Impeachment

The Senate May Hold an Impeachment Trial After President Trump Leaves Office

The precedents are clear, and Senate could bar Trump from holding future office.

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Some have argued that it is futile or pointless for the House to consider impeaching President Trump again because it would be impossible (and perhaps unfair) to have a rushed trial prior to he leaves office on January 20. These arguments are understandable, but they are also wrong.

The claim that Congress loses the power to impeach and convict a federal officer once they have left office is belied by history and precedent. The Senate has conducted multiple impeachment trials of individuals who had left office. As Professors Brian Kalt and Frank Bowman wrote in the Washington Post:

the history, structure, rationale and application of the Constitution's impeachment clauses provide powerful evidence for "late impeachability." This evidence includes precedents: cases in which the House has impeached and the Senate has tried people who had already left office.

We also believe that, while impeaching someone who has left office is usually pointless, in some cases — perhaps including Trump's — it may serve important national interests. . . .

The two most important reasons to pursue a late impeachment are, first, to deter presidents' misbehavior during their waning days in office, and second, to permanently remove them from public life if their conduct suggests they would pose a continuing danger to the country if they ever returned to a position of national authority.

Impeachment represents an important disincentive to presidential misconduct. It would be odd to think that such misconduct was no longer worth deterring once the president was a lame duck. But that would be the effect of declaring misconduct unimpeachable if it's committed late enough in the term.

Impeachment—like criminal punishment—can serve several different purposes. One purpose is retributive, to punish bad acts. Another purpose is protective, to prevent the wrongdoer from committing additional wrongs and to protect the republic. This latter purpose is antiseptic and, where there is an ongoing threat, can justify taking more rapid or expeditious action than if the purpose is simply retributive. And if the purpose is to make clear that certain conduct is unacceptable, and should disqualify someone from holding future federal office, an impeachment trial can be held after that person leaves office.

 

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  1. How about something truly bipartisan: We impeach Trump and the Clintons in the same articles!

    1. Nah, Clinton has already been impeached, Trump and Obama.

      1. We should impeach Hillary, Chelsea, Jeb, George P Bush, and Liz Cheney along with Trump. The oldest 3 Trump children aren’t eligible as they are anchor babies for the foreigner Ivana Trump.

        1. Yes… 🙂

          But we need to include Obama.

          1. Michelle Obama has no desire to run for public office.

      2. “Nah, Clinton has already been impeached”

        I bet TiP meant the other one, who was never impeached.

    2. Unironically probably would promote national unity. Could even bring efficiency to the process by having some of the same witnesses testify against both (e.g. Ghislaine Maxwell).

      1. Please. If it actually came to any serious potential, the Clintons would shut it down superfast…

        1. Remember when it was the Clintons complaining about vast conspiracies? Things were different then…

  2. The “get Trump” crowd are rabid with their rage and will seek it to no ends even if it means an end to the Republic.

    1. You have to love the sheer obvious bad faith being parroted here by the Trumpistas. The ‘Lock her up,’ ‘Hang Pence,’ Graham is a Traitor’ folks are now all lamenting rage, division and enmity pining for a healing and can’t we all get along. It’s laughably transparent.

      1. Lock her up advocates wanted her prosecuted, and to get a normal trial, of the sort anybody without political connections who’d done the same things would have gotten. We simply presumed based on public evidence that she’d have been convicted.

        1. This is as delusional as your prediction that Trump would concede immediately after the electoral college voted.

          I don’t know where you are getting your “news” but you might want to think about finding more reality-based reportage.

        2. Lock her up advocates wanted her prosecuted,

          Which is why they said “Prosecute Hillary!”, right?

          Note the bad faith by Brett. When Trump calls for storming the Capitol, Brett says, “Show me where he used the exact words ‘Go storm the Capitol’ or it doesn’t count.” But when we show him exact words calling for something, he says, “No, these don’t actually mean that.”

          Also FTR, Brett doesn’t (and this will shock nobody) know what he’s talking about. Nobody without political connections who was accused of doing things like that have been prosecuted, unless they also did a lot more.

        3. “Lock her up advocates wanted her prosecuted, and to get a normal trial”

          Yeah, stop ignoring the “hold a fair trial” part of the “lock her up” chanting. You’re pretending they never even said that!”

    2. The “get Trump” crowd are rabid with their rage and will seek it to no ends even if it means an end to the Republic.

      How in the world is it “an end to the Republic” if Donald J. Trump Sr. is not allowed to be elected President of the U.S. in 2024 (when he will be 78)…or 2028 (when he will be 82)?

      1. Add Liz Cheney and Mitch McConnell to the “get Trump” crowd.

        The smartest thing the GOP can do now is to break with Trump clearly and completely.

        1. The smartest thing the GOP can do now is to break with Trump clearly and completely.

          That’s certainly the way I view it. Donald Trump is already clearly losing a few steps in the mental department. And by 2024, it seems to me he almost certainly will have been indicted in New York for tax fraud. So even if he wins that, what working slob is going to want to vote for someone whose financial shenanigans have been completely exposed? And even beyond that, I think there’s a possibility that it will become clear that he really doesn’t have a lot of money.

          So you have a 78-year-old man, indicted for tax fraud, whose financial shenanigans are well-documented, and who has been revealed not to be even close to as wealthy as he’s claimed (even with the financial shenanigans).

          The Democrats would have to be pretty bad to not be able to beat Donald Trump in 2024. So I think the Republicans are actually much worse off to even have the possibility Trump will run.

          1. “The Democrats would have to be pretty bad to not be able to beat Donald Trump in 2024.”

            they could nominate Hillary again.

        2. “The smartest thing the GOP can do now is to break with Trump clearly and completely.”

          They could have done it in 2016, and missed the chance. We’d be ready to inaugurate a Republican into the Presidency right now if they’d just laughed when he said he was a Republican, and wanted to be President.

  3. Professor Adler,

    Perhaps in an update to this post or a new one, you could go through the precedents and arguments for postoffice impeachment, and more clearly explain the legal case for why it is permissable.

    1. Somin made that post.. The linked article by Brian Kalt provides a thorough treatment of “late impeachment.”

      1. I want to see Professor Adler’s argument. I’d also like more information on the precedents. How many times has it happened? If a few, perhaps a narrative on each. If more, narratives on a few especially notable cases would still be valuable.

      2. I missed the Brian Kalt article link. I see it now. I’ll look at it.

        1. Basically, it seems like it happened once, under somewhat different circumstances, and a large minority of the Senate (enough to prevent conviction) thought it was improper. Weak tea. Against that, note that lots of officials and judges have been criminally convicted over the years and to my knowledge Congress has never gone through the rigmarole of impeaching and convicting them. Add the political divisiveness and the strong possibility that Trump might be acquitted (which will occasion unimaginable levels of vituperation from Somin and his comrades), and it becomes a bad idea.

          1. Sorry, meant to write “have resigned after being criminally convicted.”

          2. They impeached Alcee Hastings. Neglected to add the disability from holding public office to the bill of impeachment, though, so he got elected to Congress.

            1. Hastings was impeached and convicted (and consequently removed from office) because he did not resign. There have been other federal judges who suffered the same fate.

    2. Professor Adler mentioned many examples of post office impeachment. Where is even one example of post office impeachment of a President?

      1. Trump´s post-election conduct is sui generis. Well deserving of immediate impeachment and a trial after leaving office.

        1. Trump has been desperate to have some superlative he could attach to his Presidency. The flailing self-promotion was amusing in it’s ineptitude. He’ll have to settle with “most impeached”.
          I hope this doesn’t keep his “better than Obamacare” health care bill from passing.

  4. Yeah let’s drag this shit out as long as possible. We don’t want Trump to go away, let’s keep him
    front and center forever.

    To the extent you’re worried about violence from the Trumpistas it’s certainly to keep them riled up indefinitely.

    How about we do the senate trial as the lead up to the 2022 super bowl. Verdict announced at halftime. Killer ratings.

    Bread and circuses, man. That’s all they’re good for

    1. Republicans could demonstrate some character and accountability by cleaning up their mess. They also get to whimper about it when Democrats, observing Republican cowardice, impose some adult supervision.

  5. Also nothing says “peaceful transition of power” like telling the VP to become a usurper by using a never used constitutional power with flimsy reasoning 7 days before the President leaves office. Or getting some good old fashion revenge impeachment in during the same time period.

    1. The peaceful transition that Trump went to unprecedented lengths to stop for the past few months? Again, the bad faith of these people is as obvious as Pinocchio’s noise upon coming home to his wife from the whorehouse.

    2. Nothing says “I don’t have an argument so here’s some bad-faith bullshit” like a JtD post.

      Once your screen-time has expired for the day, perhaps you could ask your parents to explain the difference between revenge and consequences.

    3. Or getting some good old fashion revenge impeachment in during the same time period.

      Even if the motive is “revenge,” that does not detract from the benefit of attempting to make sure that Donald Trump can never be president again.

      1. But what if we later decide we need him to be the DC ratcatcher? We’ll be resenting them for disqualifying him from office when that happens!

    4. Unlike Trump´s incitement of an unruly crowd, advocates of resort to the 25th Amendment or, in the alternative impeachment, are engaged in peaceful means of constitutional procedures.

      1. The exact purpose of the 25th amendment is to remove power from a person who is incapable of wielding it. Labeling Trump as “incapable” shouldn’t even be a difficult call to make.

  6. Sure they can hold an impeachment trial after Trump leaves office.

    It reminds me of when after Charles II was restored to the throne, they dug up Oliver Cromwell’s body a few years after his natural death and beheaded him and stuck the head on a stake until it fell off in a storm 30 or 40 years later.

    They couldn’t manage to it when he was alive, so better late than never.

    1. Hilarious or sad? Perhaps both. Here we have comments from people who avidly polished Trump’s shoe leather with their tongue these past four years – even while DJT regularly showed contempt for the office of the presidency.

      Now they wail : “Why can’t it all just be over….”

      Personally, I think it would be best for Biden to let his loathsome piece-of-shit predecessor sleaze off into obscurity (or prison). No one has to worry about Trump returning to power. To remain political relevant thru four years out of power would require determination, focus, discipline and a keen sense of strategy. Trump displayed none of those traits while in office; what are the odds he’s capable of them out? The man who preferred binge-watching TV to classified briefings won’t pull off a presidency-in-exile. He won’t even pretend to try. He’s too stupid & lazy.

      1. Correct, but it’s even more stunning in terms of lack of self-awareness. Here we have people who defended and/or cheered on while Trump led chants of ‘lock her up’ not just when running against Clinton, but *four years later;* who lapped up his constant tweets attacking ‘Democrat cities’ and ‘Democrat mayors,’ his constant tweets attacking fellow Republicans for being ‘weak’ ‘disasters,’ because they dared not ‘find votes’ for him; who was going on and on about Biden’s son, who asked a foreign government to investigate Biden, and an almost endless list of other uber-divisive things Trump did regularly. Then he unprecedently attacks the election results for months, tells everyone the most unconstitutional and worse thing in our Republic’s history is being perpetuated and it blows up in his face. Now they trot on here reading their scripts ‘we need healing and lament enmity and division.’ At least wipe the lipstick off your faces before launching into the sanctity of marriage. Wow.

        1. Yeah, and if you want to formally charge Trump with criminal incitement over this, have at it. I’ll even agree he should be impeached if he’s convicted after a normal trial.

          You’re not going to do that because under the normal legal standard for incitement, he’s clearly innocent.

          1. Impeachable offenses are not limited to what’s in the criminal code.

            1. Right. You want to pretend he’s obviously guilty of inciting insurrection, so obviously that to doubt it is madness, but not in any relevant legal sense. Just in some metaphorical sense which it’s mad to deny.

              Bullshit. Charge him with the crime or go away.

            2. Your ignorance is shocking. Name one successful conviction of someone who has been impeached that did not have an underlying criminal charge.

              1. Notably, your argument is unsubstantiated by the text of the Constitution.

                Beautifully righteous delivery though. Really impressive that you could be so certain while being so incredibly wrong.

              2. ” Name one successful conviction of someone who has been impeached that did not have an underlying criminal charge.”

                Number of Presidents who have been successfully impeached and convicted: 0

                With or without underlying criminal charge.

      2. No one has to worry about Trump returning to power.

        I’m worried. There is abundant evidence that cults can do crazy things.

        1. “I’m worried. There is abundant evidence that cults can do crazy things.”

          If the Trumpistas want to all go move to the South American jungle, that would be a net win.

      3. “Personally, I think it would be best for Biden to let his loathsome piece-of-shit predecessor sleaze off into obscurity ”

        He will not go gentle into that good night.

        What we need is some incentive for him to take the show overseas, and stay there. Maybe offer him immunity from extradition as long as he’s on the other side of the wall.

  7. The most relevant precedent here is the Belknap case, where Grant’s Secretary of War resigned while the House was preparing to impeach him. They impeached him anyway and he was tried. A majority voted to convict but enough people thought he couldn’t be convicted after he resigned that they couldn’t get a 2/3 vote. (If he hadn’t resigned he would probably been convicted).

    That might happen here since it gives Republican Senators a fig leaf to hide behind.

    1. It seems to me that conviction after he leaves office represents a good way for the leadership of the Republican Party to cleanse itself of the possible danger to their brand of Donald Trump. It frees up all the people who might think of running in 2024 of having to worry about running against Trump.

  8. What I noticed from all the examples in the linked Washington Post article is that none of them resulted in a conviction in the Senate, so none of them could be challenged in federal court. If Trump were convicted AND the Senate banned him from federal office, there would definitely be a federal court challenge by Trump.

    1. “there would definitely be a federal court challenge by Trump”

      This is a job for Trump Litigation: Elite Strike Force: Sidney Powell AND Rudy Giuliani AND Lin Wood AND Jenna Ellis AND the Sekulows AND Cleta Mitchell AND 22 Liberty grads AND 22 Regent grads AND 20 Ave Maria grads and 1 Chapman grad and 1 South Texas grad!

      1. Since Alan D has offered to defend Trump in a trial you probably should add him to the list. But then again you never seemed to keep up with current events.

        1. He’d be the cherry and the nuts atop that sundae.

    2. If Trump were convicted AND the Senate banned him from federal office, there would definitely be a federal court challenge by Trump.

      I’m not a lawyer, and don’t even play one on TV, but anyway in the world such a challenge would last even 5 minutes in a federal court. I don’t see any way a federal court is going to second-guess a Senate jury! (Especially given Donald Trump’s many, many threats against the Judicial Branch!)

      1. Why would he go to court, where parties are expected to present actual evidence supporting their claim(s). No, he’ll make a long rambling phone call to someone at Fox News in which he claims massive fraud in counting the Senate votes, because he WON in a LANDSLIDE and the only reason it looks like he lost is because of the massive conspiracy against him.

    3. I am a lawyer, and an impeachment conviction in the senate is not judicially reviewable, period, full stop.

      1. Now we just need that conviction in the Senate! 🙂

      2. “I am a lawyer, and an impeachment conviction in the senate is not judicially reviewable, period, full stop.”

        Don’t tell them that they only way they can win is to storm the Senate again.

    4. ¨If Trump were convicted AND the Senate banned him from federal office, there would definitely be a federal court challenge by Trump.¨

      On what legal theory, pray tell? (Not that the absence of a viable legal theory mattered to the scores of post-election lawsuits by Trump and his minions.)

      1. “On what legal theory, pray tell?”

        Violation of his sixth-amendment right to effective counsel.

  9. How is this consistent with the language of the various clauses, which refer to trial of “the president”? For example, the chief justice presides when the president is tried. The former presidnt is not the president, it would seem.

    1. “How is this consistent with the language of the various clauses, which refer to trial of ‘the president’?”

      Depends on what the people arranging the trial decide to do, of course, but they’ll probably point out that “President” is a title applied to both the currently serving President and to all the surviving former holders of the office. It’s flimsy, but so is everything else associated with Trump’s Presidency.

  10. Whatever. There are not 17 GOP senators leaving politics so no conviction.

    Amusing to see this suck up all the oxygen from Biden though.

    1. Bob from Ohio….I have similar thoughts. Maybe this stupid impeachment stuff is a blessing in disguise. But first, sorry about the Buckeyes last night.

      My thought is just the preparation for an impeachment trial can take weeks, if not months. My understanding is that once the House impeaches, full stop; the Senate must have the trial. That works. Fully stopping everything in His Fraudulency’s legislative agenda is a blessing in disguise. Every day is more time off the clock and is that much closer to January 2023, after Team R takes the House and ends this nonsense.

      1. “sorry about the Buckeyes last night”

        Not necessary. Glad it happened, loathed them for 40 years.

        Even my Irish did not play Alabama this patheticlly.

        1. “Even my Irish did not play Alabama this patheticlly.”

          Oh, then sorry about THAT game, and the game where they had to play the Clemson first-stringers.

      2. ” after Team R takes the House and ends this nonsense.”

        Haven’t you clods learned ANYTHING about counting your votes before they’re hatched?

    2. “Whatever. There are not 17 GOP senators leaving politics so no conviction.”

      I think there are *some* Republicans not planning to leave politics (e.g., Mitt Romney, possibly Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski) who will probably vote to convict. Unfortunately, probably not 17.

    3. “Whatever. There are not 17 GOP senators leaving politics so no conviction.”

      Won’t know until the vote is called. Didn’t you learn anything about counting votes too early last year? Trump was “hereby claiming” the electoral votes of several states before the the states had named a winner.

  11. The point is, is it good for the country to begin a period of healing and reconciliation with an act of vengeance?

    The capitol police didn’t take last week’s protest seriously enough. Beware next week’s planned protests. All it would take would be a Boston Massacre or Kent State type event at one of those protests to make this evil mood really explode.

    It is time to cool the flames, not to throw gasoline on them.

    1. I think you underestimate the amount of hate Pelosi and crew have for Trump.

      1. Beating the witch was an unforgivable crime.

      2. I think you underestimate the amount of hate Pelosi and crew have for Trump.

        Did you see “60 Minutes” this past weekend? (I’m guessing not. ;-))

        Nancy Pelosi showed the room where her staff hid under a table with the lights out for 2.5 hours, while Trump loonies bashed on the door. Pretty powerful stuff.

        I mean, seriously. Think about it…people who work faithfully for you hiding in the dark under a table for 2.5 hours while people are periodically bashing on the door. Wouldn’t you hate the man who caused that to happen? I know I would!

        Oh, and another thing…the Trump loonies were also shouting, “Where’s Nancy? Where’s Nancy?” I’m sure she can easily imagine some of the awful things that could have happened to her if they’d actually found her.

        So, yeah, she hates Donald Trump. No wonder.

      3. “I think you underestimate the amount of hate Pelosi and crew have for Trump.”

        Which is, of course, totally undeserved, considering how beloved Rep. Pelosi is among the Trumpistas.

    2. What is with you people not understanding that his actions require consequences?

      You can talk all you want about ‘healing,’ but in reality you just don’t want Trump to face the music for what he’s done to inflict wounds on this country.

      You people don’t get to talk about unity and healing until your leader has been held to account.

      1. Blah blah blah

        Let’s see Harris and the mayors of most big cities face some music for promoting and assisting all the riots last summer.

        1. A lie which only the most devoted, die-hard deniers of reality would utter.

          That’s your legacy, Ben. A fool completely untethered from, and unrestrained by reality.

          Absent Trump, none of the Capitol violence would have happened. His refusal to accept the election results, his lies about the election process and results, and his encouragement for those who believed his lies to come to the Capitol on the day when the final stake was to be driven into his political future, and then his pointing them to the Capitol and suggesting they can’t take anything back without strength.

          He was and is the central figure in everything that happened, regardless of your delusional rants.

          1. Show the evidence of an action Trump did. You seem so certain. Cite an action and explain why it is an action.

            1. Lol, speech is an action (it’s the literal actus reus for many crimes).

              1. No, speech is just speech. We protect it under 1A except for very specific situations. Those don’t apply here.

                1. The case for incitement is closer than you think.

                  Also the 1A does not apply to impeachment.

                  1. No one said it did. The actual principle of free speech should apply in impeachment, but I know leftists only know about principles as a vulnerability in others to attack, so I don’t expect any of you to care about free speech.

                    1. No, it shouldn’t, any more than free speech applies during a job interview or when you’re under oath.

                    2. So exactly like I said then: principles only used by the left to attack others, never to live by themselves.

                    3. No, I explained my principles,a small they apply regardless of party.

                      You, in the other hand, appear to be coming up with your nonsense to fit your goal.

        2. He took no action.

          Actually, that could even work against him. Here’s one timeline for January 6th:

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/interactive/2021/capitol-insurrection-visual-timeline/

          According to that timeline, Trump supporters broke into the Capitol at approximately 2:15 PM, and both houses of Congress adjourned at 2:20 PM. Presumably, Donald Trump would have known fairly shortly after that (within minutes, even?) about the protesters breaking into the Capitol and Congress adjourning.

          So why didn’t he immediately make a Twitter post or public statement telling the protesters to leave so Congress could resume its operations?

          “He took no action” is actually not a very good defense. It is even a point for the prosecution. A President who actually cared about his oath of office (to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution”) would have immediately told his supporters to stop violating the law, so that Congress could resume its operations.

        3. “He took no action.”

          when they asked for the National Guard to be deployed, he took no action.

      2. Love how with the Trump haters he exists in a vacuum. The hatred started long before he was even in office, supporters were being attacked at California rallies, riots were happening the day of the election AND the day of the inauguration, entire mythologies of his evil were created and spread in the highest parts of our government, nearly every big tech and media organization made it their personal mission to assure he was not only not reelected but DESTROYED forever so that no outsider ever had the temerity to do what he did ever again.

        The wounds Trump inflicted on the national unity didn’t matter, because it had already been beaten to death before he even entered office, and they kept defiling the corpse for years to boost their personal power.

        1. This is some first-rate revisionism, here.

  12. Suggestion here: https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2021/01/impeachment-follies.php

    “Republicans should return the favor when they re-take the House in 2022 (or whenever). They should retroactively impeach Barack Obama. Obama was far more guilty than Trump of inciting violence: “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”

    1. ““If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.””

      Pathetic. I realize analogies require higher order thinking and Trump fans, well, look at the goofy things they practically swim in, but wow.

      1. I’m not a Trump guy, but this is not that crazy. Or at least not for a different reason.

        Obama got a finding out of someone in his administration that it was legal for the President to execute an American citizen overseas with no due process. Then he went and did it.

        A few weeks later the guy’s 15 year-old son was killed accidentally as part of a different raid and somebody from the media snapped out of their coma long enough to ask Obama’s press secretary about it. The answer was “he should have had a better father”. So it doesn’t seem as if they were feeling a lot of remorse.

        To me, that’s every bit as impeachable as this stuff. The American government should not be intentionally killing American citizens anywhere without due process.

        1. Before being elected, of course, he’d said that it was illegal for a President to even so much as detain a US citizen abroad.

          After, OK to just outright kill them abroad.

          Of course, we’re just assuming it was only abroad, because the extrajudicial kill list is top secret.

      2. Agreed. Pathetic. Very similar to what the Dems are doing now though.

        1. Not at all, analogies don’t = incitement.

          1. Nor did Trump’s words

            1. The relationship of the words on the flags carried by the insurrectionists to the name of the then-current President was entirely coincidental.

    2. “Republicans should return the favor when they re-take the House in 2022 (or whenever). They should retroactively impeach Barack Obama.”

      Yeah, that’s brilliant! Waste Congress’ time and the public’s money prosecuting a President who is term-limited from ever being elected again, anyway.

      Did y’all ever consider why y’all lost the House, the Senate, and the Presidency…that it might be due to remarkably dumb ideas like that one? (Not to mention trying to overturn a clear election loss by extra-judicial means…)

      1. Media bias and phony absentee votes

        1. Question: Did y’all ever consider why y’all lost the House, the Senate, and the Presidency…that it might be due to remarkably dumb ideas like that one? (Not to mention trying to overturn a clear election loss by extra-judicial means…)

          Media bias and phony absentee votes

          OK…go ahead and impeach Barack Obama the first chance y’all get. With Republicans with ideas like that, Democrats look…well, still terrible. But I guess it could be worse…it could be Republicans. 🙁

        2. The D’s actually got enough people to vote in 2020, after failing to do so in 2016. How and why were they able to do that? Trump helped them every chance he got.

    3. Metaphor challenged, eh?

  13. And if the impeachment and trial in the Senate successfully prevent Trump for running for President in the future, what then? It’s like the fools believing Twitter and Instagram deplatforming him will silence him. He will simply choose someone to run in his place. He will be the power behind the throne.

    1. I’d prefer he take that route even if they don’t impeach him. By 2024 he’ll be older than dirt. And he comes pre-smeared, they’d have to start out from scratch smearing a new candidate.

      Trump should devote himself to finding some way to defeat the Democrats’ media monopoly, not giving it another 4 years to tear him down before an election.

      1. Why would he do that?

        He doesn’t actually care about policy or anything. All he cares about is being President, with all the privileges and perks and status that come with the office. He has no actual political agenda or principles. He has no interest in doing the actual work of being President.

        If you had told him on Nov.1 that he was sure to be reelected if he opened the borders and endorsed the Green New Deal he would have done that in a heartbeat.

        1. Yeah, he probably would have. Have you thought about the corollary to that?

          If Democrats had just had the self control to offer to work with him, he probably would have gladly screwed over everyone who voted for him and governed from the middle, and then gone down in flaming ruins this year, instead of nearly winning a second term. And the right would have been utterly demoralized.

          But, no, you went utterly nuts, and made it clear to him that he’d better faithfully stick with the people who elected him, because support from the left was impossible. You made him the closest thing America has seen to a principled conservative in a generation by giving him no other route to success.

          1. Yeah, Trump of course was no part of that. Only Democrats have agency…

          2. We are in agreement about that…but that is par for the course. So Obamacare could be greatly improved for Republican small business owners at little to no cost but to this day Republicans can’t give Obama “win”. But keep in mind Trump shares some blame for not signaling to Democrats that he would be standing up to McConnell by not appointing judges until McConnell met some demands that helped the blue collar workers in Rust Belt states. So I knew Trump was going to get rolled by Bush Republicans once he appointed Tillerson on Condi Rice’s recommendation.

          3. If Democrats had just had the self control to offer to work with him, he probably would have gladly screwed over everyone who voted for him and governed from the middle, and then gone down in flaming ruins this year, instead of nearly winning a second term. And the right would have been utterly demoralized.

            It’s absolutely hilarious for you to be offering advice to Democrats! In case you hadn’t noticed ;-), they control the presidency and both houses of Congress.

            Let me play an alternate history for you Republicans. You let Trump get removed from office. Mike Pence becomes President. Pence does not absolutely bungle the COVID-19 response, and so almost certainly beats sleepy Joe Biden. And even if Pence loses, he concedes, and really, really pushes for Loeffler and Perdue (instead of forcing them to go against their own party’s Secretary of State, who was unquestionably simply trying to do his job). So best case, Republicans control the Presidency and Senate. And worst case, they still control the Senate.

            And then, if Pence had won in 2020, he would have the power of incumbency in 2024.

            1. The reason that Republicans can win elections is that their loyal partisans can be counted on to show up on election day, while the Democrats have a number of constituencies that don’t reliably show up. so you see a familiar pattern: The D’s scrambling to get everyone to the polling places, and the R’s trying to make it hard for them to do so. If the D’s get people to show up and vote, they win elections. If the D’s constituencies get complacent, they don’t show at the polls and the R’s manage to win.
              then, when they do win national elections, the R’s set about trying to shut down the federal government. Eventually, their tampering breaks something that enough people care about to et them out to the polls at the next election, and the D’s get the job of cleaning up the mess the R’s have made. So, you go back to 2003, and you have the R’s screwing up the war on terrorism but they manage to successfully argue that changing horses in midstream is a bad plan, so they get a couple more years to really screw up the war and get a bunch of Democrats elected to Congress in 2006, and even get Obama a Nobel Peace Prize in early 2009 for successfully being not GW Bush. A deregulation problem also surfaces in 2008 throwing the economy into freefall. The D’s use the opportunity to pass a good number of pet projects for the federal government to spend money on. Then they pass an overhaul of health insurance that helps a lot of people who didn’t used to have it to get some, which angers the Republican base. speaking of whom, they R base didn’t like any of their candidates in 2016, so they settled on a newcomer with no experience and no qualifications except for the most important one: He liked to say things that drove the Democrats absolutely nuts. They got him elected and watched as he proceeded to do, well, mostly nothing (except for saying more things that drove the Democrats nuts). He started and lost a trade war, which also drove the Democrats nuts, and then, (uh-oh) along came a situation which required mature judgment and careful analysis, neither of which Trump excels at, and so we had a response to an international pandemic of a new disease that largely consisted of making fun of people for wearing masks in public. Amazingly, a policy of getting as many people sick with the new disease as possible did NOT make it go away.

      2. “the Democrats’ media monopoly”

        Lol. The number one cable news network? Fox. The number one newspaper? Wall Street Journal. Etc.
        That’s some monopoly!

        This is the kind of silly victimhood that Trump has made standard in GOP circles these days.

        1. Pluralities, not majorities. The left has all those media outlets, that collectively outnumber formerly conservative Fox by a big margin. And only the WSJ’s editorial page has been conservative for a long time.

          1. “formerly conservative Fox”

            The reaction eating its own. How long until even OAN and Breitbart are too moderate to sate the bloodlust of the modern right?

          2. The clingers have plenty of downscale radio stations and shambling local newspapers.

            What they lack are first-rate journalists and respect from the American mainstream.

          3. Fox is “formerly conservative”? Good heavens, you’ve lost the plot.

          4. ” formerly conservative Fox”

            As usual, charges of bias say so much more about the person making the charge than the target of it.

        2. You really need to start keeping up with current events if you want to stop peeps from making fun of you. Ever since viewers thought FOX was not supporting Trump enough they are no longer watching and FOX evening viewer ship is not in third place behind both MSNBC and CNN.

          You need to quite posting if you can’t keep up.

      3. “Trump should devote himself to finding some way to defeat the Democrats’ media monopoly, not giving it another 4 years to tear him down before an election.”

        Trump should have devoted himself four years ago to learning how to be President, and done a good job of it when presented the opportunity. That’s the best way to convince people that you should keep the job. It’s a little bit late to settle on this approach, however. His main problem is that people remember him, and the things he chose to say and do. 4 years probably isn’t enough time for them to forget.

    2. “He will simply choose someone to run in his place. He will be the power behind the throne.”

      Personally, I don’t think so. The (insert your own word here) of the capital has finished him. Only the smallish group of truly hard core supporters remain and there’s no way he gets much support from the middle like he’s done in his two elections so far.

      Look at the reaction to the capital thing. And he wears that forever. In 70% of American minds Trump is a pariah.

    3. He will simply choose someone to run in his place. He will be the power behind the throne.

      Well, the thing is, Donald Trump is kind of a narcissistic nitwit. He’d probably choose someone like Donald Trump, Jr. or Ivanka. If there’s any political savvy left in the Republican Party, the rest of the Party would probably realize those would probably be losers.

      It’s like the fools believing Twitter and Instagram deplatforming him will silence him.

      Who believes he will be “silenced” by those things?

    4. ” He will simply choose someone to run in his place. He will be the power behind the throne.”

      Sure, his ego will be fine with that. Cheney had the personality for that. Donnie does not.

  14. “On its face, this says only that officeholders are removed if in office when convicted; it does not say that an official must still be in office at the time of his or her impeachment and conviction.”

    The obvious rebuttal is that if they’re not in office they’re not an official to begin with, they’re a private citizen. Multiple targets of this sort of action have asserted that. Congress has asserted the contrary.

    But as SMP points out, none of the prior cases resulted in a conviction, and so were never tested in court.

    My own opinion would be that at least the actual “impeachment”, the House ‘indicting’ them, has to happen while they’re still in office, because it’s holding the office that makes them subject to impeachment. Not having held it. The trial might come after they’ve left the office, though, because the clauses only speak of who can be impeached, not convicted.

    I’m actually more concerned Congress or one of the states might take seriously the Section 3 arguments being hashed over at Balkinization. Call it impeachment lite: Congress or the state would assert that Trump was no longer qualified to hold federal office on account of being guilty of insurrection, per Section 3 of the 14th amendment. I call it impeachment “lite” because it circumvents the supermajority vote, and could probably pass Congress.

    Use of this approach in something so polarizing as the claim that Trump is an insurrectionist based on some speeches and a handful of people committing crimes with no evidence he’d directed them to would be explosive.

    1. Sounds like a bill of attainder

      1. To me, too.

        1. How many Democrats do you think would vote for it knowing it’s clearly unconstitutional?

          I will guess between 98 and 99% of them would vote for it knowing that.

          1. They wouldn’t lack for people who ought to know better telling them it was constitutional.

            1. There’s always some complete nonsense legal argument available. Like “animus” for the travel ban. Or “congress denied funding for it” for the emergency act wall-construction.

              1. Complete nonsense like being true?

          2. It’s clearly constitutional, the language is right there in the 14th.

            1. The Supreme Court ruled in City of Boerne v. Flores (1997) that Congress’s enforcement power under Section 5 of the 14th Amendment allows Congress only to enforce the amendment as interpreted by the Supreme Court. So if Congress passes legislation under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, that would simply lead to the Supreme Court deciding if the Congress correctly interpreted Section 3.

            2. Yeah, it’s clearly constitutional that somebody can be disqualified from federal office for insurrection.

              The only cases of it actually happening relate to people who were involved with the Confederacy during the Civil war. Pretty open and shut.

              The constitutional question is, can you just vote somebody guilty of insurrection in Congress, like it’s some ordinary piece of legislation? Or do you have to charge them with insurrection, and convict them in a criminal trial, before the penalty applies?

              I’d say the former is just a bill of attainder, you’d need the latter. And there’s no freaking way Trump gets convicted of insurrection in a full criminal trial with due process, because the case against him is a partisan fever dream.

              But go ahead and try, if he’s convicted I’d agree Section 3 applies.

              1. It can’t mean that because ‘rebellion’ is, to my knowledge, not a formal crime. So it can’t be limited to being tried and convicted of the formal crime of insurrection or rebellion.

            3. Congress can’t make the determination because it would be a bill of attainder if they did.

              1. Only if they attach criminal penalties to it.

                1. If they attach any penalty to it — like the penalty being discussed here.

                  But it’s not settled, so anything could happen.

                  1. “If they attach any penalty to it — like the penalty being discussed here.”

                    Imagine the craziness here: Arguing that someone should be disqualified from elective office just because you tried to overturn an election. when the R’s get back in charge, they’ll decide that running a campaign in opposition to theirs is the same thing as trying to overturn an election.

                    All the fuss is over disqualifying him from being elected again, but there are some real penalties in play, as well. Conviction would allow Congress to rescind his pension and deny him office expenses, and he’s going to need that money to keep Melania in designer clothes after his creditors start foreclosing on his assets.

      2. Every impeachment is a bill of attainder. One expressly authorized by the Constitution.

    2. Call it impeachment lite: Congress or the state would assert that Trump was no longer qualified to hold federal office on account of being guilty of insurrection, per Section 3 of the 14th amendment. I call it impeachment “lite” because it circumvents the supermajority vote, and could probably pass Congress.

      Curiouser and curiouser. What body would enforce such an assertion? Under what theory would that body be required to enforce it? And logistics aside, what would prevent this from being freely used in the future as an offensive tool against any opposite-party President?

      This whole situation smacks of kids on the playground making up too-clever rules as they go and declaring themselves winner and everyone else a doo-doo head with ever-increasing fervor. And not thinking ahead to what happens the next day when they want to go out and play again and they’ve alienated everyone around them.

      1. Its the Trillion Dollar Platinum Coin of legal arguments.

      2. Under the theory, one or more states would refuse to put him on the ballot on the basis he didn’t meet the qualifications to be President. He’d then have a chance to challenge it in court.

        Of course, this wouldn’t materially impact his election prospects, because only states he had no hope of carrying would do such a thing. But then, echos of today, Harris would have an excuse to refuse to count EC votes for Trump!

        1. OK, so it’s voluntary “compliance” at the state level — that at least makes more sense.

          But since it’s not a true impeachment, why couldn’t a subsequent Congress just assert the opposite? Present Congress can’t bind the hands of a future one and all that. Of course, that wouldn’t prevent the coordinating states from pointing to the original assertion and ignoring the subsequent one, so it’d end up in court anyway.

        2. Brett Bellmore : Harris would have an excuse to refuse to count EC votes for Trump!

          More silly fantasies from Brett. Meanwhile this is what will happen back on Planet Earth : Out of office Trump will watch a lot of TV and play a lot of golf. Sure, he’ll emerge to make noise at intervals in his usually huckster-style, but without the office of president as a backdrop it will seem pathetic.

          What he won’t do is put in the disciplined hard effort to stay relevant, year after year out of power. Long before the first primaries he’ll be an embarrassment and a joke. The Republican Party won’t welcome him back because they’ll want to win in ’24 and Trump can’t. The MAGA crowd will get bored and find their troll-entertainment elsewhere.

          As we’ve seen these past few days, there are plenty of GOP politicians eager to audition for the position of President Troll.

          1. Sure, he’ll emerge to make noise at intervals in his usually huckster-style, but without the office of president as a backdrop it will seem pathetic.

            Hopefully. But people have come back improbably from political oblivion. Just look at Joe Biden!

            If you wrote that Dan Quayle would not have a chance in 2024, I’d be a lot more certain you were right. 😉

          2. ” this is what will happen back on Planet Earth : Out of office Trump will watch a lot of TV and play a lot of golf.”

            Then, the creditors start foreclosing on his assets, and it gets harder and harder for him to get a tee time. Eventually, he won’t have anywhere to cheat at golf any more.

    3. “would be explosive.”

      Like trying to overturn an election kind of explosive?

  15. I think it’s a great idea to ban Donald Trump from ever holding office again. It prevents him from running again in 2024. That leaves the Republican nomination in 2024 open to anyone who is not Donald J. Trump, the current President.

    That would allow the Republican Party to choose either someone who is in Donald Trump’s favor, or not.

    1. Trumpistas are a cult, and cultists believe in the leader more than any message from the leader. They need *this man* and this man alone (to use Trump’s own words) to save them.

      1. Trumpistas are a cult, and cultists believe in the leader more than any message from the leader. They need *this man* and this man alone (to use Trump’s own words) to save them.

        Yes, I agree completely…and that’s why I think it is such a good idea to bar Donald Trump from ever holding office again. If–God forbid!!!–Donald Trump were to run and get elected in 2024, I don’t think there would be any limits on what he might do.

        I vote Libertarian for every office in which a Libertarian is running, so I have “no dog in this fight.” But it seems to me that it’s a tremendously helpful thing for the *Republican Party*–not just the country–to make sure Donald Trump can never be President again.

        1. ” If–God forbid!!!–Donald Trump were to run and get elected in 2024, I don’t think there would be any limits on what he might do.”

          If Trump were to prevail in 2024, no Democrat could ever again utter the words, “This is not who we are.”

          1. If Trump were to prevail in 2024, no Democrat could ever again utter the words, “This is not who we are.”

            Indeed. 🙁

          2. “If Trump were to prevail in 2024, no Democrat could ever again utter the words, ‘This is not who we are.'”

            Depends. The most likely path to a Trump victory in 2024 would be if the R’s successfully disenfranchised enough voters. If they aren’t allowed to vote, then “this is not who we are” would be literally true.

  16. Does it? A lot of people are just automatically taking positions in this with respect to their political priors (see everyone making fun of a republican representative when he said this a few years back) but I’m pretty curious policy-wise, I dont have a view one way or the other.

    As far as I can tell, there is exactly one precedent of this occurring in the United States, regarding some civil war person. In that case, the senate voted to acquit because it didn’t have the 2/3rds majority. It didn’t get that majority because more than 1/3 of the senate thought it didn’t have jurisdiction because the person had left office.

    So thats not helpful. There were multiple cases of this under Britain, but that isn’t helpful either. The British system said that the king IS the law, so impeaching him wouldn’t work at all. Trying to fit that framework doesn’t work imo,

    The text appears to make no distinction on impeachment regarding other, lower, officials, for former or present officials. But it does specify rules for the current president. These rules are important because again they don’t seem to have existed in Britain.

    And lastly, it doesn’t seem very democratic that Congress can bar someone from future office if they have not served in office yet. Is a distinction made for private citizens who want to be in government but have not yet served Why can’t you impeach the candidate your competing with? Yet that is what the argument would seem to imply.

    So while I dont necessary have a view on whether you can or cannot do it … I do very much disagree with the view that it is obvious and clear that you can.

    1. I’m with you on it being non-obvious, and also admit that my position on this is consistent with my political slant here. However, consider that the penalties for conviction on impeachment are expressly (i) removal from office and (ii) bar from future office, I see no reason why an action seeking (ii) couldn’t be prosecuted at any time from and after someone has served in office.

      This is a little bit different when someone has been term-limited out, though I suppose you could always impeach Obama for misdeeds in office and bar him from, say, becoming a federal judge in the future.

      1. I think you could probably impeach while in office, and then hold the trial afterwards.

        But it’s flatly crazy to propose doing this to somebody who came this close to winning reelection, and on such a dodgy basis.

        1. To be clear, if they had some sort of smoking gun, like an email from Trump to Zip Tie guy asking him to make sure to rough Pelosi up a bit in the process of kidnapping her, yeah, by all means do it.

          But speeches only Trump’s enemies think sound like incitement? For this they’re supposed to give the finger to roughly half the electorate?

          1. I think a lot of Trumpistas in that crowd certainly thought Trump’s speeches sounded like incitement, hence their acting on it.

            Besides, to the extent impeachment would be warranted his election tampering attempts will be featured as prominently and there is a smoking gun, or tape, for that.

            1. The problem with that notion is that practically nobody did anything violent.

              A few years ago, a Bernie Bro tried to assassinate the House Republican caucus. By this standard Bernie is an insurrectionist, and more so than Trump!

              Barring something more direct than speeches Democrats find outrageous, it’s absurd.

              1. Trump for months told his followers that the election was literally being stolen, that the certification was culminating the greatest violation of the Republic in our history, and that his followers had to fight, not show weakness and stop it. There’s nothing equivalent to Bernie and the baseball shooting.

              2. There sure was plenty of violence for practically nobody to have done it.

                1. A handful of people did it, and they deserve to be tried and punished. But Trump didn’t order them to do it.

                  1. I don’t think anyone said he ‘ordered’ them, the idea is incited them. And it was more than a handful.

                    1. I’ll bite. How many was it? Please show your work.

                    2. “I’ll bite. How many was it? Please show your work.”

                      Turns out it’s fairly difficult to accurately count people engaging in a riot.

        2. “But it’s flatly crazy to propose doing this to somebody who came this close to winning reelection, and on such a dodgy basis.”

          if someone commits removable acts, it shouldn’t matter how close to re-election they came (or how popular they are) so I dont know why that factors into the analysis at all.

          One would only care about the popularity of the person being impeached if you are impraching in bad faith.

          I think if you look at the totality of the president’s actions they do become impeachable. Refusing to accept his election results. Peddling baseless conspiracy theories that undermine our election integrity. Pressuring your vice president to act unconstitutionally by trying to get him to discard the votes of certain states. Pressuring the GA Sec of State to “find the votes” or to find way to disenfranchise valid voters.

          Even without including his rhetoric towards his followers you can make a case that anyone who does the above when losing re-election deserves a ban from holding future public office.

          1. “if someone commits removable acts, it shouldn’t matter how close to re-election they came (or how popular they are) so I dont know why that factors into the analysis at all.”

            Because it’s not a case of somebody having committed a removable act. (As though his guilt were manifestly obvious and beyond disputing.) It’s a case of somebody being asserted to have committed a removable act, based on reasoning only hostile partisans find even a bit persuasive.

            If you’re going to do something like this, you need a case that persuades people who were and are Trump supporters, not just people who hate his guts. You need evidence beyond his having said things you don’t like, evidence that connects him to the actual perps more directly than Bernie Sanders is connected to James Hodgkinson.

            Otherwise it’s just too obvious it’s nothing more than a political hit job.

            1. As Trump himself has boasted he could literally shoot a man in public and his base would support him. As for political hit jobs they cheered when he tried one on Biden re Ukraine (and others). You can’t wait around for people like that to ever see wrong in Trump. Cultists gonna cult.

              1. Brett : you need a case that persuades people who were and are Trump supporters.

                I have a theory about Trump supporters which I’ll illustrate using Brett as an example. Let’s say DJT did shoot a random stranger on Fifth Avenue and Brett was standing nearby. This is how I envision Brett’s statement to be police :

                “Yes, I saw Trump raise a handgun & scream “Die loser”; heard the gunshot & saw the victim fall. But I didn’t actually see the bullet go from the gun to the victim so there’s no actual evidence Trump shot him”

                And on that basis Brett would claim persecution against Trump. In short, there can never be a case against his day-glo orange deity that Brett would find persuasive. That’s a given inside the cult.

                1. ” there can never be a case against his day-glo orange deity that Brett would find persuasive. That’s a given inside the cult.”

                  This is only true so long as Brett continues to identify Trump as a Republican. If Brett were to decide that Trump isn’t really a Republican, there would be no fury like that which Brett would rain on Trump.

            2. “Because it’s not a case of somebody having committed a removable act. (As though his guilt were manifestly obvious and beyond disputing.) It’s a case of somebody being asserted to have committed a removable act, based on reasoning only hostile partisans find even a bit persuasive.”

              That’s what the trial is for. To make the case that he did that.
              Just because Trump supporters don’t think his acts were impeachable doesn’t mean we should have a trial and try and make the case.

              A trial is warranted.

              1. Correction to my above comment: “doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a trial”

              2. Great, have a trial. A criminal trial for the charge of incitement.

                Not a political trial for the charge of being Donald J. Trump.

                1. Great, have a trial. A criminal trial for the charge of incitement.
                  Not a political trial for the charge of being Donald J. Trump.

                  No, you have that exactly backwards. The danger of Donald J. Trump (Sr.) to society is not that he will spout lies and advocate for the government not following the Constitution as a private citizen. The danger to society is only if he does those things as a president who swears an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.

                  1. The danger of Donald J. Trump (Sr.) to society is not that he will spout lies and advocate for the government not following the Constitution as a private citizen. The danger to society is only if he does those things as a president who swears an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.

                    I think you folks need to declare a major: Do Trump followers just mindlessly follow the words that come out of his mouth because they’re so infatuated with him, or not? There’s certainly enough rhetoric floating around in this thread and others over the past day or two to conclude you think they do. And I haven’t heard a single person suggest that dynamic would magically flip off like a switch the day he leaves office — nay, quite the opposite.

                    But if all that’s true, then it wouldn’t matter if he’s president or a private citizen. He would have the same capacity to incite regardless.

                    And if not, then there’s a whole lot of bloviating that needs to be retracted.

                    Which is it?

                    1. Likely somewhere in between:

                      Trump found himself in power because he (magically? luckily?) had the talent of telling some people what they wanted to hear, allowing them to delude themselves into disregarding objective facts they didn’t like.

                      He had this power before he was elected to anything. Allowing him a strong podium to use (Presidential power) amplified the effects. Demonstrably, he isn’t willing to give that power back to the rightful owner of that power, the people of the United States. They voted to take it back from him and give it to somebody else but he wasn’t going to let them take anything from him

                    2. But if all that’s true, then it wouldn’t matter if he’s president or a private citizen. He would have the same capacity to incite regardless.

                      No, it makes a huge difference. The president is the head of the Executive branch, the Commander in Chief, and the chief *law enforcement* officer in the nation. People fear him because of those extraordinary powers.

                      A 73-year-old private citizen blowhard who likely will be spending considerable time defending himself from indictment for tax fraud in NY State doesn’t have any of those powers.

                2. Impeachment is a trial.

                  They made it separate from the criminal process for a reason.

                3. “Great, have a trial. A criminal trial for the charge of incitement.
                  Not a political trial for the charge of being Donald J. Trump.”

                  We already had a political trial on the charge of being Donald J. Trump, and the people voted guilty as charged, let the other guy be President.

              3. “based on reasoning only hostile partisans find even a bit persuasive.””

                Color me skeptical that a trial in Congress will change anyone’s mind.

                1. Some of the people in Congress have already changed their minds.

              4. Trump did what Trump did. I don’t think there’s a case for actual innocence. It’s just a matter of what rationalization would the apologists settle on?

        3. But it’s flatly crazy to propose doing this to somebody who came this close to winning reelection, and on such a dodgy basis.

          No, I disagree with that, 100%. (Or maybe even 110%.)

          Allow me to propose the perfect example from my school days. Specifically, Augsburg Germany Jr. High, Mr. Harris’ American History class. (If anyone reading this knows where Mr. Harris is, I would really love to contact him to say what a wonderful teacher he was.)

          Anyway, Mr. Harris set up a mock impeachment trial in which he was the president. (He ended up advising both the House prosecutor and his own defense team…which probably isn’t a great idea for a President to do! :-))

          I was in the Senate (the jury). The House prosecutor said that President Harris should be removed from office, because he was not yet 35 years old. (They even did the tremendously cool thing of bringing in the Jr. High secretary to testify that she had been at his 33rd or 34th birthday party just a few weeks previously.) President Harris’ defense team said that The People knew he wasn’t 35 yet when he was elected, so everything was fine.

          We in the Senate voted…to convict, of course. After we voted, Mr. Harris said he hoped we hadn’t voted to convict merely because it was a cool thing to do (which was of course the real reason we voted to convict).

          The point Mr. Harris was making was that it is actually when people *support* a person who violates the Constitution that makes it most important to remove them from office (and by extension, to keep them from getting into office again).

          It is precisely because Donald Trump *might* be re-elected that he should be prevented from being re-elected.

          Republicans have 100+ million choices (i.e., everyone over age 35 and born in the U.S.). It is no imposition on them to prevent them from ever re-electing one man…Donald J. Trump (Sr.). But it *is* a transparent danger to the country if Donald Trump is re-elected. He has demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that his being president represents a danger to this republic.

          1. Trump himself is ineffectual and immaterial. The sooner he fades to obscurity the better.

            What we need is something to dissuade the next pompous oaf we elect to the Presidency that there are, in fact, limits to Presidential authority and power. Those limits include precluding the pompous oaf currently in power from declaring any election he doesn’t win as somehow invalid.

        4. “I think you could probably impeach while in office, and then hold the trial afterwards.”

          Choosing the other way gives a bad precedent. If a party can prevent conviction via the simple expedient of just not bothering to schedule a trial while the subject is still in office, you’ll get a whole bunch of future Mitch McConnells deciding to just not do anything. The future McConnell rule: Presidents do not get impeachment trials during the last six months of their term. and the future McConnell addendum, “Unless they do”.

  17. Hey, why stop with Trump. Let’s keep going and impeach all of those evil former Presidents. Start with Washington, Jefferson and Jackson because they owned slaves and then move on to Lincoln for authorizing death sentences of Native Americans convicted of mass murders, and then move on war mongers like TR, Truman (Hiroshima!) and, of course, Nixon, Bush I and Bush 2.

    1. Well none of them can hold office anymore.

      Although they could go after Carter for deregulation of airlines and natural gas. Nah.

      1. “Well none of them can hold office anymore.”

        Why should being currently dead preclude holding office. The Constitution says “over age 35” and “natural-born citizen” are requirements. It does NOT say “currently breathing unassisted” This could be GHW Bush’s big comeback: “read my lips, you’ll get new taxes when you pry them from my cold, dead hands”

    2. Of those whom you mention, only Bush 2 is capable of holding federal office, and there is no indication that he is inclined to want to do so.

      1. You have a loose definition of “capable”.

  18. Andrew Hyman has a post taking the opposite position at the Originalism blog, Prof. A. Care to respond?

  19. My quick look at the precedents seems to indicate that the person has to be in office when the House votes impeachment – otherwise no jurisdiction – but if he leaves office after being impeached the Senate could still try and convict him – because otherwise the guy could just quit on the eve of the Senate’s guilty vote and preserve the option of serving in office in the future even if the Senate doesn’t want him to.

    1. Well reasoned and succinctly put.

    2. I should add I’m skeptical about the “case against Trump” – though it might benefit the Republicans to have him as a martyr and simultaneously removed from contention in 2024, freeing the party to go in a new direction. Though the new direction will probably be stupid.

      1. I really think it would be a frighteningly terrible idea to make a martyr of Trump. So they’ll probably go ahead and do it.

        1. What we might have to do is make former Presidents categorically exempt from extradition. That way, as long as he stays outside the country, he still can’t be charged with crimes. That’ll probably work better than any wall.

      2. The alternative is tacit approval of his attempts to use unconstitutional means to overturn the legal and valid results of our election? I mean that’s what Congress is saying if they do nothing and let him leave on his own terms.

        I think the martyr angle is overblown. He will forever be tagged as a presidential re-elect loser/one termer. He has already lost quite a bit of popularity due to his post election behavior. It’s only politically risky for Republicans who are afraid of losing primaries. But that’s how we got to this point to begin with. By his own party being afraid of standing up to him.

        Impeaching him will not make a martyr out of him to anyone who doesn’t already believe he’s been persecuted throughout his whole term or believes in deep state conspiracies.

        You may not think his behavior has been enough to warrant conviction, but he has absolutely behaved bad enough to warrant an impeachment trial and to give Congress the opportunity to make the case.

        The worst thing for our country and our democratic ideals is to have a new normal where every elected official is going to baselessly claim fraud every time they lose and refuse to have peaceful transfers of power. .

      3. ” it might benefit the Republicans to have him as a martyr and simultaneously removed from contention in 2024, freeing the party to go in a new direction.”

        They might pick a grown-up, if forced to do so. I concur with your non-quoted assessment that they’ll probably pick stupidly. Given their propensity to select people unfit for the Presidency, who lie repeatedly about their own accomplishments, they’ll probably pick Kim over Putin (Putin can actually do things)

    3. I agree. Constitution AND stupid to do.

    4. Cal,
      The Senate trial would be pointless.
      The House’s article of impeachment is just part of the US Code, the penalty for which is imprisonment, fines and barring from future office.
      If Trump committed a crime let him be prosecuted and skip the Star Chamber rites.

      1. The Star Chamber was infamous because it used torture, was done in secret, etc., it’s silly hyperbole to equate it with impeachment.

  20. Starr and Ray continued to investigate Bill Clinton well after he left office, on matters that not only had nothing to do with his presidential duties but arose and were concluded before he even became President. It would be odd that Congress lacks the power of a special prosecutor appointed pursuant to its own statute.

    1. Comey also investigated the Marc Rich pardon after Clinton left office…another reason Hillary was ecstatic when Trump fired him.

    2. Clinton reached a deal with Ray prior to leaving office.

  21. Doesn’t punishment consist of removal “and” limitation on future office, suggesting they go together, not separately? If separate, could removal occur and the limitation on future office be voted separately at a later time? Who presides at a late trial of a former president as the chief justice presides only at the trial of “the president?” Is there a different presiding officer depending on when the trial is held? What significance should be drawn from the fact that there has been no successful conviction of an officer tried after leaving office?

    1. ” What significance should be drawn from the fact that there has been no successful conviction of an officer tried after leaving office?”
      No successful conviction of an impeached sitting President, either.

    2. Actually, no. The Constitution says that punishment “shall not extend further” than removal and disqualification. Both are not required, in fact the text doesn’t even require removal, although I believe removal has been the judgment following all convictions.

      1. Edit – the text in Article I doesn’t require removal, but Article II does.

  22. “The precedents are clear, and Senate could bar Trump from holding future office.”

    This could also cut off his lifetime pension, and remove the need to provide him with a Secret Service detail. Now if only there was also a way to make him permanently ineligible to file bankruptcy petitions…

    1. The Senate could also gang rape every female in DC; but that ain’t happening.

      I suggest you get a reality check. First no way there 17 pub senators who will vote to convict Trump. Next there have been several threads on reason discussing how it is not really feasible to deny Trump SS protection and pension and office space.

  23. What other issues in law exist. The Trump Universe keeps morons occupied.

    If Trump goes away CNN is out of business. Note cnn is owned by jews.

  24. Of course, there’s still the question of whether an elected position, such as president or senator, is an office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States, which is all you can be disqualified from. Maybe it is, but it’s not clear. The Senate takes the position that senators aren’t such officers because they are elected. Trump can certainly be disqualified from being Secretary of State or Supreme Court Justice, but I doubt there’s much danger of that.

    1. Trump has done his dead level best to show that the office of president is not necessarily one of honor or trust.

  25. So, Congress has asserted its right to pursue impeachment after the official has left office. Of course, why wouldn’t it? It has not been adjudicated yet, so it appears to be an open question, Adler’s strenuations to the contrary notwithstanding.

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