Politics

Rival Senate Trial Concepts Roil DC

Can they or can't they?

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Days after impeaching Donald Trump for the second time, Washington is wondering if you can try a president in the Senate after that president has left office. There are Republicans and Democrats on both sides of the issue.

FNC: “After impeaching President Trump just days before he is set to leave office, House Democrats will not commit to a timeline for delivering the article of impeachment to the Senate so that a trial can begin.”

“The Senate has not been in session so the speaker is organizing the formal transfer of the articles and it should be coming up soon. I know the speaker also considers the president a clear and present danger to the republic,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-MD, a man with a comical toupee. Rankin will be the lead Democrat impeachment manager. He appeared Sunday on CNN.  “I haven’t spoken to [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi] today about this. Look, I know that everybody wants to focus on trial tactics and strategy and so on. I want people to focus on the solemnity and the gravity of these events…I don’t think anybody would seriously argue that we should establish a precedent where every president on the way out the door has two weeks or three weeks or four weeks to try to incite an armed insurrection against the union. This was the most serious presidential crime in the history of the United States of America.” Were any arms taken from the rioters?

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Adam Schiff piled on. “This is obviously the most serious crime against our country and Constitution of any president in history, and the fact that it took place in the last month doesn’t make it less serious.” Good to know Watergate is minor league stuff now.

“I believe it is constitutionally dangerous not to proceed,” Cory Booker said. “We just had a president of the United States try to undermine the peaceful transition of power, try to challenge a free and fair election, and him and his agents from the moments before from his son to his lawyer whipping up a crowd to go attack the Capitol. So I believe fundamentally the senate has an obligation to act…There must be accountability for actions that are this serious, this much of a threat—not just to our constitution but to the erosion of our nation. You need the Republican leader to cooperate in terms of time agreements, but I fully expect it to happen as quickly as possible.”

Do you agree that protesting is acceptable, but rioting is not?

But Republicans say, not so fast. “The Founders designed the impeachment process as a way to remove officeholders from public office—not an inquest against private citizens,” Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, said. “The Constitution presupposes an office from which an impeached officeholder can be removed.” That is very logical. One wonders if this is a time when that many people are listening to logic.

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New Republican House star Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina hit it on the head. “I stated very unequivocally that the House has every right to impeach the president of the United States, but the fact that we bypassed judiciary, we did not open up an investigation, that we bypassed due process, that set a dangerous constitutional precedent for others.” She’s right. It was a bum’s rush.

David Kamioner
meet the author

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army Intelligence and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland's European Division. He also served with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked for two decades as a political consultant, was part of the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort in Louisiana, ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia, and taught as a college instructor. He serves as a Contributing Editor for LifeZette.

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