Dan O'Heirity

Trump Has Been Impeached for a Second Time

Trump now has the ignominious distinction of being the only president in American history to be impeached more than once. The news is, of course full of stories about this fact. I have picked a couple of reports that provide for some interesting watching. CNN reports live on the voting process for impeaching Trump noting that this time round 9 Republicans have voted to impeach Trump. No Republicans voted for impeachment the first time that impeachment proceedings were instigated against Trump. If you choose to watch the video then you will see the magic moment when the figure of 217 votes is reached for impeaching Trump. That figure meant that those who wanted to impeach Trump had won the day. By the end of the voting process, 215 Democrats had voted for impeachment along with 10 Republicans giving a figure of 225 votes in favour and and 194 against impeachment. The final tally was 229 in favour and 194 against. CNN makes the point that the impeachment means that some Republicans are agreeing with Democrats that Trump poses a threat to the United States national security and to democracy. However, the sad fact for me is that only 10 Republicans “crossed the floor” to vote for impeachment. 194 Republicans voted against impeachment. Seriously, what would Trump have to do for the Republican party to unanimously agree that he is an absolute danger both to America and to the world? Well, obviously something more than inciting an insurrection. Staring a nuclear war perhaps. I’ll leave it there but I’d highly recommend watching the whole video for the analysis that follows the decision.

There is another comprehensive report on the impeachment by BBC News. Personally I think it’s worth watching the BCC report just for the British accents.

However, the BBC story adds much more by reporting on just what Washington looks like today. There are images of soldiers in the Capitol building and the BBC refers to the building looking more like a “garrison town”. There is also footage of Nancy Pelosi speaking about why it is absolutely critical to impeach Trump. I have written on this point on numerous occasions. If Trump is not impeached and convicted then “anything goes” in the future because Trump will consider himself untouchable and his supporters will believe that violence can win the day. Moving on, Democrat representative Mike McGovern speaks in the house saying that what happened was not a protest. It was an insurrection and it was planned. I shall return to the point about planning in a little while suffice to say for now that questions are being asked about whether this was “just” an out of control mob or whether there were elements of the mob who had planned their assault on the capitol. Finally on the BBC report, Trump said at one point that is supporters would be “very angry” if the impeachment went ahead. However, he almost immediately changed tack with a statement condemning violence. What does he think? That saying the right thing now is somehow going to clear him of inciting the insurrection. Who knows, It’s Trump and is unstable, unpredictable and likely certifiably insane. A last interesting fact. There are now more US Troops deployed in Washington than in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. Yikes.

I mentioned earlier that there might have been planning in the insurrection. This report from CNN reports that investigations are indicating that at least some of the protesters had planned to lay siege to the Capitol.

One point is that people left Trump’s rally early and seemed to have been retrieving weapons and equipment that enabled them to attack the Capitol on multiple sides. The FBI is pursuing the investigation on a massive scale and will be pursing prosecutions for months to come. The CNN video ends with an interview with James Comey, former FBI Director. There is an unintentionally funny line when Comey says that people attending a spontaneous event to not bring ropes and ladders and sledgehammers. Not shit Sherlock. However, Comey does add value in explaining how the FBI will go about investigating the riot. For example, investigating which organizations the rioters belonged to, looking into who funded them and tracing how they travelled to the event. There is also a fascinating point that there is a very “high bar” for charging someone within incitement. Basically, the person being charged must have basically told people to “riot” or to “engage in violence”. Well, Trump did tell is supporters to march on Capitol Hill. Did he direct them to violence. Only time will tell. The final quite incredible point is that there have been suggestions that Republicans were giving tours of the Capitol to people intending to riot. The purpose of these tours is allegedly to give the participants the “lie of the land”.

I’m going to end rather lazily as I am tired. The bottom line with the impeachment is that it will not be prosecuted before Trump is due to leave office. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made sure of that be stating that Senate will reconvene at the normal time which is mid-January way after Trump will have left office. However, if memory serves then the fact of the time lag will serve the Democrats because the Senate will be split 50-50. Should the verdict be 50 for and 50 against then Kamala Harris would have the deciding vote and she would of course vote for conviction. So perhaps the Republicans are playing a long game. In essence, they might get rid of Trump but those who are too spineless would not need to vote for conviction because it would be the democrats who would carry the day. That said, 10 Republicans voted for impeachment so a post president Trump could well be convicted unanimously with a bi-partisan vote. Should that happen then would not be able to hold office again and this would clear the way for the Republicans to rebuild in a post-Trump era. Well, at least in post-Trump formal political era. What Trump would do should he be convicted is another question entirely. Incite his extreme followers to take up arms? Perhaps. However, a number of his extreme right supporters have deserted him, believing that he has sold them out by condemning the violence. We shall see, we shall see. But one thing is for sure, Trump will continue to dominate the news in 2021.

First Published 14th January, 2021

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