Should Nancy Pelosi run for president

What is the point of impeachment against Trump?

Trump is never again the motto of the US Democrats. Shortly before the end of US President Donald Trump's term of office, they want to ensure with a second impeachment that he cannot move into the White House again.

"Impeachment would have a high symbolic meaning," explains Sheri Berman, political scientist at Barnard College, Columbia University's sister university in New York. "The Democrats want to make it clear that nobody is above the law," she said in an interview with DW.

The president, Berman said, contributed to sedition and incited violence. "That is why it is important for democracy to hold him accountable." Another reason is the 14th amendment to the constitution.

"If Trump is convicted in the Senate, you can possibly prevent him from running again," said Berman. US presidents can normally serve two terms. Since these do not necessarily have to follow one another, Trump could run again in 2024.

With cable ties to the Capitol

The memories of the pictures from last Wednesday are probably still in the bones of many Americans. A violent mob stormed the Washington Capitol, where Congressmen and Senators were in the process of certifying Democrat Joe Biden's victory. Five people died, including a police officer.

The crowd that entered the Capitol with guns and restraint instruments such as cable ties came from an event at which Trump had recently called on his supporters not to accept Joe Biden's allegedly faked election victory under any circumstances.

"You don't give up when it comes to theft," said Trump. "Our country has endured enough, we will not take it anymore." Then Trump urged his supporters to move towards Congress and give Republican MPs "the kind of pride and audacity" they "need to take back our country."

Pence stands by Trump

These statements are now being used by the Democrats in Congress, led by Nancy Pelosi, to initiate a second impeachment trial against the US president. Hopes for the unlikely possibility that Vice President Mike Pence could depose Trump were dashed on Monday. After meeting Trump, Pence announced that he did not want to use the 25th Amendment to the President's removal. Both wanted to continue "their work for the country" until the end of their term in office, it was said.

"We will act with the utmost urgency and protect our constitution and our democracy," wrote Nancy Pelosi in a letter to Democratic members of Congress. "This president is a direct threat to both of them."

Nancy Pelosi, chairwoman of the US House of Representatives, has made a name for herself as a political opponent of Trump

The impeachment document presented by the Democrats on Monday accuses Trump of “inciting violence against the United States government”. It also cites the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which states that no one who has participated in an "insurrection or rebellion" against the United States should ever hold public office again. The House of Representatives could deal with the advance on Wednesday.

Impeachment, part two

In December 2019, the Democratic congressmen voted to hold an impeachment trial against Trump in the Senate. The basis at the time was a telephone conversation between the US President and his Ukrainian counterpart, in which Trump asked that Ukraine should examine whether legal action could be taken against the son of the then-presidential candidate Joe Biden.

The Trump administration also long withheld military aid to Ukraine, as later emerged. For the Democrats, this behavior was abuse of office. They voted with a majority in the House of Representatives for an impeachment of Trump. However, they lacked the required two-thirds majority in the Senate, so that the president was not removed from office.

Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20th is certain, but Trump's impeachment process is not

Look ahead

Even in the current trial against Trump, the Democrats lack the necessary two-thirds majority of 67 senators. If enough Republican senators should vote to condemn Trump, the Senate could then vote on whether to ban Trump from any future candidacy. A simple majority that the Democrats have in the Senate would be sufficient for this.

"In a few months, Republicans may be less concerned about angering important voters with Trump supporters," speculates political scientist Berman. "But it could also turn out the other way around. Maybe some people think, 'Yes, that was bad, but now we want to look ahead."

What is certain is that the proceedings would no longer be concluded before Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20. Berman is certain that it will be a few months before the vote in the Senate. After all, the new President Biden will first have other priorities, such as the confirmation of his nominations for cabinet positions by the Senate.

Whether the US Constitution even allows impeachment proceedings if the accused is no longer in the White House, opinions differ among legal experts. Berman: "In my opinion it is completely unclear how the situation will develop."