BIG BIDEN IMPEACHMENT NEWS! (Also The Guy Before Him Impeachment News, Him Too.)
After months of a monster making up lies about a stolen election, an attempted insurrection, and a quick impeachment in the House, we've gotten ourselves a nice little respite.
The crazies are still here, but their leader has been de-platformed, rightwing murder threat factory Parler keeps getting thrown off the internet, and Joe Biden's White House is like something out of an Aaron Sorkin show.
But don't get too comfortable. Because it's almost time for Trump impeachment trial, round 2. And the GOP plans on being just as dumb this time around.
It should come as a surprise to exactly no one that Republican senators know they are screwed no matter what when it comes to voting on whether to convict their [former?] Dear Leader in his impeachment trial. If they vote to acquit, as the insurrectionists like Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz will surely do, they are violating their oaths to protect the country and the Constitution. If they vote to convict, the crazies will come after them and they'll get death threats.
They see the writing on the wall and they know none of it is good. So now, Senate Republicans are trying to come up with a way to just avoid an impeachment trial altogether.
Dipping his toe in pool of idiocy, Senate Minority Whip John Thune told Politico, "Our members, irrespective of what they might think about the merits, just believe that this is an exercise that really isn't grounded constitutionally and, from a practical standpoint, just makes no sense."
Republican senators appear to be uniting around a stupid theory that the Senate can't put Trump on trial because he isn't president anymore. Setting aside the fact that many of these same assholes were still growling about impeaching Hillary Clinton long after she left the State Department, it's also just wrong.
Oh yeah, I sure know I believe that Republicans in the Senate like Ron Johnson are just truly worried about constitutional interpretation and not just craven chickenshits who love to sow but just hate reaping.
Let's go to the text!
fine gentlemen insurrectionist pieces of shit making this bad-faith argument are all "textualists" and "originalists" who definitely just really care a lot about how the words of the US Constitution were defined colloquially in 1788, so let's take a look at what they're actually blathering on about.
Although it isn't entirely clear, presumably these asshats are making an argument about standing. Within our federal courts, the idea of standing comes from Article III of the Constitution. Because the Constitution says the jurisdiction of federal courts is limited to actual "cases or controversies," federal courts have limits to the kinds of cases they can hear.
But Article III, which lays out the powers of our federal courts, is inapplicable here. Impeachment is a political process, not a judicial one. The Constitution only references impeachment a few times. The Senate's power in impeachment trials is laid out in Article I, Section 3, Clauses 6 and 7:
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present. Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States; but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
Huh, look at that, absolutely nothing limiting the Senate's ability to try a president who has already left office.
Even if we didn't already know that this was absolute garbage, there's also the little fact that no federal court would touch this with a 10-foot pole. Calling matters of congressional procedure a "political question," the Supreme Court has consistently refused to get involved in these kinds of legislative squabbles, saying Congress itself has the "sole power" to set its own rules. It's only unconstitutional to try Trump if the Senate itself says so.
And the Senate has already said it is fine to try someone who has already left office.
In 1876, the Senate tried former Secretary of War William Belknap. Belknap, who had been taking bribes, was unanimously impeached in the House. Belknap ran, crying, to the White House and resigned. Even though he had already resigned his post, the Senate nonetheless held an impeachment trial. And although Belknap wasn't convicted, it still set the precedent that the Senate can, in fact, try someone for impeachment who no longer holds federal office.
The range of punishments available in an impeachment also support the fact that it's not just about removing a person from power. In addition to removal, a Senate conviction could also limit his ability to hold public office in the future and remove the benefits he's entitled to as a former president, like his lifetime pension and up to $1 million per year for travel and security.
This argument is dumb. And they know it. But it doesn't matter.
Republicans are going to be loud and annoying about this even though it makes no sense. They know they have a captive audience that will lap this right up and they plan to capitalize on it.
Money and power are more important to congressional Republicans than the fact that Donald Trump TRIED TO FUCKING KILL THEM IN A BLOODY INSURRECTION. So prepare yourselves for the stupidity to come.
In other stupid impeachment news ...
Shiny new Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Is definitely impeaching Joe Biden. That is for sure something that is really going to happen.
Greene, who is neck and neck with Lauren Boebert for both dumbest congressperson and leader of the QAnon caucus, proudly announced yesterday that SHE HAD DONE IT and filed articles of impeachment against ... Joe Biden. She also tweeted an excited like 5-second video from, I guess, an undisclosed location where she was hiding from Antifa.
I just filed Articles of Impeachment on President @JoeBiden. https://t.co/mcwEEkKiHL— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (@Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene)1611262528.0
These people all have some weird compulsion where they just can't stop accusing Biden of doing all the things Trump actually did.
Greene released a statement alleging that Joe Biden's "pattern of abuse of power [...] is lengthy and disturbing," accusing him of "admitting to a quid pro quo with the Ukrainian government," and claiming Biden "has demonstrated that he will do whatever it takes to bail out his son, Hunter, and line his family's pockets with cash from corrupt foreign energy companies."
Greene had planned on pulling this stunt all along, but it was unclear whether she would actually get it done, since apparently filing articles of impeachment was harder than she thought it would be.
We're glad someone on your staff was able to figure it out for you, Marj.
You should follow JLC on Twitter, duh.