On January 6, supporters of the current US President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building, where congressmen summed up the results of the presidential election, which was won by Joe Biden. The “triumph” of the rebels, which led to five deaths, lasted four hours: special forces cleared the building and now the participants in the assault are facing prison. Trump, who urged people to go under the Capitol, is also in an unenviable position: they want to dismiss him and banned from running in the future. But this is not the end, because he could also face prison. What is happening in the USA, why Trump is doing badly and how it will end.
ASSAULT OF THE CAPITOLIA
On January 6, the Congress summed up the official election results. Trump urged his supporters to come to the rally outside the Capitol to stop the “theft”. He personally attended the rally, saying that people must “show strength, since the country cannot be returned by weakness.” As a result, the protesters broke through the police cordon and broke into Congress, disrupting the meeting. During the assault, four protesters and one policeman were killed.
The chaos in the Capitol lasted four hours: the building was cleared of the rebels, and the congressmen returned to work, officially declaring Biden the winner. The most active rebels have been arrested, and 25 domestic terrorism cases have been opened. Trump acknowledged Biden’s victory, promising to hand over power. But this did not help him avoid the consequences: his accounts were blocked in almost all major social networks, and congressmen demanded to immediately remove him from office.
Democrats have called on Vice President Michael Pence to apply the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution to Trump, allowing the government to remove the president from power. They promised that if Pence did not do this, they would impeach Trump, since “any” of the remaining days of his presidency “could be a horror show for America.” There is also support for this idea among Republicans. Two congressmen who are former allies of Trump say they will support impeachment “if the charges are reasonable.”
On January 11, the House of Representatives promulgated two resolutions: impeachment and the application of the 25th amendment. In the first document, Trump was accused of “incitement to rebellion and violence.” In the second document, Pence urges to convene the main officials of the administration and declare Trump incapable of fulfilling his duties (the adoption of the resolution on Monday was blocked by Republican Congressman Alex Mooney, so the vote was postponed to Tuesday). The impeachment process will be considered on January 13-14 if Pence does not take any action to remove Trump before that time.
25th AMENDMENT, IMPEACHMENT, OR VOLUNTARY RESIGNATION
Trump’s opponents have three options for achieving the goal: applying the 25th amendment, declaring impeachment, or voluntarily resigning.
1.25TH AMENDMENT. It provides for the transfer of power from the president to the vice president. In this particular case, if the president is found to be incapable of performing his duties, he is replaced by a vice president. Only members of his administration and Pence can recognize Trump as incapacitated: they must sign and submit a letter to the heads of both houses of Congress. Then power passes to Pence, and Trump has the opportunity to challenge this decision.
If Trump opposes, then Congress will have to put an end to this dispute (2/3 of the votes in each chamber for the removal of Trump). While Congress is making a decision, the Vice President acts as head of state.
The 25th amendment option is considered possible due to deteriorating relations between Trump and Pence, who refused to block the approval of the election results, as the president demanded. The head of the White House then publicly criticized Pence. But on January 12, Trump and Pence met for the first time after the capture of the Capitol – they had a “good conversation.”
2. IMPICHMENT. The Trump presidency has certainly gone down in US history. But it’s not over yet. He could become the first American president to be impeached twice. In 2019, Trump’s presidency almost ended in impeachment (then he was saved by the Senate) due to a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Trump demanded to investigate the activities of the energy company Burisma Group, whose board of directors included (2014-2019) Biden’s son, Hunter.
The Democrats are going to consider the impeachment procedure on January 13 in an expedited manner. The impeachment is very likely to go through the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, but will run into trouble in the Senate, which would require 17 Republican senatorial votes to get 2/3. But this is not the only obstacle. The Senate will not be able to consider the impeachment of Trump until January 19 due to a break in work (and Biden will take office on January 20). However, the trial over Trump may continue after the end of his presidency, although success will also remain in question.
At the same time, Trump is already preparing for the impeachment process, looking for lawyers. He wants to be represented by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz.
3. VOLUNTARY RESIDENCE. This option is most unlikely, but still possible. Trump can voluntarily announce his resignation as president. The call was made by Republican Senator Patrick Toomey, who told NBC that Trump should “get out as soon as possible” and that this would be the best option for the country. The senator admits that this option is not very plausible.
WILL TRUMP BE REMOVED AND WHY IT IS
Trump’s presidency has just over a week left, but his opponents still set about promoting the idea of resignation or impeachment. The second announcement of impeachment against Trump will be a symbolic act of prosecution, while also having practical value – Trump will be blocked from returning to power.
“Trump can be impeached retroactively by placing the label that he is no longer eligible to run for president,” says Vladimir Dubovik, director of the Center for International Studies.
UIB international expert Iliya Kusa says LIGA.netthat the Democrats’ initiative is a “symbolic political action” aimed at PR and anchoring Trump’s defeat in the minds of the people. He considers it unlikely that the procedure will be completed.
Director of the Center for International Studies Vladimir Dubovik says LIGA.netthat it is important to “do the right thing” and punish him for organizing the mutiny. Also, he says, in addition to the symbolic side, they want to hit Trump and practically, depriving him of the opportunity to run in 2024: “He can be impeached retroactively, having put the brand that he is no longer eligible to run for president.”
Some Republicans can take part in this process, the expert believes, but there is also a problem – many are against it, since a significant number of their electorate are Trump fans. Therefore, the impeachment may be announced in part – it will pass through the House of Representatives, but it is difficult to predict a vote in the Senate, Dubovik explains.
Democrats may postpone Senate referral of Trump. Democratic Congressman James Clyburn told CNN that they can start the impeachment process now and send the case to the Senate after the first 100 days of Biden’s presidency so as not to distract senators from the fight against COVID-19 and the appointment of a new government. It will also give time to negotiate with the Republicans to convince them.
Trump’s political career is over, says Ilya Kusa, UIB international expert
The ban on running is not Trump’s only threat. There is a possibility that he will have legal problems. There is certainly a chance that Trump will end up in the dock because of the riot, Dubovik said. But there are nuances here: first, it will be difficult to prove in court that Trump is personally responsible; second, this creates a precedent when an ex-president may end up in prison, and “in any democratic country, this is not looked at very well”; third, it will increase the split in society.
“Trump’s political career is over, he will remain a symbolic leader and a” spiritual leader “… It is possible that the Democrats will want to prosecute him in criminal cases,” says Kusa, noting that “this carries the risk of being drawn into a long-term battle not only with 45 th president, but also with his supporters. ”
To avoid persecution, Trump is considering self-pardon, NYT reports. Since this had never happened in American history, he consulted with assistants about the possible consequences of this decision. Self-pardon can set a dangerous precedent for presidents, giving them the opportunity to shield themselves from responsibility for any crimes committed in office, journalists say.
The situation for Trump could get worse now, as his supporters are planning to hold armed protests in all 50 state capitals and at the Capitol this week and until his inauguration on January 20. Their goal is to seize power. The FBI says the rebels are calling to storm the administration if Trump is removed before his inauguration day, in particular through the 25th Amendment. This is probably why Trump has declared a state of emergency in Washington.