When the House of Representatives approved articles of impeachment for Donald Trump on December 18, 2019, a recurring Republican objection was ”Why not wait for the election and let the voters decide instead?” With the voters having already decided and Donald Trump literally one Scaramucci from the door, does impeachment now make any sense at all?
I claim yes. With Donald Trump representing a clear and present danger to the safety of the United States government, its people and the people of the world, it is the duty of the United States Congress to remove him as quickly as possible by exploring all legal means at their disposal. Since Donald Trump is a raging, malignant narcissist and thus unlikely to resign, and it’s doubtful Trump’s cabinet will exercise the 25th Amendment, impeachment is the only option open to them.
But is impeachment practical? Can even the most fast-tracked impeachment be finished before Donald Trump’s term of office is completed in 11 days? The answer, of course, is almost certainly not. So what’s the point? He is, after all going anyway, and impeachment won’t make him go any sooner.
The point is manifold. First, whether or not, in any sane scenario, impeachment can achieve its desired goal in time to get Trump out early, it’s still the duty of the Congress to proceed. A murderer does not necessarily get out of legal consequences simply because he has a terminal disease.
Second, the impeachment process does not necessarily cease after the defendant’s term of office expires. Trump’s impeachment could conclude, if the last one is indicative of a likely timetable, sometime in March of 2021. Even though the Senate is far from a Democratic supermajority, there are enough Republican Senators who might calculate that a vote to convict would be politically advantageous for them.
Third, one consequence of an impeachment and conviction could be that Trump is barred from ever seeking public office again. That is perhaps the most important reason of all, because it would take the wind out of the sails of any potential future pro-Trump dreams of future MAGA glory.
Fourth, convicted or not, it would mean that Donald Trump would be the only American President to be impeached twice. That would be a great humiliation for Trump and his followers, and an official repudiation of Trumpism generally. Besides, I don’t know about you, but I would enjoy seeing Trump humiliated afresh after all the people he has destroyed and humiliated himself.
Fifth, all findings of an impeachment trial can and will be used against Donald Trump in a court of law. Apart from robust evidence that Trump is guilty of incitement to murder, money laundering and tax evasion, in the language of the Constitution, Trump may also be guilty of “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” His actions on the 6th of January alone support the charge of treason. And Trump’s crimes would be paraded in front of the world on television for all prospective jurors to see.
I therefore think a second impeachment of Donald Trump is indicated. I have no sympathy at all for professional armchair complainers and naysayers who don’t want to be “dragged through another impeachment.” My advice to them is the Monty Python one: Don’t watch. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.