Have elected Republican officials helped prepare for the invasion of the Capitol with support from Donald Trump and far-right militias? This is the question that agitates the American political landerneau, reports in particular the Guardian.
“If members of Congress are found to be complicit in this insurgency, if they aided and abetted this crime, there could be consequences outside of Congress in terms of prosecution. [judiciaires, ndlr]», Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday.
She refers to the allegations of an elected Democrat from New Jersey, Mikie Sherrill, who claims to have seen Republican parliamentarians making visits “of recognition»From the Capitol the day before the events. “These members of Congress whom I saw inviting groups of visitors to the Capitol on January 5, in gratitude for the next day, […] I will ensure that they are held accountable and, if necessary, that they can no longer be elected to Congress ”, she said in a video last Wednesday.
Mikie Sherrill and 33 other Democrats signed a letter calling for light to be shed on the identity of visitors and the reason for their presence. In theory, public visits to the Capitol have been banned since last March due to the pandemic. However, many parliamentarians continued to invite small groups.
The January 5 visits were more numerous than usual and different according to Mikie Sherrill and the signatories, some of whom were “Served in the army and are trained to recognize suspicious activity”. They also demand that facial recognition software be used.
Today I joined with more than 30 of my colleagues in requesting an investigation from the Acting House SAA, Acting Senate SAA, and USCP into the suspicious behavior and access given to visitors to the Capitol Complex on Jan. 5, 2021 – the day before the attacks on the Capitol. pic.twitter.com/zpPUSUuSrj
FBI warns of the risk of violent action as Joe Biden’s nomination draws near.
Congress and Trump accuse each other of inciting violence. At the instigation of its Democratic president, Nancy Pelosi, whose office was taken over by rioters last Wednesday, the House of Representatives began a new impeachment procedure against the president, a week before the end of his mandate. Accused of inciting an insurgency for his speech calling for a march on Capitol Hill, Trump refused any responsibility, retorting that the impeachment proceedings launched against him risked, on the other hand, sparking further violence.
Read also :Could Donald Trump be made ineligible?
“This dismissal creates immense anger”Trump said before flying to Texas on Tuesday, where he was to visit the border wall site, one of his campaign themes. “This indictment is truly the continuation of the greatest witch hunt in political history. It is absolutely ridiculous. And it’s a really terrible thing they’re doing, Nancy
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New York, Washington Mark A. Milley is a soldier through and through. The 62-year-old has dedicated his life to the military and, as Chief of Staff, is something like the highest military in the United States. Like most soldiers, the general from Winchester, Massachusetts, held back from making political statements in public. Alone because it wasn’t right.
But this reluctance has been over since January 6, the memorable day on which supporters of US President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol. Milley and his staff wrote a letter to the armed forces reminding their soldiers that they must defend their constitution.
“Freedom of expression and the right of assembly do not give anyone the right to violence, riot and insurrection,” the statement said. In the US Congress there were scenes that clearly violated the rule of law. It was an “attack on democracy”. They also make it clear that “Joe Biden will be the 46th President of the United States.”
America in a state of emergency – this does not only apply to the political situation because of the second impeachment proceedings, which the Democrats should decide on Wednesday with their majority in the House of Representatives. It also applies to the security situation.
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America’s institutions resemble a fortress in the run-up to Biden’s swearing-in on Wednesday – not just in the capital, but in almost every state in the country. There is great fear that scenes similar to those in the Capitol could take place in many parts of the country on January 20th.
On Tuesday, the FBI and the Justice Department addressed the public in a press conference. According to them, the violence on January 6th could be part of a wide-ranging, well-organized “seditious conspiracy”. There are serious indications of a “consistently high, coordinated threat level” across the country.
Washington is dominated by fear
“This phase of the change of government is unlike anything we have ever experienced, the security situation is extremely precarious,” says Lara Brown, Politics Professor at George Washington University. She was “horrified and dismayed” at the fact that millions of US citizens believe “the conspiracy theories of an outgoing president” – and some of them united in the storming of the Capitol.
In the hours around the impeachment vote, the US Congress is more like Fort Knox than a building that is expressly open to the people. Construction workers have erected concrete barriers, hundreds of National Guard soldiers swarmed in camouflage and armed the Capitol.
Congress members are checked several times with metal detectors on their way to work. Security measures in the rest of the city have also been increased significantly: helicopters are circling, world-famous monuments are locked, the marble tower of the National Monument was closed to visitors after bomb threats.
Even the tourism industry is reacting to the dangerous situation. The accommodation and rental platform Airbnb announced on Wednesday that all reservations in and around Washington would be canceled in the week of inauguration. “Numerous people have been identified among the customers who are either connected to hate groups or otherwise involved in criminal activities in the Capitol. You have been banned from our platform. “
The power change ceremony in one week, in earlier times a symbol of solidarity with the people, is reduced to a minimum in public. The fear is too great.
In Congress in particular, there are fears of new riots or attacks by individual perpetrators. Shortly before the impeachment vote, the congressional police warned the leadership team in the House of Representatives of “retaliation” by Trump supporters. The Senate was also informed about the danger situation, among others from secret service representatives from the Pentagon. “From what we’ve heard, we have serious concerns about persistent and violent threats to our democracy,” a group of Democrats said afterwards. There is a real danger of “fatal attacks by violent extremists”.
The fears are fueled by Republicans in Congress who do not recognize Biden’s victory even after the storming of Congress. Trump also warned on Tuesday that the impeachment was “an enormous danger for our country, it triggers enormous anger”. This anger is apparently not limited to just the protesting Trump base.
The Joint Chiefs’s concern also concerns how deeply ingrained this anger might be in the US military. As president, Trump had massively increased the military budget and is particularly respected among veterans. There is still speculation in Washington about why the National Guard was so late in approving the assault on the Capitol. According to the Democratic governor of the neighboring state of Maryland, the Pentagon did not give permission for hours to send soldiers to reinforce it.
Up to 15,000 soldiers deployed when Biden was inaugurated
For the moment, the deployment of the soldiers seems to have been clarified, more than a thousand national guards will cordon off the capital by the end of January. But the fear of gaps in the security concept remains. Interior Minister Chad Wolf resigned last week in protest against Trump’s agitation. Ironically, there is a leadership vacuum in the authority that is supposed to protect citizens from terrorism and other threats. In Washington, the security concept is now coordinated by FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Administration. Otherwise, the authority mainly provides assistance in the event of natural disasters.
The fear of the Trump troops is by no means limited to Washington. Armed protests in front of the capitals of the individual states are expected across the country. There were riots in the capital of the state of New York last week. A pro-Trump demonstration in Albany saw stabbing in front of the Capitol and five people were arrested.
State Street in front of the Capitol is closed to traffic these days, and barricades on the sidewalks are designed to prevent crowding. Dog-escorted state troopers – state police officers – patrol the empty aisles of the Capitol these days. New York has been holding its meetings virtually for a long time because of the pandemic.
In Michigan, the state has banned the carrying of firearms in the Capitol, which is otherwise permitted. In Wisconsin, the National Guards – part of the US military – support the state police. In Georgia, armed guards are already standing outside the Atlanta Capitol during the sessions. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said it learned of possible armed protests in the coming days. The police are on standby.
In liberal California, too, the security forces in the federal capital Sacramento are preparing for a possible onslaught. “We are all on high alert to make sure everyone is safe” and “that the right to free speech can be exercised but that there is no violence,” said Governor Gavin Newsom.
The danger is real
The Trump troops go out of their way to organize, although Twitter, Facebook & Co. have recently been eagerly trying to block not only Trump’s opinions, but also those of his supporters online. The supporters of the incumbent president are now relying on the Telegram messaging app, among other things.
There participants would share information on how to build bombs and weapons, reports the US broadcaster NBC. Telegram is based in Dubai, the content is barely checked.
The start-up was founded by the Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov. In the past few days, the app recorded the fastest user growth in the company’s seven-year history. From Saturday to Monday alone, the app would have 25 million new users from all over the world, as Durov announced.
The app, which now has more than 500 million active users, also benefits from the fact that users are increasingly turning away from the Facebook subsidiary WhatsApp.
Social media apps such as CloutHub are also recording increasing numbers of downloads. CloutHub, for example, positions itself as a Facebook alternative and adorns itself with the fact that it has won so-called “ambassadors” who regularly post content. Among them is an activist by the stage name Carpe Donktum, who became known for Trump memes and was banned from Twitter in June. The right-wing extremist movement QAnon is also represented there with a group. And BitChute, a video platform, has built a reputation for distributing neo-Nazi videos and conspiratorial content.
The Terror Asymmetrics Project think tank is watching the developments with concern and has already alerted the FBI. “If the users call for murders when it comes to specific actions instead of just sharing information, then the risk level increases,” said the head of the institute, Chris Sampson, on NBC.
Over the past few days, he has observed that the participants are exchanging ideas about where they can best position themselves for the inauguration. Army documents would also be shared via Telegram, including a manual on explosives and demolition, and an entry on how to radicalize Trump supporters and turn them into neo-Nazis.
“Million Militia March” is what Trump’s supporters call their next big action, with which they want to disrupt Biden’s inauguration. Information about this is still being spread on Twitter. “Many of us will return to Washington on January 19th with our weapons,” says a post on Parler, which continues to circulate in a screenshot on Twitter. “We will be so many people that no army and no police authority can counter that.”
Returning to General Milley, the soldier received a surprising phone call late last week. Nancy Pelosi, the majority leader in the House of Representatives who prepared the lawsuit against Trump, was on the line.
The Democrat wanted to find out about the security precautions in connection with the nuclear codes, “in order to prevent an unstable president from sparking military conflicts or calling up the (nuclear) codes and ordering a nuclear strike,” Pelosi later said. Milley assured her that there were security measures in place to prevent this. That has never happened in America either.
More: Second impeachment proceedings: Trump warns of “enormous anger” in the country
In the US House of Representatives, according to one MP, the Democrats have passed a resolution to impeach President Donald Trump.
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, awaits a response from Vice President Pence Foto: J. Scott Applewhite/ap
WASHINGTONafp / dpa | The US Democrats have passed a resolution in the House of Representatives to impeach President Donald Trump. The impeachment text, in which Trump is accused of “inciting a riot” because of the storm on the Capitol, was presented on Monday in the Congress Chamber, as the Democratic MP Ted Lieu announced. The Democrats also called on Vice President Mike Pence to remove Trump.
But the Republicans have blocked for the time being an ultimatum aimed at by the Democrats for US Vice President Mike Pence to remove incumbent President Donald Trump. The attempt by Democratic MP Steny Hoyer to pass a resolution unanimously failed on Monday due to opposition from Republican MP Alex Mooney.
The resolution was intended to call on Pence to take immediate steps to remove the incumbent president on the basis of an amendment to the US constitution following the storming of the US Capitol by supporters of Trump. The resolution stipulates that Pence respond to the request within 24 hours.
The House of Representatives will meet again on Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. local time (3:00 p.m. CET). It is expected that it will then deal with the resolution again and decide on it. Since the Democrats have a majority in the chamber, the resolution should then be passed.
The spokeswoman for the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, had already urged Pence in the past few days to take steps to remove Trump. The basis is Amendment 25 of the US Constitution.
According to this, the vice-president can declare the president incapable of “exercising the rights and duties of office” with a majority of important cabinet members. But Pence has not yet responded to the demands.
Washington, Berlin, Düsseldorf Never before have parliamentarians in the USA initiated two impeachment proceedings against a president. There has never been a procedure like this just a few days before the end of a presidential term. And never before have the accusations against a president been so grave and touched the foundations of the democratic constitution so strongly as in this case. So there are several reasons to call this impeachment process historical.
In the case of the Democrats in the House of Representatives, Donald Trump is accused of an “uprising against the USA”. Indeed, the storming of the Capitol should go down as a defining event in American history. January 6th is something like a legacy of the Trump presidency, which put America – and to some extent the rest of the world – into a permanent state of emergency.
On Tuesday, the incumbent president made his first public statement on the allegations that he had triggered the storm on Congress by speaking to his supporters. His choice of words was “completely appropriate,” said Trump. He condemned the impeachment proceedings as a continuation of the “witch hunt” on him. This creates “enormous anger” in the country. However, he “never wants violence”.
Despite all the assurances of the President: The elimination of the political damage of January 6th, the coming to terms with this impeachment will drag on well into Joe Biden’s term of office. The 78-year-old Democrat will be sworn in on the stairs in front of the Capitol on January 20, exactly at the point where Trump supporters wanted to prevent his inauguration a week ago. More symbolic power is not possible.
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In the following we answer the most important questions of this impeachment procedure.
What are the Democrats accusing the President of?
In their indictment, the Democrats accuse Trump of instigating an “insurrection or rebellion” against US government institutions. They link their move with the demand to ban Trump from all political offices in the future. What is interesting is that the prosecution is not just concerned with the Capitol Hill uprising that Trump urged his supporters to take.
The Democratic bill lists Trump’s campaign against democracy, including his weeks-long fight against the November 3 election result and his threatening phone call with the Georgia state government.
How does the procedure work?
First there is a House of Representatives indictment. Since the Democrats with their 222 seats have a majority there, they are not dependent on the Republicans to remove the president. Because a simple majority is enough. In order to push Trump out of the White House, however, the Democrats need the support of the Republicans in the subsequent Senate negotiation. A two-thirds majority is required to convict the president.
How realistic is a condemnation of Trump?
The Democrats had already indicted the President in December 2019 in the context of the Ukraine crisis of abuse of power and obstructing the investigations of Congress. The Republican-dominated Senate acquitted him three months later.
Even in the upcoming trial, it is unlikely that the Democrats will get the two-thirds majority necessary to convict the president. Even if the Democrats have a slim majority in the Senate after the Georgia runoff elections and even if a handful of Republicans should turn against Trump, that is still not enough for 67 of the 100 votes in the Senate.
A judgment before the transfer of power is also almost impossible. The previous Republican majority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, plans to begin the deliberations on January 19 at the earliest, one day before Biden’s swearing-in on Thursday.
Can the process be accelerated?
There are various speculations in Washington about how the impeachment process could be accelerated in order to possibly persecute Trump after his term in office is over. In this way, the House of Representatives could work out the lawsuit directly without involving the Justice Committee.
But even if there were a quick vote on an impeachment in the first chamber, the Democrats would have to wait for the Senate to be replaced. This will only take place after Biden’s inauguration. Since the two Democratic candidates won the by-election in Georgia, the Democrats have a slim majority in the Senate because of the casting vote of the future Vice President Kamala Harris.
This means that the majority democratic Senate could then determine the length and rules of the procedure. This means that the Senate can vote to take legal action against Trump, even though he is no longer in office.
However, none of this changes the fact that a two-thirds majority is unrealistic for a conviction in the context of impeachment. Because the future 50 Democratic Senators are still missing 17 Republicans.
What are the Democrats doing with the process?
Impeachment is not the Democrats’ primary goal. It has more of a symbolic meaning, which should be a warning to future presidents and not let Trump get away with it. So the first thing for the Democrats is to set an example with the process. The grotesque images of the “desecration” (original quote Pelosi) of the most important US institution have led to a global loss of reputation for American democracy. That should not go unpunished – so the argument of the Democrats.
The draft resolution says that Trump should be banned from future government offices. The current president has already said several times that he does not want to withdraw from politics after his term in office. Trump even hinted at a new candidacy in 2024 in December. The Democrats now want to put a stop to this.
This shows two things: You trust the demagogue Trump to make a political comeback even after the latest escapades. They also believe that the Trump base is so stable and large that it will remain a determining factor in American politics. The Democrats know: 74 million US citizens voted for Trump in the November elections.
Why don’t the Democrats take an easier route under Amendment 25?
At the same time, the Democrats are working on a resolution to put pressure on Vice President Mike Pence: They are giving him and the US cabinet an ultimatum of 24 hours to take action themselves and declare Trump incapacitated. The 25th Amendment to the US Constitution provides for such a procedure when the president is no longer able to carry out his business under his oath of office.
This resolution was voted on late Tuesday evening in the House of Representatives, where the Democrats have a majority. However, Pence announced earlier on Tuesday evening that he did not plan to remove Trump from office prematurely. Such an approach was neither in the interests of the nation nor in accordance with the Constitution and would set a “terrible precedent,” the Republican argued.
Who are the main actors?
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic majority leader in the House of Representatives, initiated the first impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. Even then, she did not make the decision easy for herself, because the Democrats did not want the start of the 2020 election year to be overshadowed by an ongoing debate about Trump.
But the pressure from the Democrats in the Ukraine affair was too great not to at least try. The Republican-dominated Senate with majority leader McConnell exonerated Trump from the allegations.
Even now the timing of the impeachment is difficult, because actually one wants to bet on a new start with the designated President Joe Biden, leave Trump behind and reconcile the country again. A political exhibition fight would rekindle the dispute and make cooperation between Biden and the Republicans more difficult. For many of his political projects, the president not only needs 51 democratic votes, but a total of 60 votes in the Senate.
Biden has suggested that the senators divide up their time: half of them should deal with Trump’s impeachment, the rest of the time should be used to advance Biden’s agenda.
It is possible that Pelosi will choose an interim solution: She can bring the impeachment to a vote in the House of Representatives, but will not pass it on to the Senate for a few months. There her fellow party member Chuck Schumer will lead the Democratic majority by January 22nd at the latest.
In 1924 the brochure of a then rather unknown constitutional lawyer named Carl Schmitt appeared. This brochure was entitled “The intellectual and historical situation of today’s parliamentarism” and it was quite something. Because Schmitt attacked the Weimar Republic head-on in his essay: He differentiated between “parliamentarism” here and “popular rule” there. The difference between democracy and dictatorship is only of secondary importance.
The dictator couldn’t do an injustice at all because he was, so to speak, the avatar of the entire “people”, explained Schmitt in 1933. One can write something like that when the “rule of the people” has finally defeated “parliamentarism”. In the United States, the story turned out differently:
New York, Düsseldorf It has become quiet around Donald Trump – no tweets, no Facebook posts, no public appearances. The incumbent president has retired to the White House. Some say he barricaded himself.
Since Trump more or less directly called on his supporters to storm the US Congress (interview: “It’s going to get wild”), nothing is as it was. The world around the president has shaken. His last loyal supporters, who are of political weight, have distanced themselves from Trump.
Vice President Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell, the powerful Republican parliamentary group leader in the Senate, and colorful Senators like Lindsey Graham from South Carolina – all are turning their backs on Trump, late but decisively.
And above all: there are the belligerent Democrats who want to initiate a second impeachment against Trump – that has never happened in American history either.
The Democratic majority leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, had already indicated that the actions of Trump are so “serious that it must have criminal consequences”. Her party colleague Ted Lieu has now confirmed that the party wants to initiate the process on Monday.
“We expect a vote in the plenary next week,” he told CNN. In the draft resolution, Trump is described as “a threat to national security, democracy and the constitution”.
The Democrats had already indicted the President in December 2019 in the context of the Ukraine crisis of abuse of power and obstructing the investigations of Congress. The Republican-dominated Senate acquitted him three months later.
The motives of the Democrats
Even in the upcoming trial, it is far from certain that the Democrats will get the two-thirds majority necessary to condemn the president. A judgment in the Senate before the transfer of power is also almost impossible, even if the House of Representatives should open the proceedings next week.
But what are the Democrats’ motives for starting this complex process shortly before the regular end of Trump’s term of office?
Impeachment is not the Democrats’ primary goal. The draft resolution says that Trump should be banned from future government offices. Trump has already said several times that he does not want to withdraw from politics after his presidency. Trump even suggested a new candidacy in 2024 in December. The Democrats now want to prevent this. That shows two things: You trust the talented demagogue Trump to make a comeback even after the most recent escapades. They also believe that the Trump base is so stable and large that it will remain a determining factor in American politics. The Democrats know: 74 million US citizens voted for Trump in the November elections.
The Democrats are also interested in setting an example with the process. The grotesque images of the “desecration” of the most important US institution have led to a global loss of reputation for American democracy. That should not go unpunished – so the argument of the Democrats.
“It’s about the dignity of democracy,” says the renowned US economist Kenneth Rogoff in an interview with the Handelsblatt. The President’s behavior has “totalitarian features”, he has called indirectly or even directly to storm parliament.
It is “absolutely necessary that those who have committed the attack on our democracy are held accountable,” wrote Pelosi in a letter to Democratic MPs on Saturday. This “desecration” was instigated by the President. Ultimately, then, it is about the rehabilitation of the US Congress by convicting the president.
New majority in the Senate
There is now various speculations in Washington about how the impeachment process could be accelerated in order to possibly persecute Trump after his term in office has ended. In this way, the House of Representatives could work out the lawsuit directly without involving the Justice Committee.
But even if there were a quick vote on an impeachment in the first chamber, the Democrats would have to wait for the Senate to be replaced. This will only take place after Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20th. Since the two Democratic candidates had won the Georgia by-election, the Democrats have a slim majority in the Senate because of the casting vote of the future Vice President Harris.
This means that the majority Democratic Senate could then determine the length and rules of the procedure. This in turn means that the Senate can vote to take legal action against Trump, even though he is no longer in office.
However, this does not change the fact that a two-thirds majority is unrealistic for a conviction in the context of impeachment. Because the future 50 Democratic Senators are still missing 17 Republicans.
It is true that there is also growing skepticism towards Trump among the Republican senators. Republican Senator Pat Toomey told Fox News on Saturday that Trump’s offense would meet the criteria for impeachment.
His colleague Ben Sasse made a similar statement. And on Friday, Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski openly called for Trump to resign. All three senators have long been considered internal party critics of the president.
The fact is: The Senate will not meet for its next regular session until January 19, one day before Biden’s inauguration. A memorandum from Republican Majority Leader McConnell, circulated by the Washington Post, states that under the current rules, the proceedings could begin at 1pm on January 20 at the earliest – one hour after Biden’s swearing-in and Trump’s departure from office.
The future president himself had already announced that he would not intervene in the debate about impeachment. Such a procedure also harbors risks for him. Because it could make Biden’s start considerably more difficult. The process would largely block the Senate for weeks pending a judgment.
Biden, however, depends on the senators confirming his nominated cabinet members and numerous high-ranking government officials in office. His plan to massively expand the state’s corona economic aid could also be significantly delayed.
Self-pardon would be a novelty
Trump himself is initially primarily concerned with protecting himself from the judiciary. As President, he enjoys extensive immunity from prosecution. This immunity ends with his term of office on January 20th. US media are already reporting that Trump discussed several times with advisors after the November 3 election about pardoning himself.
The self-pardon of a president would be a novelty. It is controversial whether such a step would be legally permissible. The constitution does not expressly exclude self-pardon.
The second possible variant, in which Trump actually makes his deputy Mike Pence president for the last day of office and then pardons him, is hardly conceivable. According to reports from the US media, the two broke up. Since last Thursday there has been “radio silence” between them.
When it comes to Trump, there is also silence on the country’s major social media platforms: Facebook and, above all, Twitter, the mouthpiece with 90 million Trump followers that actively helped make the billionaire from New York president .
At the end of the week, both tech companies had Trump’s accounts permanently blocked. Apple and Google also felt compelled to take action. They threw the Twitter alternative Parler from their app stores. In the past few months, Parler had become an alternative for Trump supporters because, unlike Twitter and Facebook, the network also largely allows radical posts that glorify violence.
So, at least as far as the Washington establishment is concerned, it’s not only getting lonely about Trump, it’s also getting quieter. “President Trump will work late from morning to night. He will make many calls and hold many meetings, ”has been the standard phrase in the calendar that the White House sends to the media for a few days. That was also on Trump’s agenda on Saturday and Sunday.
Loyal to him, however, is Trump’s fan base. Despite all the outrage over the violent riots in Congress – in a poll by the YouGov Institute, 45 percent of Republican voters said they supported the assault on the Capitol. Only 43 percent of those questioned condemned the attack.
The President-in-Office said the other day that the “incredible journey” for him and his loyal supporters had only just begun. As hopeless as Trump’s situation currently appears, his political opponents must also fear that these are far more than mere perseverance.
The chaotic term of office of US President Trump ends next week. The Democrats still want impeachment proceedings. At first glance, this may seem like pure symbolism – but it goes far beyond that.
Photo series with 30 pictures
Donald Trump did not want to go down in history for this: The Republican is already one of only three US presidents who have had to undergo impeachment proceedings. Now he is also threatened with an inglorious unique selling point: If the Democrats in Congress live up to their threat – and everything points to it – Trump will become the first head of state in the USA against whom two such proceedings have been opened. Another novelty: If the impeachment process actually starts, it should not be completed until the elected president is no longer in the White House. From the perspective of the Democrats, impeachment is inevitable.
Most Americans are still in shock days later when they stormed the Capitol. The mob had incited Trump at a rally on Wednesday, who desperately resisted the fact that Congress wanted to seal the election victory of Democrat Joe Biden. “You will never retake your country with weakness,” shouted Trump. “If you don’t fight like the devil, you will have no more land.” The president also appealed, “Call on Congress to do the right thing.” The result of the violence that followed: five deaths, including a police officer – and devastating scenes at the seat of the US parliament that damage the reputation of the most powerful democracy in the world.
“Danger to national security”
The Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu spoke of a “violent overthrow of Congress” that the rioters who were encouraged by Trump wanted to bring about. Lieu is co-author of the impeachment resolution that the Democrats want to bring to the House of Representatives this week. The President of the United States is described in the draft resolution as a “threat to national security” and is to be charged with “inciting riot”. Even in the chaotic Trump era, that would have been hard to imagine recently.
Supporters of Donald Trump after storming the Capitol: Democrats blame Trump for the attack. (Source: AP / dpa)
The Democrats now want to push for a possible impeachment of Trump at lightning speed. First of all, Vice President Mike Pence is to be given a final deadline to take steps to remove Trump, as House Chairwoman Nancy Pelosi announced on Sunday. The basis is an additional article of the constitution, according to which the vice-president, together with a majority of important cabinet members, can declare the president incapable of “exercising the rights and duties of the office”. The chances seem slim: The Republican Pence has been ignoring demands from top Democrats for days.
Chances of success low
The next step is to initiate the parliamentary impeachment procedure with the resolution of Lieu and his colleagues. The House of Representatives could decide on the opening this week, the necessary simple majority is foreseeable. The process itself – which resembles a court process – would then be conducted by the Senate, the other chamber in Congress. The Senate will not meet again until January 19. According to the impeachment rules, the procedure could start at 1 p.m. on January 20 at the earliest. One hour before Trump’s term of office ends with Biden’s swearing-in.
If the Senate passed a verdict, the Trump era would be history. The approach of the Democrats seems symbolic at first glance, but there is more to it: The resolution not only provides for Trump to be removed from office – but in a second step also to ban him from all government offices for life. It would be the end of the politician Trump, who otherwise could run for the presidency again in 2024.
However, the Democrats’ chances of success are slim. No president has been removed from office in US history. Trump was also acquitted by the Senate last February in his first trial of the so-called Ukraine affair because his Republicans still had a majority in the parliamentary chamber at the time. Since 1798 – when the first trial ever took place with the impeachment of a senator – the Senate not only removed the accused from office in three cases, but also issued a suspension of office. Federal judges were affected in each case.
Trump and the “madness”
The suspension of office cannot be decided alone – the Senate would first have to vote for removal from office with a two-thirds majority. That is not foreseeable, at least not yet: Criticism of Trump is also increasing among Republican senators. Since the weekend, two of them have openly called for the president to resign, while a third wants to at least consider the House of Representatives indictment. Senator Pat Toomey justified his call to resign on CNN on Sunday by saying that since the election defeat Trump had descended on “a level of madness” that was unforgivable and previously unthinkable.
Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi read the Electoral College results in Congress: Biden becomes the 46th President of the United States. (Source: AP / dpa)
The Democrats also see the impeachment proceedings as a kind of reserve resolution: If Trump affords further serious offenses, the Senate could meet before January 19 to start a lightning-fast process immediately – if all 100 senators agree. The Democrats warn that every day Trump stays in office is a threat to the country. The chairman of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, was already consulting with the armed forces leadership, according to her information on Friday, in order to prevent an “unstable president” from “starting military strikes” or ordering an “atomic attack”.
Last but not least, the Democrats want to initiate impeachment proceedings because they want to make an example. Left Senator Bernie Sanders said: “It needs to be made clear that no president, now or in the future, can lead an insurrection against the American state.” Many compatriots want to get rid of Trump immediately. In an ABC poll published on Sunday, 56 percent said Trump should be removed from office shortly before the end of the day. Another 19 percent are only against the fact that the president will soon be leaving anyway. Only 23 percent spoke out against impeachment because Trump did not do anything wrong in the week of the fateful Capitol riots.
However, critics of impeachment proceedings warn of the consequences. The first impeachment case against Trump has deepened the political rifts in the United States. Even then, Democrats and Republicans faced each other irreconcilably, as were Trump supporters and Trump opponents in the country. “I am convinced that an impeachment under these circumstances will further divide the country,” warns Senator and long-time Trump confidante Lindsey Graham.
Republicans also raise the question of how an impeachment fits the words of future President Joe Biden – who said the country finally needs healing, calm, unity. Republican Congressman Kevin Brady has accused the Democrats of placing “the desire for revenge above the best interests of the country.” The Democrat Lieu does not want to accept that. “We are healing our nation by holding those responsible for the coup attempt accountable,” he wrote on Twitter. “Starting with the man who instigated him: Donald Trump.”
Dhe “Speaker” of the American House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, has set out the procedure in the efforts to prematurely disempower President Donald Trump. In a first step, a draft resolution is to be introduced into the chamber on Monday, in which the removal of Trump by Vice President Mike Pence and the Trump cabinet will be required, as the leader of the Democrats wrote to her parliamentary colleagues on Sunday.
According to Pelosi’s plan, the House of Representatives should vote on this resolution on Monday or Tuesday if possible. Pence is to be set by parliamentary resolution a deadline of 24 hours in order to respond to the demand for Trump’s removal according to Amendment 25 of the constitution. This article gives the Vice-President the opportunity, together with the Cabinet, to remove the President if they consider him unfit for office.
Plan B: Impeachment
Should Pence not comply with the House of Representatives’ request, according to Pelosi, a procedure for the impeachment of Trump by Congress should be initiated immediately. Pence has recently distanced himself from Trump. However, he has not indicated that he could be prepared to remove it on the basis of Amendment 25.
The Democrats as well as some MPs from Trump’s Republican Party accuse the elected president of direct joint responsibility for the storming of Congress by rioters last Wednesday. Shortly before the violent attack on parliament, Trump repeated his completely unsubstantiated accusation of massive fraud in the presidential election in November in a speech at a rally and urged his supporters to march on the Capitol.
Trump is supposed to be replaced by his elected successor Joe Biden on January 20 anyway. But the Democrats do not want to allow him to finish his term in office. “We will act urgently to protect our constitution and our democracy,” wrote Pelosi.
For impeachment proceedings against a president to be initiated, the House of Representatives must first bring charges against him. This is what is known as impeachment. A simple majority is sufficient for this charge to be brought. It is certain that this majority would come about, since the Democrats have a majority in the House of Representatives and can also count on the approval of some Republicans.
According to the constitution, the decision to impeach the president does not lie with the House of Representatives, but with the Senate. In this chamber the Republicans are in the majority. In addition, a two-thirds majority is required for removal from office. It is considered unlikely that this majority would come about. In addition, the time for the procedure is short, since Trump will be leaving office in a week and a half anyway.
Even the initiation of further impeachment proceedings would be a great shame for Trump. He would become the first president in American history to be subjected to such a procedure twice. His first impeachment trial revolved around his efforts to get help from Ukraine for his election campaign. It ended in February of last year with Trump’s acquittal by the Senate.
(ANSA) – NEW YORK, 10 JAN – “We must save our democracy. It is absolutely essential that those who have carried out the attack on our democracy are held responsible”. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi writes it to Democratic deputies. “It must be acknowledged that this desecration was instigated by the president,” Donald Trump, Pelosi says, referring to the assault in Congress. (HANDLE).