Our view: Im­peach Trump and start Se­nate trial with­out de­lay

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Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in­cited thou­sands to march on Capi­tol Hill last week, where they sacked Amer­ica’s seat of gov­ern­ment in an ef­fort to stop con­fir­ma­tion of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

It was an in­sur­rec­tional act that de­mands his prompt re­moval from of­fice, if not by res­ig­na­tion or the 25th Amend­ment, then through the im­peach­ment process.

With Trump show­ing no in­cli­na­tion to re­sign — he in­sisted Tues­day that his re­marks at the pre-riot rally were “to­tally ap­pro­pri­ate” — the Demo­crat­i­cled House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives was poised to ap­prove a res­o­lu­tion de­mand­ing that Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence in­voke the 25th Amend­ment to strip Trump of his pres­i­den­tial pow­ers by ma­jor­ity con­sen­sus of the Cabi­net.

That would be the quick­est way to deal with the dan­ger Trump poses in his re­main­ing week in of­fice. But Pence ap­pears re­luc­tant to go there, even though ri­ot­ers were call­ing for him to be hanged af­ter Trump called his loyal vice pres­i­dent a cow­ard for putting the Con­sti­tu­tion above phony vote-fraud con­spir­a­cies.

So short of the 25th Amend­ment be­ing in­voked, House lead­ers say that mem­bers will vote on im­peach­ment to­day — as they should. Un­like the Ukraine scan­dal that trig­gered the first im­peach­ment of Trump (he was ac­quit­ted by the Repub­li­can con­trolled Se­nate), this case does not re­quire ex­ten­sive hear­ings or ques­tion­ing of wit­nesses. The ev­i­dence played out in real time on tele­vi­sion last week for all of Amer­ica, and all the world, to see.

In the weeks lead­ing up that day, the 45th pres­i­dent traf­ficked in lies about be­ing robbed of re-elec­tion, stok­ing pow­er­ful sen­ti­ments of anger and alien­ation from a con­stituency that in­cludes QAnon con­spir­acists, white su­prem­a­cists and other vi­o­lent ex­trem­ists.

Af­ter a ham-fisted at­tempt to pres­sure Ge­or­gia of­fi­cials to “find” enough Trump votes to over­turn Joe Bi­den’s vic­tory there, Trump beck­oned his fol­low­ers to Washington last Wed­nes­day (“be there, will be wild”) for a rally on the day Congress was to for­mally con­firm Bi­den as the next pres­i­dent.

On the El­lipse, Trump ex­horted fol­low­ers with vi­o­lent im­agery to “walk down to the Capi­tol” and block Bi­den’s cer­ti­fi­ca­tion as pres­i­dent. “Stop the steal,” Trump urged them. “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not go­ing to have a coun­try any­more.”

What hap­pened next was pre­dictable.

As Trump re­treated to the White House to watch the may­hem on tele­vi­sion, thou­sands of fol­low­ers — many of them chant­ing “Stop the steal!” — at­tacked the domed Capi­tol, over­whelm­ing po­lice, in­jur­ing of­fi­cers and tem­po­rar­ily dis­rupt­ing the pro­ceed­ings in Congress as mem­bers fled into hid­ing.

Five peo­ple died, in­clud­ing a woman shot by po­lice and an of­fi­cer who was hit with a fire ex­tin­guisher. Sev­eral law­mak­ers forced into hid­ing might have con­tracted COVID-19 in the process.

Could there be any stronger proof that a pres­i­dent whose nar­cis­sism and im­pul­siv­ity know no bounds is a clear and present dan­ger to the United States?

As­sum­ing the House votes to­day to im­peach him for in­cit­ing in­sur­rec­tion, the ar­ti­cle then goes to the Se­nate for con­sid­er­a­tion of con­vic­tion and re­moval from of­fice.

Rep. James Cly­burn of South Carolina and other Democrats have floated the idea of wait­ing to trans­mit the ar­ti­cles to the Se­nate un­til Bi­den is sworn in and the Democrats take con­trol — or even hold­ing off for 100 days so the new pres­i­dent can fo­cus on the pan­demic and get­ting his per­son­nel picks con­firmed.

But even a week is too long to wait if the pres­i­dent is as “de­ranged, un­hinged and danger­ous” as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says he is.

Though his ban­ish­ment from Twit­ter and Face­book has di­min­ished his ca­pac­ity to in­cite, Trump re­mains in charge of the world’s most pow­er­ful mil­i­tary and has nearly un­fet­tered power to par­don his al­lies, and pos­si­bly him­self, from fed­eral crimes.

If im­peach­ment is worth do­ing, it’s worth do­ing im­me­di­ately, even if the Se­nate has to in­ter­rupt one of its many re­cesses and re­turn to Washington. Let ev­ery mem­ber of Congress stand up and be counted.

 ?? ROBERTO SCH­MIDT/ AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES ?? Po­lice push back Capi­tol ri­ot­ers.
ROBERTO SCH­MIDT/ AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES Po­lice push back Capi­tol ri­ot­ers.

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