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.

Okuafo Pa means good farmer in the Twi language of West Africa. Hence, the naming of the project reflects the value of good farming and the rewards it brings to the people of Ghana. The Okuafo Pa Project will support Ghana's sustainable development by promoting socio-economic growth and sustainable business models.

Watch to learn how Eni is helping youth to develop agricultural knowledge and skills.

Iranians head to the polls on Friday to vote for president, and it appears a foregone conclusion that hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, the nation's top judge, will win.

Outsiders, and many Iranians, roll their eyes at the predictability of this vote. Iran's Guardian Council, a dozen clerics and judges who answer only to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has cleared the field for Raisi by ruling all of his credible challengers ineligible. The fix is in, and Iranians are now preparing for a moment when anti-reform conservatives, those who oppose social change inside Iran and deeper engagement with the West, will for the first time ever control the country's presidency, parliament, courts, and much of the media.

But simmering beneath the cynicism and predictability of this event is a deepening anxiety over Iran's future as it enters a potentially momentous period in the Islamic Republic's 42-year history. The Supreme Leader, in power for 32 years, is now 82 years old. Very few people know the true state of his health. Even if he outlives Raisi's presidency, which could last four or eight years, preparations for a historic, uncertain, and potentially dangerous leadership transition will intensify soon.

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Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

After Biden's first visit, do his European allies feel that America is back?

I think they do. Wasn't particularly surprising, we've heard that message before. But now it was, sort of more concrete issues. I'm not certain there was, sort of major, major, major progress. But there was the beginning of a dialogue on trade and technology issues with Europe, clearly on security issues with NATO, and quite a number of other issues with G7, and general satisfaction with the outcome of the meeting with Putin. So, altogether good.

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Listen: Former US Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder weighs in on US President Joe Biden's first trip abroad, which included a very important first stop at the G7 summit in the United Kingdom, and the way forward for the US and its closest friends. Did he convince allies that "America is back" and ready to resume its leadership role in global affairs? And if so, does it even matter if Americans still need to be convinced that US engagement in the world is vital? Daalder speaks with Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares updates on recent policy developments:

With the Supreme Court's recent decision, is the Affordable Care Act here to stay?

Yes, this was the Court's third ruling on the Affordable Care Act upholding its constitutionality. This challenge was brought by Republican attorneys general who argued that the repeal of the individual mandate tax undermined the court's previous justification for allowing the law to stand. They were unsuccessful, yet again. And the political salience of the Affordable Care Act has really diminished in the last several years, with Republicans moving on to fight other issues and the Court signaling very strongly they don't want to get involved in overturning this piece of legislation. The Affordable Care Act will be here at least until Congress wants to legislate on it again.

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Iranians head to the polls on June 18, in what's widely perceived to be a foregone outcome. Analysts predict that popular disillusionment with Iran's political class will make this one of the lowest turnout elections in Iran's post-revolution history. According to one poll taken by the Iranian Students Polling Agency, as few as 42 percent of the eligible voting population is expected to show up. We take a look at contemporary Iran's demographics, and how this year's vote turnout might compare to previous elections.

Latin America needs vaccines: The World Health Organization has called on the G7 countries that pledged to donate a billion COVID vaccine doses to the developing world to prioritize Latin America, with WHO officials pointing to the fact that out of the top 10 countries with the highest COVID death tolls per capita over the past week, nine are in Latin America, where many health systems are overstretched and vaccines are scarce. This call comes as Latin America's COVID death toll has surpassed 1 million. Cases and deaths are soaring in Argentina and Colombia, for instance, while Brazil has fully vaccinated just 11 percent of its population despite recording the world's second highest death toll. Even Chile, which has carried out Latin America's most successful vaccination campaign to date, has been forced to delay reopening due to a recent surge in infections among unvaccinated younger people. The WHO says prioritizing the region for vaccine donations makes sense in order to stop large sustained outbreaks that may spur potentially more infectious COVID variants that'll cross borders and wreak havoc in populous states. Most of the donated shots will be distributed through the COVAX facility, which is a problem for countries like Venezuela, shut out from COVAX because of payment problems.

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3: China has launched three astronauts into orbit in its first space mission since 2016. The astronauts will spend three months aboard the country's new space station, demonstrating China's resolve to become a space power following successful earlier missions to collect soil samples on the Moon and land a wheeled robot on Mars.

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GZERO World Podcast


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