US Senators Vote To Proceed With Trial Of Donald Trump

n this file photo taken on December 7, 2020 US President Donald Trump looks on during a ceremony presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to wrestler Dan Gable in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC.

 

The US Senate voted on Tuesday to proceed with the impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump, rejecting defense arguments that it was unconstitutional.

Defense lawyers had argued that Trump should not face a trial in the Senate for inciting insurrection because he was no longer president.

But the Senate voted 56-44 to proceed with the trial, with six Republicans joining Democratic lawmakers.

The vote, held before the main part of the trial was to get underway Wednesday, saw six Republicans join all 50 Democrats in the evenly divided Senate.

Despite this modest show of bipartisanship, the result highlighted the nearly impossible task of getting the two-thirds majority — requiring 17 Republicans to join the Democrats — that would be needed to convict Trump of inciting insurrection.

Earlier, both sides presented their opening cases, with Democrats arguing that Trump broke his oath in a naked bid to retain power after losing the November election to Joe Biden.

Refusing to accept his defeat, Trump spread lies about vote rigging and repeatedly pressured officials, including then vice president Mike Pence, to try and stop the transfer of power.

Finally, on January 6, Trump told enraged Republican supporters near the White House to “fight like hell.” The crowd, chanting “stop the steal,” then attacked Congress, where Pence and lawmakers were in the process of certifying Biden’s victory.

“If Congress were to just stand completely aside in the face of such an extraordinary crime against the Republic, it would invite future presidents to use their power without any fear of accountability,” Democratic impeachment manager Joe Neguse said.

Video from the January 6 mayhem played back inside the ornate Senate packed the biggest punch.

Senators — who witnessed the events first hand when they had to be rushed to safety that day — watched raw footage of Trump’s speech and the crowd’s ensuing assault on the Capitol.

The video montage showed the mob chanting pro-Trump slogans as it smashed through the doors, swarmed over police, and managed for the first time in history to disrupt the congressional vote certifying the election.

“If that’s not an impeachable offense, then there is no such thing,” lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin said.

Fighting tears, Raskin recounted how he and his family — who were visiting to watch the certification — had been trapped, listening to “the sound of pounding on the door like a battering ram, the most haunting sound I have ever heard.”

“This cannot be the future of America,” he implored senators.

Trump laywer David Schoen, however, said the Senate had no jurisdiction to try Trump once he had left office and warned that the impeachment threatened to “tear this country apart.”

It will leave the United States “far more divided and our standing around the world will be badly broken,” he argued.

Trump sets record

Trump is the first president ever to face two impeachment trials — he was already acquitted in 2020 of abuse of power — as well as the first in history to be tried after leaving the White House.

His team is basing its case largely on the procedural argument that a former president cannot be tried, calling the Senate trial “absurd.”

They also argue that whatever Trump said during his January 6 rally is protected by the constitutional right to free speech and did not amount to ordering the assault on Congress.

The trial is clearly uncomfortable for many Republican senators, who, like their Democratic colleagues, had to flee to safety during the violence. Reminders of the mayhem are everywhere around them, with thousands of National Guard troops still deployed around the newly fortified Capitol building.

Despite this, a second acquittal is all but certain for Trump, who is holed up in his luxury Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Amped up on four years of Trump’s populist claims to be fighting for ordinary people against the elites, huge numbers of Republican voters continue to support the ex-president, pushing their party ever further to the right.

Polls show that a small majority of the country overall believes Trump deserves conviction. An Ipsos/ABC News poll found 56 percent back this, while a Gallup poll found 52 percent support.

Among Republicans, however, an overwhelming majority opposes convicting Trump.

Biden above the fray

Biden, who succeeded Trump on January 20, is attempting to stay above the fray.

Daily, the White House is sending a message that the Democrat is focused instead on the fragile economy and the desperate effort to vaccinate Americans against the still out-of-control Covid-19 pandemic.

When asked on Tuesday about the trial, Biden offered a short few words.

“Look, I told you before… I have a job,” he said. “The Senate has their job and they are about to begin it and I am sure they are going to conduct themselves well.

“That’s all I am going to say about impeachment.”

If Trump were convicted, the Senate would then hold a simple-majority vote on barring him from future public office.

But even if the impeachment trial ends in acquittal, calls to punish Trump for his behavior will likely continue, including possibly a push for a bipartisan vote of censure

House Sends Trump Impeachment Article To Senate, Triggering Trial

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 25: (L-R) The impeachment managers Representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA), Stacey Plaskett (D-US Virgin Islands AT-Large), Joe Neguse (D-CO), and Madeleine Dean (D-PA) leave the Senate floor after delivering the article of impeachment on Capitol Hill on January 25, 2021 in Washington DC.  Melina Mara-Pool/Getty Images/AFP

 

The US House of Representatives presented a single article of impeachment to the Senate on Monday accusing Donald Trump of inciting the storming of the Capitol, setting in motion the first-ever impeachment trial of a former president.

In a solemn procession, the nine House impeachment managers silently walked the article through the same ornate halls of Congress overrun by Trump supporters on January 6 and delivered it to the Senate.

Representative Jamie Raskin, the lead impeachment manager, then read out the charge against Trump on the Senate floor, where the former president continues to enjoy significant support from Republican senators.

“Donald John Trump engaged in high crimes and misdemeanors by inciting violence against the government of the United States,” Raskin said. “He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power and imperiled a coequal branch of government.”

The Senate trial of the 74-year-old Trump, who was impeached by the Democratic-majority House on January 13 for an unprecedented second time, is to begin the week of February 8.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the 100 members of the Senate, who will act as jurors, will be sworn in on Tuesday and a summons issued to Trump.

Democrats and Republicans agreed to delay the start of the trial for two weeks to allow Trump to prepare his defense against the charge of “incitement of insurrection,” and for the Senate to confirm President Joe Biden’s cabinet appointees.

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts presided over Trump’s previous Senate trial — which ended with his acquittal — but presiding this time will be the Senate president pro tempore.

The president pro tempore is the senior senator of the party with the majority in the Senate, currently the Democrats. Patrick Leahy, 80, who was elected to the Senate in 1974, holds the position.

Republican senator John Cornyn said having a senator serve as both judge and juror raised a conflict of interest, but another Republican senator, Lindsey Graham, dismissed his concerns.

“I’ve known Pat a long time,” Graham said. “I believe and hope he’ll be fair.”

 

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 25: Snow falls as the U.S. Capitol building is seen past a perimeter fence after the House Impeachment Managers delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate on January 25, 2021 in Washington, DC.  Samuel Corum/Getty Images/AFP

 

‘Must be held accountable’

Leahy said he would take an oath to be impartial.

“The president pro tempore has historically presided over Senate impeachment trials of non-presidents,” Leahy said.

“When presiding over an impeachment trial, the president pro tempore takes an additional special oath to do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the laws,” he said. “It is an oath that I take extraordinarily seriously.”

Biden, 78, eager to put Trump in the rear-view mirror and make progress in fighting the coronavirus pandemic and reviving the economy, has taken a hands-off approach to the impeachment. However, he told CNN on Monday evening, “I think it has to happen.”

Democratic representative Jerry Nadler, the House Judiciary Committee chairman, said Monday that Trump “must be held accountable.”

“We must not give Donald Trump a pass for inciting a deadly insurrection on our Capitol,” Nadler said.

“The House has done its job by impeaching Trump, and now the Senate must complete the task by ensuring that he is never again in a position to directly harm the United States.”

Ten Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues in the House in voting to impeach Trump for inciting the crowd that stormed the Capitol while Congress was certifying Biden’s November 3 election victory.

Five people died in the mayhem, including a police officer and a protester who was shot by Capitol police.

The House also impeached Trump a year ago for seeking to dig up political dirt on Biden from Ukraine, but he was acquitted by the Senate, where only a single Republican senator, Mitt Romney of Utah, voted for conviction.

 

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 25: Snow falls around the U.S. Capitol after the House Impeachment Managers delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate on January 25, 2021 in Washington, DC.  Samuel Corum/Getty Images/AFP

 

‘Get out of jail free card’

While more Republican senators may vote to convict Trump this time, it seems unlikely at least 17 of them will do so.

Democrats control 50 seats in the 100-seat chamber, and a two-thirds majority is needed to convict Trump, who remains a powerful figure in the Republican Party.

If Trump is convicted, the Senate could bar him from holding office again, a move that would prevent him from running for president in 2024.

A number of Republicans have denounced the plans to try Trump in the Senate, and some have argued that the body has no authority to put a private citizen — as Trump now is — on trial.

Schumer dismissed that argument in remarks on the Senate floor on Monday.

“It makes no sense whatsoever,” he said. “The theory that the Senate can’t try former officials would amount to a constitutional ‘get out of jail free card’ for any president who commits an impeachable offense.”

Trump repeatedly and falsely claimed he had won the election and summoned his supporters to Washington on January 6 for a rally that coincided with the certification of the results by Congress.

Following a speech by Trump, thousands of his supporters stormed the Capitol, fighting pitched battles with police and sending lawmakers into hiding.

Trump is facing potential legal jeopardy on numerous fronts, but he got welcome news on Monday when the Supreme Court shut down lawsuits claiming he had violated laws barring a president from accepting income from foreign sources.

Trump Impeachment Trial At Senate To Begin February 8

In this file photo taken on December 3, 2020 US President Donald Trump speaks before awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to retired football coach Lou Holtz in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski / AFP
In this file photo taken on December 3, 2020 US President Donald Trump speaks before awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to retired football coach Lou Holtz in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski / AFP

 

Donald Trump’s US Senate trial will begin in the second week of February, days after a fresh impeachment case against the former president is transmitted by the House, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Friday. 

The newly announced schedule reflects a deal struck by Senate leaders to delay the substantive portion of the trial for two weeks so that the chamber may conduct other critical business including confirmation of President Joe Biden’s cabinet nominees.

The House of Representatives impeached Trump for a historic second time on January 13, just one week before he left office.

READ ALSO: Trump Leaves White House, Skipping Biden’s Inauguration

Schumer said the article of impeachment will be delivered and read out to the Senate on Monday at 7:00 pm (0000 GMT Tuesday). The chamber’s 100 members will be sworn in as trial jurors the next day.

The House members assigned by Speaker Nancy Pelosi as impeachment managers, and members of Trump’s yet-to-be-named defense team, will then be given time to draft their legal briefs.

“Once the briefs are drafted, presentation by the parties will commence the week of February 8,” Schumer told colleagues on the Senate floor.

During the two-week interim, the Senate will act on Biden’s cabinet nominations “and the Covid relief bill which would provide relief for millions of American who are suffering during this pandemic,” Schumer added.

“Healing and unity will only come if there is truth and accountability, and that is what this trial will provide.”

Members will deliberate whether to convict Trump on what the US Constitution describes as “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Trump was impeached on a single charge of “incitement of insurrection” for his role in whipping up his supporters during a speech in Washington on January 6, the day a pro-Trump mob stormed Congress and threatened the lives of lawmakers and then-vice president Mike Pence.

Five people died in the violence, including a police officer.

‘Unprecedentedly fast’

The delay is the result of a deal Schumer struck with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McConnell was a close congressional ally to Trump during his term, but he severely reprimanded the outgoing president for repeatedly seeking to overturn results of the election and for his incitement of protesters, and he left the door open for voting to convict Trump.

But he had sought a delay in the trial until February, arguing Trump needs time to hire lawyers and mount a defense.

On Friday, McConnell appeared to express regret for the Democrats’ speedy timetable.

“As I understand, it must be headed our way Monday. By Senate rules, if the article arrives, we have to start a trial right then,” he said on the floor.

But the Senate can agree to its own parameters of the trial timeline.

McConnell spoke of the “unprecedentedly fast” process in the House, where Trump was impeached in a single day.

“The sequel cannot be an insufficient Senate process that denies former president Trump his due process or damages the Senate or the presidency itself,” he said.

Trump survived a first impeachment almost a year ago when the then Republican-controlled Senate acquitted him of abusing his office to try to get dirt on Biden’s family before the presidential election.

With the Senate now comprised of 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, and a two-thirds majority needed to convict Trump, at least 17 Republicans would have to vote against the former president to secure a conviction.

If that occurs, a subsequent vote would be held on whether to ban Trump from holding public office in the future.

A handful of Republicans have spoken out harshly against the president but it remains unclear if there would be enough GOP senators to vote for conviction.

 

AFP

US President, Donald Trump Impeached For Second Time

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) (R) and Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-MA) (L), alongside House Impeachment Manager Representative Joe Neguse (D-CO), look on as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds the signed article of impeachment during an engrossment ceremony after the US House of Representatives voted to impeach the US President Donald Trump at the US Capitol, January 13, 2021, in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP)

 

Donald Trump became the first US president in history to be impeached twice when the House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to charge him with inciting last week’s mob attack on Congress.

The Senate will not hold a trial before January 20, when Democrat Joe Biden assumes the presidency, meaning the real estate tycoon will escape the risk of being forced to leave early. He will, however, depart in disgrace — and likely due to face a Senate trial later.

The only question in the House had been how many Republicans would join the Democratic majority.

In the end, 10 Republicans broke ranks, including the party’s number three in the House, Representative Liz Cheney.

Holed up in the White House, Trump had no immediate reaction but he earlier issued a brief statement insisting that he opposed violence among his supporters.

“In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be no violence, no lawbreaking and no vandalism of any kind. That is not what I stand for,” he said.

“I call on all Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You.”

 

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 13: A staff member prepares pens prior to the signing of an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol on January 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. The House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump for incitement of insurrection, following Vice President Mike Pences refusal to use the 25th amendment to remove him from office for his role in the breach of the U.S. Capitol last week. Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images/AFP

 

Reflecting the fear of upheaval, armed National Guards deployed across the capital and central streets were blocked to traffic.

In the Capitol building itself, guards in full camouflage and carrying assault rifles assembled, some of them grabbing naps early Wednesday under the ornate statues and historical paintings.

Trump survived the first impeachment almost exactly a year ago when the Republican-controlled Senate acquitted him of abusing his office to try and get dirt on Biden’s family before the election.

This time, his downfall was triggered by a speech he delivered to a crowd on the National Mall on January 6, telling them that Biden had stolen the presidential election and that they needed to march on Congress and show “strength.”

Amped up on weeks of election conspiracy theories pushed by Trump, the mob then stormed into the Capitol, fatally wounded one police officer, wrecked furniture and forced terrified lawmakers to hide, interrupting a ceremony to put the legal stamp on Biden’s victory.

One protester was shot dead, and three other people died of “medical emergencies,” bringing the toll to five.

 

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 13: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks prior to signing an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol on January 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. The House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump for incitement of insurrection, following Vice President Mike Pence’s refusal to use the 25th amendment to remove him from office for his role in the breach of the U.S. Capitol last week. Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images/AFP

 

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the chamber that Trump “must go.”

“He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” she said.

And Democratic lawmaker Ilhan Omar branded Trump a “tyrant,” saying that “for us to able to survive as a functioning democracy there has to be accountability.”

But Nancy Mace, a newly-elected Republican congresswoman said that while lawmakers “need to hold the president accountable,” the speed of the impeachment “poses great questions about the constitutionality.”

The top Republican in the House, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, said that while Trump deserves censure, hurriedly impeaching will “further divide this nation.”

 

Members of the National Guard rest in the Capitol Visitors Center on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, January 13, 2021, ahead of an expected House vote impeaching US President Donald Trump. – The Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives on Wednesday opened debate on a historic second impeachment of President Donald Trump over his supporters’ attack of the Capitol that left five dead.Lawmakers in the lower chamber are expected to vote for impeachment around 3:00 pm (2000 GMT) — marking the formal opening of proceedings against Trump. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)

 McConnell open to impeachment 

Trump, who has been stripped of his social media megaphones by Twitter and Facebook, and finds himself increasingly ostracized in the business world, is struggling to impose his message — let alone any kind of resistance.

His refusal to accept any responsibility for the horrifying scenes on January 6 — including his insistence Tuesday that his speech was “totally appropriate” — has infuriated allies and opponents alike.

The main question now is to what extent former Republican allies in the Senate will turn on their party’s figurehead. Last year, they acquitted Trump overwhelmingly after the House impeached him for abuse of office.

Powerful Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell has made clear there is no time before Trump’s January 20 exit to hold an impeachment trial, given that the Senate is in recess until January 19.

However, he said Wednesday that he was open to the possibility of voting to convict Trump in a trial, which could still be held after Biden takes over.

“I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,” McConnell said.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that McConnell is signaling privately that he believes Trump did commit impeachable offenses.

This presents a potentially fatal shift in the ground under Trump’s feet, because it could lead other Republican senators to join in convicting Trump with the goal of turning the page in the turbulent relationship between the party and former reality TV host and real estate magnate.

Meanwhile, the increasingly toothless Trump’s social media woes deepened late Tuesday when video-sharing giant YouTube said it was suspending his official account for at least a week, out of concern his videos could incite violence.

He is also being cut out by the business world, threatening his financial future once he leaves the White House.

The latest blow to the Trump empire was when the mayor of his native New York City, Bill de Blasio, announced Wednesday a termination of contracts to run a golf course, two ice-skating rinks and a carousel in Central Park.

“New York City doesn’t do business with insurrectionists,” de Blasio, a Democrat, tweeted.

 

 

 

AFP

Trump On Brink Of Unprecedented Second Impeachment

US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on September 16, 2020, in Washington, DC. MANDEL NGAN / AFP
File photo: US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on September 16, 2020, in Washington, DC. MANDEL NGAN / AFP

 

 

The House of Representatives was set to impeach “clear and present danger” President Donald Trump Wednesday, with several key Republicans backing the Democrat-led push to bring down the real estate tycoon in flames a week before he leaves office.

Reflecting nationwide tensions, lawmakers debated the charge against Trump of stoking insurrection against a backdrop of a Washington under a state of siege.

Armed National Guards deployed across the capital and central streets and public spaces were blocked off.

In the Capitol building itself, guards in full camouflage and carrying assault rifles assembled, some of them grabbing naps early Wednesday under the ornate statues and historical paintings.

The expected vote, coming seven days ahead of Democrat Joe Biden’s inauguration, would make Trump the first US president to have been impeached twice.

Trump’s epic downfall was triggered by his January 6 speech to a crowd on the National Mall, telling them that Biden had stolen the election and that they needed to march on Congress and show “strength.”

Amped up on weeks of conspiracy theories pushed by Trump, the mob stormed into the Capitol, fatally injured one police officer, wrecked furniture and forced terrified lawmakers to hide, interrupting a ceremony to put the legal stamp on Biden’s victory.

One protester was shot dead, and three other people died of “medical emergencies,” bringing the toll to five.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the chamber that Trump “must go.”

“He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” she said.

Earlier, Democratic lawmaker Ilhan Omar branded Trump a “tyrant,” saying that “for us to able to survive as a functioning democracy there has to be accountability.”

But Nancy Mace, a newly-elected Republican congresswoman said that while lawmakers “need to hold the president accountable” over the violence, the speed of the process “poses great questions about the constitutionality.”

Andy Biggs, a Republican accused of coordinating with rally organizers before the attack on Congress, warned Democrats that their “reckless” impeachment would only grow support for Trump among voters, adding: “You will have made him a martyr.”

 Support for Trump teetering

Trump remains defiant, refusing to accept responsibility for his campaign to undermine Americans’ belief in the election system and his final, fiery speech on the Mall.

But his once seemingly unbreakable grip on Republicans is eroding as leaders run out of patience — and look to a post-Trump rebuilding of their party.

Vice President Mike Pence threw Trump a lifeline on Tuesday, saying he would not invoke the 25th Amendment that allows him and the Cabinet to strip a sitting president of his powers.

Impeachment on the single charge of “incitement of insurrection,” however, is all but assured to pass. Pelosi has scheduled a vote for around 3:00 pm (2000 GMT).

Trump, who has been stripped of his social media megaphones by Twitter and Facebook, and finds himself increasingly ostracized in the business world, is struggling to impose his message — let alone any kind of resistance.

On a quick trip to Texas on Tuesday he visited the US-Mexico border wall, which he regards as one of his biggest achievements. But the brief, low-energy speech he made there did nothing to recapture his rapidly sliding momentum.

His insistence that his infamous speech to the crowd on January 6 had been “totally appropriate” and that he bore no blame for the attack on the Capitol infuriated allies and opponents alike.

 Republican cracks

While the House impeachment is all but assured, it had seemed highly unlikely that the Republican-controlled Senate would follow through with a trial.

Senate leader Mitch McConnell made clear that there was no time before the January 20 change in the presidency because the Senate is in recess until January 19.

Other than scheduling problems, there has been no appetite among Republicans, who acquitted Trump in his first impeachment trial a year ago, to strip him of office just days before he is set to leave anyway.

However, according to The New York Times, McConnell signaled privately on Tuesday that he believes Trump did commit impeachable offenses and he welcomes the impeachment.

If confirmed, this would be a potentially fatal shift in the ground under Trump’s feet. McConnell could in theory call the Senate back for an emergency session or encourage his senators to join Democrats in convicting Trump even after Biden assumes office.

In the House, the number three Republican Liz Cheney said she would be voting to impeach, and called Trump’s actions “a betrayal” of his office.

This came after top House Republican Kevin McCarthy said members would not be required to toe the party line on the vote — a significant weakening of support for Trump.

Four other House Republicans have now also publicly stated they will vote for impeachment.

The increasingly toothless Trump’s social media woes deepened late Tuesday when video-sharing giant YouTube said it was suspending his official account for at least a week, out of concern his videos could incite violence.

He is also being cut out by the business world, threatening his future once he leaves the White House.

The latest blow to the Trump empire was when the mayor of his native New York City, Bill de Blasio, announced Wednesday a termination of contracts to run a golf course, two ice-skating rinks and a carousel in Central Park.

“New York City doesn’t do business with insurrectionists,” de Blasio, a Democrat, tweeted.

AFP

Trump’s Impeachment Is For Congress To Decide, Says Biden

This combination of file pictures created on October 22, 2020 shows US President Donald Trump (L) and former Democratic Presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden during the final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 22, 2020. JIM WATSON, Morry GASH / AFP
This combination of file pictures created on October 22, 2020 shows US President Donald Trump (L) and former Democratic Presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden during the final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 22, 2020. JIM WATSON, Morry GASH / AFP

 

 

President-elect Joe Biden on Friday strongly indicated he does not back moves to impeach President Donald Trump, saying the quickest way to get him out of office is through the transition in two weeks.

“The quickest way that will happen is us being sworn in on the 20th,” said Biden, who will take the oath of office on January 20.

“What actually happens before or after, that is a judgment for the Congress to make. But that’s what I am looking forward to: him leaving office.”

Biden was addressing reporters in his hometown of Wilmington two days after Trump encouraged a mob of supporters to march on Congress.

Democratic leaders in Congress have growing momentum for attempting to impeach Trump for the second time in his presidency. There is little support so far among Republicans, although they too have loudly condemned Trump’s behavior.

This was Biden’s first extended reaction to the talk of impeaching Trump or trying to persuade Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th amendment removing the president from office.

Biden’s hesitancy to support his party on impeachment reflects the fact that he already faces a mammoth task in working to heal divisions in US society.

“We’re going to do our job and Congress can decide how to proceed,” Biden said.

“The idea that I think he shouldn’t be out of office yesterday is not an issue. The question is what happens with 14 days to go, 13 days left to go?”

Top Senate Democrat Says Trump Must Be Removed From Office

 

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said Thursday that President Donald Trump should be removed immediately from office after inciting the “insurrection” at the US Capitol.

“What happened at the US Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president. This president should not hold office one day longer,” Schumer said, two weeks before Trump is scheduled to hand over power to President-elect Joe Biden.

Schumer called for intervention by Vice President Mike Pence, who angered Trump Wednesday by acknowledging he could not overturn their election defeat in a ceremonial congressional session raided by a pro-Trump mob.

READ ALSO: US Crisis: Better To Lose Power Than Disrupt Peace, Says Jonathan

The New York senator called on Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, in which the cabinet by a majority vote can remove a president for incapacity to serve.

“The quickest and most effective way — it can be done today — to remove this president from office would be for the vice president to immediately invoke the 25th Amendment,” Schumer said.

“If the vice president and the cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had already told senators to go home until the eve of the inauguration.

But Schumer is in line to become majority leader after Democrats were projected to win two Senate runoffs Tuesday in Georgia.

If the threats are carried out, Trump would become the first president to be impeached twice.

The House of Representatives already voted in December 2019 to impeach him for holding up congressionally authorized aid to Ukraine as he pushed for a far-fetched investigation into Biden.

But Trump remained in office after a vote to remove him failed in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Gombe House Of Assembly Speaker Impeached

File photo of a maze inside Gombe State House of Assembly

 

The Speaker of the Gombe State House of Assembly, Abubakar Sadiq Ibrahim Kurba has been impeached.

He was impeached by 16 out of the 24 members of the House.

The proceedings which led to his impeachment was presided over by Deputy Speaker, Siddi Buba, representing Kwami West constituency.

READ ALSO: Akeredolu Removes Ondo Attorney-General, Olawoye

Since the impeachment, a new Speaker, Abubakar Muhammad Luggerewol has been elected.

Luggerewol is representing Akko Central constituency at the Assembly. He was elected by 15 members of the Assembly and has been sworn-in.

Similarly, the leader of the House Samuel Marcus representing Pero-Chonge has also been impeached and replaced with Yarima Ladan Gaule of Kaltungo East constituency.

 

– Change Of Leadership –

The impeachment of the Speaker signifies a change of leadership in Gombe Assembly.

The majority leader, Samuel Markus, and Deputy Chief Whip Yahaya Kaka were also removed.

The Members cited the loss of confidence and the inability of the past leadership amongst the reasons for the change and assured the state government of its cooperation.

The members choose a new set of members as its leaders with Abubakar Mohammed Luggerewo as the new speaker, Ladan Yerima as the new deputy chief whip.

This recent change in leadership of the House comes barely a year after the deputy speaker was removed.

The majority of members of the Gombe House of Assembly are political members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

They said the changed in leadership was conducted to restore sanity to the House.

The change is coming ahead of the state government’s 2021 budget presentation set to hold soon.

Ondo Deputy Governor Challenges Impeachment In Court

 

The embattled Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Agboola Ajayi, has filed a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to stop the state House of Assembly from impeaching him.

Listed as defendants in the suit are; the House of Assembly, the Inspector General of Police, the state Commissioner of Police, the Department of State Services and the Speaker of the Assembly, Mr David Oloyeloogun.

In the suit, the Deputy Governor asked for an order of perpetual injunction to stop the impeachment process and for the respondents to stay action.

He filed the suit on Tuesday, hours after the Assembly served the notice of impeachment on him on grounds of alleged gross misconduct.

The clerk of House, Bode Adeyelu, read the motion on the floor of the Assembly.

Read Also: Ondo Assembly Serves Impeachment Notice To Deputy Governor

Thereafter, 14 of the 26-member Assembly signed the notice while nine voted against the decision, insisting that the action was illegal.

But according to the Speaker of the House, Mr Bamidele Oloyelogun, the Constitution empowers the Assembly to investigate the allegation and proceed on impeachment if necessary and when necessary constitutional requirements are met.

See below, copies of the suit filed by the deputy governor challenging the impeachment.

Trump Celebrates Impeachment Victory Over ‘Vicious’ Democrats

U.S. President Donald Trump holds a copy of The Washington Post as he speaks in the East Room of the White House one day after the U.S. Senate acquitted on two articles of impeachment, on February 6, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP
U.S. President Donald Trump holds a copy of The Washington Post as he speaks in the East Room of the White House one day after the U.S. Senate acquitted on two articles of impeachment, on February 6, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

 

President Donald Trump celebrated his impeachment acquittal Thursday in a rambling, emotional speech raging against the investigations that have overshadowed his entire administration.

Trump gathered scores of loyal Republican legislators, his legal team, his wife Melania and White House aides in the ceremonial East Room and brandished the front page of The Washington Post reading: “Trump acquitted.”

“This is what the end result is,” he said to a standing ovation.

Trump is on a victory lap after Wednesday’s Senate vote clearing him of abusing his office and obstructing Congress.

But the event in the White House was an unusual mixture of Trump bitterly recounting Democratic-led investigations of his alleged corruption, joking and praise for those who stood by him.

It was “not a news conference, not a speech, it’s not anything,” Trump said. “It’s a celebration.”

Trump said he’d been “through hell” but we ended up “winning” against “vicious” Democrats.

Trump now hopes to seize the momentum to push his reelection campaign against a divided Democratic party.

He began earlier Thursday with an appearance at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, a multi-faith gathering for Washington power brokers, business leaders and conservative evangelicals.

The theme of the breakfast was “love your enemy.”

But from the moment he entered to the strains of “Hail to the Chief,” Trump made his feelings clear by holding up a copy of USA Today with another banner headline proclaiming his acquittal.

In a tired, raspy voice, Trump indicated he was in no mood for forgiveness, saying he’d been “put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people.”

He also ripped into Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, who as speaker of the House led his impeachment, and Mitt Romney, the lone Republican senator to support the charges.

“I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong,” he said in a clear reference to Romney, a devout Mormon who cited his faith as a reason for breaking ranks with Trump.

“Nor do I like people who say ‘I pray for you’ when they know that’s not so,” he added in a jab at Pelosi, who has often spoken of praying for Trump, and who was seated an arm’s length away.

Right before Trump spoke, Harvard professor Arthur Patterson called on the audience to address the “contempt and polarization that is tearing our societies apart.”

Verdict reveals divisions

Trump was impeached in the Democratic-led House last December over his attempts to push Ukraine into opening what would have been a politically damaging corruption probe into election rival Joe Biden.

But the Senate, where Trump’s Republicans hold a majority, cleared him Wednesday in a party line vote illustrating the divisions running through the country ahead of the November polls.

Even though several conceded Trump’s behavior was wrong, Republicans ultimately stayed loyal, voting to clear the president of charges of abuse of power, by 52 to 48, and of obstruction of Congress, by 53 to 47 — far from the two-thirds supermajority required for conviction.

Romney, a longtime Trump foe, risked White House wrath to vote alongside Democrats on the first count, saying Trump was “guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust.” He voted not guilty on the second charge.

Trump’s impeachment and trial will leave a permanent stain on his record, as it did for the only two presidents to have encountered the same fate, Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998.

While the White House immediately declared that Trump had obtained “full vindication and exoneration,” Pelosi warned that by clearing Trump Republicans had “normalized lawlessness.”

“There can be no acquittal without a trial, and there is no trial without witnesses, documents and evidence,” said the top Democrat in Congress — who a day earlier ripped up her copy of Trump’s State of the Union address on live television.

“Sadly, because of the Republican Senate’s betrayal of the Constitution, the president remains an ongoing threat.”

But as he wound down the Senate proceedings, Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell said he was confident impeachment would ultimately damage the Democrats.

“They thought this was a great idea. At least for the short term, it has been a colossal political mistake.”

 

AFP

Trump Remains A Threat To American Democracy – House speaker

 

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denounced the Senate’s acquittal of President Donald Trump on Wednesday and said he remains “an ongoing threat to American democracy.”

“Today, the President and Senate Republicans have normalized lawlessness and rejected the system of checks and balances of our Constitution,” Pelosi said in a statement issued after the Senate acquitted Trump of both impeachment articles passed by the House.

“The President remains an ongoing threat to American democracy, with his insistence that he is above the law and that he can corrupt the elections if he wants to,” Pelosi said.

The Republican-majority Senate voted 52-48 to acquit Trump of abuse of power and 53-47 to acquit him of obstruction of Congress.

US Senate Acquits Trump Of Impeachment Charges

 

US President Donald Trump drew on staunch Republican support Wednesday to defeat the gravest threat yet to his three-year-old presidency, winning an acquittal in the Senate on impeachment charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Only the third US leader ever placed on trial, Trump readily defeated the effort to expel him from office for having illicitly sought help from Ukraine to bolster his 2020 re-election effort.

Despite being confronted with strong evidence, Republicans stayed loyal and mustered a majority of votes to clear the president of both charges — by 52 to 48 on the first, 53 to 47 on the second — falling far short of the two-thirds supermajority required for conviction.

“Two-thirds of the senators present not having pronounced him guilty, the Senate adjudges that respondent Donald John Trump, President of the United States, is not guilty as charged,” said Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who presided over the trial.

One Republican, Senator Mitt Romney, a longtime Trump foe, risked White House wrath to vote alongside Democrats on the first count, saying Trump was “guilty of appalling abuse of public trust.” He voted not guilty for the second.

The verdict, never truly in question since the House of Representatives formally impeached Trump in December, cleared out a major hurdle for the president to fully plunge into his campaign for re-election in November.

Trump had repeatedly dismissed the probe as a “hoax” and a “witch hunt” but argued he had the right as president to pressure Ukraine while refusing to comply with Congressional subpoenas for testimony and documents.

 ‘Forever impeached’ 

Democrats were dejected but not surprised, after an intense 78-day House investigation that faced public doubts and high-pressure stonewalling from the White House.

Anticipating the likely party-line vote by the senators, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi repeatedly said that, whatever happened, Trump would join two previous presidents as being tarred with the “impeached” label.

The vote closed a political chapter that many Democrats had been reluctant to enter.

Pelosi originally rejected pressure early last year to impeach Trump on evidence compiled by then special counsel Robert Mueller that he had obstructed the Russia election meddling investigation.

But her concerns that it was a hefty political risk for Democrats less than two years before national elections melted after new allegations surfaced in August that Trump had pressured Ukraine for help for his 2020 campaign.

Though doubtful from the outset that they would win support from Senate Republicans, an investigation amassed with surprising speed strong evidence to support the allegations.

The evidence showed that from early in 2019, Trump’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani and a close political ally, Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, were scheming to pressure Kiev to help smear Democrats, including Trump’s potential 2020 rival Joe Biden, by opening investigations into them.

Adam Schiff, who led the House investigation, said the fact that it came after Mueller’s investigation showed that Trump’s 2016 campaign had actively sought help from Russia forced Democrats to act.

“We must say enough — enough! He has betrayed our national security, and he will do so again,” Schiff argued on the Senate floor this week.

“He has compromised our elections, and he will do so again,” Schiff said.

 Driven by hate 

Trump’s defenders were not seen as having undermined the facts compiled by Schiff’s probe, and several Republican senators acknowledged he did wrong.

But his lawyers and Senate defenders argued, essentially, that Trump’s behaviour was not egregious enough for impeachment and removal.

And, pointing to the December House impeachment vote, starkly along party lines, they painted it as a political effort to “destroy the president” in an election year — arguing that voters should be allowed to decide Trump’s fate.

“Your hatred of Donald Trump has blinded you to the obvious. This is not about protecting the country, this is about destroying the president,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said before the vote.

“The only way for this to end permanently is for the president to get reelected.”

AFP