Trump impeachment 2.0

President Trump speaks to supporters at a rally in Washington before an angry mob stormed the US Capitol building. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

After last week's storming of the US Capitol building, we asked whether Congress would act to hold President Trump responsible for inciting the insurrection to overturn the result of the 2020 election. We now know the answer: House Democrats on Monday unveiled an article of impeachment against Trump.

But though the House will vote in the coming days to begin the process, Trump — the first US president to be impeached twice — will no longer be in office by the time a trial begins in the Senate. So, why do it? Here are a few arguments for and against.


In favor. First, whatever happens in the Senate, impeachment by the House would make it clear to future presidents that encouraging violence against the government comes with consequences. If Congress were to avoid taking forceful action in an extreme case like this, the boundaries of acceptable political behavior might expand dramatically.

Second, impeaching Trump can lead to a vote to bar him from election to any federal office in the future. While conviction requires a two-thirds vote from senators, a simple majority could then ban the president from running for president in 2024, stripping him of some of his power over the Republican Party. A permanent ban would be favored openly by Democrats and maybe a few Republicans who fear Trump would freeze the 2024 GOP race by teasing a second run.

Against. First, unless Trump commits some other highly provocative act, impeachment will very likely fail again in the Senate and Trump will be acquitted. Although more Republican senators may support Trump's conviction this time, Democrats don't have the minimum 67 votes needed to remove him from office. For Trump's supporters, a second acquittal would vindicate Trump's actions, restore some of his standing within the GOP, and could even encourage more violence.

Second, despite the gravity of last week's events, impeachment remains an extremely divisive issue among Americans. Roughly the same number of Republican voters oppose it now compared to when Trump was first impeached in late 2019. Expect the GOP to argue that Americans are tired of red vs blue, and that it's time to "heal" — an argument similar to the one Gerald Ford made in pardoning Richard Nixon in 1974.

Third, impeachment is a big gamble for the incoming Biden administration at a time when — with slim majorities in the House and Senate — it'll need to deploy much of its political capital to get crucial legislation passed on pandemic relief measures like additional stimulus checks and to step up vaccinations. With the US currently reporting more than 3,500 COVID-19 deaths and upwards of 200,000 new cases each day, the public health crisis is a more urgent problem (and Biden may need a few Republican votes to offset possible resistance by moderate Democrats to some of his big-spending plans).

This may take a while. Though the process starts today, it'll end whenever it suits the Democrats, because they can decide when to forward the case to the Senate. Democratic House majority whip James Clyburn hinted on Sunday that the House may hold off on sending the article of impeachment to the Senate for weeks, so President-elect Joe Biden and the new Congress can focus on an ambitious legislative agenda during Biden's first 100 days in office.

Either way, the fate of impeachment 2.0 depends on Trump. His behavior in the coming days will determine whether Democrats can persuade enough Republican senators to convict Trump of "high crimes and misdemeanors." If the president — recently deplatformed from social media — keeps his cool, momentum toward action may recede. But if he tries to incite more violence from his supporters, or tests the limits of presidential power by pardoning himself, the political temperature in Washington will turn even hotter.

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We're just days away from COP26, the landmark global climate conference that's been dubbed the last chance to get the climate crisis in check. In the lead-up to the event in Glasgow, dozens of countries have released new ambitions to reduce their future carbon footprints. For years, climate activists and experts have called on governments to introduce carbon pricing schemes – either through taxes or emissions-trading schemes. So who's heeded the warning? We take a look at the top ten carbon emitters' share of global emissions and details about their respective national carbon pricing schemes.

Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

Do cryptocurrencies make it harder to enforce foreign policy sanctions?

Well, that is exactly what the Biden administration worries about. As part of growing concerns of whether unregulated currencies undermine a whole host of policies, sanctions and foreign or trade policy should be a priority area. And just like others who wish to evade tracing of their wealth or transactions, the very states or their sanctioned entities should be assumed to resort to all options to evade restrictions while continuing to do business. So having cryptocurrencies undermining the ability to enforce strategic goals logically raises eyebrows in Washington.

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Back in August, when the Taliban took over, we asked whether anyone in the international community would recognize them. Now it looks like things are heading that way.

This week, the Kremlin hosted a summit with the Taliban that was attended by China, India and Pakistan, as well as all five Central Asian Republics.

The domestically-focused US, however, wasn't there. The US continues to maintain that the Taliban can't be trusted. But does it matter? In 2021 does a Taliban-led government even need American recognition to function and thrive?

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For Kevin Rudd, former Australian PM and now CEO of the Asia Society, the science on climate change is pretty much done, so the only unresolved issues are tech and — more importantly — lack of political leadership. He can't think of a single national political leader who can fill the role, and says the only way to get political action on climate is to mobilize public opinion.

Rudd joined for the first of a two-part Sustainability Leaders Summit livestream conversation sponsored by Suntory. Watch here and register here to watch part two Friday 10/22 at 8 am ET.

Taking place on October 21 and 22, the Sustainability Leaders Summit will go beyond preexisting narratives and debate priorities for governments and industries ahead of COP26. Placing the spotlight on Asia's role in the global sustainability agenda, the event will address whether Asian countries and companies can achieve shared sustainability goals, and what is needed to help get them there. The summit will be co-hosted by Tak Niinami, CEO of Suntory Holdings, and Ian Bremmer, founder and president of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media. We will address three key questions: How can Asian countries, with the help of the private sector, achieve shared Sustainability Goals? Why does this matter? And what are the policy changes needed to bring it about?

Attendance is free and open to the public. Register to attend.

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The minutiae of supply chains makes for boring dinner table talk, but it's increasingly becoming a hot topic of conversation now that packages are taking much longer to arrive in the consumer-oriented US, while prices of goods soar.

With the issue unlikely to be resolved anytime soon, right-wing media have dubbed President Biden the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, conjuring images of sad Christmas trees surrounded by distraught children whose holiday gifts are stuck somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

It hasn't been a good run for Uncle Joe in recent months. What issues are tripping him up?

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Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week with a look at the NBA's latest rift with China, Brazil's Senate investigation, and COVID booster shots.

China wipes Boston Celtics from NBA broadcast after the "Free Tibet" speech from Enes Kanter. Is NBA boxing itself into a corner?

Nice mixed sports metaphor there. NBA has some challenges because they are of course the most progressive on political and social issues in the United States among sports leagues, but not when it comes to China, their most important international market. And you've seen that with LeBron James telling everyone about we need to learn better from the Communist Party on issues like Hong Kong and how Daryl Morey got hammered for taking his stance in favor of Hong Kong democracy. Well, Enes Kanter's doing the same thing and he's a second-string center. Didn't even play yesterday and still the Chinese said that they were not going to air any Boston Celtics games. Why? Because he criticized the Chinese government and had some "Free Tibet" sneakers. This is a real problem for a lot of corporations out there, but particularly publicly, the NBA. Watch for a bunch of American politicians to make it harder for the NBA going forward, saying how dare you kowtow to the Chinese when you're all about "Black Lives Matter" inside the United States. No fun.

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