The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
Unfortunately, Donald Trump has been playing with fire ever since he launched his first presidential campaign. Since he lost his bid for reelection, he has only intensified his efforts to subvert American democracy. The events of today are both shocking and yet all-too-foreseeable, and the president bears substantial responsibility for what has transpired. Moreover, he has shown no leadership since the attack on the capitol. His behavior is disgraceful. What is more, it is conduct completely incompatible with the duties and responsibilities of the office of the presidency. The president should resign in disgrace, but of course he will not.
The House should impeach the president for high crimes and misdemeanors as soon as is practical. The Senate should hold a trial and vote to impeach and remove the president from office as expeditiously as possible. The House should request that the Senate bar the president from holding future federal office, and the Senate should vote to apply that constitutional penalty upon conviction.
This need not be a lengthy process. The evidence of the president's actions are clear and available to all. The House does not need an elaborate inquiry. The Senate does not need a lengthy trial. House and Senate members need only determine whether they believe that the president's words and actions rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors and whether Donald Trump can be safely left to exercise the powers of the presidency until the scheduled inauguration of his elected successor. That does not seem like a difficult question, and the members of Congress should go on record with an answer to it.