Donald Trump is President in just a few days. Nevertheless, more and more US politicians want to kick the Republican out of office. There is actually no time for an impeachment – but the procedure could still come.
Because of the riots at the Capitol, which killed five people, US President Donald Trump continues to come under massive pressure shortly before the end of his term in office. The chairman of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, announced on Friday evening after consulting her Democratic group colleagues: “It is the hope of the MPs that the president resigns immediately.” In the event that this does not happen, they have instructed the Rules Committee to prepare for impeachment proceedings.
In a draft resolution for impeachment proceedings prepared by Democratic MPs, a single charge is foreseen: “incitement to riot”. It accuses Trump of inciting his supporters at a rally, many of whom stormed the Capitol afterwards. The Republican continued his efforts to obstruct the certification of the presidential election results.
Democrats: Trump must be removed from office
With his behavior, Trump had shown “that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy and the constitution if he is allowed to stay in office,” the draft said. Trump must therefore be removed from office. He must also be banned from future government offices.
Democratic Congresswoman Diana DeGette announced that it was planned to introduce the resolution this Monday. In the House of Representatives ruled by the Democrats, approval for impeachment proceedings is considered certain. However, it would be decided in the US Senate. The fact that the proceedings in the Senate could be concluded before Biden and his Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn in on January 20 is virtually impossible.
Different legal conceptions about procedure
The Senate will not meet for its next regular session until January 19. A memorandum by the Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, circulated by the Washington Post, states that under the current rules, proceedings could begin at 1pm on January 20 at the earliest – one hour after Biden’s swearing-in and Trump’s departure Office.
It is unclear whether a president can be removed from office after his term in office. The NBC broadcaster quotes three different assessments from legal scholars: In addition to the opinion that the process should be completed before the end of the presidency, there is also the opinion that the process should start during the term of office, but could be completed afterwards. A third view is that the process could only begin after the end of the term of office.
No new presidential candidacy
The Democrats in Congress are likely to pursue a different goal with the process: If Trump is found guilty in the Senate, he could also be banned from holding public federal offices in the future – this would deny him a possible candidacy in the 2024 presidential election. But at least 67 of the 100 senators would have to vote for a conviction. For such a two-thirds majority, 17 Republicans would have to support the future 50 Democrats in the Senate, which is currently not foreseeable. Should that happen anyway, a simple majority would be enough to lock Trump out of federal offices in the future.
Every former US president has certain privileges – should he not be removed from office – under the Former President Act, including a payment of more than $ 200,000 per year, protection from the “Secret Service” and an office and Employees. He would lose these privileges too.
Lisa Murkowski became the first Republican Senator to call for Trump’s resignation on Friday. “I want him to resign,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski – an internal party critic of Trump – the newspaper “Anchorage Daily News” from her home state Alaska. “He’s done enough damage.”
Joe Biden will be sworn in as president on January 20th. He wants to stay out of impeachment proceedings for Trump. (Source: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)
Biden wants to stay out of it
Biden announced not to intervene in a decision to open impeachment proceedings. The decision lies with Congress, he said in Wilmington, Delaware. His task and that of his future government is to take care of the fight against the coronavirus, Covid-19 vaccinations and economic development as a matter of urgency. The Democrat also emphasized: “I have long thought that President Trump is unsuitable to hold office.” That was the reason why he decided to run against Trump.
Impeachment proceedings in the Senate could make Biden’s new government much more difficult. The chamber would probably block the proceedings for weeks until a judgment is reached. Biden, however, depends on the senators confirming his nominated cabinet members and numerous high-ranking government officials in office. He is also dependent on the powerful chamber for important legislative projects, for example in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.