July 23, 2024

impeachment now

Today’s Events in Historical Perspective
America’s Longest-Running Column Founded 1932
Why impeachment? Why now?
By Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift
          WASHINGTON – Impeachment of President Donald Trump will go forward, not as a gesture nor for posterity, but because a clear and present danger exists and can be thwarted. Here is how:
          The House of Representatives addresses the situation for the dire situation it is and moves expeditiously to pass the Article or Articles of Impeachment without delay, ideally as soon as they are presented when the House reconvenes on January 11. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says the House of Representatives is on track to proceed.
          But an impeachment under the current time-limited circumstances would be intended for an audience of one: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who has the power to call the Senate back into session where a two-thirds majority is required to remove the president from office after Articles of Impeachment are passed by the House. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts would preside, but under precedents he set during the previous impeachment of President Trump, he would not take a judge’s proactive role, which means a Senate vote could quickly come.
          If McConnell does not convene the Senate, the impeachment will die, and a message will be sent: the president does not present a clear and present danger even though a rising bipartisan chorus says the opposite.
          If McConnell does call the Senate back into session, he and every senator will understand it will be for the sole purpose of convicting the president. They will be compelled to vote, and enough Republican senators will join their Democratic colleagues to remove the president.
          However, most of these Republican senators will not want to cast such a vote because the latest polls show a majority of the Republicans still support Trump. And herein lies the purpose of the House passage of Articles of Impeachment. As soon as McConnell announces the session, many if not most of the 50 Republican senators will be contacting Vice President Mike Pence, demanding that he and a majority of the president’s Cabinet invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
          Currently, the vice president has indicated no desire to do this, perhaps because the required majority of Cabinet members are not yet on board. A chorus of Republican senators would certainly change their minds.
          Further, the odds of a presidential resignation would increase.
          So, in the end, the House passage of Articles of Impeachment will provide three pathways to end this constitutional crisis: the Senate votes to remove the president, the vice president and Cabinet invoke the 25th Amendment and remove the president, or the president removes himself.
          Meanwhile, the cloud hanging over all of this is comprised of the millions of Americans who refuse to believe Trump lost in a fair election, having been mesmerized by the lies of the president and his individual and media enablers. Republican governors and other state officials, Trump-appointed judges, and the U.S. Congress have confirmed the election’s validity to no avail. An unequivocal pronouncement by Trump could change many of their minds, but he is unlikely to do this. This means that a unified move denouncing the president by right wing media combined with a revolt of congressional Republicans and Trump’s Cabinet will be necessary if minds are to be changed and the country is to be brought back into a sense of national equilibrium. Impeachment can be the impetus.
          Douglas Cohn’s latest books are World War 4: Nine Scenarios (endorsed by seven flag officers) and The President’s First Year: The Only School for Presidents Is the Presidency.
          Twitter:  @douglas_cohn
          © 2020 U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.
          Distributed by U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.

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