Impeachment, President Trump, and Evidence That Demands a Verdict
This is the piece I never thought I would have to write.
Two of Ordinary Times’ best writers have laid out the events of the last few days far better than I can, so I will refer to them by way of review. Vikram, after first calling for the immediate impeachment of the president during the all-night Joint Session following the riots, followed up with a detailed reviewing of January 6, 2021 and the chaos that engulfed the United States Capitol and left 5 people dead:
That is the end of the speech, scheduled to end just before election certification would start. We know that after this the crowd headed down Pennsylvania Avenue as directed by Trump, though he did not accompany him as his speech indicated he would. After walking, they entered the Capitol building, leading directly to the deaths of at least five people.
President Trump did not tell anyone to enter the building. He merely told them that “if you don’t fight like Hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
Additionally, he says they are going to give “going to try and give [the weak Republicans] the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.” It’s not clear to me how that would be possible without physically entering the Capitol building.
For sake of argument, let’s say you believe that Trump always means for his speech to be taken in the most metaphorical way possible and never intends on anyone actually committing violence. Even assuming this, one would think Trump would at some point realize that a lot of people listen to him and interpret his words as marching orders.
Trump knows that his supporters are capable of violence he mentioned this in 2016 when he predicted his supporters would riot if he did not win the GOP nomination.
His fellow Republicans in 2016 accused Trump of encouraging violence at his rallies:
“I think a campaign bears responsibility for creating an environment,” Texas Senator Ted Cruz told reporters in Illinois Friday night, as networks beamed in live footage of the protests. “When a candidate urges supporters to engage in physical violence, to punch people in the face, the predictable consequence of that is that it escalates, and today is unlikely to be the last such instance.”
Earlier in the day, Florida Senator Marco Rubio strongly condemned Trump, saying there were “consequences” to his words.
“I would point out there isn’t violence at my events, there isn’t violence at Ted’s events, there isn’t violence at a Kasich event, there isn’t violence at a Sanders event, there isn’t violence at a Clinton event,” he told reporters. “There’s only one presidential candidate who has violence at their events.”
For his part, Trump offered to his supporters:
“If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them,” he said at a separate February rally in Iowa. “Just knock the hell out of them. I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees.”
This is Trump’s history.
For her part, Em Carpenter broke down the legalities of incitement and free speech issues from the events that started as a rally and ended in a riot, and concludes thusly about the president:
It is quite fairly argued that (President Trump) didn’t say those things because he knew he didn’t have to, that he should have known and probably did know what a powder keg he was lighting with his words. No one can seriously suggest that Trump was unaware of the rhetoric online or the overzealousness of his supporters; he is much too online for that. But again, this is the First Amendment we are analyzing. Combine with the reasonable doubt requirement of a criminal conviction, and prosecuting Trump for his words that day becomes a very tall order, in my opinion.
This is not to say his words and actions — and those of Cruz and Hawley — weren’t repugnant. Contemptible. Deserving of any political and social consequences that may follow. But they probably managed to just tiptoe the line of criminal without crossing. It is reasonable to argue that their rhetoric is to blame for what occurred, but moral blame is not the same as criminal liability. Free speech is not absolute, but it is pretty darn near.
Now congress is expected to vote on impeachment come Wednesday.
While the vast majority of House Republicans are expected to oppose the article of impeachment on Wednesday, there are expectations there could be as many as 10 — maybe more, maybe less — breaking ranks, according to House GOP aides.
Democrats are nearly united in their belief that the President deserves to be impeached and removed in the fallout of the pro-Trump rioters that breached the Capitol and put the lives of lawmakers — and Vice President Mike Pence — in danger on January 6th. The House will first vote on a measure Tuesday evening urging Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from power, which could signal how many Republicans will back impeachment.
Then on Wednesday, the House will take up a resolution and vote to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection.”
Trump’s impeachment for the second time in 13 months — which would make him the first President in history to be impeached twice — appears to be a foregone conclusion. The only question is how many House members vote in favor of removing the President from office eight days before President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in.
House Republican leaders won’t whip their colleagues and tell them to vote against the impeachment resolution on Wednesday, according to leadership aides. Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 in GOP leadership who has been sharply critical of Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, did not tell her members how to vote Monday, but she called the impeachment vote a “vote of conscience.” Cheney has not said how she will vote.
The president himself, having been removed from his social media voice, finally spoke out today on his way to Alamo, TX for a border wall visit, and answered a question about his responsibility in the riots:
Q: “What is your role in what happened at the Capitol? What is your personal responsibility?”
President Trump: “If you read my speech…people thought that what I said was totally appropriate.” pic.twitter.com/90Pdt8xFSz
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 12, 2021
So, what do we do about all this?
You can read the Article of Impeachment for yourself here. It is short and straightforward, with only a brief side trip through the president’s phone call with Georgia election officials to buttress the events of January 6th.
Congress should be ashamed of itself. They have dithered and politicked as usual even after a direct assault on themselves and the place they and their staffs work. It boggles the mind that the House and Senate currently sit adjourned. After the all night Joint Session that certified the vote after the long delay due to thuggish violence, many felt impeachment should be done right then, or the next morning at the latest. Instead, Congress has spent a week demanding and writing resolutions about the 25th Amendment which is outside their purview, not going to happen anyway, and mostly a machination to pass the buck to others. But they have finally brought impeachment, after an attempt to enter by consent was blocked on Sunday. All of the House of Representatives will now go on record, some for a second time, whether or not to vote for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
This will almost certainly not remove the president. The Senate is adjourned until the 19th, the inauguration is the 20th, and that will be that — or so the argument from the Senate Republican leadership will go. Not-yet Majority Leader Schumer is left trying to land a Hail Mary procedural call to recall the Senate, and failing that is batting around the idea of holding the impeachment trial after the inauguration. The uncharted territory and legalities of going through a process designed to remove a president from office who no longer is, is a debate we will leave to others.
Still the impeachment vote raises the question, and that question needs answered: Should Donald Trump remain the President of the United States, however briefly, after the events of January 6th?
It certainly feels like something has changed, as if there is a “soft 25th” going on where large swaths of the government have now bypassed the president. The continued and growing reporting that the president was not only unreachable during the crisis but utterly perplexed and unwilling to see it as anything wrong is a mix of stunning and unsurprising only late-stage Trump could produce. The dam among congressional leaders certainly seems to have broken and many, after spending half a day fearing for their lives, clearly find their viewpoints have changed. The President’s own language this morning is not changed; that statement about “They’ve analyzed my speech, my words…Everybody to a T thought it was appropriate” could just as easily been about the Ukraine call, the Charlottesville comments, the Raffensperger “find 11,780 votes” comments, or pick any of a dozen other things. While repeating there “must be no violence” he still couches all things against him as causing great anger. It is the same pattern over, and over, and over again.
And now the president is going to be impeached over again.
Is it worth it? Impeachment is a terrible, traumatic thing for the country, many folks argue. I’ve argued that twice now in my adult lifetime, first with President Clinton and last year with President Trump. Trauma, though, is a relative thing, and response to trauma is greatly influenced by past experiences. We as a country have now experienced the trauma of watching a mob overrun the halls of our government, cower our congress, beat a police officer to death, necessitate the shooting of a rioter as she tried to lead the mob in pursuing members of Congress trying to escape, and other loss of life. No political machination could be as traumatic as that, and certainly not as costly as human life. Like last year, the removal aspect of impeachment appears to be futile and not realistic, this time not just because of votes but because of the calendar. The argument last year during the impeachment was the election should be the judge, with impeachment doomed to fail. I argued that myself more than once. That argument does not seem to carry over to doing nothing now when no such judgement of the people is forthcoming.
The congress and its leaders have approached this impeachment with the half-assed posing and politicizing that is their primary function these days: more for the cameras and fundraisers than for the cause and the legislating. This impeachment process is vastly imperfect, and under normal circumstances would be called unfair and out of order. The President is not going to be removed by the senate barring a miracle, or God forbid a further tragedy. The 25th Amendment is not happening, and would probably not actually remove the president anyway.
Nevertheless evidence demands a verdict, and of all my failings as a person the love and duty to my country and all its people is something I will never stop striving to maintain, and I try my best to keep free of hypocrisy and unworthy gains. I’ve sworn an oath twice that I “will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” The next part of that oath is obeying the orders of the President of the United States. The context is those being lawful orders to be obeyed. The President has made it clear lawful is as absent from of his own character as his leadership was during the January 6th crisis.
Were I a member of the House of Representatives sitting for this Article of Impeachment, however imperfect both in form and circumstance, I would have no choice but to vote “Yea.”
And I’m sick about it, not for Trump, not for politics, not for myself or whatever opinions others might have about it, but that we allowed ourselves to get in this mess in the first place.
May God help us help ourselves to better days as a more perfect Union.
As far as I can tell, we have…
1) Trump whipped up the Crowd in an effort to overturn his lost election.
2) The Crowd did more or less what he more or less told them to do.
Regardless of whether this was legal, this was so breathtakingly bad that I’m good with impeachment right here. However we’re not done.
3) Trump seems to have prevented the forces of law and order from stepping in via either action or in-action.
So Congress basically has to impeach over this. It’d be a lot stronger and potentially more successful if they hadn’t already done this once but whatever.
My expectation is that one of the first things President Biden needs to do is give Trump a full pardon or we’re going to explore a trial. If the President is probably going to need a pardon, then we’re basically at the point where impeachment should be used.
He’s so far over the line that it’s reasonable to think Team Red would vote him out over this. That btw is the difference between this impeachment and the last. The previous one was over behavior that Team Blue would give a pass to a Blue President over.Report
While many of Team red’s players have seen themselves thrown under the bus by him and his supporters, they are STILL too afraid of loosing anymore power to vote against him. My red congressman not only persisted in voting against certifying Biden that night, but he is railing on and on about how impeachment is another Team Blue Travesty further dividing the country. he and his ilk are betting that in two or four or six years – when they stand for reelection – this won’t be an issue. even if the House votes to impeach – they are betting it won’t be an issue.
Good decent people are going to have to die for them to change their minds. Good decent people are going to have to die for them to admit to the lies. Good decent people are going to have to die to expose their power lust.
Against this backdrop impeachment is the only last worst alternative.Report
We already have had that.
RE: Red Congress
Team Blue has enough votes in the House to do this, some of Team Red will as well. Certainly not all of Team Red, nor even a majority, but enough so that it doesn’t look like a purely partisan thing.
Presumably the Senate would do much the same thing. Unclear if they have enough votes to convict (that’s a very high bar)… very likely the Senate just runs out the clock so it becomes moot.Report
Yes we have had good decent people die.
You will notice the deafening silence of the Back the Blue Crowd.
Team Blue can’t convict alone – though by tomorrow he is likely to be the only President impeached twice.
Team Red won’t do this. They believe if they do it ends their power. Just like the President believed his power would be eroded if he took the pandemic seriously.
They won’t do it.Report
“You will notice the deafening silence of the Back the Blue Crowd.”
No, that’s not true at all. It’d be a cute little hypocrisy if it were true, but it’s not. Last I heard we don’t know the specifics, so I think that makes it difficult to talk about, but most everyone I listen to has taken Officer Sicknick’s death seriously. The closest I’ve heard to lack of respect is people on the right saying the mirror image of what you just said, namely, since when did the F the Police crowd start caring?Report
Trump wasn’t even finished with his speech when the riot took place on Capitol Hill! But, the lamestream media would have you to believe otherwise. Since when has BLM ever supported Trump? They haven’t but yet a BLM leader was charged in that mess. The media’s trying to spin it as if he was just recording, but in the video he provided to the FBI he was heard shouting to burn it down! One thing that these fake news outlets won’t tell you is that the Democrats have to get Trump out of the way do that they can implement their Agenda 2030 plan! It’s going to be great according to them, it’s going to be a full Government control with World leaders policing us! So, you think that you’re safe with Biden, you have another thing coming! If you think this is conspiracy, just look ip up on the U.N.’s website and the World Economic forum’s website, then research exactly what this agenda is all about!Report
The D’s in congress have dicked around (this is a technical legal term) on this. But if the 1/6 insurrection isn’t impeachable then nothing is or ever was. Hell the Georgia phone call was impeachable and they should have articles about the next day. You can’t just call an official to cajole, threaten, push him to just find just enough votes to win a state. Whether it’s a few days overdue or not there have to be limits set on just how corrupt a prez can be. These are good lines right here. And if that isn’t it, there are more rallies scheduled to just put a little fear into elected reps. Every second of every day is chance for trump to turn this around. But we know trump and who is, so that ain’t gonna happen.Report
We, the people, have to be the enforcers here and make sure that support or even insufficient opposition to an act of insurrection and assassination of our government leaders is punished in the most severe way possible.
The people responsible should be refused a seat in Congress, and replaced in the next election. An event like this has to be the toxic Third Rail of politics, something no one dares do.Report
They won’t all be Chip. Not down here. My Tea party turned Trumpster Congress critter won’t be replaced. Our Senior senator – who voted to certify but has remained silent about the attack – won’t be. Our Junior Senator just won reelection and our state has no recall provision in its laws or constitution.
And Pelosi has already seated them.
Schumer will to.
So the president has to go. Its our only hope.Report
If Twitter is any indication, R support for impeachment is becoming, at least a little bit, a thing. I guess finding out the President doesn’t care if you die at the hands of his moronic, murderous supporters has caused the scales to fall from a few eyes.Report
Trumwill pointed this out on the Twitters:
Important cover for other Republicans considering doing the right thing. Still a long shot in the Senate but bipartisan support is one of the preconditions that may be coming together.Report
I’ll take the votes if they can deliver, but won’t lie that it’s more than a little oogy for me to see the Neo-Cons thinking they will get back the party.Report
Anyone who mistakes the need to repudiate Trump for a pass to go back to bombing the ME and striking sweetheart trade deals with sweat-shop countries will have a rude awakening. Some a-hole in a viking helmet won’t just take a crap in her office. The voters might elect him to it.Report
I don’t know. I saw a *HUGE* number of people cheerfully celebrating how now we can go back to brunch and isn’t it nice that we have a president we don’t have to fact-check anymore…
And I’m thinking “if you guys think that it’s 2008/2012 all over again, it’ll be 2016 before you know it”.Report
“to go back to bombing the ME and striking sweetheart trade deals with sweat-shop countries”
I said Neo-Cons, not Biden.
Ba da boom…here all week, folks.Report
Pelosi does not seem to like to do anything until she has the votes. As much as I am frustrated with the slowness of this, I think she also did not want to give McConnell a way to hamper Biden’s first 100 days. It is unclear to me when Schumer gets to be the majority leader but it does not seem to be instantaneous with Biden’s swearing in.
Liz Cheney came out as a vote for impeachment and so did some R-critters in the House. McConnell is allegedly delighted about the impeachment push and thinks it will allow the GOP to “purge” Trump from memory. I.e. he is hoping to get back suburban women who fled the GOP in droves from 2017 to now. On the other hand, tens of millions of Republcians have tasted hardcore QANON heroin and whether they go back to the softer stuff is questionable.Report
Overall, Liz has to deliver for Wyoming. Not “look how reactionary I am” deliver, but more concrete stuff. Her constituents spent the summer breathing smoke from fires on federal land. They’ve figured out that there’s no big future in coal, but there is in natural gas and wind and pumped hydro storage. Keeping their share of the Colorado and North Platte River water. The deals she needs to cut are with the bigger bluer western states that can fund regional fire-fighting air fleets and will buy gas, wind, water, and pumped hydro energy.Report
There’s actually a bunch of laws that would stop a lot of problems we’ve had under Trump, and even some before, and there’s no good reason for Congress not to work on them immediately.
1) Setup the ‘remove the president’ group under the 25th Congress were supposed to set up, as soon as Biden takes office to sign that law. Having the people in charge of voting for removing an incompetent president be people selected by, and _who can be fired_ by the president is absurd, in addition to causing some extremely weird constituional questions.
We could set up some non-partisan committee, or just…all former living presidents plus the Gang of Eight, or something. Remember, the 25th is not _supposed_ to be any sort of long term solution, it’s supposed to be an emergency for a president that’s been disabled or one that needs to be removed from power _right now_, faster than we can impeach…it allows removal until impeachment. (That’s why the thresholds for upholding it are actually higher than impeachment, you need a 2/3 majority in the House. If Congress really wants to fight the president using that, they should run a damn impeachment and get him out of office.)
2) Speaking of people who can be hired and fired by the president: Congress needs to make a new law setting the order of succession for _every_ Cabinet position. The law needs to flatly state you cannot hold a Cabinet position without being Senate confirmed, not even for a millisecond. And be completely standardized, not this absurd mismash of weird succession rules with complicated exceptions for different positions built over time.
Every single Secretary, even _acting_ Secretary, need to be Senate confirmed…which means probably the top three or four people in each Department should be Senate confirmed, and if some Department runs out, oh well, the President will just have to borrow an Senate-confirmed person from another Department.
Run out totally out of Senate-confirmed people because you decide not to nominate anyone, oh well, I guess that Department has no head and part of the government functionally ceases to work. (Because almost everything is authorized by the head.) So don’t do that. (I’d say like Congress could put in an acting head, but I don’t think that works, constitutionally?)
3) No such thing as debt ceiling. If the US government already allocated spending a certain amount of money, the Treasury is also authorized to borrow the money to cover said spending. Because of course it is. This is, frankly, a completely moronic situation to have to keep dealing with. (This, I believe, would count as a spending bill, and could be done under reconcilliation.)
These are all general-purpose laws that aren’t _technically_ targeted at anyone, and aren’t specifically political. But they do address some specific problems we’ve had over the years.Report
It’s for things like Strokes and Kidnappings.
This assumes an unlimited amount of time and good will that the Senate will use to confirm everyone.
Right now it takes roughly a year to confirm everyone when the Presidency switches parties. We probably should have fewer people confirmed, not more. The top guy should be able to pick his crew.
Serious reform of our addiction to debt would probably involve something like “additional debt is subtracted from Social Security”.Report
“Serious reform of our addiction to debt would probably involve something like “additional debt is subtracted from Social Security”.”
We can borrow at historically low levels and oh yeah, we’re the world’s reserve currency. I’m no MMTer, but conservatives have been screaming, “debt is going to destroy us” for decades now. I have no doubt that if we were Laos, we’d be having issues. But we’re not.
I’ll make a deal though – instead, any add’l debt is subtracted from the DOD budget and results in an increase in taxes, starting with the top bracket, until Eisenhower levels are reached.Report
You have hit the nail on its head. If you add all federal revenues and all federal expenditures about 1/3rd of what government does is on the national credit card. If you REALLY want to close that gap you have two options – lower spending or increase taxes. We’ve spent 50 years doing the opposite of both. And the economy has never grown enough to make up the difference.Report
It’s a problem that we want to deal with when it’s long term because when it’s a short term problem there are no good options.
The core issue is structural and political; It’s easier for current politicians to hand problems to future politicians than it is to do their jobs.
I am suggesting Social Security as a slush fund because…
1) It’s politically popular (no one wants to cut it) to the point where our political class would move heaven and earth to avoid it.
2) It’s big enough to matter.
3) It’s money and the word “cut” can be translated into something that’s obvious.
Cutting one penny from everyone who gets SS would be $700k, and it’s obvious what that means and does.
Cutting $700k from the DoD means what exactly? Are we closing 1% of a base? Building 1% less of a ship? Sending one fewer solider overseas? If we undo the cut, can we put 1% of the ship back?
While we’re on this subject I’d suggest all of these programs have budgets and sun-sets. If they need more then they should go back to congress, which would be easy for the popular ones and give Congress something to do other than manufacturing drama.Report
Taxing the rich on this issue isn’t a good solution because…
1) The core problem is spending other people’s money and how politically easy that is. We need a solution that forces political pain on Congress so they’ll do their jobs.
2) Even if we assume the rich will let themselves be harvested like mushrooms, the rich don’t have enough money to matter.
3) The level of economic destruction would be large and the amount of taxes actually collected because of behavior changes would not be.Report
everything the federal government does – at least on the discretionary spending side – has authorizing sunsets. My program is in the middle of reauthorization, which means committees in both the House and Senate will hold hearing, take testimony and decide if we need to keep going. Same for folks in Ag, Interior, and the like. Its activity that federal agencies are ALWAYS doing in some committee somewhere. You also can’t appropriate by authorizing – we have LOTS of laws telling us what to do that don’t have any pennies behind them.
I also disagree with you taxation assumptions. We had top marginal income tax rates at 70% and above until Reagan. And we have had more recessions since his tax cuts then we did between then and the Great Depression.
And as to the ease of spending other peoples money – nearly every state in the union has a balanced budget law or amendment. I’m sanguine that such at the federal level would really reign in Congress (Sequestration didn’t and neither did dropping earmarks), but if we aren’t going to tax people for the services they want, its worth a relook.Report
My “assumption” is announcing that your taxes may be above 100% if the gov makes a rounding error will create serious avoidance behavior right here and right now.
The total amount in income taxes the upper 1% paid in 2017 was $616 Billion.
Our deficit in 2020 was 3.1 Trillion.
The average income tax rate on the upper 1% is 33% (link below).
However, adding up all taxes and it’s something like 50%.
For reference, SS+Medicare+Medicaid are something like $2.1 Trillion and that’s not all entitlements while DoD is $676 Billion (CBO.gov).
RE: Balanced Budget Law
I don’t understand how that would be enforced without something like my suggestion.Report
It doesn’t say that anywhere. In fact, the strongest _previous_ case for a cabinet-invoked 25th we’ve had before Trump was Reagan at the end of his term, with early Alzheimer’s, and he wasn’t ‘unable’ to his job either. He still signed things in law, gave speeches, etc. He just required people to basically spoon-feed him everything.
But…what a part of the constitution is ‘intended’ for isn’t really what we should consider ourselves bound by, and our idea of what a disability is has expanded. Just because a disability is psychological doesn’t mean it can’t make someone unable to do their job.
As I’ve said elsewhere here, I’m opposed to the idea of using the 25th as a backdoor impeachment in these very specific circumstances we are in now, if such a thing was done was solely because the clock can be ran out. I get why people were talking about it, and it might be best solution considering that parts of Congress appear to be part of this coup attempt, or at least have no problem with it, but it makes me very uncomfortable that such a small group of people can just magically shorten the President’s term by upto three weeks.
OTOH, we have now impeached, and _probably_ are going to vote to convict. Which means…I wouldn’t really have had a problem with any emergency removal. I.e., I think the reasonableness of 25thing someone against their will based on their actions and temperament depends on whether or not that short term removal of his powers is actually part of an attempt to permanently remove him or not. If so, if it’s part of that, that’s fine. If not, that’s not okay.
Maybe that’s how we should think about this, in fact. Maybe Congress should pass a law assigning ‘the House’ as the group in charge of this.
And thus, as _part of_ impeachment, the House can say ‘We are removing powers of the office from the President for a very short amount of time, during which we need him to respond to our concerns.’ It would also remove concerns about a president under impeachment investigation misusing his powers.
You know what we could actually do, and this would be weird: The 25th amendment could _also_ be used as a way to criminally charge a president. The justification that they can’t be charged is that they ‘own’ the entire executive branch, and thus their own ’employees’ would have to bring charges against them, employees they could fire. But…the president could be 25thed long enough for actual criminal charges to be filed, and then immediately returned to power. At that point, it’s under the judiciary branch, and he can’t stop it.
No, right now the situation allows them to do that, to just not confirm people.
If no acting heads are allowed, then…executive departments operate, legally, via their head. Everything done in a department is done via their authorization, which is why the people that are currently serving _illegally_ (Like Chad Wolf.) are actually going to cause major problems unwinding what they did.
Making the law extremely clear basically would mean those executive departments cease to work, completely. And, despite a lot of Republican yammer, there is not a single Department they would be willing to simply shut down.
There’s actually a very easy way to stop that, and that’s for the Senate to start holding partial hearings for people nominated by candidates.
No. Absolutely not. Hell, this president had a bunch of people confirmed, at the start, that _aboslutely_ should not have been confirmed, and his nominees only got worse, and then he just stopped making them.
I didn’t say anything about reforming anything. I said ‘Congress is not allowed to pass laws requiring government spending and then debate over if it should fund those things.’
And suddenly I’m reminded of my plan for stopping government shutdowns: Apply labor law to them, make it literally illegal for unpaid workers to be required to show up for work. Tada, no one is manning the goddamn nuclear waste facilities. And so I guess we are not, under any circumstances, ever allowing the government to shut down.
Maybe we should just do that instead. The government ever runs out of money, or shuts down, the Secret Service and the Capitol police and National Guard all just go home, and naval ships have to be immediately abandoned at sea by the crew. Can’t pay them, they cannot legally work for you.
We give WAY TOO MUCH slack allowing the political factions to do _completely insane_ things that risk the proper functioning of the government, because we rig things where it ‘still works’ in a cery shitty way. Let’s stop _coddling_ this behavior, and just ‘No, literally everything breaks if you do this.’
We shouldn’t allow the President to not nominate reasonable people for the cabinet, and we shouldn’t allow the Senate to refuse to confirm them, and the way to do that is to simply say ‘If that does not happen, we literally do not have a Department of the Interior or whatever, and the entire National Park Service goes home and no one is authorized to clear protestors from the National Mall or Lincoln Memorial.’.
Anyone going ‘But what about Trump’…maybe we would have impeached him IF WE TOOK HIS BEHAVIOR SERIOUSLY.Report
I said on day one that I really liked the sound of “President Pence”.
We are one Senate vote and one Supreme_Court+Bible swearing in away from that being a reality. Even if it’s for a few minutes, it makes him the presumed front runner and hopefully prevents this insane 15-people-running-let’s-take-the-most-(in)famous.
He’s not my first pick but we could do a lot worse (and have).Report
I consider Trump temperamentally unfit for the presidency. I’ve had four opportunities to vote for him, and I never have. If I had been a 2016 elector, I would have been “faithless” to Trump but faithful to what I see as the Electoral College’s role.
I see the first impeachment as politically-motivated garbage, and I didn’t support it. If I had been a member of either house I would have voted nay.
There were a lot of irregularities in this past election, and most of them would have made election fraud easier. The Trump team had several dozen opportunities to make the case that the election was stolen. I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t trust the courts completely, but they’re not all corrupt, and I trust a handful of SCOTUS members. I have to consider the election valid.
If I were a Cabinet official, I would have been out around the time that Trump failed to accept the results of the election and subsequent court cases. If I were somehow still there, I wouldn’t push for the 25th Amendment, because I don’t think it was intended for this purpose. He’s unfit for office, but not in that way. If I were in Congress, I wouldn’t have opposed the electoral count.
That’s a lot of words to get to where we are now. I probably could have supported an article of impeachment on his undermining of the legitimacy of the election. I don’t see how the currently-proposed article can be supported, though. I believe it’s motivated by some legitimate concern, but also some salting of the earth. As a Republican partisan, I’d be happier if the Senate ruled that Trump could no longer run for office, although I think there would be a price for that action in blood. My inner Rorschach says that this is a matter of principle, however, and I would support an article of impeachment on the undermining of the results.Report
FWIW, NYT is reporting that McConnell thinks Trump committed impeachable offenses, will wait for the hearing to officially decide, and isn’t going to pressure anyone in his caucus to vote either way.Report
FWIW, NYT isn’t W much.Report
Just curious: Does it matter that they were basically talking about ‘permanently’ removing him via 25th, because his time in office would expire before the time Congress had to respond? Which I admit is a bit of a misuse of that. (1)
But what if this situation was happening not at the end of his term? I know this is happening because it _is_ the end of his term, but imagine instead …Congress had passed some bill, he’d vetoed it, and Congress was attempting to do a veto override and he’d set up this rally to ‘pressure Congress’, with the same sort of situation, the same sort of lies about how it would destroy the Republic, and it had gone the same outcome…violent rioters running around trying to find members of Congress and sheer luck keeping us from having a few public executions and a twenty-minute very-one-sided civil war?
And what if the intent of using the 25th had instead merely to remove him from control right that second. With Congress starting immediate impeachment proceedings, to remove him permanently?
I think that clearly would be justified, but I’m curious to know what you think.
1) Honestly, we need to remove a lot of these delays. There’s fundamentally no reason to have any time between ‘electors selected’ and ‘new president taking power’. There’s literally no alterations in the outcome that are supposed to be able to happen between those two points. We need time to count votes and resolve any court cases about that, and that’s _it_, it’s over. Move the election to mid-December, electors have to be selected by January 18, we stick a day in there for Congress to do things, the president takes power Jan 20, done.
As for the transition, I think Trump just demonstrated we should do it the other way around: Presidental staff (and even the previous president) should be expected to (and paid to) hang around _after_ the new president is in office, to help for a few months.Report
I’m not sure I follow the scenario, probably because I’m a little too sleepy to figure it out. I can just say that this scenario – where Trump threw all his weight behind something other than a second term – didn’t happen, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. If Trump cared about something beyond a second term, he’d be different, and the story would be different, ergo the intervention (if necessary) may be different.Report
I just explained above in my comment to Dark Matter a bit more:
I share what I think is your concern about using the 25th amendment to remove someone from office, I’m just wondering what you would think about using it to remove someone who is dangerous, but still competent, from office temporarily _until_ they could be removed via impeachment. I.e., I think there’s a difference between using the 25th to remove a president in a short term, when there are not the votes to remove (Which is bad) vs. using it as part of removal.
Aka, ‘We are suspending you for no reason’ vs. ‘We are suspending you while we decide if you will continue’.
I know that’s not what it’s intended to, but…it’s actually very stupid we do not have any rapid way to remove the president except that.
We’re apparently having a removal delay right now because calling the Senate back into session early requires unanimous consent…and I’m pretty sure removing the President from office is not intended to require unanimous consent!
Basically, theis because rapidly removing the president from office would have been impossible at the time of the founding of the US, due to communication delays…but the president _doing_ bad things would also have been fairly restricted, too.
As the world has moved faster, and we have weapons that can basically destroy the world, but even not thinking about those, we have instant communications all over the world and near-instant travel, so allowing a president a week to do anything he wants is…extremely dangerous. In 1787, it wasn’t. What was the president going to do? Things happened at the timing of months, not hours. (On top of the fact the office has grown much more powerful.)
And the 25th was an attempt to fix that some, specifically, due to the idea that JFK could have continued to ‘be president’ while brain dead, which would have been extremely dangerous WRT to the Soviets. It was just a focus that was too narrow…or, can be read that way. Or it can be read more broadly.Report
Someone cynical might say that a call for Censure is an attempt to deflect.
There are some things that we have found out in the past two days:
1. Representative Boebert (Q-Colorado) tried to tweet out Pelosi’s location during the insurrection. You can argue that the tweets were vague enough but it sure looks to me like she was trying to alert the mob. She also defended them at the begging of the affair.
2. Trump reverted to brand and is being unrepentent
3. John Eastman of the Federalist Society told Pence he could simply chuck out votes he did not like.
4. Representative Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) claims that other members of Congress led people on “‘reconnaissance’ mission” tours of the Capitol Building a day before the insurrection.
In short, shit is really bad and we are going to find out it is even worse than it is and it is already much worse than we thought last week. I do not think every Republican was in on it. Perhaps most were not but I suspect that the reason we are finally seeing the tide switch is because a lot of Republicans are shitting their pants on what they unleashed. Gohmert was a true believer but an idiot. Boebert is the real deal and is Green (Q-Georgia) and they are scary as shit. They are also learning the crazy can come for them too. In short, the GOP politicians are not the leopards, their base is.Report
Comment in mod.Report
BTW, I feel this is somewhat important. Saul mentioned some of it:
I already had this conspiracy theory thought out in my head, it’s obvious in a way, him and his administration wanted the vote delayed, and gave a speech that _somehow_ resulted in a riot that caused the vote being delayed. But I had no idea there was this much evidence for it.
And, yes, a lot of the stuff presented there is circumstantial, yes, but…it’s the sort of circumstantial that would be incredibly easy for law enforcement to look into. And this could explain a lot of the silence on the part of law enforcement, which is almost completely inexplicably at this point. They don’t just shut up like this unless speaking would endanger a case.
They’re arresting people, right now, and the question is: Are they just arresting them, or are they asking them to flip on the administration?
And as was noted at the very end:
I didn’t see tonight’s Maddow, but it’s on my DVR, I will check it out.
Again, this is a conspiracy theory, it literally is a theory of a conspiracy, I don’t think we should treat it as _true_, I’m not saying it is. But…is any part of it outside how we think Trump would act?
And…as I pointed out a few days ago, if this is true…Trump committed felony murder, as in, he conspired with people to commit a felony, and people died.Report