Trump impeached again after Capitol attack

Written By Nardos Haile, Co-News Editor

On Jan. 13, a week after the insurrection on the Capitol that killed five people, President Trump was impeached for a second time in a bipartisan effort by the House of Representatives with days remaining in his term as the Biden Administration is preparing to be sworn into office.

The articles of impeachment brought against Trump charged him with “incitement of insurrection” for encouraging his supporters to march to the Capitol building on Jan. 6 to air out their grievances about the false claim, perpetuated by Trump and Republicans, that the election was fraudulent.

“In all honesty I thought the [Capitol attack] was a long time coming with the immense polarization in our country,”  Allison Hritz, a senior secondary social studies education major, said.

Dennis McDermott, a junior political science major and Student Government Association (SGA) president, had a different reaction to the event.

“I was sitting around and I got a text from my friend saying ‘are you watching the news?’ and I got in front of the TV. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was unlike anything I had ever seen in my life and then every five minutes something new and worse that you’d never seen before in your life was happening,” McDermott said. 

Edward Meena, a history professor, stated that while Trump did instigate his supporters to march to the Capitol, this single speech was not an isolated event. 

“I would say [the attack] wasn’t something that just popped out of a speech that particular day. It was something that was pointed in that direction as early as this summer and of course the crystalizing issue, the thing that would get people to react that way, is the base ‘the election was fraudulent.’ That’s where it all started and when you repeat something enough times,” Meena said.

After the attack on the Capitol, calls of impeachment and pleas to invoke the 25th Amendment followed. Within days of the attack, Speaker Pelosi gave Vice President Mike Pence an ultimatum, either invoke the 25th Amendment or House Democrats will be forced to formally begin the impeachment process. Vice President Pence declined, leading multiple House Democrats to draw up articles of impeachment.

“I believe Pence has an intention for running for president in the future and it wouldn’t have been smart if he still wanted to garner support from the Republican Party and with that being said, I do think it’s cowardly that the people who could’ve invoked the 25th [Amendment] resigned instead of actually speaking out about it,” Hritz said.

McDermott felt as if Congressional politicians were baiting the public with the 25th Amendment and were using it as a political talking point. 

“I think it was just a bunch of politicians just trying to pretend like they were going to do the right thing or try and make it seem like they were doing the right thing,” McDermott said. “When Nancy Pelosi tells the cabinet to use the 25th Amendment, when she has the power to push through an impeachment in one day. It just kind of feels dirty to me. Congress can move as fast as [Pelosi] says it can move.”

Meena said the conversations surrounding the 25th Amendment were “wishful thinking.”

“Pence is very cognitive of the fact that he doesn’t have the authority under the constitution to not accept the electoral votes, which he didn’t do, much to his credit. But at the same time, he’s not gonna be the one that goes down in history to invoke the 25th Amendment,” Meena said.

With the 25th Amendment out of question, Trump faced yet another impeachment. 

Rep. Ted Lieu from California, a co-sponsor of the article and the appointed impeachment manager by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said on Twitter, “We must impeach Trump, or have the 25th Amendment executed, or have President Trump resign. Congress cannot just go home like nothing happened.”

Meena stated that once the articles go to the Senate, it still has an uphill battle because Democrats will have a majority but they still need 17 Republicans to remove Trump from office. 

Since this second impeachment is unprecedented, there is no real clear blueprint on the constitutionality of impeaching Trump after he leaves office.

“So you can make a case for [impeachment] but you can certainty say that if you read the constitution itself, it does not reference impeachment for a president that’s no longer in office,” Meena said. “Since House Speaker Pelosi hasn’t presented the article of impeachment to the Senate yet, he’s officially going to be out of office when she does.”

Moreover, McDermott felt as if the second impeachment was warranted after the Capitol attack.

“If inciting an insurrection or, in my opinion, an attempted coup isn’t worth a second impeachment, then we really aren’t using the power of impeachment well. I don’t care how many days are left in the presidency,” McDermott said. “This was a necessary thing to do if you want to set a precedent for how things are supposed to go in the future.”

Hritz agreed with this sentiment.

“I do think this time, more than the last time, warrants impeachment because it aligns with the definition of sedition and also invoking violence within the country. I believe it could be considered more of a crime,” Hritz said. 

Additionally, not only did the attack on the Capitol question Trump’s capabilities as president, it also called into question the competency of national intelligence agencies and law enforcement and how much these institutions knew about the event beforehand.

“To me it’s not much different than the attacks of 9/11, if you talk about institutional shortcomings. In both cases, you had very specific information something was coming and in both cases, they just kind of languished and nobody really followed up on it,” Meena said.

Meena said the failure of the Capitol police during the attack was due to lack of jurisdiction they have. The real failure lies with Congressional representatives who allegedly aided and abetted white supremacy groups that organized the attack.

“I believe there’s evidence that there was inside help. I have associations with people who were in the National Guard. I don’t think with what happened they were expecting it to be what it was,” Hritz said. “Which is kind of laughable in a sense because now all of this intelligence is coming out that says there were plans for this event to happen. I do believe there’s a need for reform in any institution.”

Moreover, the incoming Biden Administration will have to deal with the shortcomings of the Trump administration and the systematic failure to protect the Capitol.

“President Biden and Vice President Harris are gonna have to deal with any aspect of this presidency because it was so corrupt. Pretty much they put a price tag on anything and everything and nobody called them out on it. But for the most part you probably have at least 75% of Republicans who still support Trump,” Meena said.

Meena stated that the country has to come to terms with what it has become in the last four Trump years and in its 200 year existence. 

“In a lot of ways [Trump] was a product of American society. He is what America is, for the most part, not the majority but for a big part of it and that to me is disheartening,” Meena said. “I don’t think people should give up on America and American institutions, in the end they worked. We have a very strong democratic tradition and that’s something we have to hold onto.”