Trump slump: Impeached second time, US President set to go on trial for insurrection

-

WASHINGTON: Lost popular vote twice. Impeached twice. That will be part of the disastrous legacy of the 45th US President Donald Trump after the House of Representatives indicted him on charges of “inciting violence against the government of the United States” in a 232-197 vote in the midst of a worsening pandemic.
Ten Republican lawmakers joined Democrats in impeaching the defeated President on Wednesday, pointing to a growing rift in the Grand Old Party, and ensuring that the indictment is, technically at least, a bipartisan outcome. Trump’s first impeachment was not supported by a single Republican.
The matter will now move to the US Senate for a trial that could result in a conviction with the support of 2/3rd of its members present and voting, followed by debarment from office (which requires only a simple majority).
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican Trump ally-turned-critic, has said the trial would only begin before January 19, implicitly ensuring full proceedings will unfold after Democrats take charge with the swearing-in of President-elect Joe Biden, vice-president Kamala Harris, and newly -elected Senators. Harris will be the constitutionally mandated presiding officer of the Senate, with a tie-breaker vote that will give Democrats a majority voice in a chamber tied at 50-50.
Biden has tried to stay above the fray, concerned that a prolonged impeachment trial will distract from his agenda, top of which is bringing the Covid-19 pandemic under control and applying economic salve.
“I hope that the Senate leadership will find a way to deal with their constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation,” he said in a statement shortly after the House vote.
But hardline Democrats angered by Trump’s efforts to subvert election results and inciting an attack on the US Capitol want to go the whole hog and convict the President, with help from some establishment Republicans who want to put an outlier Trump out of the 2024 Presidential race.
“He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, even as Trump supporters raged that the swift impeachment, which took less than a week (compared to weeks or even months earlier indictments took), would only “further fan the flames of partisan division.”
In a debate laced with anger and anguish, lawmakers tore into each other with charges of subversion, betrayal, and treason, exposing deep rifts in the world’s premier democracy, on a day the coronavirus pandemic claimed nearly 4400 lives, the highest one-day fatalities. The US is on track to reach a toll of 400,000 by the time Trump leaves the White House.
Pro-Trump Republicans argued that the Senate cannot hold an impeachment trial after he has left office, with Senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump-surrogate arguing that it could set a dangerous precedent for conviction of other former presidents going back to George Washington.
Trump, meanwhile, ignored the House impeachment, and banned from a personal account on his favored social media platform, issued a video-taped statement from the White House, “unequivocally” denouncing violence and saying he was shocked by the “calamity” at the Capitol. It was a totally different tone from the one he used in the hours before when he encouraged his MAGA followers to march to the Capitol, telling them “you’ll never take back our country with weakness. …you have to show strength, and you have to be strong.” A majority of US lawmakers read that as incitement to violence.
On Wednesday, Trump claimed that “Making America Great Again has always been about defending the rule of law,” and “no true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence, no true supporter of mine could ever disrespect law enforcement or our great American flag” and “no true supporter of mine could ever threaten or harass their fellow Americans.”
“If you do any of these things you are not supporting our movement, you are attacking it, and you are attacking our country,” he added.
- Advertisement -

Leave a Reply

Latest news

Must read

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you