The five people killed in the attack and the damage to the symbolic seat of American democracy are creating a new outcry against Trump that is categorically different from the outcry that led to his first impeachment in December 2019. There is no denying that he and some of his allies have incited violence in the hope of overthrowing the elections. And while the first indictment was based on the testimony of those who witnessed Trump’s attempt to force Ukraine to investigate its then political rival, Joe Biden, in exchange for American military aid (Trump denies any pro quo favors), the attempted coup was televised live and shocked the world.
It is hard to imagine that Trump would not be impeached again and suffer the unique embarrassment of being the only president to suffer this embarrassment a second time. If that happens – and if the Senate finds him guilty – the man whose immense wealth and extreme methods allowed him to evade responsibility for a lifetime of abuse will finally be brought to justice.
For decades, those Trump hurt and offended have watched him shirk his serious responsibilities and then brag about it. He said he used bankruptcy brilliantly for his business, leaving creditors out in the cold. He was even more insolent and unrepentant when he was not convicted by the Senate after his first indictment. And then he took revenge on those who testified against him.
In the first case, Trump was indicted by the House of Representatives for two alleged crimes: Abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
This time, Trump is being sued in a case … Inciting rebellion. Democratic Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island told me that he and his colleagues – Representative Ted Lay of California and Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland – began drafting the indictment hours after the attack on Capitol Hill. When I spoke to him about it, Cicilline said that he and others had no doubt that a serious crime had been committed and that there was no hesitation in convincing the American people of that fact.
The country saw everything in real time, on their television, Tsitsillin said. They saw him try to call for rebellion to disrupt the Electoral College’s confirmation by Congress to stay in office.
At Trump’s Save America Rally, just before the crowd stormed the Capitol, he gave a speech in which he used the word fight 20 times, and as he stirred their emotions, people in the crowd sang: Fight for assets, fight for assets. After repeating the big lie that he stole the election, Mr. Trump said we would never give up. We’ll never budge. Trump falsely claimed that Vice President Mike Pence could prevent certification of the election and urged the crowd to march on Capitol Hill.
In the crowd that arrived at the Capitol, there were several men and women in military uniforms. They stormed the Capitol and overpowered the police. Once inside, they searched the offices and entered the Senate Chamber. They were approaching House’s room when the officers shot one of the insurgents. Three other Trump gang members died that day, and a police officer was hospitalized and died from his injuries.
In the days following the attack, it became apparent that he was even more dangerous than at the beginning. A man in the crowd came with zippers, which are used to bind prisoners, and seemed inclined to take hostages. Mike Pence’s songs, recorded and broadcast on television, suggest that some people are considering murder.
In addition to drafting an indictment, members of Congress were looking for a way to further punish Trump. Connolly said he thought they made it to the 14th. Amendment prohibiting insurgents from holding public office. He believes that legislation establishing this penalty could be passed by the House and Senate and become law. Some Republican senators and Vice President Pence, many of whom are suspected of being dead in the 2024 presidential election, like the idea because it takes Trump out of the field.
While all this is going on, it’s important to remember that the invasion of Capitol Hill by a mob of American citizens occurred not only because of senseless and inflammatory rhetoric, but also because others failed to stop Trump for years. Those who abandoned decency and became Trump supporters did so in part because they didn’t want to be on the wrong side of his rabid supporters. Well, last week the world saw what these supporters are capable of when they are angry. This week, the world will hold the president accountable through impeachment. In doing so, of course, Trump’s facilitators will find themselves on the wrong side of history, which will judge them in the same harsh light that will forever shine on Trump.
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