National News

‘You are impeached forever’

By Askia Muhammad -Senior Editor- | Last updated: Jan 22, 2020 - 12:08:02 PM

What's your opinion on this article?

WASHINGTON—“Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye!


“All persons are commanded to keep silent, on pain of imprisonment, while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States articles of impeachment against President Donald John Trump, President of the United States,” Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger read aloud to senators at the start of a solemn occasion, the impeachment of the president.

Those same words were spoken, the same way, only twice before: in 1999 at President Bill Clinton’s trial, and before that, in 1868, at the trial of President Andrew Johnson. Neither man before was convicted and removed from office.

But the stain of impeachment will always live on his presidency, regardless of the outcome of the Senate trial, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reminded smug Republicans who predict a speedy acquittal of Mr. Trump. The charges went to the Senate on Jan. 16.

“You are impeached forever,” Ms. Pelosi said with a smile on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.” “No matter what the Senate does, it can never be erased.

“If I knew that the president is listening, I would want him to know that he is impeached forever, and he is impeached forever because he used the office of the president to try to influence a foreign country for his personal and political benefit,” Ms. Pelosi continued.

“In doing so, he undermined our national security, he was disloyal to his oath of office to protect the Constitution and he placed in jeopardy the integrity of our election,” she added later. “He gave us no choice.”

The next step is for the U.S. Senate to conduct a trial to determine if this sitting president will be removed from office. The Senate trial came a month after the House impeached Mr. Trump for pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden.

House lawmakers deliver Articles of Impeachment to Senate, Jan. 15.

Chief Justice John Roberts will preside over the impeachment trial in the Senate, which will be held six days per week until its conclusion. Justice Roberts later swore in all 100 senators who will serve as jurors for the Jan. 21 official trial.

With each passing day, more information seems to come to light about the actions of Mr. Trump and his associates. The latest unfavorable legal turn: the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office said the White House Office of Management and Budget violated federal law by withholding $400 million in aid money to Ukraine even though the funds had been allocated by Congress. This charge is at the heart of the impeachment charges.

With the formal transmittal of the impeachment documents, after a one-month delay, attention shifted to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow witnesses to testify during the Senate trial. Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine said she would likely support a motion to call witnesses, just as she did in 1999 during President Clinton’s impeachment trial. One potential witness is Lev Parnas, a Soviet-born businessman and former associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who said during that same week, in a series of interviews, that the president was fully aware of all efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden. Mr. Parnas is under federal indictment.

In a move that was met with swift rebuke from Democrats, at presstime, Sen. McConnell released a four-page organizing resolution that ensures a quick trial as pressed for by the president. According to CNN Sen. McConnell plans to give House impeachment managers and Pres. Trump’s legal team 24 hours each divided over two days for their opening arguments. In President Clinton’s impeachment trial, the 24-hour opening arguments were split over a four-day period.

Democrats oppose Sen. McConnell’s schedule, which House Democratic aides called an effort to “conceal the president’s misconduct in the dark of night,” the network reported.

“It’s clear Sen. McConnell is hellbent on making it much more difficult to get witnesses and documents and intent on rushing the trial through,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said in a statement, reported He called Mr. McConnell’s resolution “nothing short of a national disgrace.”

The Senate will debate and vote on the resolution ahead of the trial.

Despite mounting evidence, on top of already reported convincing evidence of Mr. Trump’s unworthiness for office, his base support remains virtually invincible. His 45 percent approval rating matches his disapproval rating, however.

There is mounting concern that if he’s not removed from office Mr. Trump will declare vindication and add to his legacy by committing even more objectionable acts if he’s reelected in November.

“Well, that leads to the perhaps unfortunate break, which is if you try to kill the king, you should not miss when you take your shot because he will then come back with a fury and vengeance,” Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of History and Africana Studies at the University of Houston, told The Final Call, speaking of an ancient adage.

“And I think that that’s probably what’s going to happen with regards to Mr. Trump. And of course, the key question which we cannot ignore, is that his base does not seem to be crumbling despite the mountain of evidence showing all manner of misdeeds,” Dr. Horne continued. “Despite the fact that the Washington Post has catalogued about 15,000 lies and misstatements and prevarications by Mr. Trump.

“I think it’s going to be very dangerous in this country if and when Mr. Trump is not convicted because he will claim the exoneration as they no doubt will support that thesis and the rest of us will be in trouble,” said Dr. Horne. Other observers agree.

“This is a serious moment for our nation. Our democracy and our Constitution are on the line,” attorney John Bonifaz, co-founder and president of Free Speech for People and co-author of “The Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump” told “Democracy Now!”

“And what we’ve seen over these past few days is that this is a very solemn occasion. And the very fact that you have the chief justice of the United States, who only presides over the Senate for an impeachment trial—and the third time in our history this is happening—both take the oath to do impartial justice but then also administer that oath for every United States senator, and then each one signs the oath book, they all have taken now that oath, a separate oath from the one they took when they assumed the office at the United States Senate to defend and protect our Constitution.

“And so, each and every senator now must comply with that oath and must conduct a full and fair trial, hearing witnesses, demanding the documents, and not engaging in the cover-up that this president has engaged in so far to try to protect himself and his associates,” said Mr. Bonifaz.