Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Will Trump be impeached?

Robert Reich

There are already ample grounds to impeach Donald Trump. If, in addition, it is found that Trump or his aides colluded with Russian operatives to rig the presidential election of 2016, the nation should consider a step beyond impeachment: The annulment of the Trump presidency.

I'm not talking about airbrushing Trump out of history, as former Soviet dictatorships used to treat leaders who fell out of favor. I'm referring to action that officially negates the Trump presidency as an historic error.

The Constitution doesn’t mention a presidential annulment, but it is within Congress’s power to enact a bill that voids all actions that Trump has taken as president. This would include everything Trump did on his own -- including all executive orders and all regulations or repeals of regulations since his inauguration. (The confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court would not be included in the annulment because it entailed Congressional action.)

The bill of annulment would also stipulate that henceforth, all official listings of presidents of the United States would note that the Donald Trump presidency had been annulled. And the president who replaces Trump (presumably, Michael Pence) would officially be listed as the forty-fifth president of the United States.

Some will argue that we shouldn't even be considering such a thing until or unless Trump is impeached. But I think it useful to consider the possibility earlier than that. Nixon was impeached for covering up a two-bit burglary. If Trump was involved in Russia's rigging of the 2016 election -- the most serious attack on American democracy in history -- the appropriate response requires something more. (And would give voters even more incentive to flip Congress in 2018 even if by then Trump is well on the way to being impeached.)

What do you think?


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