Given his reckless conduct that contributed to an attempt to overthrow the U.S. government, many Americans believe Donald Trump should have been removed from office before his term expired Jan. 20.

Before the Nov. 3 general election, Trump laid the foundation of doubt in the democratic process among his numerous supporters. He initially refused to state that he would accept the results of the vote and willingly participate in a peaceful transition of power if he lost. He also repeatedly said that the only way he would lose is if the election was rigged against him.

As expected by many of his critics, Trump lost the presidential race to Joe Biden. And also as expected, he fought tooth and nail against the inevitable end of his time in the White House.

He conjured lie upon lie about widespread election fraud. He and his allies filed numerous lawsuits to overturn the election in various states; virtually all of them were tossed out for lack of evidence. Trump even pressured — and some say threatened — election officials in Georgia to find a way to declare him the winner of the election there.

All of his efforts failed. His supporters organized a rally in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 as members of Congress certified the official votes of the Electoral College declaring Biden the winner.

Many of them marched to the U.S. Capitol to demonstrate their anger at what was going on. Then in an unprecedented move, some of them stormed the Capitol in an attempt to capture people inside and disrupt the proceedings.

The seizure was thwarted, but not before deaths had occurred. Five people were killed as a result of the violence, including U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. And two other officers with the department who responded to the attack, Howard Liebengood and Jeffrey Smith, have since committed suicide.

Trump spent his tenure in office feeding his followers numerous lies and absurd conspiracy theories. After the election, he persuaded them that the election was stolen and our nation would be severely affected as a consequence. Many of them acted on his falsehoods by trying to usurp a legitimate congressional process and install their own leader.

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted Jan. 13 to impeach Trump for inciting an insurrection. Reviewing his involvement in this tragic event, this response was justified.

U.S. Rep. John Katko of Camillus was the only Republican from the New York state congressional delegation, and one of only 10 GOP House members, to vote to impeach Trump. U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik of Schuylerville maintained her loyalty to Trump by voting against the measure.

A conviction in the U.S. Senate could result in Trump’s being barred from ever holding federal office again. If he’s subjected to no other penalty for his part in this dreadful incident, obstructing any future campaign would be good.

However, a conviction appears to be a long shot. Last week, 45 of 50 Republican senators expressed their doubts in the constitutionality of holding a trial of a former president. This was a definite sign that convicting Trump in the Senate won’t likely happen.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia have been discussing an alternative with their colleagues. They’ve proposed that the Senate vote to censure Trump and implement a provision of the 14th Amendment that would bar him from ever holding office again.

It would take 67 votes in the Senate to convict Trump in a trial. This means that 17 Republican senators would need to join all 50 Democratic senators to uphold the impeachment.

A vote to censure, however, would merely require a simple majority. There are enough Republican senators to ensure this result.

Republicans in the Senate could threaten a filibsuter of a censure vote, so supporters of this plan need to persuade the GOP leadership to thwart this possibility. Many Republican senators may not have the backbone to convict Trump, but they shouldn’t stand in the way of their chamber voting to censure him.

This will be a huge test for U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., in his new role of Senate majority leader. He stated categorically that an impeachment trial will commence and the evidence against Trump will be presented.

There’s no argument that this shouldn’t occur. But the reality is that too few Republican senators are willing to convict Trump no matter what the evidence brought to light during the trial shows.

And even if the Senate defies odds and convicts Trump, the former president will most likely file a lawsuit to contest the trial’s constitutionality. There is precedent for holding impeachment trials of former government officers. But the question of trying a former president has never been tested before the U.S. Supreme Court, so it’s uncertain how this would turn out.

A vote to censure and invoke the 14th Amendment is a good alternative. It would undoubtedly pass in the Senate, and Congress would officially condemn Trump’s involvement in the insurrection. Federal legislators should work together to advance this proposal.

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(18) comments

Holmes

Both of Trump's lawyers agree the current impeachment case is unconstitutional.. So do 45 Republican Senators meaning President Trump IS already acquitted or as Rand Paul said, "the impeachment of former President Donald Trump in the Senate is “dead on arrival”.

KRobbins

Both of Trump's lawyers agree the current impeachment case is unconstitutional.. So do 45 Republican Senators

I’m tempted to ask if the sun came up in the East, too. But, I won’t do that. I’ll just point out that 10 Republican House members and 5 Republican Senators are good with the impeachment. That makes it bipartisan and everyone loves bipartisan.

Rand Paul said, "the impeachment of former President Donald Trump in the Senate is “dead on arrival”.

Who cares? Paul doesn’t know that for a certainty. Does he?

Someone on Twitter pointed out the hypocrisy of Paul having his neighbor arrested for assault. After all, the neighbor had already left the yard.

KRobbins

BTW, Rand Paul should by rights be considered a co-conspirator since he went around helping spread the election fraud conspiracy theory for two months to incite the people who stormed the Capitol.

Eagle24

So a lame duck president has no accountability for their actions up to the last day of their term? BTW he was impeached during his term... it's the trail that was after... Nice try...

Charlie McGrath

Those people don't have to agree. The kangaroo court is unconstitutional. "Chief Justice shall preside" he's not. A democrat partisan is. President is not in office so cannot be removed. It IS simply unconstitutional. It is a distraction from what the socialists/communists/progressives/liberals are doing through a dictators unprecedented number of executive actions.

JohnMcElroy

Many of the thousands of protestors were freemasons and that is going to throw a monkey wrench into the proceeding's. Oy vey. What they did accomplish in this attempted coup was instill fear into members of congress so bad they erected a barrier around their office buildings.

hermit thrush

it is hilarious to watch people like charlie mcgrath just make stuff up like this to suit whatever their partisan needs are at the moment.

DarenM

Quit wasting our dollars, forget this and get back to work. The public will act accordingly in the next election

JohnMcElroy

The pubs have an ace in the hole on this. Stop the impeachment and we will give you your stimulus package. It will probably work.

KRobbins

Stop the impeachment and we will give you your stimulus package.

So, hold Americans who are suffering economically because of the coronavirus hostage? It’s maybe not a good look for Republicans. Also, Democrats don’t actually need buy-in from the Republicans.

KRobbins

Hold those Americans hostage to protect Trump it should be noted.

Holmes

The “pubs” or you?

KRobbins

“Much more will become clear in coming days and weeks, but what we know now is enough. The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.

“I will vote to impeach the President.”

I’m with Rep. Cheney and the other congresspeople with souls intact. Like them, I’m looking forward to “much more becoming clear.”

KRobbins

The effort to present new video evidence and witness testimony appears designed to make Republican senators as uncomfortable as possible as they prepare to vote to acquit Trump, as most have indicated they will do. The prospect of injured police officers describing the brutality of pro-Trump rioters to Republicans who regularly present themselves as advocates of law enforcement could make for an extraordinary, nationally televised scene. Washington Post

What’s important is making Republicans own this because, indeed, they do. If censure will do that then fine.

zeitgeist

No. Go ahead with the impeachment trial. Let Republican senators vote TWICE to save Trump. Let the senators affirm TWICE for Americans and the history books who they are, and what they've been, throughout this epic debacle-- corrupt, uncourageous, cult followers, tweet-fearing, self-serving, unpatriotic, un-American, immoral, weak in character, devoid of consciences, traitors, losers, lackeys, and enablers.

The editorial's solution shifts to the background the senators' staggering sellout, betrayal and dereliction of duty. Let them save Trump again. Let them carry their wicked misdeeds to their graves. Let them hammer the nail in the coffin of the cataclysmically fallen Republican party. Let them hurt, smear and defame America.

Good, decent and informed Americans can pick up the pieces of their outrageous failures, deal with them, deal with fringe extremists, deal with the propagandized base, deal with Trump... We're not afraid!

The editorial's solution is for people consumed by fear, and pathetically willing to alleviate it by relieving the dishonorable and tainted senators of their duty to convict Trump. The editorial's solution is presented as the prudent one. It's not, unless it's prudent to line up in the long line of losers, lackeys and enablers.

hermit thrush

^^^ good take here.

KRobbins

I assume that if censure is the remedy chosen, Democrats still are allowed to present the same case they would if it was an impeachment. If that’s true and Republican Senators still have to go on the record as being pro-Trump or pro-democracy then it doesn’t matter to me. I went and read the 14th amendment and can see how it would conceivably prevent Trump from regaining office. I don’t really expect that to happen anyway for numerous reasons.

I want the impeachment case laid out for the American people. I realize many of them are so deluded by Q and Trump and whatever other nonsense that no facts are going to penetrate their cognitive blocks. They may be lost, but fortunately they are a minority. Also, Republican Senators need to be on the record as to whether they’re on the side of our democratic system. It’s risible that Collins is pushing this censure effort. Would she then turn around and vote against it when push comes to shove? I’d say it’s certainly possible that she’ll decide that Trump “has learned his lesson.”

Eagle24

Agree with the article... zero chance 17 GOPers will vote for impeachment...censure and move on... the GOP still has to deal with Loony Lies of Rep Greene... the media will jump on her wing nut claims and interfere with the rebuilding of the party...

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