After the attack on the Capitol, Democrats have accused President Trump of encouraging violence. They’ve introduced a resolution to force Vice President Mike Pence to remove the President from office by invoking the 25th amendment. The move was blocked by Republican Alex Mooney.
The resolution failed, and still, the Democrats want to impeach Trump. One Democrat, Hakeem Jeffries, even announced a resolution that would charge Trump with the crime of “inciting sedition.”
Lawyer Alan Dershowitz dismissed Democrats’ attacks against the President. He warned that impeaching Trump during his final days in office would be a violation of the Constitution. In an interview with Newsmax, Dershowitz said that impeaching the president would only stand if he has committed any misdemeanors or high crimes.
Since Trump only practiced his constitutionally protected right to free speech, the case of impeachment does not hold ground. Dershowitz said that President Trump cannot be blamed for the actions of the people who attacked the Capitol.
“[Impeaching the President] would do more enduring harm to our Constitution than even the horrible rioters did, although they are strongly to be condemned and I’m very glad they’re being prosecuted to the hilt… It’s part of the core theory of the First Amendment that you prosecute the actors, you don’t prosecute the speaker… The speaker has a Constitutional right to advocate … advocate, not incite … advocate, which is what President Trump did. So, going after the actors, rather than the speaker is the way our Constitution laid it out,” he said in the interview.
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Dershowitz is confident that Democrats have no chance of impeaching Trump since the Senate rules will not allow the case to be brought to trial until 1 p.m. on Jan. 20 when Trump will already have left office. Once out of office, Trump becomes a private citizen.
Congress has no power to impeach a private citizen, whether he is “named Donald Trump or named Barack Obama or anyone else,” Dershowitz said. He said if Trump gets impeached, the long-term implications for the Constitution and the First Amendment are massive.
Once this tactic is used against Trump, it will inevitably be used against future presidents as both parties would try to settle scores with one another. Dershowitz admitted that he would personally defend Trump, if impeached. He felt that it’s absolute “nonsense” to try to force a president out of office when he’s just a few days away from a peaceful transition, which Trump himself has promised.
In an op-ed, constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley warned that impeaching Trump would establish a harmful precedent, which would harm free speech.
“Democrats are now arguing something even more extreme as the basis for impeachment. Under their theory, any president could be removed for rhetoric that is seen to have the “natural tendency” to encourage others to act in a riotous fashion. Even a call for supporters to protest peacefully could not be a defense. Such a standard would allow for a type of vicarious impeachment that attributes conduct of third parties to any president for the purposes of removal,” he said in the op-ed.
The House of Representatives has released a resolution to impeach Trump for “betraying his trust as President” and endangering the security of the United States while also inciting insurrection. If the resolution is approved, Trump will become the first president in American history to be impeached twice. The House will vote on the issue next week.