House leaders have set a plan in motion to impeach Donald Trump for a second time. However, questions remain as to whether it will interfere with other high-priority proceedings, such as managing public health during the Covid-19 pandemic and providing relief for the struggling economy.
After Trump incited his supporters to stage an unsuccessful insurrection in the Capitol last week, Trump has been subjected to perhaps the most ubiquitous criticism that he’s faced in the entirety of his tumultuous presidential term. As a result, Democrats, David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), introduced articles of impeachment to hold Trump accountable for his role in inciting last week’s mob invasion of the Capitol.
“Donald John Trump engaged in high crimes and misdemeanours by wilfully inciting violence against the government of the United States,” the articles of impeachment submitted reads, as reported by the LA Times. “He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperilled a coordinate branch of government. He thereby betrayed his trust as president, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”
However, even though impeaching Trump could bar him from ever holding office again, it is also necessary for Democrats to avoid adding fuel to the fire, and some House Republicans believe that impeachment will only serve to divide the country further.
“We must come together to heal our nation, but House Democrats’ latest attempts to remove the president from office will further divide us,” said Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), chairman of the House Republican campaign arm. “It is a politically motivated effort by [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats that will fracture our nation even more instead of bringing us together.”
However, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) has said that the president remains a threat to American democracy and that the decision to impeach Trump needs to be laid in the hands of the Senate, which will come under new leadership on inauguration day.
“This man is a danger every day that he remains in office,” Schiff said on “CBS This Morning,” in comments reflecting the House leadership’s position.
“[The impeachment resolution] should be immediately transmitted to the Senate. [If the Senate doesn’t act] then it’s on them what this president may do between now and Inauguration Day, but I don’t want that on my conscience.”
The question remains, with time running out on Trump’s term, whether current Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, will even hold a vote. Secondly, nobody has been hit harder by the Covid-19 pandemic than the United States and President-elect Biden has made clear that his priority for his first 100 days in office will be to provide some much needed relief and put adequate public health legislation in place. These things take time, and an impeachment trial would only serve to disrupt Biden’s ability to follow through on his campaign promises.
Biden revealed that he has discussed a plan with Congressional Democrats under which the Senate could split its day, spending a “half day on dealing with the impeachment and half day getting my people nominated and confirmed in the Senate as well as moving on the [relief] package.”
“My priority is to get – first the stimulus bill passed and secondly begin to rebuild the economy,” he told reporters in Newark, Del., after he received his second coronavirus vaccine shot.
“At the same time,” he said, “I think it’s critically important that there be a real, serious focus on holding those folks who engaged in sedition and threatened people’s lives, and defaced public property, caused great damage – that they be held accountable. That’s a view that’s held by the vast majority of Democrats and Republicans in the Congress,” he said.