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Trump confronts political future with burden of historic rebuke

A post-presidential conviction could bar Trump from ever seeking federal office again.
Donald Trump. Image: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Donald Trump’s political future suffered a grave blow on Wednesday after the House impeached him for a second time, an unprecedented rebuke that may result in the White House doors being forever shut to him.

Ten Republicans crossed the aisle to join all House Democrats in declaring that Trump deserved removal from office for inciting an insurrection, offering a withering coda to the president’s inglorious fall.

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Unable to manage the coronavirus pandemic and persuade voters to return him to the White House, the president instead inspired a violent and conspiracy-fuelled attack on the seat of American democracy.

The backlash against Trump in the wake of the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol has been swift, creating an unprecedented test of the vise-like grip he’s held on his party since his 2016 political ascendance. The Capitol riot the president helped incite sparked a wave of resignations across the administration, led to the president’s banishment from Twitter, and prompted corporate leaders to suspend donations to Republicans who peddled false allegations of widespread voter fraud.

The Senate now must hold its second impeachment trial of Trump, likely after he’s already left office. A post-presidential conviction could bar Trump from ever seeking federal office again.

While few Republican senators have said where they stand on the matter, the GOP leader, Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, left open the possibility he’ll vote to convict in a letter to colleagues on Wednesday.

Regardless of the outcome, the events of the past week have shaken the pillars of American politics and point to a fraught road ahead for the Republican party.

Trump’s impeachment will undoubtedly cement his status as a martyr among his most loyal followers, who have cast the move as the latest effort by Washington to attack and undermine an outsider who threatened the status quo. But several Republicans, including Representatives Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger and John Katko, spoke out forcefully against Trump’s actions and voted to impeach.

“This is a vote of conscience,” Cheney said Wednesday. “It’s one where there are different views in our conference. But our nation is facing an unprecedented, since the Civil War, constitutional crisis. That’s what we need to be focused on.”

Some members of the party, though, tried to have it both ways. Loath to defend Trump’s actions, they instead argued that impeachment undermined President-elect Joe Biden’s call for the country to unify in the aftermath of a presidency that has worn the nation thin. Trump was impeached by a 232-197 vote.

‘Tremendous anger’

Trump, for his part, has maintained the same vaguely threatening posture that helped foment the crisis in the first place. On Tuesday, he blamed the media and Democrats for “a continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics.”

“I think it’s causing tremendous danger to our country and it’s causing tremendous anger,” he said.

He issued a statement Wednesday, as the House debated impeachment, that called for peace.

“In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind,” he said. “That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for.”

But the violent riot has tested the loyalty of some of Trump’s longtime enablers and allies. He alienated Mike Pence by tweeting that the vice president “didn’t have the courage” to illegally declare Trump the winner of an election he had lost, further inflaming his supporters before the riot.

Pence, in the Capitol at the time presiding over the congressional count of Electoral College votes, had to flee the mob with other lawmakers.

Several top administration officials canceled international travel or cut trips short this week out of concern that foreign adversaries might seek to exploit the U.S. political crisis and a White House under strain.

Trump’s attention will now turn to minimising fallout from the impeachment vote on any possible second act in political life, while attempting to paint the consequences for his role instigating the riot as overblown and unfair.

His most immediate concern may be whipping support in the Senate, which needs a two-thirds vote to convict. More than a dozen Republicans would need to join Democrats to remove him from office. While Trump’s electoral loss and subsequent behavior has eroded his standing with many in the party, only one GOP senator — Utah’s Mitt Romney — voted to convict during Trump’s first impeachment trial less than a year ago.

Even out of office, Senate conviction would be more than an embarrassment for the president. He would go down in history as the only president ever impeached and convicted, and senators could subsequently move to disqualify Trump from seeking federal office ever again, a measure requiring only a simple majority vote.

And fighting conviction could prove financially costly to Trump as well. Since he won’t be president, he won’t have a taxpayer-funded White House counsel’s office to defend him.

He already faces mounting financial pressure. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city will cancel some $17 million in contracts with the president’s company, Trump Organisation, including deals to operate skating rinks and a golf course. Stripe Inc. said earlier this week it would halt payment processing for Trump’s campaign.

And investigators for New York’s attorney general continue to examine Trump’s tax records and whether he broke the law by making hush-money payments to women who claimed he’d had affairs with them before his election.

Impeachment could also mean the loss of pensions for the president and first lady Melania Trump, as well as federal funds for a post-presidential office and staff, though legal opinions are split on the matter.

Trump’s future

Separately, the president will try desperately to frame the impeachment effort within a broader narrative of persecution and grievance that he’s channeled throughout his presidency.

It worked before, when his approval ratings rebounded in the aftermath of the special counsel investigation into his campaign’s alleged ties with Russia, and after the Senate failed to convict him following his impeachment for pressuring Ukraine to launch an investigation into Biden and his son.

But Trump’s role in the riot — which broke out shortly after he encouraged supporters to march to the Capitol and “fight much harder” against his political opponents — is less complicated. Just 33% of Americans approved of Trump’s handling of his job in a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday.

And the mob scene at the Capitol only exacerbated perceptions Trump had become politically toxic. Not only was the president unable to win re-election, but GOP control of the Senate evaporated when two incumbent Republicans in Georgia lost despite the president campaigning on their behalf — all before the chaos unfolded in the halls of Congress.

Trump will hope once again to defy expectations by operating outside the mainstream, though his options may prove dwindling. Fringe conservative cable channels have found themselves under threat of legal action for echoing the Trump campaign’s allegations about rigged voting machines, while Cumulus Media told conservative talk radio hosts to stop suggesting the election had been stolen, according to Inside Music Media.

And Trump’s role in the riot cost him his most important megaphone, his @realDonaldTrump Twitter account, now permanently suspended.

Trump has already said he is considering launching his own alternative social media network in the wake of his ban and on Wednesday sought to place his troubles with technology companies within a broader conservative narrative alleging discrimination and persecution.

“They shouldn’t be doing it,” Trump said. “But there’s always a counter move when they do that.”

© 2021 Bloomberg

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Trump. Did follow him from the African side. Wife, completely anti.
Getting here proof from CNN. The sound, pure hate, coming from the speakers, hour after hour, convinced me he was right in calling them fake. Also, by naming them as such, signed his ending as president.

Let’s be honest. It’s all bogus, 1) as the riots were coordinated which started prior to end of his speech
2) Antifa dressed up as trump supporters and leftist police opened up barriers
3)All on camera- Antifa leader identified breaking windows/ doors and then “change clothes” playing the victim
4) media seems to be paid by the left to hide the truth
5) anyone seen hunter Biden’s story and pictures? If you have, you would want to “unseen it”.

Stop spreading disinformation and get on with your life. Your man is out.

That’s rich coming from a Libtard who never accepted the Legitimate 2016 election result.

I suspect he may shortly be declared Financially Bankrupt as well . (already mentally so ).

In truth there is no denying what you list. The evidence has been overwhelming and irrefutable. The truth has become a crown of thorns for those that seek it. The truth is that the majority are wearing the crowns and the minority are carrying the whips. The truth is their dire enemy and their billionaire protagonists have set to the immoral task of hiding it and denying it.

After an hour of waiting the comment appears whilst logged in, but log out and it disappears.
Big Brother has ways and means of performing magic mind control upon us.

Having lived there during the Reagan Presidency , were I American ,I would be a conservative Supporter but NOT with Trump as president .
The Man is clearly a deranged Bully Halfwit , obsessed only with his own image . Unity in the USA has been destroyed by this Halfwit : He should join Zuma in Jail.

This whole thing is such a farce. I saw Trump’s speech and he did not incite violence. But just as with the first impeachment which failed so miserably, witnesses will be called and unmasked as nothing but liars. However, the Democrats are playing with fire here because 74 million people voted for Trump. Now they tell them what they can and can’t read – that is like primary school. It is a very volatile situation and cool heads and real leadership is needed now. Yet the Democrats are behaving like children. Trump is out, just let him be. One thing is for sure and that it is no longer the “United States of America” but the “Divided States of America”. America is on a road to self-destruction and I just can’t understand why they chose that path.

The entire stage play is to ensure that Trump can never stand again. If he can and the election process is actually fixed to be transparent and fair then he will win be a genuine landslide and the masterminds know it.

First of all let me preface this by saying I am a Trump supporter and if I were American I would’ve voted for him in the election. But this being said his actions since legitimately (it was not stolen) losing the election have been deplorable. Even after exhausting all legal avenues he still refused to concede and this is problematic since the loser accepting an election result is important in any democracy. Even after the 2016 election with many democrats claiming election fraud, crooked Hillary did actually concede the election.

His constant refusal of the election results and claiming a stolen election with the speech he delivered before the riot where he actively encouraged the crowd to march to capitol hill and to “help” the “weak” republicans in the house to do the right thing indirectly lead to the events that occurred. He needs to answer for this, as well as his delayed and weak response during the riot to try and calm the situation. I would not go as far as the democrats and claim that he is directly responsible for the riot as I believe each individual is responsible for his own actions, but he certainly stoked the fire that lead to the chaos.

The election was clearly in need of further non-partisan investigation. The assisted destruction of the evidence also needs non-partisan investigation.
The avoidance of exhaustive and transparent investigation combined with old fashioned fair and non-partisan reporting does not make for a squeaky clean anything. The dirt is collosal.
Regardless of like or dislike for the Trump there are much bigger and uglier things coming down here. These things will not do anyone other than the elite beneficiaries any good. The destruction of democracy is afoot.

In August 2001, Trump changed his party affiliation to Democratic. In September 2009, Trump changed his party affiliation back to the Republican Party. In December 2011, Trump changed to “no party affiliation” (independent). In April 2012, Trump again returned to the Republican Party. – Wikipedia

It seems as if Trump does not care about economic policy. Trump cares about Trump, like all career politicians. Politics aside, Trump does not personify compassion, respect and decency. He is not a role model for anybody. He personifies the worst characteristics of the human race. That makes him a popular politician though.

Trump donated twice to Kamala Harris when she ran for district attorney, now she is ‘nasty woman’. The orange goon has flip flopped more than a fish out of water!!

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Biden is considered “normality”?. Ignorance is bliss as they say.
2 Trillion Stimulus, a one-way ticket to a socialist state.

What about the BLM protests during the height of the pandemic not to mention the threats and incitement through Big Tech. What’s good for the goose is not good for the gander it seems…

Let’s not get started on Biden’s track record here.. Sanctimonious Hypocrites.

End of comments.

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