High Crimes and Misdemeanors

Trump’s call for votes in Georgia and the storming of the capital inspired Democratic legislation to punish him during his final days in office.


John Cameron / Unsplash

Democrats in the House of Representatives are using President Trump’s statements regarding the 2020 Presidential election being rigged as evidence for inciting the insurrection on January 6th, 2021.

In the months leading up to the 2020 Presidential Election, President Donald Trump claimed that the Democratic party would rig it against him. This strategy, which he used in the 2016 election, worked without a hitch, as thousands of Americans believed his unsubstantiated claims. 

When Joe Biden defeated the incumbent president, however, Trump did not stop, and refused to concede the election. He was not the sole bad actor, as hundreds of GOP politicians, including congressmen, senators, and state attorney generals, supported a lawsuit by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to invalidate electors in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. This was due to what they claimed was an illegal expansion of mail in votes, when in reality, they were agreed upon rules for counting ballots in the respective states.

This controversy reached its climax when President Trump called Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger, asking him to ‘find’ over 11,500 votes in an effort to flip the blue state red. Days later, hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol during the counting of the Electoral College votes in an attempt for Trump to be declared the winner of the election. Some had more malicious intentions, with nefarious plans against Vice President Mike Pence and other politicians such as Nancy Pelosi. As a result, the Democrat controlled by the House of Representatives promptly voted for Trump to be the first President in U.S. history to be impeached for a second time. This time, the chargers were for ‘inciting an insurrection.’

In regards to the idea of impeachment, Ethan Zhang ‘21 said, “Trump’s term is already over. Why do you want to impeach him after that?”

The articles of impeachment were introduced by House members David Cicilline, Ted Lieu, and Jamie Raskin. The document states that there were multiple instances of Donald Trump stating that the 2020 election was fraudulent, that he was the true winner, and inciting his supporters to take action. Just before the counting of the electoral votes, the former president said “if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

The final paragraph of the articles of impeachment reads, 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.”

A majority of the House voted to convict Donald Trump. Ten republicans voted alongside the Democrats to impeach, making this the most bipartisan impeachment in American history. 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi handed over the impeachment charges to the U.S. Senate on Monday, January 25th, 2021. On the same day that the articles of impeachment were introduced, she gave Vice President Mike Pence two options: invoke Section 4 of the 25th amendment, ruling Trump unfit to lead and giving himself the role of sitting President, or refuse the offer and cause the House of Representatives to vote on impeachment. Pence refused to use the 25th amendment to get the President out of office, inciting the second impeachment of Donald Trump.

In the end, President Trump was acquitted in the trial run by the U.S. Senate after 57 Senators voted to indict and 43 voted to acquit. The ruling allows Donald Trump to run again in future elections, but does not protect him from states conducting criminal investigations.

A final Resolution brought up just before the Inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is Representative Cori Bush’s plan to handle the aftermath of the event. She is calling for the investigation of the Republicans who supported the contesting of electoral votes by swing states by the House Administration and Ethics Committees. She tweeted a statement saying, “I believe the Republican members of Congress who have incited this domestic terror attack through their attempts to overturn the election must face consequences. They have broken their sacred Oath of Office. I will be introducing a resolution calling for their expulsion.”

Many members of the Democratic Party have acted swiftly to condemn the violence at the Capitol not just with their rhetoric, but with their actions.

Many members of the Democratic Party have acted swiftly to condemn the violence at the Capitol not just with their rhetoric, but with their actions.