Twice Impeached President Trump Will Leave Office on January 20
The damage inflicted on Government institutions by this megalomaniac will be lasting
On Wednesday, January 13, 2020, House Resolution 24 to impeach the president passed with bipartisan support in the House of Representatives. Donald J. Trump earned the dubious distinction of being the first president impeached twice by Congress. In the Republic’s history, the House of Representatives passed just four resolutions to impeach a president, and half of them were against the current one. The impeachment resolution consisted of only one article citing “incitement of insurrection.”
Trump’s presidency started with a lie: “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period — both in person and around the globe.” Sean Spicer, the press secretary, spoke at his first press briefing. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker database has documented over 30,000 false or misleading claims that the president has made. His biggest lies so far were about the election that he lost. “The election was rigged.” “We won this election, and we won it by a landslide,” he insisted. “The lie of the year is that Joe Biden won!” Trump has been feeding the same falsehood repeatedly through numerous tweets and public pronouncements. Right-wing media personalities like Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Jeanine Pirro repeated them on airwaves. Rudy Giuliani, GOP Congressmen, and Senators joined the chorus. Many millions of Trump supporters swallowed the lies hook, line, and sinker.
Trump tweeted, “JANUARY SIXTH, SEE YOU IN DC!” His supporters heard him. They came to the capital city on the day Congress convened to certify electoral college votes, declaring President-elect Joe Biden the winner. According to a Washington Post report from December 30, threats of violence, ploys to smuggle guns into the District, and calls to set up an “armed encampment” on the Mall have proliferated in online chats about the January 6 day of protest.
Trump urged thousands of supporters gathered near the White House on the morning of January 6 to march to the Capitol where the Congress was about to ratify the electoral college results. All members of the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government, including Vice President Pence, were assembled at the same location. Only the president was not there. He was in the safety of the White House, watching the mayhem unfolding at the Capitol. Thousands of mainly white Trump supporters, some of them armed and wearing MAGA hats, holding outsized Trump 2020 banners and Confederate flags, stormed the Capitol Building at Trump’s behest. Members of Proud Boys and QAnon were among the insurrectionists. It was an armed insurrection that resulted in five deaths, including a Capitol Hill police officer. Video footage from Capitol Hill shows that the rioters intended to harm the Vice President and Speaker Pelosi. There were voices heard from the House chamber, “Where the f**k is Nancy?” The congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, later said that she’d had a “close encounter” with rioters during which she thought she “was going to die.”
The House Resolution that passed exactly a week later states: “President Trump’s conduct on January 6, 2021, followed his prior efforts to subvert and obstruct the certification of the results of the 2020 Presidential election.” The Resolution further states, “President Trump gravely endangered the United States’ security and its institutions of Government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a branch of Government. He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”
Journalists associated with news organizations such as the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and The New Yorker have published in-depth investigative reports with video footage that shed light on the carnage that took place in Capitol Hill. New revelations come out every day about Trump allies’ involvement in the planning and execution of the events that occurred during that fateful day, which will forever remain in infamy.
Could the impeachment have been averted?
While instructing her lieutenants to draft article(s) of impeachment, Speaker Pelosi called for Trump’s resignation. She also sent a letter to Vice President Pence asking him to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, which he declined to do. The president did not resign.
President Richard Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate scandal led the House Judiciary Committee to draft impeachment articles in July 1974. On Aug. 7, 1974, Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., House Minority Leader John Rhodes, R-Ariz., and Senate Minority Leader Hugh Scott, R-Pa., met Nixon at the White House. They made clear to the president that he faced all-but-certain impeachment, conviction, and removal from office. Nixon resigned the next day.
Suppose a sizable contingent of Republican Congressmen and Senators went to the White House and demanded that he resign and avert certain impeachment and possible conviction and save the GOP from splitting into factions. It is not far-fetched to imagine that perhaps they could have avoided the current predicament. Trump had the Republican party under his spell. The subservient Congressmen and Senators (except for a handful) were in constant fear of being primaried and defeated in the next election. Some were even afraid that violent Trump supporters might harm them and their families.
The Lead House Manager, Adam Schiff of California, delivered a powerful closing argument at the first impeachment trial of Donald Trump eleven months ago. “We must say enough — enough! He has betrayed our national security, and he will do so again,” Schiff told the Senate. “He has compromised our elections, and he will do so again. You will not change him. You cannot constrain him. He is who he is. Truth matters little to him. What’s right matters even less, and decency matters not at all.”
Earlier during the trial, Adam Schiff also said,
“You can’t trust this President to do what’s right for this country. You can trust he will do what’s right for Donald Trump. He’ll do it for the next several months. He’ll do it in the election if he’s allowed to. This is why if you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed.”
The senators should have heeded his advice then.
When the Senate receives the impeachment resolution, the upper chamber of the U.S. Congress is required to begin a trial of the president. The trial is not imminent, and Trump will no longer be president if and when it starts. More incriminating evidence may be forthcoming to implicate Trump in the insurrection. Will there be 17 GOP Senators who would side with all Democrats to convict him?
Alphus Huxly, a Liberian professor of American studies and literature, is quoted in an article by Karen Attiah in the Washington Post.
“This [insurgency] did not start with Trump. The biggest threat to White America was always the rage and violence of White America. And if the country doesn’t get a hold of itself, America’s democracy will indeed pay a heavy, heavy price.”