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A Historic Impeachment and a Big Choice for the Senate

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Trump is impeached — again — but a Senate trial seems a long way off. In the meantime, the authorities are bracing for a rancorous Inauguration Day. It’s Thursday, and this is your politics tip sheet. Sign up here to get On Politics in your inbox every weekday.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi overseeing the vote to impeach Trump yesterday.


Before the storming of the Capitol by rioting Trump supporters egged on by the president himself, before President Trump claimed the November election was rigged, before the summer of racial unrest that the president used to further his demagogy, and before the coronavirus pandemic hit U.S. shores, the outrageous news gripping the country was Trump’s impeachment. But that outrage was highly polarized.

Democratic voters and lawmakers (as well as some generally nonpartisan civil servants) were angrily demanding the president’s removal based on their case that Trump had violated his oath of office by bribing a foreign official into publicly ordering a damaging corruption investigation of Trump’s opponent. Republican voters and lawmakers said the multistep argument was convoluted and hypocritical in light of Democrats’ recent history of sponsoring international opposition research efforts, like the infamous Steele dossier.

This time, however, feels different. In an opinion essay published Wednesday, Steven G. Calabresi, a Republican and a professor at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law, argues along with Norman Eisen, a Democrat and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, for a bipartisan approach to impeachment, anchored in protecting democracy.

They write: “We have considerable political differences. But we firmly share a view that should transcend partisan politics: President Trump must be impeached again and tried as soon as possible in the Senate, either before or after Inauguration Day on Jan 20. Mr. Trump’s most egregious impeachable offenses are inciting a violent insurrection against his own vice president, the Senate and the House of Representatives, and pressuring Georgia’s secretary of state to ‘find’ enough votes for him to overturn the legitimate election result there.”

Reports have emerged that Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, will not lobby against impeaching the president. While Trump’s removal before Inauguration Day is highly unlikely, the hope of Eisen and Calabresi for a historic, cross-partisan condemnation of the president could actually become a reality.


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