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Arguments why Trump shouldn't be impeached and tried a second time.

By Curt Anderson
January 22, 2021 7:14 pm
Category: Law

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There have been various arguments put forth as to why Mr. Trump shouldn't be impeached and tried a second time.

Argument #1: This sarcastic argument suggests that if Mr. Trump can be impeached while he is halfway out the door, why not impeach Andrew Jackson or US Grant?

Response: In the United States we do not try dead people. The reason is simple: Dead people are in no position to defend themselves. If before or during a criminal trial the defendant dies the case would be dismissed. Mr. Trump, as of this writing, is alive.

Argument #2: Mr. Trump is already out of office, therefore he shouldn't be tried for any possible malfeasance while he was in office.

Response: Departure or an impending departure was not intended by our nation's founders to be a get out of jail free card. A president cannot be protected by the calendar and allowed to commit offenses without fear of consequence as time runs out.

Imagine an embezzlement case. Criminal charges are still brought forth against the defendant and he would be tried whether or not he resigned or was dismissed from the business where the criminal actions occurred. No president has run the presidency more like a business, and a corrupt business at that, than Donald Trump. A conviction in his impeachment case would be a disgrace which he richly deserves. Especially for a business in which the "product" is his name and brand.

In regards to arguments #1 and #2:
In the infamous Enron case, the corrupt businessmen involved were charged with various financial crimes. Jeffrey Skilling spent 14 years in prison for his wrongdoing even though Enron had collapsed. The charges against Ken Lay were dismissed because he died.

Argument #3: Mr. Trump should not have been impeached for inciting an insurrection because he didn't explicitly tell the mob to sack the Capitol.

Response: In criminal law, explicit language is not required to be found guilty of inciting a riot. Incitement to riot is when a person encourages others to commit a breach of the peace without necessarily acting themselves. This may involve statements, signs, or conduct intended to lead others to riot.

Furthermore, members of the mob have implicated Mr. Trump. Some of the insurrectionists who invaded, looted and vandalized the Capitol are on videotape screaming "the President invited us!" Members of the mob who were subsequently arrested said later that they believed that they had the blessing of the president and were committing a patriotic act on his behalf.

Argument #4: It is fundamentally unfair for Mr. Trump to be tried in the Senate as the Senators were both witnesses and victims of the insurrection.

Response: An impeachment trial is unique and unlike any other trial in the United States. The Senators who act as jurors all know and have opinions of the former president. In a normal criminal trial, jurors who are familiar with the defendant would automatically be excused from jury duty. There is no such luxury in an impeachment trial. The impeachment trial can be seen as unfair in that regard. However, since it takes 67 Senators to convict, that works to Mr. Trump's advantage as the Senate is split fifty-fifty. Also if Mr. Trump were to be found guilty, there is no possibility of a prison sentence or even a fine. He would be "expelled" from an office he no longer holds. The shame of the conviction is probably the worst punishment, though Mr. Trump seems to be immune to shame.

Argument #5: The Democrats didn't raise such a fuss when BLM, Antifa or some group of protestors ransacked or torched a business.

Response: Apples and oranges. Presidents take an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution. Congress was in session to certify the presidential election, a constitutionally mandated duty, when they were forced into hiding by the mob incited by Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump's crime wasn't a property crime or even murder, but his indirect part in an assault on a constitutional procedure. Furthermore, Mr. Trump compounded his offense by not using the powers of the presidency to quell the riot and insurrection once it was underway. His inaction was seen as tacit approval by the mob.

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Comments on "Arguments why Trump shouldn't be impeached and tried a second time.":

  1. by Donna on January 27, 2021 1:49 pm
    Nice piece, Curt.

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