With security on alert over the threat of more potential violence heading into the inauguration, the Senate is also moving quickly to confirm Biden’s nominee for National Intelligence Director, Avril Haines. A committee hearing is set for the day before the inauguration, signalling a confirmation vote to install her in the position could come swiftly once the new president is in office.
Many Democrats have pushed for an immediate impeachment trial to hold Trump accountable and prevent him from holding future office and the proceedings could still begin by Inauguration Day. But others have urged a slower pace as the Senate considers Bidens Cabinet nominees and the newly Democratic-led Congress considers priorities such as the coronavirus plan.
Biden’s incoming White House press secretary, Jen Psaki said on Saturday (AEDT) that the Senate can do both.
The Senate can do its constitutional duty while continuing to conduct the business of the people,” she said.
Psaki noted that during Trump’s first impeachment trial last year, the Senate continued to hold hearings each day. There is some precedent, she said.
Trump is the only president to be twice impeached, and the first to be prosecuted as he leaves the White House, an ever-more-extraordinary end to the defeated Presidents tenure. He was first impeached by the House in 2019 over his dealings with Ukraine, but the Senate voted in 2020 to acquit.
When his second trial does begin, House impeachment managers say they will be making the case that Trumps incendiary rhetoric hours before the bloody attack on the Capitol was not isolated but rather part of an escalating campaign to overturn the November election. It culminated, they will argue, in the Republican presidents rally cry to fight like hell as Congress was tallying the Electoral College votes to confirm hed lost to Biden.
For Republican senators, the trial will be a final test of their loyalty to the defeated President and his legions of supporters in their states back home, as they consider their own experiences sheltering at the Capitol as a pro-Trump mob ransacked the building and attempted to overturn Biden’s election. It will force a further re-evaluation of their relationship with Trump, who lost not only the White House but majority control of the Senate.
These men werent drunks who got rowdy they were terrorists attacking this countrys constitutionally-mandated transfer of power, said Republican Senator Ben Sasse in a statement he released on Friday (Saturday AEDT).
Republican Senator Ben Sasse released a statement saying the rioters came dangerously close to triggering a constitutional crisis. Credit:Bloomberg
They failed, but they came dangerously close to starting a bloody constitutional crisis. They must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
McConnell, who has spent the past days talking to Senators and donors, is telling them the decision to convict Trump or not is theirs alone meaning the leadership team will not work to hold Senators in line one way or the other.
Pelosi told reporters on Friday (Saturday AEDT) that the nine House impeachment managers, who act as the prosecutors for the House, are working on taking the case to trial.
The only path to any reunification of this broken and divided country is by shining a light on the truth, said Democrat Representative Madeleine Dean, who will serve as an impeachment manager.
Trump was impeached by the House on the single charge, incitement of insurrection, in lightning-quick proceedings just a week after after the siege. Ten Republicans joined all Democrats in the 232-197 vote to impeach, the most bipartisan modern presidential impeachment.
McConnell is open to considering impeachment, having told associates he is done with Trump, but he has not signalled how he would vote. McConnell continues to hold great sway in his party, even though convening the trial next week could be among his last acts as majority leader.
At least four Republican senators have publicly expressed concerns about Trumps actions, but others have signalled their preference to move on. Senator Tom Cotton issued a statement saying he opposes impeachment against a president who has left office. Trump ally Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is building support for launching a commission to investigate the siege as an alternative to conviction.
US power and politics
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