on Tuesday, the House will take two steps to speed up Trump’s departure. It will vote for Vice President Mike Pence to use the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office, and if he does not, then this further steps on Wednesday will be taken to impeach him.
With this new decision by the Democrats, the current president will become the only president to have faced two impeachment trials. It remains to be seen whether he will meet the same fate and succeed in not being removed from office before it is his turn to hand over the presidency to Joe Biden.
Democrats are seeking to hold Trump accountable for the violent assault on the Capitol by a mob of his supporters in a march against Biden’s confirmation as president.
According to Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, this time they do have the votes to charge Trump with “inciting insurrection.”
Six Senate Republican advisors told Washington Post that despite the Republican Party’s “fury” with the president, they don’t think the Senate can muster enough support to condemn Trump.
“Many say there aren’t enough political advantages to convince at least 17 Republican senators to take a step that could hurt their re-elections with Trump ready to leave office in eight days,” says the Post.
For his part, California Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, said in a letter to members of his party that he opposes the impeachment of the president. He said doing so would further divide the country in the wake of last week’s attack on the Capitol and proposed other ways the House could respond.
«Personally, I still believe that an impeachment at this time would have the opposite effect of uniting our country when we need the United States to get back on track towards unity and civility».
A group of seven Republican congresspeople, led by Ken Buck of Colorado also addressed a letter to Joe Biden asking him to talk to Pelosi and convince her to stop the impeachment process against Trump.
“A second impeachment, just days before the President leaves office, is as unnecessary as it is inflammatory. This impeachment will undermine her priority of uniting Americans and would be yet another distraction to our nation.”
But even a hasty vote in the House would tighten the Senate timetable which, according to Republican Mitch McConnell, could begin as early as January 20 when Trump leaves the White House.
Impeachment: Almost impossible?
A New York Post article explains that “if the House instantly convicts [Trump], without conducting any investigation or allowing any defense, the possibility of a conviction is cut off because the Republican-led Senate will not act before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in at noon on January 20.”
In addition, “you can’t charge public officials who are not in office,” former NYU law professor Peter Rajsingh told the media.
“Any post-exit Senate trial would be a sham trial for political purposes, not a legitimate constitutional trial,” said William Jacobson, a law professor at NYP.
“Congress does not have the power to impeach any official after he or she has left office,” argued Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz.
Trump would only be removed from office if two-thirds or more of the Senate votes in favor. That means a considerable number of Republicans would have to vote for his removal.