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Quickie Impeachment Benefits All

December 18th, 2020 by dk

Electors have voted and certification is complete. The beginning of the Biden-Harris era is in place. Now the nation’s leaders should settle the ending of the Trump-Pence era. Nothing would tidy things up better than a quickie impeachment and conviction. Everyone would benefit — Biden, Trump, Republicans, and the American people.

With Biden’s inauguration only a month away, you might not think an impeachment is necessary or even possible. No impeachment has happened this quickly before. The same was said for a Supreme Court appointment coming just weeks before a presidential election. This Congress can act fast when it’s in their best interest. This is.

The case to be made against President Trump must be simple and straightforward. It must be completed before Jan. 20, 2021. Fortunately House prosecutors needn’t choose between the many high crimes this president may have committed. The quicker case is his blatant misdemeanors of the past six weeks.

An early draft of the U.S. Constitution provided that the president could be impeached for “treason or bribery or maladministration.” George Mason and James Madison proposed substituting “other high crimes and misdemeanors” instead of “maladministration.” The framers’ intent and meaning is clear for Republican originalists to study.

Misdemeanor, in this context, was understood to mean a failure of duty — not showing up for the job.

Since Election Day, Trump has made no pretense of running the federal government. He has been publicly devoted to overturning election results, live-tweeting his favorite news shows, sulking and playing golf.

The nation cannot afford to have a president — even a lame duck one — indulging in this misbehavior — this misdemeanor. Congress must make sure it never happens again. The House can make haste to show the need and the relevance of this quickie impeachment. Then it goes to the Senate. Why would 67 Senators vote to convict? Here is where it gets interesting.

Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution includes these consequences of an impeachment conviction: “removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.” Senators could permanently disqualify Trump from holding federal office again, clearing the path to 2024.

It’s been said that every U.S. Senator sees a future president in the mirror. How many Republican leaders would rather not have Trump dominate the next presidential election cycle? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would benefit most from a sidelined Trump. He would instantly become the GOP’s undisputed leader.

Trump himself could benefit from his own impeachment conviction. Legal scholars don’t all agree, but President Pence probably could pardon his former boss for any federal offenses not addressed by the impeachment. His reasoning would be identical to Gerald Ford pardoning Nixon.

How could this be good for incoming president Joe Biden and the American people? We turn the page. It cauterizes the wound. Mercy may not seem in order, but it is. We can forgive ourselves for giving the nation’s highest office to a petulant man-child. A quickie impeachment, conviction and pardon would allow us to forgive — and not forget.


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and archives past columns at

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