Post-inauguration impeachment

I’m starting to see some articles (such as this one) claiming that Trump’s impeachment might not happen until after Jan 20, when Biden is already president. My question is: Would such an impeachment accomplish anything? Would it be anything more than an official (=toothless) censure of President Trump?

My understanding of impeachment is that it is the first step toward actually removing him from office. It this can’t happen in the next two weeks, then what’s the point?

As part of his punishment, Congress can bar him from ever holding public office again.

They can also take away his lifetime pension, his lifetime Secret Service protection, and his travel and office budget, which IIRC is quite large.

I’m not saying they WILL, but they can. And I’d be totally cool with that - this man doesn’t deserve another dime of our money and should never hold office again.

Those perks hadn’t occurred to me. Thank you!

There is some debate whether a President can be impeached after he has left office, or if a Senate trial can proceed of a President who left office after his impeachment. The most relevant precedent would be the impeachment of William Belknap, who resigned as Secretary of War just minutes before the House voted to impeach him. The Senate went ahead with a trial, although they fell short of the two-thirds needed to convict.

These things can only happen if he is convicted, which takes a 2/3 majority of the Senate. Impeachment without conviction is a time- and energy-consuming empty gesture as far as I’m concerned. Let the federal and state AG’s take over and deal with his crimes. If he is a convicted felon, can he run for president again?

Yes. Which is one of the reasons why I said Congress can do it, but that doesn’t mean they will. It’s far from a done deal that the Senate would convict.

And - there’s nothing in the Constitution that bars felons from running for President.

Yeah, you would think it wouldn’t be necessary. We’ve learned so much in four years.

It’s why some crimes have no statute of limitations.

No one is above the law. Ever.

I commented on this story in the Coup thread:

While I think it’s still a long shot, this would be reason enough to impeach.

One thought that occurred to me is whether, should this be imposed, there would be any remedy for Trump in the future. Could a simple majority of Congress remove the impediment?

In addition to exposing the full extent of Trump’s crimes, a Senate trial in 100 days in a Democrat-controlled Senate would require an actual vote. Overwhelming evidence could be laid out in front of Republican senators, and they would then have to stand up and be counted. They no longer have McConnell to protect them. I have little doubt that most of them would continue to align themselves with this corrupt, lying and traitorous President in order to appease his voting base, but at least they would be forced to put their position on the official record.

Yeah, I think it would at least be partly about enforcement of principles; It’s not good for an outgoing leader to be able to shit all over everything, but letting them walk away seems like it might just embolden the next one who fancies to try it.

I’d like to think that a strategy of a post-inauguration impeachment conviction has more chance of success. The organizers can go to potential Republican allies and say, “Look, Trump is out of office so convicting him won’t lessen the chances of policies/legislation/Supreme Court appointments that you support. What it can do is prevent Trump from running in 2024. Surely, as a Republican, you don’t want to further damage and corrupt your party by going through another Trump run for president…do you? How about you join in on a vote to convict and take away his right to run for President again, then you can vote to let him keep his financial perks and Secret Service protection and all that, while us Dems will vote to throw the book at him, so you can mollify the Trump supporters among your voters a little?”

Problem is, I can always think of practical, optimistic scenarios like that one, but they never seem to happen. So I must conclude that my understanding of how realpolitik can succeed is sadly inadequate.

I heard a lawer on CNN say that Douche-owitz will argue that being victims of the crime, those who were there on Capitol hill can’t be objective jurors. If not them…SCOTUS?

Also I’m seeing people who say that Biden needs to get his admin up and running, but if Senate is consumed with trial…ain’t nobody got time for dat. Compounding this of course is Trump’s already dragged his feet with the transition.

Something official needs to happen to him. The 25th Amendment would solve it nicely but I don’t see it happening.

This seems to be the correct response

I mean - why do we convict murderers? It’s not going to “undo” the murder is it?

There needs to be consequences for his actions, and if he did ask his supporters to storm the Capitol, this should by all sane standards be worthy of conviction. And equally important should be putting on record those that think his actions are “OK”.

One thing to consider about a post-January 20 impeachment trial is that it doesn’t have to involve the entire Senate; it could be handled in a committee.

Trump would no longer be President, so per Rule XI at the link, the impeachment trial could be shunted off to a committee, while the Senate proper takes up pandemic legislation and other business. (h/t David Waldman for this important detail.)

One advantage of impeachment is that it might keep Trump’s beady little brain occupied so that he cannot think of what further damage he might do. It might also inhibit him from giving a blanket pardon to everyone who broke in. Some advisor is likely to remind that that would likely increase the chances of impeachment and conviction.

Yeah, at this point Trump is very definitely a threat. For a few days, by all indications, he was scared shitless that he was going to be kicked out of the Presidency a couple weeks early. But now it’s clear that, with few exceptions, his party wants to sweep this whole thing under the rug and move on, so he’s no doubt getting ready to cause what trouble he can in his last nine days as President.

And despite his boss having sicced a mob on him that would have hanged him from a gallows on the Capitol grounds, Pence is still too much of a weenie to invoke the 25th. I’m sure he’s still afraid of the mob.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if Republican Congresspersons are partly motivated by fear of the mob right now. They still need to do their jobs, or resign. The mob’s not going to become any less of a threat if there are no repercussions for an attempted coup d’etat.

Something I saw on the internet which may be relevant to your statement:

< Warning: there is sound >

I hadn’t seen the whole thing, but I’d seen pieces of it. Especially the whiner in the gate area of the airport finding out that he was on the ‘no-fly’ list. Break out the world’s smallest violin!

I’d tell that guy, “y’know, if you’re going to try to start a revolution, you might keep in mind that you’re putting “[y]our Lives, [y]our Fortunes and [y]our sacred Honor” on the line. That means you should expect bad shit to come down on you if you fail. So suck it up, buttercup.”