Will Trump’s impeachment trial be “fair”?

Will Trump’s impeachment trial be “fair”?

Donald Trump just became the third president in US history to be impeached.

In a vote along party lines, the House of Representatives on Wednesday approved impeachment on two counts: abuse of power, for Trump's efforts to pressure the Ukrainian government into investigating his political rival Joe Biden, and obstruction of Congress, for preventing key White House witnesses from testifying in the impeachment hearings.


Democrats say the move was a legitimate defense of the Constitution. Republicans say it's a sham attempt to remove a president against the will of the people. Trump, for his part, says it's a modern day Salem witch trial (the current mayor of Salem, for the record, disagrees.)

So what comes now?
The House will send the impeachment bill to the Senate, where Trump will be put on trial, probably in January. A small team of House Democrats will lead the prosecution, the Senate will act as a jury, and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will preside.

A two-thirds supermajority of votes would be needed to convict Trump of the impeachable offenses and remove him from office. Republicans control the Senate by a 53-47 majority, meaning that 20 GOP senators would have to turn against the president in order to oust him. With Trump's approval rating among Republican voters currently above 90 percent, that outcome is about as likely as a snowman winning the Dakar Rally.

Will it be "fair"?
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already said that he's coordinating closely with the White House's defense team on how and when to hold the trial, and that he won't call any additional witnesses. Chief Justice Roberts could rule that McConnell has to, but precedent suggests that's unlikely.)

Democrats say this politicizes justice, and McConnell says that's exactly right: Impeachment has the structure of a criminal proceeding, but the Constitution intended this process to be political, not judicial. And since he's politically on the side of the president, that's how the cookie crumbles.

How does the public view impeachment right now?
In the latest polls, between 44 and 50 percent of respondents said Trump should be impeached and removed from office. Some of the surveys registered a slight decline in support for impeachment and removal over the past month. Regardless, this is just about as polarized an environment as you can imagine: half the country wants the president removed from office, and the other half doesn't. In that sense, it's like virtually every other question involving Donald Trump.

Will all this affect the 2020 election?
It's too early to say how impeachment will affect people's choices 11 months from now. Democrats hope that the impeachment shows they're willing to hold Trump accountable, and they'll look to draw on the impeachment revelations throughout the 2020 campaign. Trump, meanwhile, is confident that beating the rap will be the main story heading into the 2020 homestretch.

A more immediate question is whether the timing of the trial affects the field of Democrat contenders. As we wrote last week, Mitch McConnell has a delicious opportunity to mess with the primary campaign schedules of leading contenders Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and others, who have to be in Washington for the Senate trial rather than out shaking hands with voters in early voting states. But it's a move that could also backfire against Trump -- learn more here.

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"The people are stronger," pro-democracy demonstrators chanted as news broke that the Sudanese military had staged a coup Monday, overthrowing the joint civilian-military government and dashing hopes of democracy in the war-torn country.

The backstory. In 2019, Omar al-Bashir – a despot who ruled Sudan with an iron fist for 30 years – was deposed after a months-long popular uprising.

Al-Bashir was a bad guy: he cozied up to terrorists like Osama bin Laden and dropped barrel bombs on his own people. He also embezzled truckloads of money from oil production while millions of Sudanese went hungry, and oversaw a genocide in the Darfur region that left 300,000 people dead and displaced 1.6 million.

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500: Fuel shortages in conflict-ridden Haiti are putting many hospital patients at risk. If fuel isn't delivered ASAP, UNICEF says around 500 people – including children and COVID patients – are at very high risk of deterioration. Supplies and deliveries have been disrupted for weeks because of heightened gang activity in the country.

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Sort of, but governments haven't lost all control yet. On the one hand, The Atlantic CEO Nicholas Thompson says that governments can still push tech companies for transparency in their algorithms, while Microsoft has partnered with the US government to together fight hackers "so the company is seen as a champion for freedom and democracy." On the other, over time Thompson expects tech firms in the US and China to gradually become more powerful as the state becomes less powerful toward them. Watch his interview with Ian Bremmer on the latest episode of GZERO World.

Watch this episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer: Big Tech: Global sovereignty, unintended consequences

As COP26 nears, the need for real climate action has never been more urgent. There are reasons for hope, but many scientists believe the ambitious goal of net zero emissions by 2050 is unattainable without immediate and significant change. Governments, financial institutions, and private sector companies alike have all recognized the need for a multistakeholder approach to solving this crisis of a lifetime.

Watch "Climate Crisis: Is net zero really possible?" a one-hour virtual livestream, hosted by GZERO Media and Microsoft as part of the Global Stage series, to hear scientists, corporate leaders and policymakers debate this question and offer critical perspectives on the way forward. Live on Tuesday, November 2nd at 11am ET, we'll break down what "net zero" means, take stock of where the world is on the path to carbon neutrality, and discuss critical steps needed to make real progress.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hey everybody and happy Monday. Back in the office, getting a little cool. So I've got my sweater going on. It's the first time I've had a sweater on. What do you do with that? Discussing fashion, as I talk to you about what is on my mind this week?

And what's on my mind this week, Facebook. Facebook is on my mind. It's a tough week for Facebook. There are all sorts of whistleblowers out there. There's testimony going on. There's calls for regulation. Everybody seems unhappy with them. Indeed, you even got the government relations types, Nick Clegg, who I've known for a long time back when he was a policymaker in the UK saying that the headlines are going to be rough, but we're are going to get through it. But I will say, first of all, I'm kind of skeptical that any of this goes anywhere in terms of impact on how Facebook actually operates.

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Turkey's Erdogan ups the ante with the West: Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared diplomats from 10 Western countries "persona non-grata" after the group — which includes the US, France, and Germany — called on Ankara to release Osman Kavala, a Parisian-born Turkish businessman who's been held in jail since 2017 but hasn't been charged with a crime. Erdogan says that Kavala was involved in an attempted coup against the government in 2016. This latest move is a sign of Turkey's authoritarian drift in recent years, which has seen Erdogan's government increasingly crack down on opposition members as well as journalists. It also reflects Turkey's increasingly fraught relations with the West: things got particularly bad between Washington and Ankara after Turkey purchased missile defense systems from the Russians in 2019. The Council of Europe (the continent's leading human rights organization) had previously warned that Ankara has until November to release Kavala or it would impose "infringements," though it's unclear what those would be.

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ASEAN gets tough(ish) with Myanmar: The leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations meet Tuesday for their annual summit with one notable absence: the head of Myanmar's military junta. It's a rare snub from ASEAN, a regional bloc that's gotten a lot of heat in the past for giving tyrants a free pass. The junta says ASEAN violated its traditional principles of deciding by consensus by disinviting its leader, and non-interference in domestic affairs for demanding the bloc's special envoy meet detained former leader Aung San Suu Kyi. For their part, the other ASEAN members have grown visibly alarmed at Myanmar's rapidly deteriorating political and economic situation since the February coup, and they're worried about the spillover effects of Myanmar becoming a failed state. More importantly, Myanmar is a big thorn in ASEAN's side as it walks a fine line between keeping warm ties with the US — which most members want cash and security from — and getting along with China, one of Myanmar's few remaining friends and viewed with suspicion by most ASEAN members over its South China Sea shenanigans.

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