Why remove Trump now? A guide to the second indictment of a president

WASHINGTON – House Wednesday accused President Trump for the second time, a first in American history to accuse him of “inciting rebellion” a week after he egged on a crowd of supporters who stormed the capital while Congress met to formalize the victory of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Democrats have moved quickly to accuse Mr. Trump after the attack that unfolded after he told supporters at a rally near the National Mall to march against the Capitol in an attempt to get the Republicans to topple its defeat. At least five people, including a Capitol police officer, died during the siege and in immediate immersion.

The trial is taking place at an extraordinary pace, testing the limits of the prosecution process, raising issues that have never been considered before. Here’s what we know.

Accusation is one of the heaviest tools the Constitution gives Congress to hold officials, including the president, responsible for abuse and abuse of power.

Members of Parliament are considering whether to prosecute the president – equivalent to an indictment in a criminal case – and members of the Senate are considering removing him, holding a trial in which senators serve as juries. The test, as enshrined in the Constitution, is whether the president has committed “treason, bribery or other heinous crimes and misdemeanors.”

The House vote requires only a simple majority of lawmakers to agree that the president has in fact committed high-profile crimes and misdemeanors; The Senate vote requires a two-thirds majority.

The article, prepared by representatives David Cicilline from Rhode Island, Ted Lieu from California, Jamie Raskin from Maryland and Jerrold Nadler of New York, accused Mr. Trump of “inciting rebellion,” saying he is guilty of “inciting violence against the U.S. government.”

The article quoted Mr. Trump’s week-long campaign to falsely discredit the results of the November election, and it quotes directly from the speech he gave on the day of the siege, in which he asked his supporters to go to the Capitol. “If you do not fight like hell,” he said, “you will not have a country anymore.”

While the House moved at remarkable speed to charge Mr. Trump, the Senate trial to decide whether to remove him could not begin until Jan. 19, his last full day in office. This means that any conviction will almost certainly not be completed until after he leaves the White House.

Democrats have argued that Mr. Trump’s offense – using his power as the nation’s leader and commander – in – chief to incite a revolt against the legislature – is so serious that it needs to be dealt with, even with only a few days left in his term. . Letting it go unpunished, Democrats argued, would set a dangerous precedent for impunity for future presidents.

“Is there some time left?” Representative Steny H. Hoyer, a Democrat in Maryland and the majority leader, said during the debate. “And it is. But it’s never too late to do the right thing.”

Republicans, many of whom voted to overthrow the election result, have argued that reviewing the persecution process so late in Mr Trump’s term will promote unnecessary division and that the country should move on from last week’s siege.

Conviction in a prosecution court will not automatically disqualify Mr. Trump from future government officials. But if the Senate were to judge him, the Constitution allows a subsequent vote to prevent an official from having “any office of honor, trust or merit under the United States.”

This vote would require only a simple majority of senators. Such a move could be an appealing prospect not only for Democrats, but also for many Republicans who have either sat on the presidency themselves or are convinced that it is the only thing that will clean up Mr. Trump from their party. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, is said to have the latter view.

However, there is no precedent for disqualifying a president from the future office, and the issue could end up in the Supreme Court.

Democrats who control the House can choose when to send their indictment to the Senate, at which point this chamber will immediately have to relocate to start the trial. But because the Senate is not scheduled to hold a regular session before Jan. 19, even though Parliament immediately sent the indictment to the other side of the Capitol, an agreement between the Senate Republican and Democratic leaders would be needed to address it before then. .

Sir. McConnell said Wednesday that he would not agree to do so, meaning the article could not be taken up until the day before Mr. The bite was sworn. Since time is needed for the Senate to lay down the rules for a trial against the trial, this means that the procedure would probably only start after Mr. Biden was president, and Democrats had operational control of the Senate.

“Given the rules, procedures and Senate precedents that govern the president’s indictments, there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial can be concluded before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week,” Mr. McConnell said. “In light of this reality, I believe it will best serve our nation if Congress and the executive spend the next seven days fully focused on facilitating a secure inauguration and an orderly transfer of power to the future Biden administration.”

Once the Senate receives the indictment, it must immediately raise the issue, as prosecutors have the highest privilege. Under rules that have been in place for decades, accusation is the only issue the Senate can consider while a lawsuit is pending; it cannot simultaneously consider other legislative activity.

But Mr Biden has asked Mr McConnell if it would be possible to change that rule and allow the Senate to implement Mr Trump’s prosecution on a parallel track to deal with his cabinet candidates and split his days between the two. Sir. Mr McConnell told Mr Biden he would consult with Senate lawmakers on whether that would be possible.

If such a two-part process were not possible, House Democrats could choose to withhold the article to give Mr Biden time to win confirmation of his team before a trial begins.

The Senate can hold a trial for Mr Trump, even after he leaves office, although there is no precedent for a president to be tried at the end of his term. Other officials who were charged have been prosecuted after they went out.

Only two presidents except Mr. Trump has been charged – Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 – and both were eventually acquitted and ended their terms.

Nicholas fandos contributed reporting.

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