Mayhem: January 6th, Impeachment, and More Political Happenings

Photo of January 6th Riots at the US Capitol

Courtesy of TribuneOnlineEng.com

Photo of January 6th Riots at the US Capitol Courtesy of TribuneOnlineEng.com

On Wednesday, January 6th, Trump protesters broke into the U.S Capitol Building, triggering a lockdown and causing Congress to halt the confirmation of the Electoral College vote of President-Elect Joe Biden.

Before the lockdown, certain Republican lawmakers planned to delay certifying the Electoral College vote with members from both the House and Senate objecting to results in a number of key battleground states Biden won in November. However some Republicans, like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell disagreed with these actions and urged GOP members not to delay the process.

However, because Trump supporters stormed into the U.S. Capitol, several GOP lawmakers who planned to object changed their minds. Senators such as Steve Daines, R-Mont., James Lankford, R-Okla., Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., and more all declared that they would instead move forward with the certification of Biden’s victory. Loeffler, who was recently defeated by Senator Warnock in Georgia’s runoff election, stated that though she had intended to object earlier Wednesday, “the events that have transpired… forced [her] to reconsider.”

Still, while condemning Wednesday’s events, the majority of GOP members continued to object to the Electoral College vote. For example, Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan. along with 10 of his colleagues, announced over the weekend that he would object to the results unless an investigation on reports of voter fraud in a handful of key states was launched.

Regardless of the outcome, one controversial figure that continues to remain tall is, of course, current President Donald Trump. While the riots were occurring on Wednesday, Trump continued to stoke the flame of controversy with tweets praising the protesters’ message. Though he urged protesters to respect law enforcement and remain non-violent, he tweeted, “We love you. You’re very special.”  

Many political figures strongly condemned Trumps’ response. Because of Trumps’ controversial and criticized reaction to the protests, many, including members of his own party, have called on the deployment of the 25th Amendment to “rein” in the president without removing him completely from power.

Section 4 of the 25th Amendment states that if the Vice President indicates to the Senate that if the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office of the Acting President.” Because of the chaos at the Capitol, Vice-President Mike Pence has been urged to enact the 25th Amendment for the remainder of Trump’s presidency. This would, until President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20th, last only a week.

On Tuesday The Pantera spoke to Georgia State University U.S. History Professor Leslie Leighton about his views on the insurrection at the capital and the likely impeachment of President Trump that has been brought forth by a group of Democrats led by House Rep. Ilhan Omar

When asked about the insurrection Professor Leighton stated,“Probably the worse thing that has happened domestically since we fought the Civil War. Propagated by false claims and stoked by an angry and rejected individual in an office that should know better.  He created a dangerous situation and then encouraged a throng of people to break the law and put lives in danger and the result was the loss of life.”

Therefore, when it comes to his teaching in the semesters to follow Professor Leigton explains, “it’s a new low mark for our democracy and a very dangerous one. We need to put safeguards in place so it does not happen again.  We need to teach students that this is not the way you practice democracy and can lead to dangerous patterns of behavior.” 

“It is unlikely it will be invoked for a number of reasons, mainly because Vice President Pence is not keen on doing it and also several of the cabinet have resigned,” stated Professor Leighton. The House will vote Tuesday evening on a resolution urging Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from power, and then plan to vote Wednesday on the impeachment resolution.  Democrats formally introduced their impeachment resolution Monday, charging Trump with “incitement of insurrection” as they race toward making him the first president in history to be impeached twice. 

As Congress and the American people worry that another event like January 6 will happen again in the future Professor Leighton believes, “ Congress and the American people should pass new legislation to deal with this situation should it again occur in the future.”  

Wednesday’s vote underscores Democrats’ fury toward Trump and his supporters after months of false rhetoric about the election being stolen.

The single impeachment article, which was introduced when the House gaveled into a brief pro-forma session Monday, points to Trump’s repeated false claims that he won the election and his speech to the crowd on January 6 before the rioters breached the Capitol. It also cited Trump’s call with the Georgia Republican secretary of state where the President urged him to “find” enough votes for Trump to win the state.

“In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government,” the resolution says. “He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government. He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.” 

Professor Leighton explains, “He needs to be disciplined for what he did and impeachment would be in some ways more symbolic of the gravity of his actions… Impeachment also has the added risk of further dividing an already very partisan Congress and partisan America.  Democrats and some Republicans want to do it because of the very heinous actions of the President to try and prevent him from every holding office again.”

The resolution, which was introduced by Democrats David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Ted Lieu of California, also cited the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, noting that it “prohibits any person who has engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States” from holding office.

House Republicans are urging Democrats not to pursue impeachment, arguing such a move would be divisive. Instead, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, in a letter to GOP colleagues, listed four potential responses to the January 6 attack. 

McCarthy, citing feedback from members, floated the possibility of “a resolution of censure under the rules of the House,” as well as a bipartisan commission to investigate riots, according to the letter. He did not specify who would be censured.

McCarthy also proposed overhauling the Electoral Count Act of 1887, which guides the electoral certification process, as well as “legislation to promote voter confidence” in future legislation. What these latter two issues have to do with the attack, other than the lies that stemmed from GOP lawmakers during the certification process and as it relates to non-existent widespread voter fraud, is unclear.

Speaking on a call with House Republicans Monday, McCarthy indicated to his colleagues that Trump bore some of the blame for the riot, according to a person familiar with the call.

Still, McCarthy said he was opposed to impeachment, instead suggesting there should be a bipartisan commission to get all the facts first, according to a source on the call.

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, on the call with House Democrats Monday, called the idea of censuring Trump an “abdication” and made it clear it’s not an option she’s willing to consider.