by Heather Cox Richardson | January 11, 2020
This morning began with House Democrats filing one article of impeachment against Trump, charging him with “incitement of insurrection.” It makes its case by noting that Trump’s months of lies about the election and his inflammatory speech to the rally on January 6– including lines like “if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore”—led directly to “violent, deadly, destructive and seditious acts.”
The article also noted Trump’s attempt to subvert the election through his phone call on January 2, 2021, to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, demanding he “find” enough votes to overturn the results of the presidential election in the state. Including this in the impeachment article will prevent Georgia Governor Brian Kemp from pardoning Trump for it.
The article says that Trump is, and will remain, “a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law.” He must be removed from office and disqualified from any future positions in the U.S. government.
This document and the procedures around it tell us far more than their simplicity suggests.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had announced the day before that the House would take up a resolution, advanced by Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD), that called on Vice President Mike Pence “to convene and mobilize the Cabinet to activate the 25th Amendment to declare the President incapable of executing the duties of his office, after which the Vice President would immediately exercise powers as acting President.” The resolution did not speak to the physical or mental health of the president, but focused on his inability to fulfill his duty to respect the legitimate results of the Presidential election, accept the peaceful transfer of power, protect the people of the United States, and see that the laws be faithfully executed.
This resolution was a generous offer to Republicans. It limited its condemnation of Trump to his quite obvious refusal to accept the election results, rather than digging deeper into his behavior. Pelosi also called for Unanimous Consent to bring up the Raskin resolution. This was a way to give cover to Republicans who didn’t want to go on the record against Trump, but who want him out of power in favor of Pence.
Although extremist Republicans are trying to argue that removing Trump shows Democratic partisanship, in fact, Pelosi was trying to give Republicans as much cover as possible.
It was a Trump Republican who shot that down.Continue reading