Trump’s second impeachment: It is only the beginning
U.S. President Donald Trump made history on Jan. 13, 2021 by becoming the only president to have been impeached twice, a fitting end for such a controversial term in office.
A house majority voted to impeach President Trump, charging him with inciting violence against the government after the riots on Capitol Hill. This follows his 2019 impeachment for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
On Jan. 11, representative Ilhan Omar introduced two articles of impeachment against Trump. The resolutions list an abuse of power for attempting to overturn the election results in Georgia and incitement of violence for orchestrating an attempted coup against [the United States].
Fortunately, sufficient evidence was found in support of the latter claim, and the United States’ House of Representatives voted in favour of impeachment.
A common misconception regarding the impeachment process is that it refers to the removal of a president from office. Impeachment only refers to the House of Representatives bringing forth charges against the president. In other words, they are simply acting in a similar role to a prosecutor.
The House of Representatives holds the responsibility to formally accuse (impeach) a federal officer of high crimes and misdemeanours. With the president having been officially impeached on Jan. 13th, this is where we are currently sitting.
Next, the Senate will attempt convicting the accused officer (Trump, in this case) in an impeachment trial. Following the trial, the Senate will vote once more on whether or not to convict.
In regular circumstances, the president would be removed from office, and his vice president would assume control. However, with Trump’s term officially ending when the Biden administration assumes power on Jan. 20, things might be a little different.
According to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Senate trial would begin after Trump’s presidential term has officially ended. McConnell noted that the senate can receive articles of impeachment on Jan. 19, 20, or 21, which would officially begin the trial.
Even if the simple majority vote to convict does not succeed, the impeachment could be utilized by the Democrats – who take control of the Senate later in January – to vote on barring Trump from running for president again in 2024. This could even take place without the support of Republican senators.
Once Biden’s government has taken over, Trump can sue and prevent the Senate trial from taking place. However, with many Republicans formerly in his favour having turned against him, along with the constitution deeming the Senate in possession of sole power to try all impeachments, this seems highly unlikely.
So, with Biden set to assume office on Jan. 20, what is the point of the US government attempting this process again?
Firstly, this second impeachment will force accountability for Trump’s involvement in the most heinous attack on the US Capitol to date. Secondly, it will effectively purge Trump from the Republican party. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the second impeachment will prevent Trump from running for office ever again.
Similarly, a successful conviction would mean that Trump could lose the following post-presidency benefits:
- His pension – which would have been about $219,00 per year.
- Transition Costs – Trump would ordinarily receive monetary compensation for the expenses of leaving office; this covers office space, staff compensation, communications services, and postage costs. There is no explicit guidance under the Former Presidents Act regarding what might be considered reasonable or appropriate office space.
- Travel costs – A 1968 legislation authorizes a former president to access funds for official travel and related expenses. Trump has allegedly already cost American taxpayers over $144,000,000 for golf-related travel expenses!
- Secret Service – The soon to be former president would be eligible for lifetime Secret Service Protection. It remains unclear whether or not this benefit will be accessible to Trump if he is convicted.
For a millionaire who doesn’t even pay more than $750 in annual taxes, he certainly does not need these extra benefits.
It is difficult to inform accurate speculations regarding what the Biden administration will do to repair the damages Trump has caused throughout his term.
I hope this is just the beginning of a long line of possible convictions for his many alleged crimes (a not-so-subtle nod to the Jefferey Epstein association rumours).
As Canadians, we may not believe this procedure is any of our concern. However, with the US being the most influential player not only on our own economy and borders but on the world stage as a whole, it is our responsibility to remain informed regarding the governmental troubles of our closest neighbours.
A successful conviction in the coming weeks might just save the American people from further controversy and suffering under the influence of such a corrupt individual. One can only hope that this course of action might set a precedent for any future presidential candidates with less than agreeable aspirations.