the police union in Chicago said he didn’t accept the results of the election and that the insurrection was (in essence) no big deal.

    Unless the GOP purges itself of this poison, it has a tough row to hoe. I predict a new party of the insane bunch. Look for the “Freedom Party” or some such in the near future.

  15. My argument against this entire thing is simply utilitarian for my own political interests. I personally have seen everyone I know who supported Trump completely back away from him and his politics after the horrifying display at the Capitol, and I think the Democrats are making a really poor political move here. The short-term political gains of this are little to none, and the long-term effects could be disastrous. Not impeaching Trump during his final few days in office would basically have no repercussions, but impeaching him ensures that his brand of politics continues to be talked about, that certain Republican members of Congress and future contenders are forced to support him (because they live in an area that leans heavily in his direction), and that he becomes a martyr. Just as I think the lack of repudiation of the BLM riots hurt the Dems congressionally this past election, I think this move can backfire in a similar way. They keep getting opportunities to grow their base by showing that they can be more centrist, and they keep rejecting them. I see no way to grow their voting base or strengthen their political alliances through this impeachment, but I do see ways they can harm them. Biden won because he was seen as “safe” despite his age, close enough to the center, a Democrat but not too far to the Left. This can be seen if you look at what should have been a “Blue Wave” for Democrats in the Congressional elections, which turned into a wet fart. Additionally, I think there isn’t much chance of Trump running in 2024, but, with this impeachment, I think the Dems are making it much easier for someone like little junior to get support.

    I just feel like this impeachment has no long-term positive potential and a lot of long-term negative potential for Democrats, and that’s really all I care about. Well, I’m also hoping that what happened in the Capitol causes a realignment away from Trumpism in the Republican Party — toward the Romney/Bush-type style of politics — which I feel was already happening this past week, and that this will make the realignment more difficult.

    1. I can’t disagree more strongly. First, Trump needs to be punished. Second, making it impossible for him to run again will help his followers move on. Sure, they’ll be angry for a while but that was going to happen anyway. Third, it is important to note which GOP politicians are ready to move on, putting country over Trump, and which aren’t. Those that do not vote for impeachment are marked for the rest of their lives as backers of insurrection. This will be used to get them out of office.

    2. You have a good point there, as has Paul.
      Since impeachment appears inevitable now, the question is: if and when to hand it to the Senate for ‘trial’. If half (that is 25) or close to half of the Republican Senators* let it be known they are in favour of condemning, I’d say send it ASAP, get over with it quickly. If not, I’d let it rest, possibly indefinitely, and concentrate on the ‘real’ problems: fighting Covid, reconstructing the EPA and State Department, engaging global warming, eradicating voter disenfranchisement and softening gerrymandering, delivering Medical Services to the public, etc, etc.
      *[I guess that if Mr ‘Moscow Mitch’ McConnell indeed supports impeachment, that is a far from impossible proposition]

    3. Paul Topping is 100% correct.

      Trump has spent the last several months trying to overthrow a democracy.This culminated in an assault on the seat of the US Government. If T***p is not punished for this, if there are no consequences for what he has done, it will be far worse than driving a few of his supporters back into his camp.

      This man sat watching the telly while a mob was roaming the Capitol looking for elected representatives to take out their anger on. They were chanting “hang Mike Pence” the democratically elected Vice President of the United States because he chose to do his job.

      If you decide not to punish him because there is a political downside to it for the Dems, you are the same as the Republicans who enabled him for their own political gain. If you let T***p off for this, you don’t have a democracy worthy of the name.

      1. Is martyrdom punishment? Or a rallying call to those who follow?

        A negative effect on his pocketbook, now we are talking, if punishment is what we are after.

        Two impeachments as a deterrent for this kind of behaviour? A punishment has to have a relevant consequence to Trump.

        Just deserts on a free will skeptic’s blog?

    4. “I personally have seen everyone I know who supported Trump completely back away from him and his politics after the horrifying display at the Capitol, …”

      I do not mean to imply that you, or even they, are at all insincere (in the moment for them). But I find it hard to believe that many of them will continue to behave as though they have become rational. Will they suddenly support decent climate change legislation? ..decent wealth distribution?…decent gun control? etc..

      Your implication seems to be that if the Mass Murderer faces any accountability, they’ll switch back again??

    5. I personally have seen everyone I know who supported Trump completely back away from him and his politics after the horrifying display at the Capitol …

      I’m not sure your personal experiences are representative here, Beej. According to recent polls taken since the attack on the Capitol, 74% of Republican voters continue to believe that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election through fraud — an allegation supported by nothing but the spurious claims put forward by Donald Trump and his enablers.

    1. If this comment shows up as a “reply” to smokedpaprika [as it now seems to have done] that’s just an editorial error, there being no obvious way to enter an “original” comment.

      I find the Professor’s original statement: “The fact that an impeachment vote will surely fail in the Senate does, however, tell the world that we will not tolerate a fascist, and at a time when the world’s opinion of America has fallen quite low.” inexplicable.

      Seems to me to say exactly the opposite, namely: failure in the Senate tells the world that we will not only tolerate, but will actively support, a fascist.

      1. ” . . . failure in the Senate tells the world that we will not only tolerate, but will actively support, a fascist.”

        What would failure to have a vote on impeachment in the House of Representatives tell the world?

  16. Could Trump be tried for conspiracy to commit the murder of that cop who died in the riot after being beaten by a Trump fanatic?

    1. No, but it seems to me that it should be possible, besides charging the perpetrator(s) with murder, also a very large number of people could be charged with something like ‘accessory to murder’.

      I had rhetorically asked a couple of days ago what would happen in US if a bunch of people decided to breach some building in order to commit some crime, and while there, one of them murdered a cop or security guard. Every one of them would be charged with murder or something at least as bad as accessory, and probably including any driver(s) who brought them there, or took them away after to escape. And even people aware of their plan, not necessarily to commit a murder.

      How many such people here? Every damn one of them who entered the building illegally and others as well. This may well include several congress people who actually gave some tours to the monsters the day before, if that New Jersey former USAF pilot Congresswoman turns out to be right.

      No pussyfooting around; sorry pussies, that’s metaphor!

  17. Eight hearings/inquiries/commissions were held after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, spanning from Dec. 18, 1941, to August 1945–those did not interfere with the war effort.

    The 9/11 Commission went from Nov. 2002 to August 2004–the country managed to keep running.

    There were 10 congressional investigations/hearings regarding 2012 Benghazi attack, and the final one ended in 2016.

    There is no healing or moving on without accountability. Trump and his congressional enablers who continued issuing lies that fomented the insurrection (Cruz, et al.) must be held accountable as soon as possible. Waiting will be rightly perceived as weakness.

  18. The question for me is whether or not Trump intended or knew that his comments would incite the mob to break into the Capitol. I remain unsure whether what happened was a riot or an insurrection and I am uneasy about using sedition statutes in this case. That also makes me uneasy about convicting Trump of inciting sedition. I want to hear all the facts. If I take the speech at face value, there was no incitement.

    1. Intent should not matter, since that is something one can never objectively prove. At the same time, the words themselves are too little to go on. The same words uttered by different people can have different effects. In the end, what matters is the effect. His words have to be seen in the context of what he has said before. Some average person saying that we should walk down to the Capitol is different from Trump calling the Democrats socialists, radicals, traitors, whatever for four years or more then calling for a walk down to the Capitol. (Note that he said that he would be with them, but he was not.)

      Also, in the case of the President, one could even make the case that even if intent did matter, and he intended no harm, the fact that it can be, and has been, interpreted to cause a riot should imply that he should be removed from office (note that he is banned from Twitter but still has the nuclear-bomb codes) in order that something else where he intended no harm does not go too far, even if he REALLY did not mean it that way.

      1. (note that he is banned from Twitter but still has the nuclear-bomb codes)

        The person in charge of the nuclear bomb codes is deemed too dangerous to have a Twitter account. What a country.

      1. “Impeachment is a political act. The standards of the justice system do not apply.”

        I reasonably (if not realistically) take it that the standards of the justice system are (governed by) law.

        I wonder what if anything else mentioned in the U.S. constitution, the highest law of the land, is a political act not governed by the above standards. (The constitution states that the two Houses make their own rules. That a Speaker of the House or a Senate Majority Leader can keep their respective Houses from voting on a bill, or that a committee chairman can keep a bill from leaving committee to be voted on by the full House, does not strike me as democratic in spirit.)

    2. Charles Manson did not kill anyone during the Tate-LaBianca murders but was found guilty of 7 counts of first-degree murder.

  19. There must be repercussions to Donald Trump for his role in fomenting the insurrectionist attack on the United States Capitol last week. On December 19th, days after all the US states had met the electoral-college “safe harbor” for certifying their presidential election results, Trump summonsed his dead-end diehard supporters to Washington, DC, on the date that those electoral votes were to be counted in congress, with the tweet: “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”

    On Jan. 6th he then held a “Stop the Steal” rally at which he gave an incendiary speech about the RINOs who were voting against him in congress and the vice-president who was refusing to follow his blatantly unconstitutional bidding to refuse to accept the electoral college results (a speech that followed similarly incendiary speeches given by his son, Donald Trump, Jr., his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and Alabama congressman Mo Brooks). Trump then urged the rally crowd to go up to Capitol Hill, while congress was in the process of accepting the certified electoral votes, telling them to “take back the country!” and to “show them your strength!” Once the riots broke out, he made essentially no effort to quell them, despite entreaties from his staff.

    Even before these events, Trump had spent two months ginning up his base with the Big Lie — unsupported by any credible evidence — that he had won a landslide victory in the November 3rd presidential election which was being stolen from him. (As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., might put it, you cannot falsely yell “fraud!” in a crowded Twitter.)

    The constitutional mechanism for visiting such appropriate repercussions on a US president is impeachment. The House should pass the Article of Impeachment on the floor today and then the US senate should vote to convict and to bar him from holding future public office (which it may achieve the needed 2/3 majority to do, since almost all the sitting Republican senators have knows from the start that Trump was utterly unfit for office; all that has heretofore kept them in line behind him has been their abject fear of Trump’s ability to rile up the most unruly elements of the Republican base — a fever-spell that may now be on the verge of breaking).

    1. According to Glenn Kirschner, a seasoned Federal prosecutor, a constitutional mechanism for visiting appropriate repercussions on Trump would be a warrant for his arrest:

      1. The two remedies are far from mutually exclusive.

        Proving Trump’s speech constitutes a “criminal incitement” is a steeper burden, particularly given Brandenburg v. Ohio.

        I’ve long thought Kirschner is a sharp legal analyst, though I’m not sure any federal prosecutor would be wiling to contravene the memorandum from the DoJ’s Office of Legal Counsel regarding charging a sitting president. (And arresting DJT, Jr., and Rudy Giuliani while Trump is still in office would guarantee Donald Trump would pardon them, which, admittedly, he is almost certain to do anyway.)

          1. Why? The GOP senators liked the fact that Trump could turn out the voters. As long as they could stay on Trump’s good side, politics for them was much less subject to the random whims of voters and greatly reduced the chance a talented challenger would knock them out of a primary. Life was simple. All they had to do was stay on Trump’s good side. They barely had to worry about issues at all. For decades the GOP has selected politicians solely for their ability to stay in power and manipulate voters. Such politicians would recognize the guarantee Trump delivered and love him for it.

            1. Because they all knew he was completely unfit for office. Several said so expressly during the 2016 primary campaign. No US senator endorsed Trump during those primaries (with the lone exception of Jeff Sessions, who was no longer in the senate). And all of them were ready to dump him from the top of the ticket shortly before the election after the release of the “Access Hollywood” hot-mic tape.

              I think almost all sitting US senators would have been happier with a more reliable, less impulsive Mike Pence sitting behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.

              Also, Trump could hurt US senators by issuing nasty tweets or encouraging primary opponents against them. But Trump’s endorsement was never of any help to them during a general election. Keep in mind that Trump himself lost the 2016 popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots and never had an approval rating above 50%.

              1. I agree that they had wished that Trump hadn’t won but that’s obviously true of all but the winning candidate in any election. Once he had won, their calculation changed. I’ll grant you that a few would have voted to convict Trump in the first inauguration but I don’t believe it would be anywhere near a landslide. Many of them seem to really like being in Trumpland. Even now, when the signs pointing toward the exits are brightly lit, they aren’t leaving his side. I don’t think it is all fear of Donald Trump.

              2. Nah, if they had Pence they could have gotten all the perks they got with Trump without all the grief.

              3. Pence has no charisma at all. Trump chose him for that reason. I suspect Trump even wanted to change his title to Chief Sycophant but Pence stood his ground. 😉

  20. Most of the statements by Congressional Democrats I have seen have been solid and factual. The charge that they are using the Capitol riot as their “Reichstag fire” is weakened by two considerations:
    (1) The fire in this case was unquestionably lit by President Trump, as Republican Liz Cheney points out; and (2) the Dems are not using this “Reichstag fire” event to suspend civil liberties and establish
    a dictatorship, as Hitler’s government did, but only to impeach an executive whose unfitness has been manifested over and over.

    That said, the Dems should be careful not to over-dramatize last week’s Capitol riot, lest the public
    think back a few months and compare last week’s escapade in detail with the riots of last spring/summer associated with the BLM demonstrations. Last week’s Trump rioters neglected to set fires in the House and Senate offices, whereas plenty of fires were set at and near police precincts in the earlier riots. And as for fatalities, Wikipedia reports as follows:

    “Multiple police officers were shot or attacked during the protests.[166] At least twelve officers had been shot by June 12,[167] and four were shot in St. Louis after facing violent protesters who had been looting d vandalising local businesses.[168] In Las Vegas, a policer officer was shot in the head at Circus Circus Hotel and Casino whilst they were fighting a suspect,[169] and another was attacked by several protesters in The Bronx.[170] Law enforcement officers were also injured by vehicles in Denver and New York City and hit by projectiles elsewhere in the U.S.A.[166].”

    And on the Left in general, complaints that the Washington DC police were not sufficiently prepared or
    vigorous enough at crowd control do not cohere very well with earlier cries to defund (or, half-defund, as the Seattle City Council prefers) the police.

    1. Meanwhile (4 hours ago) this was tweeted by Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene:
      ·
      “These Democrats are the enemies to the American people who are leading the impeachment witch hunt against President Trump.”

      “AGAIN!”

      “They will be held accountable.”

      How many Democrat Republicans or Senators called for defunding the police?

      1. Oops. Meant to write “Democrat congress or Senators”.

        “enemies to the American people” has become a theme with Trump and his supporters over the last four years. Democrats, leftists, the media, the deep state.

    2. > That said, the Dems should be careful not to over-dramatize last week’s Capitol riot, lest the public
      think back a few months and compare last week’s escapade in detail with the riots of last spring/summer associated with the BLM demonstrations.

      I want Trump to be impeached, but the Democrats lack credibility after
      * complaining that the 2016 election was stolen for years because of an alleged plot by Putin aided by Trump (unsubstantiated or outright false; and Obama’s surveillance of Trump’s campaign is a scandal)
      * talking about impeachment before Trump even took office and then impeaching him over a Ukraine affair the public largely neither understands nor cares about
      * glorifying political violence by supporting the worst riots in 50 years and pledging to fulfill the demands of BLM (a much more controversial movement mere years ago). CHAZ was allowed to happen, and prominent Democrats like AOC and Pelosi even helped to bail out rioters. Perhaps some right wingers concluded the police could be brushed aside in today’s America. A Biden defeat would have probably not been accepted without some further rioting (stores boarded up until Biden was confirmed the winner, mostly in places where Trump voters could obviously not be a factor).
      * choosing to ignore all the violence directed at Trump supporters over the last few years, who probably remember some of it and are also embittered about the media treatment they received during the Smollett hoax and the Covington kid hitpiece.

  21. I am right now listening to the debate on this issue from the house floor. They keep talking about Trump’s speech, but they never quote his words. One rep. did quote Pelosi’s words on uprisings, which upset a bunch of people until they found out that the words came from a democrat.

    One issue that relates to this is the ongoing investigation into those who actually broke into the capitol. If we are to believe that Trump caused the event with his speech, then it will be harder to argue that some of the people who entered the capitol planned and organized their actions beforehand. This matters because unlike the current impeachment, the folks who broke in will be subject to investigation, will have representation in court, will have the right to confront their accusers, and will be able to present their defense.

    1. You seem to be thinking about impeachment as if it were a criminal trial. Instead, it is more like a disciplinary hearing. It’s more about assessing whether he’s done something that’s completely unreasonable given the job. Although the impeachment has been compared to putting a mafia boss on trial, it differs considerably. Trump’s actions are inconsistent (in the extreme) with the Presidency. Instead of protecting the election process from the ravings of an armed mob, he egged them on. Instead of protecting Congress from the mob, he told them to protest. That should be enough to impeach.

      1. Thanks for the reminder, but I understand that the rues here are very different than they will be for those arrested for the actual incursion. It still seems like `there should be some minimum standard of investigation prior to such a serious undertaking, even for those who really, really hate Trump.
        If the aim is to prevent him from running in the next election, that still allows a couple of years to drag him in under subpoena and make him explain himself. They can do it over and over again, even timing it to distract from whatever scandal may erupt next.
        “the ravings of an armed mob”- Well, anyone carrying a gun at the protest was already committing several felonies, since there are overlapping prohibitions in DC itself, in the Capitol itself, and within 1000 feet of any protest. I won’t dispute that armed folks may have been there, but I don’t see any in the images produced by a quick web search.
        I suspect that some journalism style guide recommends that any conservative protesters always be referred to as armed white supremacists, whatever their racial composition or whether they are armed or not.
        “he told them to protest”. We have been told a great many times over the last few years that protest is the greatest of all human virtues, particularly by those advocating for impeachment. It has been noted that several of the loudest legislative voices today have themselves called upon their supporters specifically to go to capitol hill and confront members of congress.

        One of the big issues with Covid spread prevention is the possibility that some of the best methods of stopping the disease might do more harm than good in the long term. No matter how crude and bothersome Trump is, this rushed impeachment is going to set a precedent which will stand long after he is gone. Extraordinary measures can with repeated use become routine, with serious detrimental effects.

        1. But an investigation makes the process about connecting Trump directly to the planning and instigation of the attempted coup in a material way. If we agree that an impeachment is not like a criminal trial and the “jurors” don’t have to prove such a connection, then what exactly are we investigating? Obviously, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies will investigate as there are many people guilty of serious crimes here. But that’s separate from the impeachment process. Sure, if the FBI found a connection to Trump, that would be evidence in the impeachment but it wouldn’t and shouldn’t be a requirement to impeach.

          1. Impeachments, like declarations of war should be used only on careful consideration and reflection, and treated with grave seriousness.
            Honestly, I don’t care what happens to Trump personally, except how that treatment impacts the country going forward.
            Legislators who have been excusing, promoting, or even materially supporting serious anti-government violence for years are enraged that their main enemy asked his supporters to “peacefully and patriotically” protest. Normal Americans abhor Stalinist tactics, which certainly include show trials.
            Anything gained by crushing Trump after his defeat is going to be more than offset by the consequences of casually using the power of impeachment as a political tactic.
            The new Gallup survey puts public approval of congress at 15%.

            1. You can interpret words and actions charitably. But in Trump’s case there is a concordance of evidence indicating his culpability, not just a few words. He was reportedly excited during the storming of the Capitol, refused to call in the National Guard to stop it and only condemned it in a mealy-mouthed video message after he was pressured to do so by about everyone around him (he has yet to admit that he lost the election fairly and that his rioters thus supported a bad cause).

              And overall, Trump apologetics has aged very badly. This should concern you.

            2. I am amazed at how inaccurate your characterizations are here. This is not merely a matter of opinion or points of view. You are incorrect about facts that really matter.

      2. Keep in mind that Trump summonsed these people to Washington, DC, two weeks ahead of time, specifically for the purpose of a “wild” “Stop the Steal” rally on the day of the congressional certification vote. That alone could have triggered his dead-end supporters to begin their planning.

        As for the express language of Trump’s Jan. 6th speech on the Ellipse, there’s a good analysis of it, almost line-by-line, by Seth Abramson, in this twitter thread. Among many other things, Trump, for example, did nothing to discourage the crowd’s chants of “Fight for Trump!” He also led the crowd to believe that law enforcement and the military were on HIS side regarding the contention that the election was about to be stolen from him during the congressional vote to certify the election results scheduled to start just an hour after his speech.

          1. Yes, my comment was meant to be in response to Max Blancke.

            Sometimes hitting reply on these multiple-entry sub-threads can get a bit confusing, at least for me. 🙂

  22. No believer of free speech should support Trump’s impeachment. I supported the first one but I would vote “hell no” on this one.

    From the Articles of Impeachment

    ‘Shortly before the Joint Session commenced, President Trump, addressed a crowd at the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. There, he reiterated false claims that “we won this election, and we won it by a landslide.” He also willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — lawless action at the Capitol, such as: “if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.” ‘

    That’s it. “Fight like hell” are his most inflammatory words. He broke so many laws as president (emoluments, obstruction of justice, etc.) it is ridiculous. In this case, he exercised his freedom of speech in his always boorish, distorting, false and inflammatory, but legal, way.

    In the same way I would support the Klan’s or Antifa’s right to say “fight like hell” or almost anything else, I support Trump’s.

    1. Impeachment isn’t going to hinge on Trump’s right to say those things. Instead, it is a fact that he’s spent most of his time, before and after the election, convincing voters that the election was stolen from him and that he really won. Even if we allow that Trump didn’t actually direct the invasion of the Capitol, this was not consistent with being President. Another way to look at it is that if the President had NOT done those things, the invasion would not have happened.

      Trump was allowed to be a whiny little bitch and waste the court’s time on legal challenges without evidence. If had stopped there, he would have been ok. Instead, when his legal efforts failed he tried to get various people to change vote counts at the state level. When that failed, he begged Mike Pence to violate the Constitution and challenge the state’s counts. When that failed, he did everything he could to get an angry mob to come to the Capitol and “convince” Pence and others to violate the Constitution. How could Trump possibly be surprised that it turned violent and endangered lives? I’m sure that he expected it and hoped for it, at least enough to vote for impeachment. It’s quite a bit more than saying “fight like hell” in a political campaign.

      1. He is supposedly being impeached because “Donald John Trump engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States”
        https://www.npr.org/sections/trump-impeachment-effort-live-updates/2021/01/11/955631105/impeachment-resolution-cites-trumps-incitement-of-capitol-insurrection

        What crime did he commit? What misdemeanor did he commit? The house did not name them because he was legally inflammatory. And if you say that he can be impeached without committing a crime or misdemeanor, then why does the constitution say “high crimes and misdemeanors”?

        Trump has committed crimes but the impeachment is an assault on free speech. I hate Trump but I believe in free speech for Nazis, Antifa, Trump and everyone else.

        1. Impeachment is purely a political proceeding involving co-equal branches of the federal government, not any type of criminal proceeding. Accordingly, the First Amendment and free speech issues do not come into play. Impeaching Donald Trump for his words during his Jan. 6th speech on the Ellipse no more implicates free-speech concerns than a senator’s withdrawing his or her support from Hillary Clinton for calling half of Trump supporters a “basket of deplorables” during the 2016 campaign, or from withdrawing support from Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign for saying some voters were clinging to their religion and guns.

          Politicians and office-holders are constantly held politically accountable for their speeches, even if the words spoken would constitute constitutionally protected speech in other contexts.

          1. That’s what I keep hearing but the constitution specifically says “crimes and misdemeanors.” Without a specific legal offense, I do not see how his actions this time can apply.

            It seems unconstitutional to remove him unless he committed a crime or misdemeanor. What am I missing?

            1. The articles of impeachment voted out of the House judiciary against Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton both included articles charging an “abuse of power.” That does not constitute a felony or misdemeanor under any extant statutory scheme, but has long thought to provide an adequate ground for impeachment.

              Keep in mind that statutory criminal codes were not established in the US until after ratification of the US constitution. Before that, what constituted a “crime” had evolved under the “common law” decided by the courts on a case-by-case basis.

              1. I am really trying to understand the legal justification and if I remember correctly you are a lawyer. It’s probably not worth your time to respond again but writing this has clarified my view. Thank you.

                The articles of impeachment state “Donald John Trump engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States, in that …” This is the House’s only claim of high crimes and misdemeanors and they do not mention abuse of power.

                This feels like a civil liberty issue to me. His speech is inflammatory but the ACLU confirms it is not a crime while still advocating for impeachment.

                https://www.aclu.org/news/civil-liberties/we-can-uphold-free-speech-and-hold-president-trump-accountable/

                ‘Second, impeachment proceedings do not require conviction of a crime, but a determination by the House and Senate that the president has abused his office in such a serious manner that he should be removed. “High crimes and misdemeanors” don’t have to be actual crimes or misdemeanors, and surely recklessly urging an unruly mob to intimidate members of Congress performing their constitutional duties, in order to undercut the results of a free and fair election, is sufficient.’

                To me there is no meat to this argument. There is an extraordinary claim (‘“High crimes and misdemeanors” don’t have to be actual crimes or misdemeanors’) with absolutely no supporting evidence. It sounds more like Lewis Carroll than a legal argument. ‘”When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”‘

                More from the ACLU:
                ‘First, proceedings to impeach and remove a president are not criminal proceedings. They specifically seek to remove the president from office. While the First Amendment would likely bar the criminal conviction of a private citizen for the president’s Jan. 6 speech, impeachment is a political remedy: to remove an executive official who has abused his office, not to convict them of a criminal offense. The Supreme Court has long held that public employees can be fired for on-the-job speech that would be fully protected from criminal prosecution. Whether the president has any First Amendment rights when speaking in his capacity as president has never been established. At a minimum, because of his role and authority, the president does not have the same freedom of speech as an ordinary citizen.’
                Most of this is reasonable (except the claim that abuse of power is impeachable which the house does not assert anyway) and confirms that he has not committed a crime. The statement that he does not have freedom of speech is once again not supported. He could be fired but there is no reason to conflate a firing offense with a crime or misdemeanor or even abuse of power.

                Then to me, they show their true colors:
                ‘I also sleep soundly because I fundamentally believe that our society is finally grappling with complicated issues of race, rights, and freedoms that it long overlooked or took for granted. Recent debates about Twitter’s barring of Trump permanently, the racially disparate treatment of BLM protestors and white supremacist insurrectionists by law enforcement, and the impeachment of President Trump have led to a soul-searching debate that will make this country better and stronger in the long run. Indeed, Donald Trump’s most lasting legacy may be that he catalyzed a “resistance” movement that will transform into a deeper commitment to social justice and constitutional norms. It is this invigorated movement that will shape the work of the next administration.’
                In other words, Wokeness and Democrats are good, Trump is bad so we should impeach him.

        2. I think “high crimes” are not necessarily crimes in the usual sense, which seems to be what you are assuming. Wikipedia says, “A high crime is one that can be done only by someone in a unique position of authority, which is political in character, who does things to circumvent justice.” The President has the highest position in our government. When he says the election was rigged, it has extra significance. I think Trump’s actions definitely fit that definition.

          1. I have read this but I think this takes you down another path you don’t want to go.

            A president could be impeached for “treason, bribery, or a crime that can be done only by someone in a unique position of authority, which is political in character, who does things to circumvent justice other high crimes and misdemeanors.” This interpretation would leave out crimes that anyone could commit e.g. non-political theft or even murder.

            In other words, if Trump were to murder Melania in a jealous rage and plead guilty, he could not be impeached because it was a common man’s crime and he is not circumventing justice. He could be convicted and jailed but he would still be president because jealous murder is not a high crime.

            Yes, this is splitting hairs but that is what the law is about.

            1. The definition of high crimes doesn’t leave out regular crimes. If the President murdered someone, they could definitely be impeached. No one would suggest that the crime wasn’t “high” enough.

              1. You quoted “A high crime is one that can be done only by someone in a unique position of authority, which is political in character, who does things to circumvent justice.”

                That quote certainly leaves out murder. You did not provide a link so perhaps there is something else in your source.

              2. Sorry, I’m done with this silly argument. There are plenty of articles written on the definition of the Constitution’s “high crimes and misdemeanors”. I suggest you read a few.

  23. I find the reasons in favour are peak wokeness. It’s all virtue signalling and have almost no real consequences. Even barring him from running again only makes sense without taking the Republican party into account. They could see to it that he doesn’t run again on their platform. Trump would be 79 come next election anyway.

    But the problems created by this move are real. Above all, the USA in the middle of a severe pandemic, which hits Americans unusually hard because of American welfare, employment and health care systems that leave tens of millions uninsured, possibly bankrupt and homeless.

    Democrats now also hold all the cards, which is typically but a short period. Then there’s “honeymoon” where the Biden Administration is not pressured much. Taken together, the excessive symbolism might busy the politicians while their short window of opportunity is melting away and — as usual — Democrats just won’t get around doing anything progressive (if they have any real intentions, which I doubt).

    1. “Even barring him from running again only makes sense without taking the Republican party into account. They could see to it that he doesn’t run again on their platform.”

      Just how could they do that? They didn’t want him to run in 2016, but when he won the primaries they had no choice. The same would be true in 2024.

  24. I read that NYC and major companies has thrown him out for his fascism accompli.

    Seems reasonable that the elected politicians do the same.

  25. I’m conflicted also, but forget the “divisiveness” worry – that horse has sailed. (hehehe like that? I like my metaphors like my martinis).

    Whatever happens I still enjoy at least the thought of Orange in a matching jumpsuit being perp walked into the Southern District Court (where I used to work!!) to the accompaniment of “YMCA”. Sweet.

    And its not like his exemplary lifelong, presidency long behavior has been ruined by one terrible mistake last week – the criminal grifter makes this atheist want to believe in hell.

    D.A.
    NYC

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