I know, I know—it’s a mess, any way we try to slice it. Just days to go, on his way out the door, it will let him play the martyr, further inflame his base, perhaps hamper the new president’s crucial first weeks, shouldn’t we focus on “healing” now?
Thought about those, bought a few of them for a time, tossed & turned about them in sleep that seems to have come in half-hour slices the past 10 days, and have come out, in a slight spin on a then newly elected congressmember’s indelicate, admittedly inappropriate but nevertheless delicious phrase from her victory celebration in early 2019, a full year before Impeachment #1, “We needed to impeach, and now we have to convict the m—–f—-r….”
I’m also well aware that conviction is not bloody likely to happen in the Senate, but here are ten reasons why it should.
ONE Because he was the direct, most significant cause of the riot that took five lives and many more injuries last week. It was his months-long, utterly falsifiable rants about massive electoral fraud, spewed out via Twitter, in press statements and at rallies, that was the primary incitement for his supporters to storm the Capitol building and nearly break into the House chambers where Members of Congress were cowering under their desks. It was him who invited his supporters to come to Washington on the normally routine but suddenly pivotal day of congressional certification of electoral votes—and him who sent them off with a promise to join them (he didn’t).
TWO Because if sending an impassioned mob, many of them armed and itching for mayhem, off to confront another branch of government and his own vice-president with the intent of preventing them from fulfilling their Constitutional obligation to certify the 50 state electoral contingents doesn’t qualify as a “high crime and misdemeanor,” then what does?
THREE Because as he watched the mob battle outmanned police and breach the barriers to the inner sanctum of our most hallowed symbol of democracy, the rioters chanting about hanging his vice president and killing the Speaker of the House, barely missing the opportunity to capture them and follow through with their plans at the already constructed gallows near the Capitol, what did the nation hear from him? Nothing. He simply watched, mute, until hours later he issued a tepid plea to avoid violence while telling the rioters, “We love you. You’re very special.”
FOUR Because of Points # 2 and #3 above—they cannot be emphasized enough.
FIVE Because no one, not presidents nor princes nor ourselves, should be able to say and/or do horrible, irresponsible things that cause death, injury and destruction, and then walk away from them without consequence. This is fundamental to civil society and all social functioning. We teach it to our children, our students, even our pets. No good can ever come from no accountability. When the atrocity has been perpetrated by the leader of the country, accountability is all the more important.
SIX Because the world is watching, as they watched along with us in the horror of last week. America, the world’s once shining exemplar of freedom, democracy, and the peaceful transfer of power: Will it have allowed an attempted violent coup to play out on live television, orchestrated by the sitting president in a desperate, illegal attempt to hold onto power, without any consequence? The still free world and the tenuously free world are watching with pleading, downcast eyes. The despots are watching just as closely—joyous.
SEVEN Because he should never again be allowed to run for public office—and conviction followed by a sanction against holding office again is apparently the only means to achieve that goal. Given his direct assault on a free and fair election via incitement to a deadly riot that breached the halls of Congress, it is unthinkable that a man such as this would ever again be granted a position of public trust.
EIGHT Because his call on the previous Saturday, threatening the Georgia secretary of state with criminal prosecution unless he could “find” him the 11,779+1 votes he needed to overturn the state’s election result, was criminal and impeachable in and of itself. This was a mobster’s shakedown and attempted intimidation of an elected official, which the country was still digesting when he incited the riot five days later.
NINE Because last spring, as the pandemic he has colossally mismanaged at every step was gaining steam and states began taking aggressive measures to halt its spread, he went on a vicious tirade against that state’s governor, led by his urging of armed followers in an open-carry state to “Liberate Michigan!” After the nation grappled with the images of rifle-toting men milling about inside a state Capitol accompanied by calls to kill the governor, it was subsequently revealed that the FBI had foiled a plot by a group of the president’s supporters to kidnap and execute her. Did he ever utter a word of contrition or culpability for the barely averted atrocity his words had inspired? He did not. What he did to was cast many more aspersions over many more months on the governor and all other public officials who did not embrace his denial of the pandemic’s severity.
TEN Because if he is allowed to escape the consequences of his actions yet again, it will only embolden him, his children, and his entire abysmal enterprise of fake populism and manufactured outrage to attempt to do it again, perhaps to return as a tenacious conquering hero four years from now, or just as bad, hand the mantle to his eldest son. This would be the ultimate triumph of a crime boss family, exciting insurrection and intimidation at every turn, silencing critics, emasculating the free press, and furthering the family’s financial interests above all else. An outcome, I fear, that would mean the effective end of this nation’s vitality, hope, and role as a beacon to the world.
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Thank you but I think there are probably at least 20 more reasons to impeach him.
Undoubtedly true, Mr. Majestic! I limited myself for two reasons: 1) Didn’t want to get readers bleary-eyed, and 2) Wanted to give them an opportunity to add their own to the list!
Very complete discussion and solid reasoning, as usual Andrew. I wouldn’t give up on the possibility of conviction in the Senate, especially if the trial is protracted. It may give the 20 or so Republicans that I think will be needed (because some Democrats will defect) for conviction.
You think that that many Democrats might defect, Gerry? I’m thinking maybe Manchin, but others, too? How many Republicans might come on will ultimately boil down, I suspect, to how the impeachment issue is playing among more moderate Republicans a few months from now, or whenever the trial might happen. They’ll run for cover if the polls are suggesting 70% of Repubs are against conviction, but might be persuaded if Trump-weariness sets in sufficiently among all but the MAGA Heads and enough senators think they might be able to seize the party back from Trumpist idolatry.
Thanks, as always, for sharing your thoughts here.
A most excellent run down Andrew – while I think the majority of the “reality based community” clearly agrees with your analysis of DJT’s nefarious misdeeds I am almost equally appalled by the number of Republicans who continue to feed Trump’s BIG LIE – there must be some kind of public accounting/reckoning for continuing to support “alternative facts” because they provide the psychological/emotional context for the horrific acts you so clearly delineate! I don’t know if it’s possible to publicly censure or otherwise “call out” these goons but in any kind of moral universe these craven enablers deserve some just deserts! (maybe we bring out the medieval stocks??).
For sure, Kevin, that is a whole other topic worthy of a much longer diatribe! Trump did not do this alone, and all those who supported, rationalized, minimized, explained away, evaded, defended and laid down for him should also be held to account. The unfortunate thing is we can’t impeach and remove them, though it is in many cases richly deserved. (Starting with Cruz, Hawley and McConnell…)
NO ELEVEN! Jake Tapper’s (State of the Union) interview with Rep. Jamie Raskin is a must worth to see. He will be the lead prosecutor in the upcoming impeachment trial. Not only is he a former professor of constitutional law at American University and student editor of the Harvard Law Review, his family has long been involved in the most progressive social issues of our time. His arguments for holding the Senate trial mirror yours, though far less detailed. However, his moving discussion on depression (his son committed suicide on New Year’s Eve) overshadowed his comments on the need to impeach Trump. It speaks volumes to his character.
Wasn’t aware of Rep. Raskin, thanks, that’s an unthinkably sad story, and he is a brave man for bearing up under his personal tragedy and coming out of it so soon trying to do some good in this world.
I swear, the more footage and additional detail I come across about this insurrection, the more frightening it gets. The impudence of these seditionists pretending they speak for “the people!” Don’t know if you’ve seen this, but it’s 12 minutes of footage from inside the Capitol that day that will chill you. The videographer also has a lengthy story accompanying it in the same issue of The New Yorker. Hang in there! https://www.newyorker.com/news/video-dept/a-reporters-footage-from-inside-the-capitol-siege#
He needs to be convicted because of 10,000 little cuts to decency and democracy he has inflicted. The whirlwind chaos he puked up each day of his tenure never went punished. There’s more blood on his hands than any other President, and, at least, this second impeachment must have a satisfactory conviction!
I have a daughter and granddaughters who are impacted by anti-women he has normalized. Racism and white supremacy has been normalized. We went backwards in so many ways. This wound of a human being needs to be cauterized.
An apt image of the 10,000 cuts, Moon, thanks for that. Near the end, it felt like the whole country was in a pool of its own blood, weak and staggering. Now the bleeding is at least stanched, and we can take hope in what will no doubt be a long road to recovery—but it’s at least the right road!