DemDaily: Incitement of Insurrection
January 11, 2021
While the nation still reels from the violent assault on the Capitol and our democracy Wednesday, members of Congress are debating the final chapter of Donald Trump's precidency and the penalty for inciting the insurrection that ended up with the death of five people and dozens more injured.
Almost one year after President Trump was impeached for "High Crimes and Misdemeanors," his treasonous actions have spurred yet another impeachment battle and constitutional showdown.
|No president has ever been removed from office through the impeachment process, and none has ever been impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors twice. Prior to Trump's first impeachment on December 18, 2019, only two US Presidents had been impeached: Andrew Johnson, in 1868 and Bill Clinton, 1998.|
In a long-planned and heavily promoted rally held in opposition to the January 6, 2021 congressional affirmation of the electoral college vote, Trump incited followers to march on the US Capitol.The ensuing chaos and riots that ravaged the halls of Congress, prompted national and international outrage over the President's actions, with immediate calls for his resignation.
"The president lit the fuse which exploded on Wednesday at the Capitol and every day he remains in office is a real and present danger to the country," said House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-WA).
The bipartisan call for removal of Trump from office has been echoed in the resignations of several of his own Cabinet members, and public condemnation by former administration officials, military and public leaders.
With only nine days left in his term, Trump faces one of four fates.
|In a Quinnipiac poll released today, 53% of voters surveyed say Trump should resign, and 52% say he should be removed from office.|
If Trump were to resign before the end of his term January 20th, Vice President Mike Pence would ascend briefly to the presidency, opening up the option for Pence to pardon Trump. All indications are that Trump has no intention of resigning.
Removal, by the 25th Amendment
On Monday morning, House Democrats introduced two resolutions.
The first, authored by Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD), a constitutional scholar, called on Vice President Pence to "convene and mobilize" to declare Trump unfit to carry out his duties, and vote to remove the President from office under Article 4 of the 25th Amendment.
Originally intended for transfer of power to address illness in office, the 25th Amendment to the Constitution allows for a sitting vice president and a majority of the executive branch's cabinet to, upon agreement, transfer power out of the hands of a sitting president.
At that point, the resolution -- essentially an ultimatum by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- gives Pence 24 hours to respond.
If the Vice President is unwilling to initiate such action, congressional leaders are preparing to move forward with articles of impeachment against the President.
The second resolution was an article of impeachment against the President, charging him with 'incitement of insurrection' for his role in the takeover of the US Capitol last week by a violent pro-Trump mob.
The Constitution allows House lawmakers to introduce a motion to impeach, or a privileged resolution for impeachment, and proceed directly to a debate and floor vote.
Impeachment requires a simple majority for passage.
|The House of Representatives has the sole power to impeach a president, but removal from office is contingent upon trial and conviction by the United States Senate.|
Last Friday, Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell circulated a memo among GOP colleagues, laying out a timeline for a potential impeachment trial.
However, that does not preclude the Senate from conducting a trial and possible conviction after the new President and Senate is sworn in. House Majority Whip James Clyburn has floated the suggestion that a Senate trial that could take place after Trump leaves office and Biden gets through the first 100 days of his administration.
A two-thirds vote is required to convict Trump. If the Senate were to vote to convict, they could then proceed to a simple majority vote on whether to bar him from holding future federal office.
A vote on impeachment, the first step toward that process, is expected Wednesday.
Although President Trump has been banned for life from Twitter "due to the risk of further incitement of violence," that has not kept him from communicating to his supporters.
|This afternoon, in an internal bulletin, the FBI warned that "Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols" and the US Capitol between January 16th through January 20th."|
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Sources: NBCNews, NewYorkTimes, WashingtonPost, Mother Jones, The Hill, USCongress