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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) talks to reporters following the weekly Senate Republican policy luncheon in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on September 30, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) talks to reporters following the weekly Senate Republican policy luncheon in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on September 30, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

As Senate Reconvenes, Why Isn't Chamber Immediately Moving to Convict Trump for 'Inciting Deadly Attack on Our Country'?

"If the Senate trial was a right-wing judicial confirmation, Trump would have been convicted already."

Jake Johnson

With the U.S. Senate set to reconvene Tuesday—President Donald Trump's final full day in the White House—progressives are demanding that the chamber immediately get to work on convicting the outgoing incumbent for provoking the violent mob attack on the Capitol Building earlier this month and barring him from holding office again in the future.

"The Senate reconvenes tomorrow," Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, tweeted late Monday. "They should immediately convict Donald Trump and hold him fully accountable for inciting a deadly attack on our country."

"The insurrectionists themselves say that they were following Trump’s orders. The evidence is clear: Trump incited an attempted coup. The Senate needs to convict and remove him now."
—Women's March

But the effort to remove Trump from office in the wake of the January 6 invasion of the halls of Congress has been at a standstill since the House of Representatives impeached the president for the second time last Wednesday, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) rejecting Democratic demands that he invoke emergency powers to bring the Senate back from recess and start the trial without delay.

"If the Senate trial was a right-wing judicial confirmation, Trump would have been convicted already," economist Robert Reich remarked last week.

Additionally, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)—who has characterized Trump's removal from office as a matter of life and death—has yet to transmit the newly approved impeachment article to the Senate, a step that is necessary to kick off the proceedings.

The New York Times reported over the weekend that Pelosi is expected to deliver the article to the Senate at some point this week, but it's unclear whether she will do so before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday. Democrats, according to the Times, are "working to draft rules that would allow the Senate to operate on dual tracks to confirm Mr. Biden's cabinet and begin moving his legislative agenda while trying Mr. Trump."

"The speaker's decision to delay sending the article was reminiscent of a similar maneuver a year ago, when she waited almost a month to press charges against Mr. Trump after the House voted to impeach him the first time for pressuring Ukraine to smear Mr. Biden," the Times reported. "The House was waiting, at least in part, to determine the outcome of negotiations between Senate Democrats and Republicans over the shape of a highly unusual proceeding."

Congress' failure to remove Trump from office for inciting the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol earlier this month leaves him in a position to continue exercising the powers of the presidency until the very end, including clemency power that he has thus far wielded largely for the benefit of wealthy political allies and other corrupt actors.

On Tuesday, Trump is expected to roll out his latest pardons and commutations following an intense lobbying push in which some of the president's allies collected payments to pressure the White House on behalf of wealthy individuals seeking clemency.

While Trump has floated the idea of pardoning himself and his adult sons, it is unclear whether he will attempt to do so on Tuesday.

Jayapal warned late Monday that Trump's last-second pardons will "be another abuse of power by a corrupt, failed, one-term, twice-impeached president who has routinely undermined the rule of law, the Constitution, and our democracy."

"We must hold him accountable even after he leaves office," the Washington Democrat added.


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