Now that President Trump has officially been impeached, becoming only the 3rd president in history to claim this distinguished dishonor, we noticed that there seems to be some confusion as to where things stand. With #IMPOTUS3 trending Thursday and Friday and members of the “Resistance” rejoicing across social media, it’s no surprise that the general audience is a little confused.
While Trump’s supporters seem to come out in droves for his rallies, they really don’t seem to utilize Twitter and Facebook nearly as well as those on the Left. He touts the economy, the stock market, and unemployment numbers, but his devoted followers just cheer and nod while hashtags like #MerryImpeachmus, #Impeached45, and just #IMPOTUS trend for hours or days, generating plenty of gleeful comments.
Aside from scattered messages of support, many of them from very questionable accounts I might add, Trump’s tweets are generally full of replies from those opposed to him. Which is probably why he is so hell bent on retweeting any and all positive tweets about him.
Then, depending on which newscast you tune into, you either get the “this is terrible for Trump” or “they have nothing and this is a sham” sort of reporting. Truthfully, there isn’t much unbiased reporting going on these days.
Anyway, the point is that it can be a little difficult to discern what Trump’s impeachment actually means and where things are going next, or at least where they could go. So, let’s take a look and try to break this down.
The Articles of Impeachment
Of course you can read the full text of the 2 articles of impeachment, but I’m going to look at this from both sides of the proverbial coin. Now, we all know that I am not impartial at all, I dislike Trump and I hope he is out of office soon. However, I want our readers to get the whole picture here, so I’ll try to refrain from commentary as much as possible.
Here we go:
Article I: Abuse of Power
The House of Representatives claimed that President Trump abused the powers of his high office when he “solicited the interference of a foreign government.” Of course this is in reference to the events leading up to, including, and transpiring after the July 25th phone call.
The Democrats claim, in no uncertain terms, that Trump schemed to solicit the Ukrainian government to announce investigations that would “influence the 2020 United Stated Presidential election to his advantage.” i.e. Joe Biden.
The Republicans have taken the stance that a) both parties on the phone call state there was no pressure b) the Ukrainians didn’t know the funds were being withheld c) the requested investigations were never announced d) the funds were released e) Trump has every right, even a duty, to investigate corruption f) Trump made it clear that he wanted “no quid pro quo” in September g) everyone that has testified has either been biased and partisan, or reporting on secondhand knowledge.
Now, I’d love to discuss the Republican points further in depth, but I think I better save that for another article. It could get rather lengthy and I want to discuss what’s next with impeachment, not get into the finer points about it.
However, if I missed any rebuttals against Article I of Trump’s impeachment, please let me know below. I’d love to discuss them in the next article.
Article II: Obstruction of Congress
The Trump Administration’s attempted blockade against any and all subpoenas for documents and testimony has come back to haunt him. Article II states that the president directed the “unprecedented, categorical, and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas.”
As the House of Representatives has the “sole Power of Impeachment,” the majority of Democrats agree that Trump abused the powers of the Presidency in a manner that is subversive of and offensive to the Constitution. They go on to charge that “without lawful cause or excuse,” the President directed “agencies, offices, and officials” not to reply to “lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives.”
The Republican stance on this one has been to stand behind their man. Arguing that the process has been unfair, unlawful, unconstitutional, and that the President is not required to comply. They also continue to claim that this is just an extension of the Mueller report and an effort to impeach Trump that has been ongoing since he took office.
What’s Next for Trump’s Impeachment?
With both Articles passing the House on Wednesday, Trump became the third President in history to be impeached. First and foremost, though he has indeed been officially impeached, he can still hold his office and serve as President.
It’s now a matter of the House sending those Articles on to the Senate, which Pelosi has put on hold. From what I can see, there aren’t any rules stating when the House has to send them up, but it’s assumed that it will occur sometime in January. Once the “rules” have been agreed upon.
However, once it actually gets there it’s kind of anybody’s guess at this point. While it does lay out the process of getting Articles of impeachment to the Senate, the Constitution doesn’t dictate how a trial should be held. It simply states that the Senate has to hold a trial, with lawmakers from the House basically acting as the prosecution, Senators serving as jurors, and the chief justice (John Roberts) presides over it.
So, depending on the rules they come up with in January, the House will present their side, hopefully with testimony from those previously blocked, and the Senate will cross examine and attempt to rebut everything they say. There the Senators will take a public vote and a two-third’s majority will decide his fate.
Will they vote to convict and remove him from office?
Not likely. Shy of new evidence coming to light and the obstruction being thwarted, Republicans have the majority in the Senate and at this point there are enough of them still towing the party line. Furthermore, Republican Senators are likely to stick to their guns of using the Clinton impeachment as the guidelines for the trial, which means no new evidence and only taped testimony.
However, the same day that the two articles of impeachment were passed, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters that she would refrain from naming House managers (the prosecutors) until the Senate trial parameters were set and she was certain that it would be fair.
So now it’s a matter of getting the trial rules set, which also has to pass a two-thirds majority vote. Again, there’s nothing saying “when” the House has to send this on to the Senate and since Trump has made it clear that he is in favor of it happening quickly, they may hold onto it for a bit.
Especially if they think they can leverage it to force additional witness testimony.
When the Senate Gets the Articles of Impeachment
Once the rules are agreed upon, Senators will vote on a trial date and once it starts, they will take an oath of impartiality. Now, this is a huge point from the Left right now because McConnell, Graham, and others have basically already said they will move to quit as soon as possible.
Before the evidence is even presented.
Now, any juror that did that in a regular trial would be immediately removed. But this is the Senate, where “the rules are, there ain’t no rules” apparently and several Republicans appear set to violate that oath from the start.
The trial isn’t limited on how long it can be, but Senators will work six days a week until they take a final vote on both articles of impeachment. If he is actually convicted of either count, the Constitution dictates that Trump is to be removed from office.
However, at this point everything is in the President’s favor.
During the Senate trial, any witnesses that are allowed to testify will only be questioned in writing from the Senators, which the Chief Justice will read, while Trump’s hand-picked attorneys are allowed to cross-examine them. If there are issues that the Chief Justice deems in violation of the rules, he can make a ruling or overrule objections. However, with just a two-third’s majority vote, he can be overruled by the senators.
With a Republican majority, that is a definite plus for Trump.
At this point, it’s highly unlikely that Trump will be convicted and removed. While there are indeed Republican Senators that have indicated they are withholding judgement until they see they evidence, it is rather unlikely that a full 20 of them will “defect” from the party line.
That’s what it would take to remove him. 20 of the 53 Republican Senators would have to be “flipped,” and I just don’t see that happening.
Unless more evidence comes out and the blocked evidence is brought forth.
Of course, this IS the era of Trump and as he has shown so many times, “normal” isn’t something that he is known for. There is literally NO telling what will transpire between now and then.
While I don’t foresee these impeachment proceedings removing Trump from office, the actual evidence could hurt his reelection campaign. So it will definitely be interesting to see what Trump says and does over the next few weeks, and what rules the Senate agrees on.