Jan 20, 2021
With public and media attention shifting to President Joe Biden, who was sworn in Wednesday and immediately got to work with a series of executive actions, progressives are reiterating demands for holding his predecessor accountable.
"There is no doubt that President Trump at every turn sought to find ways to use the presidency to enrich himself, his family, and his businesses."
--Noah Bookbinder, CREW
Former President Donald Trump, who threw himself a goodbye ceremony at Joint Base Andrews rather than sticking around for Biden's inauguration, was impeached by House Democrats and 10 Republicans an unprecedented second time last week for inciting a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol with lies about the presidential election.
In addition to facing a trial in the Senate, which as of Wednesday is narrowly controlled by Democrats, Trump could face consequences for allegedly committing various state and federal crimes, from obstruction of justice and tax fraud to election interference to campaign finance violations.
Trump's incitement of the Capitol attack--which delayed certification of Biden's electoral victory--provoked a flood of calls for holding him accountable rather than letting him get away with pardoning "his cronies on the way out" then slinking off to Mar-a-Lago, his resort and contested full-time residence in Florida.
Biden, in his speech Wednesday, emphasized the importance of uniting the country, saying that "together we will write an American story of hope, not fear. Of unity not division, of light not darkness. A story of decency and dignity, love and healing, greatness and goodness."
"Donald J. Trump is officially a private citizen. He is now vulnerable to criminal prosecution," the advocacy organization Public Citizen declared in a Wednesday afternoon tweet.
"A good way to unite the country would be to convict and prosecute Donald Trump and hold accountable every member of Congress who incited a white supremacist insurrection," the group added.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is also calling for accountability by helping constituents email their senators to pressure them to not only convict Trump but "further protect the country from him by disqualifying him from holding office again."
\u201cHe's no longer president, but accountability isn't over--tell your senators to convict and disqualify Trump from holding office ever again, for his incitement of the violent insurrection on January 6th:\nhttps://t.co/5OEGuBAonE\u201d— Citizens for Ethics (@Citizens for Ethics) 1611232221
Before Trump left office but after the storming of Congress, CREW published a report which found that he finished his four-year term "as the most corrupt president in American history with more than 3,7000 conflicts of interest since assuming the presidency."
"The twice-impeached president relentlessly promoted and encouraged visits to his properties throughout his time in office, using patronage as a marker of loyalty to him and a key strategy for those wishing to curry favor with him and influence administration policy," CREW said.
As CREW executive director Noah Bookbinder put it: "For the past four years, the Trump administration has again and again made decisions motivated by the personal, financial, political, and legal interests of the president, rather than the interests of the American people."
"Starting with his decision not to divest from his business interests while in office, there is no doubt that President Trump at every turn sought to find ways to use the presidency to enrich himself, his family, and his businesses," Bookbinder added. "His efforts from the moment he took office to tailor the presidency to benefit his own personal interests set the stage for the lawlessness, corruption, and assaults on democracy that characterized his four years in power."
Recent polling shows 57% of U.S. voters think Trump shouldn't be allowed to seek elected office ever again, as Common Dreams reported Tuesday. Speaking on the Senate floor a day before he become majority leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) concurred.
Referencing Trump's incitement of insurrection, Schumer said that "we need to set a precedent that the severest offense ever committed by a president will be met by the severest remedy provided by the Constitution--impeachment and conviction by this chamber, as well as disbarment from future office."
Meanwhile, in New York, state Attorney General Letitia James' office is investigating how Trump and his company valued assets on financial statements used to get loans and tax benefits, while Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.'s office recently expanded its ongoing criminal probe of Trump's company.
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