Trump Posts Video Condemning Capitol Violence But Does Not Mention His Role In Instigating It
Within hours of becoming the first president to be impeached twice, President Trump posted afive-minute video on a White House Twitter account on Wednesday evening condemning the storming of the Capitol complex by his supporters last week and urged his followers to avoid a repeat in the coming days both here in Washington and across the country.
Mr. Trump recorded the video under pressure from aides, who have warned him that he faces potential legal exposure for the riot, which occurred immediately after a speech in which he urged them to fight the results of the election, which he falsely claimed was stolen.
The president did not mention his own role in instigating the violence last week. On Tuesday, he defended the remarks he made at a rally before his supporters marched to the Capitol as totally appropriate and said the effort by Congress to impeach and convict him was causing tremendous anger.
He also did not acknowledge the loss of life or his own false claims of the election being stolen in the two months before the rally last week.
In the video, president did not mention the five people who died as a result of the violence at the Capitol. But he did go further in his language than he has at any point, as law enforcement is bracing for new insurgencies in Washington and around the country next week.
During the riot by his supporters, a Capitol Police officer sustained extensive head injuries and later died.
Michael Gold contributed reporting.
Donald Trumps Odds Of Staying Out Of Prison Are Rapidly Dwindling
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The last time we checked in on the legal comings and goings of Donald Trump, things were not looking so hot for the former president of the United States. In addition to being the defendant in no fewer than 29 lawsuits, per The Washington Post, he was the subject of numerous criminal investigations, including one in which attorneys had obtained access to his tax returnsdocuments that for some reason he spent the last four years fighting tooth and nail to keep secret. Now, two and half months after leaving the White House, have Trumps legal fortunes miraculously improved? In a word, no. In three words, hell fuck no. In 19 words, the 45th president of the United States should probably just resign himself to the prospect of going to prison.
Per the Times:
In addition to the developments in the Manhattan D.A.s criminal probe, Trump was also sued on Tuesday by two Capitol Police officers who battled the angry mob he sicced on the Capitol building and are demanding damages for the physical and emotional injuries they suffered during the attack. In the federal lawsuit, officers James Blassingame and Sidney Hembyclaim that for months Trump whipped his supporters into a frenzy over baseless election claims which culminated in the insurrection that left five people dead.
Per TheWashington Post:
Per TheWall Street Journal:
Weird, we know!
Polarized Courts Side With The Gop
Almost everyone I spoke with told me that, at this point, the election results would be challenged in court. The Trump campaign might sue Democratic-leaning counties for alleged irregularities and ask that judges toss out their results. I can imagine the litigation in Pennsylvania taking the form of saying voting booths in Philadelphia were held open an excessively long time, an unlawfully long time, or the vote counters in some Democratic-leaning county unlawfully refused to count late-filed absentee ballots, Tushnet said. Victory for Trump would mean throwing out the ballots and saying that when those are thrown out, Trump gets the states electoral votes. That, in turn, would allow him to remain president.
This argument, and the many others that the Trump campaign could employ, would almost certainly be specious. But Tushnet cautioned against underestimating the power of creative attorneys and motivated reasoning. The legal justification for challenging the returns would develop, he said, in some ways that we cant really anticipate now but that lawyers will come up with when it matters.
The justices, along with everybody else, seemed to view disputed facts through the lens of the place where they have been ideologically, said Rick Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California Irvine School of Law.
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Opinion: This Is How Donald Trump Becomes President Again
Ever since Donald Trump lost the 2020 election, Ive been among those who believed he would never run for president again. Hed keep the option open for as long as possible to get attention and keep other Republicans genuflecting to him, but he wouldnt go through with it. It would just be too much trouble at his age , and the idea of losing yet again would be too frightening.
But the events of the last few months have increased the likelihood that Trump could survey the landscape and decide that he could waltz right back into the White House if he wanted.
Not because hed get more Americans to vote for him barring some kind of unforeseen catastrophe, its difficult to see that happening. But because his party has so aggressively worked to twist and corrupt the U.S. electoral system, he could clearly lose both the popular and electoral votes and still become president again.
Its too early to say how likely this is, but heres how it could go down.
Step one: Trump decides to run, and obliterates the primary field.
While many Republicans are considering a presidential bid, some of whom are savvy operators, there isnt one who looks remotely like they could defeat Trump in a presidential primary.
Step two: Republican voter suppression measures have an impact.
Step three: GOP state legislatures step in.
Step four: Republicans in the House of Representatives take control.
When The Documents Speak
The modern presidency keeps a lot of records, which is why modern presidents have often worked hard to keep those records secret as long as possible. When they do open up, they tell stories. The journalist Richard Reeves used them from the Kennedy years to write a book reconstructing in sometimes minute-by-minute detail key days of JFKs presidency.
When supplemented with oral histories, or contemporaneous journals there are lots of stories the documents might tell even if Trump wishes they never get told.
Who does Trump meet with and talk to on the phone? This might illuminate one of the major stories of the Trump years, which is the real relationships between an anti-establishment president with many establishment Republicans and corporate leaders who either publicly or privately profess to loathe him.
What is the role of Vice President Mike Pence, who never conveys anything but unqualified support for Trump, and what can we learn about his real views and how he put them into practice?
Did senior officials who have made clear they regard Trump as erratic ever take steps that we dont currently know about to implement the 25th Amendment challenging his fitness for office?
Have we come closer than is currently known to an impulsive military action?
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The Election Is Close
If Trump lost in a blowout, alleging fraud would accomplish little. Even entrenched autocrats are often forced from office when they are heftily defeated.
But that doesnt mean the race would need to be a redux of 2000, when George W. Bush won the presidency with an official margin of 537 votes, to spark a crisis. Given increasing polarization and the Republican Partys growing impatience with democratic norms, experts told me the party might challenge even a clear defeat. I am worried now, given the reaction to 2018, that you could get a dispute over a five-digit number, said Edward Foley, a law professor and elections expert at Ohio State University.
Others suggested the margin could be even wider. When I asked Mark Tushnet, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, just how close the election would have to be for Republicans to support Trump in disputing the results, he said, Closeas Trump supporters define it.
However you construe the word, a close election is well within the realm of possibility. In 2016, Trump won his three pivotal statesPennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsinby five-digit numbers. Indeed, most of the countrys twenty-first-century elections have hinged on a few states with narrow margins.
The Real Inner Circle
On different occasions, people close to Trump in an official sense have been described in books or journalistic accounts referring to their boss as an idiot , a moron, , like an 11-year-old child with an understanding of world affairs akin to a fifth- or sixth-grader .
But heres who you have not heard spilling secrets about Trump: Ex-spouses, or children, or other people who love Trump or once loved him, or even people like household staff who had occasion to observe him in an intimate settings
Washington Post writer Mary Jordan this month published The Art of Her Deal, on Melania Trump. The book came with a noteworthy scoop: That the first lady had renegotiated her prenuptial agreement with the president after his election.
But the book also underscored how little is understood about Trumps most personal relationships and their dynamics, and what Trump is genuinely like when hes not on television or Twitter. We know that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kusher are influential, of course, but have insight into barely a fraction of their interactions with the president.
Silence rarely lasts forever, especially once a president is out of office or is deceased, and these recollections promise to be a rich vein for understanding a president who is startlingly transparent about some aspects of his psychology and unnervingly opaque about others.
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Can He Be Tried Now He Has Left
It is never happened before, so it is untested and the US Constitution does not say.
Impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon were ended when he quit in 1974.
So Mr Trump could take his case to the Supreme Court, claiming his trial was unconstitutional.
Some lower ranked officials have been impeached after leaving office.
Can President Trump Be Impeached After He Leaves Office
The expected impeachment proceedings on Wednesday against President Donald J. Trump will surface one of the Constitutions most arcane questions: Can a federal official be removed from office if hes already left the building?
To date, that question has not been answered fully, but it was presented to the Founders in early 1799, about 11 years after the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. The House of Representatives impeached Senator William Blount and sent impeachment articles to the Senate after Blount was already expelled from office. However, Blounts full trial was never held in the Senate. Also, the facts in the Blount case were very different than those likely presented in President Trumps second impeachment process.
William Blount was himself a Founder. He represented North Carolina at the 1787 convention but said little at the proceedings when he was in Philadelphia. Blount was one of 39 delegates who signed the Constitution, and he also promoted its ratification in North Carolina.
However, a letter incriminating Blount fell into the hands of Secretary of State Timothy Pickering. President John Adams, on receiving the letter, sent it to Congress. Blount became the first federal government official subject to the impeachment process, one of the Constitutions critical checks-and-balances against the abuse of power.
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Where Does The Senate Come In
The Senate is tasked with handling the impeachment trial, which is presided over by the chief justice of the United States in the case of sitting presidents. However, in this unusual case, since Trump is not a sitting president, the largely ceremonial task has been left to the Senate pro tempore, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the chamber’s most senior member of the majority party.
“The president pro tempore has historically presided over Senate impeachment trials of non-presidents,” Leahy said in a statement in January. “When presiding over an impeachment trial, the president pro tempore takes an additional special oath to do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the laws. It is an oath that I take extraordinarily seriously.”
To remove a president from office, two-thirds of the members must vote in favor at present 67 if all 100 senators are present and voting.
If the Senate fails to convict, a president is considered impeached but is not removed, as was the case with both Clinton in 1998 and Andrew Johnson in 1868. In Johnsons case, the Senate fell one vote short of removing him from office on all three counts.
In this trial, since the president has already left office, the real punishment would come if the president were to be convicted, when the Senate would be expected to vote on a motion to ban the former president from ever holding federal office again.
What If Congress Changes The Law Around Former Presidents
Congress could decide to amend the Former Presidents Act to specify that a president who is convicted after the end of his or her term is not considered to be a former president, and therefore not entitled to the pension, staff, workspace and travel benefits that are included.
But if the law was only passed after a Senate trial in which Mr. Trump was convicted, Vladeck said Mr. Trump could argue that the statute couldn’t constitutionally be applied to him because it didn’t exist when the Senate considered his case.
Steven Portnoy and Arden Farhi contributed to this article.
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Impeachment And Removal Is The First And Best Option But If Republicans Prevent Its Completion Dont Let Trump Off The Hook
President Donald Trump speaks to supporters before they stormed the Capitol building on January 6, 2021.
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Donald Trump hates democracy when it does not serve his purposes, as was confirmed by the presidents incitement last week of a deadly assault on the US Capitol by supporters of his failed attempt to overturn 2020 presidential results. But that does not mean Trump intends to give up on his dream of serving a second disastrous term as president of the United States.
Added to the Constitution after the Civil War, the 14th Amendment is a blunt instrument, which mandates in its third section:
Section 5 of the amendment declares, The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
After detailing evidence of Trumps incitement to insurrection, the resolution concludes: