A very messy impeachment

A very messy impeachment

Donald Trump's second impeachment trial kicks off Tuesday, just a year after he was acquitted in the US Senate over his 2019 dealings with the Ukrainians to try and find dirt on Joe Biden's family. The former president is now charged with inciting the US Capitol insurrection.

A majority of Senate Republicans have already opposed the constitutionality of the process, making another acquittal all but assured. So, why does it matter at all this time? Here are three questions to ponder.


Is it worth the time and trouble? With the country still grappling with the twin crises of the pandemic and its economic fallout, impeaching a former president who's already been voted out of power strikes many as a time-consuming exercise with a preordained outcome. Some lawmakers fear the trial will distract Congress from taking swift action on more urgent priorities, like ramping up COVID vaccinations or passing badly-needed stimulus relief for businesses and individuals.

Congress can walk and chew gum at the same time, but past experience shows it rarely does. Also, if Dems had waited much longer, they would've lost the political momentum to hold Trump accountable while the events of January 6 are still fresh in the memory of the American people — and especially their own voters.

Recent polls show that a majority of Americans (52 percent) believe the former president should be impeached for his actions leading up to the Capitol riot, although voters from the two parties are sharply divided: on average almost 89 percent of Democrats support removing Trump, compared to less than 14 percent of Republicans.

What do the Democrats stand to lose, and possibly win? Even if the trial is as speedy as the Democrats say it'll be, they'll need to spend at least some political capital on calling witnesses, holding key votes, and negotiating the entire process with the GOP. This time the Democrats are in control, but with the slimmest of majorities.

While the Biden administration continues to ride high on above-par approval ratings, congressional Democrats will not enjoy the same honeymoon period. They need to deliver immediately on President Biden's agenda, and many priority issues — such as legislation on climate change and immigration — will require bipartisan support. If the trial is conducted in what is perceived to be a highly partisan way, the Senate Democrats may lose the five moderate Republicans who have so far expressed support for the process.

On the other hand, getting Republicans on the record either defending Trump or simply voting to acquit provides the Dems with more fodder to attack vulnerable Senate Republicans in the 2022 midterms, where Democrats will be defending less seats and aim to flip several states in a map that's looking increasingly purple.

How will impeachment affect the GOP's post-Trump future? Unless 17 Republican senators unexpectedly turn on Trump, the former president will escape conviction (and a subsequent permanent ban on holding public office). That means he'll not only bear no official responsibility for his role in egging on the mob — he will see himself as again vindicated, in a stronger position than he was in a month ago to influence the future of the Republican Party, and free to run in 2024.

We've barely heard from Trump since he was banned from Twitter and other social media platforms after his inflammatory speech right before the Capitol was stormed. His standing among traditional Republicans took a hit days later when 10 GOP lawmakers voted to impeach him in the House, but the former president quickly recovered and still commands cult-like loyalty from the base of the party.

Once the second "not guilty" verdict is handed down, Trump will have won a major battle in the ongoing GOP civil war.

Both sides have much at stake, but... The choice for Democrats was clear — it was never about whether to impeach but rather when. For the GOP, however, Trump's impeachment 2.0 could well be a make-or-break moment that determines whether the party's future remains tied to the former president for the next few years.

Over the next decade, Walmart's $350 billion investment in U.S. manufacturing has the potential to:

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  • Provide opportunities for more than 9,000 entrepreneurs to become Walmart suppliers and sellers through Walmart's annual Open Call.

A year and a half after millions poured into the streets of Santiago to protest inequality and the vestiges of the Pinochet dictatorship, Chileans voted this weekend to elect the 155 people who will rewrite the country's constitution.

The question now is not whether the people want change — clearly they do — but rather how much change their representatives can agree on. Overall, the new text is widely expected to beef up the role of the state in a country where a strong private sector made Chile one of Latin America's wealthiest yet also most unequal nations.

Here are a few things to bear in mind as the constitutional rewrite process kicks off.

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Morocco punishes Spain with... migrants: Spain has sent in the army to help defend the border in Ceuta, a tiny Spanish enclave on the Moroccan coast, after more than 8,000 migrants crossed over in just two days. Spanish border guards say that Morocco facilitated the migrants' departure, most of whom are Moroccan nationals, to punish Madrid for meddling in Morocco's internal affairs over Western Sahara. Last month, Madrid allowed the leader of the pro-independence Polisario Front to seek treatment for COVID in a Spanish hospital, infuriating Rabat, which claims the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara as part of its territory. The Moroccans, for their part, deny involvement in the mass exodus. However, that seems questionable given that Morocco has traditionally overreacted to any hint of Spanish support for Western Saharan independence. But Spain won't want to rock the boat too much because it needs Morocco's help to stop African migrants from flooding Ceuta and Melilla, the other Spanish enclave in Morocco. If the spat is not resolved soon, the European Union may have to step in to mediate because once the migrants are on EU soil, they are free to travel to other EU countries.

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20 million: The US will donate 20 million doses of federally authorized COVID vaccines to countries in need. This is the first time the Biden administration has agreed to send shots approved for use in America. Washington previously pledged to send by the end of June 60 million shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which the US has stockpiled but lacks FDA approval.

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Cyber is a tool, and sometimes a weapon. Whether espionage for commercial gain or indiscriminate attacks on critical infrastructure, actions taken in cyber space affect you directly, potentially upending even the most mundane realities of everyday life.

Watch GZERO Media and Microsoft's live conversation on cyber challenges facing governments, companies, and citizens in a Munich Security Conference "Road to Munich" event recorded today, May 18.

Event link: gzeromedia.com/globalstage

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A big reason the Chinese leader is pushing harder than ever to annex Taiwan is actually quite small. The self-governing island has an outsize manufacturing capacity for semiconductors – the little chips that bind the electrical circuits we use in our daily lives. Cell phones, laptops, modern cars, and even airplanes all rely on these tiny computer wafers. Taiwanese chip manufacturer TSMC alone makes more than half of the chips outsourced by all foreign companies, which means your iPhone likely runs on Taiwanese-made semiconductors. What would happen to the world's semiconductor chips if China were to take control of Taiwan?

Watch the episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer: What could spark a US-China war?

Will there be a ceasefire in Gaza? Fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas/Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants in the Gaza Strip has now entered its second week. Over the weekend, Israel intensified its bombing of the Gaza Strip, which included targeting a building that houses Al-Jazeera and AP, two foreign media outlets, causing their reporters to hastily flee the premises (Israel has so far not substantiated its claim that Hamas intelligence operatives were working in the building.) At least 42 Gazans were killed in a single Israeli strike Sunday, bringing the Palestinian death toll above 200. Meanwhile, Hamas continued to fire rockets at southern and central Israel, resulting in several casualties. On Monday, for the first time since the violent outbreak, US President Joe Biden voiced support for a ceasefire driven by the Egyptians and others. However, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, has said that the operation will "take time," and a truce is off the table until Hamas' military capabilities are significantly degraded. Civilians on both sides continue to suffer.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here. Happy week to you. I thought we would do a quick take as we often do talk a little bit today about the latest in the fighting between the Israelis and the Palestinians, still going on. Thousands now of Hamas' rockets raining down on Israel, hundreds of Israeli air sorties, also tanks and artillery hitting Gaza, as well as some violence locally in the West Bank and a fair amount across Israel Proper between Arabs and Israeli Jews living in the country.

I'm pretty optimistic at this point, if you can even use that word, that this is not going to escalate further in the near term. In other words, this doesn't become a ground war. A couple of reasons. First, the Israeli defense forces over the weekend put out a statement showing how much they had already done to degrade Hamas' military capabilities. And historically, they don't do that until they're ready to show success and wrap up their military operations in relatively short order. So that implies a quick pivot, at least to opening negotiations with the Palestinians as to a ceasefire.

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