Why are the Democrats racing to impeach Trump if he’s out of office in 8 days time? – BBC Newsnight

never has washington faced two ways quite like this preparing for a presidential inauguration and a presidential impeachment at the same time today the democrats introduced one article of impeachment charging president donald trump with incitement to insurrection sadly the person who's running executive branch is a deranged unhinged dangerous president of the united states and only a number of days until we can be protected from him but he has done something so serious that there should be prosecution against him the democrats are trying to put pressure on vice president mike pence and the cabinet to remove president trump using the 25th amendment but that so far looks unlikely madam speaker assuming that fails the democrats in the house will start debating impeachment on wednesday but given america will have a new president a week later there is an obvious question what's the point of impeaching donald trump when he's out of office in what nine days time one is we need to set a precedent that if you lose an election you can't just continue contesting it and trying to overturn the will of the people because there could be future want to be strong men who follow president trump's playbook and we want them to know that if they do they will be sanctioned in a serious way the second reason is that impeachment not only removes a president from serving but it prevents them from ever running or serving again so if you don't want president trump to win in 2024 it makes sense to impeach now away from the politics more and more videos of the riot have been posted on social media bringing home to americans just what happened at their congress the chaos and violence is now clear to all [Music] [Applause] the fighting to get past police at this door was intense an officer is dragged down the steps and [Applause] savagely another is crushed in a door as the crowd surges why were the police caught so unprepared here's the front of the senate building as the crowd started to gather just one officer on the steps compare that to the steps of the lincoln memorial during the blm protests in the summer why the different levels of response the authorities have started arresting some suspects and trying to identify others i filmed a group of proud boys as they marched on the capitol last wednesday their intention was clear many came dressed for trouble have a look at this man in the stars and stripe hoodie and orange balaclava in his tactical vest he has not only a radio and scissors but at the end a can of bear spray a chemical irritant designed to stop a charging grizzly right behind him is this man he's wearing full combat gear he has goggles around his neck and is carrying what appears to be a baseball bat there is some insignia on his chest below which are two pouches the black one has a patch on the front that says believe it or not my mum thinks i'm special the dc metropolitan police have issued several photographs of what they term persons of interest including the same man inside the congress still with his baseball bat and now a can of something in his hand perhaps pepper spray there is no danger of being under prepared now a seven foot high fence has been built right around congress and thousands of police and military are now on the streets at least another ten thousand will be here in time for the inauguration meanwhile the dc mayor has urged the public to stay away from washington next week david grossman with that report from washington and joining us now robert ray president trump's attorney for the first impeachment trial this time last year he was also independent council during the clinton administration and democratic congresswoman barbara lee welcome to you both thanks for joining us robert ray if i can just start with you you have a president accused of inciting violence an incitement to insurrection against the united states you have five people dead it's hard to think of a more clear-cut case for removing a president well the first thing to analyze though is that if you read the draft article of impeachment the basis for the argument that the president himself obviously this has to be personal this isn't just some sort of impeachment article about all the things that the democrats don't like about the trump administration it has to be tethered to something that he actually did that constitutes a high crime or misdemeanor and their allegation is that the president made the statement that if you don't fight like health you're not going to have a country anymore well words like that are ambiguous enough that it seems hard for me to understand how you'd be able to prove at a trial that that constitutes what they've charged which is inciting violence against the government of the united states now that's not to condone what happened here and living on the edge of impeachment is no way to conduct a presidency but that's uh you know when it comes to making an allegation that constitutes removal from office do you believe then that he didn't incite violence and do you believe that there was no incitement to insurrection against the united states i overturning the democratic result do you believe he didn't do those things well he's not responsible for all the crazy things that everybody does and he has a first amendment defense and also a factual defense that you know his word should not have been taken literally i understand how people can come to the conclusion in context that when he said those words he sent some kind of a signal to crazy people to do things that would constitute actual violence against the united states but it's another thing to say that that was what the president's intent was look i'm not defending the the comments but you're talking about whether or not that that impeachment article is sufficient to remove a president before the end of his term i'm just asking for the logic in that because it sounds pretty weak to me that no incitement to violence would ever be taken seriously because you could always say that uh that a politician speaking hyperbole you could always say it's a way of speaking but freedom of speech doesn't equal freedom of consequence and if people follow your words when you say you have to show strength or when your attorney says trial by combat or when you suggest that something has to happen to mike pence and then people go in with the gallows talking about hanging him surely you have to see the consequences of your words well look you know and again if if you're right about that and that that should be distinguished from any uh comment that a politician or a president ever makes which is would subject every president potentially to prosecution for incitement of violence then fine prosecute the president after he leaves office but you know we're talking about an impeachment here that is being brought at the earliest which would be one week which is wednesday one week before president trump leaves office and a new administration uh takes office and it seems to me a decidedly different thing to say that that would be something that's in the country's best interests he still has the nuclear code deep breath everybody should just take a deep breath and relax and allow an administration to come into office yeah it's easier to take a deep breath and relax um if you're not looking at a man who still has the nuclear codes if you're not looking at the fact his homeland security chief just resigned tonight chad wolfe so you've presumably got nobody in charge of that if if you could relax in the face of an fbi that's not that's not true there's not nobody in charge okay so let's not exaggerate here well the fbi have said they're expecting more threats and function and functions just fine and the president doesn't order things with nuclear codes on his own there's a whole bunch of procedures that are in place with the united states military and the department of defense before that would ever happen so before everybody rushes to the ramparts here to say that you know disaster is imminent just understand that there are all kinds of protections involved to ensure that something like what you're talking about never happened well like like last week because you know the fbi has warned haven't they the fbi has warned about those are two different things okay you're talking about the action of the united states government to enter into a nuclear war and you're trying to suggest that that's just as likely as having people take the capital of the united states by violence i'm not i i'm not don't put words in my mouth all i'm saying is this man this man who has managed to get a crowd even if he didn't mean to to go to the capitol to raise it to steal to leave people dead it's only what he means i can't hear you i'm so sorry we've lost your sound i'll i'll come back to you robert let me just go to um to barbara lee um i guess the question is if they can use the first amendment to say that he didn't really mean any of that stuff and if people took him seriously it was their fault then that could be a legal challenge which which is a strong defense barbara lee well first of all you can't breathe take a deep breath and chill this coupe attempt was actually propelled into action by the president of the united states he clearly through his words and his deeds over and this didn't just start i mean over the years he's been inciting all of this uh anger and hostile behavior by his followers uh the 14th amendment is clear on consequences for inciting in insurrection uh also abuse of power there are plenty of legal and constitutional foundation or basis for articles of impeachment but if you ask me he should resign i mean uh that uh he is a clear and pain present danger and he's a national security threat and if he won't resign then vice president pence should step up and allow the 25th amendment to kick in that would be great for the democrats but neither of those things are going to happen so let me put robert's points to you which is what is this impeachment actually for you don't think he's going to start a nuclear war in 10 days is it to stop him from ever taking federal office again or is it unfinished business what are you trying to do first of all you have to hold the head of state the commander-in-chief accountable there was an attack a violent attack an attempted coup on the people of this country at the capitol on our leadership on members of congress and unfortunately many of our police officers who were overwhelmed and had to fight in almost a war especially the african-american police officers who were at the mercy of many of these um terrorists and this was a act of domestic terrorism you cannot let any president get away with that also we cannot allow a precedent to be said i don't care if it's one day before that uh allows for future presidents to see that this is okay to uh to incite violence to uh give orders to get to the capitol i mean the his words were very clear and the actions were very clear and there's a direct correlation between his words and his actions finally let me just say many of the republicans who who accepted the lies and of course this uh attempted coup is based on the lies of the election we know the election was fair and free and that there have been many court challenges and every court challenge was uh overturned and was not ruled in donald trump's favor and yet you have over 100 members of the house still trying to decertify the elections to take away the votes of the people and that's outrageous and they need to be held accountable also robert ray does raise a really serious question of whether the republican party actually understand how serious this was can i ask you will you serve or would you serve on his legal defense team again if he faced impeachment well that's a hypothetical question we haven't gotten there and i don't answer hypothetical questions particularly in view of the fact that i represented the president in the first impeachment but i will say that the 25th amendment route i think is an empty ultimatum uh not the least of which because it requires a presidential disability and that's not what this situation was not intended to be covered by that i understand that the democrats want to proceed down the road of impeachment um in the event that the 25th amendment is not invoked um i think that jim clyburn has it about right maybe the best course here if you want to sanction the president's conduct is to have an impeachment and just let its uh you know stand at that and not send it on to the united states senate i'm also inclined to agree with david kendall who represented president clinton during the clinton impeachment to the effect that the most appropriate sanction that is achievable now by both the house and the senate is for there to be a censure resolution which i think would enjoy bipartisan support by both democrats and republicans i think it's achievable i think it's something that sends a strong signal which is uh what the congresswoman suggested needed to be send sent and i agree with her robert just let me ask you something that i think that's something that both sides would agree on yeah you've answered funnily enough a lot of hypothetical questions there whether it's about you know amendment 25 or um the first amendment how you use it so can i just ask you again if you were asked to serve to to be on his defence team would you say yes well that again that's something subject to attorney-client privilege and that is a hypothetical question these other things are not hypothetical they are in fact what's going to happen um you want to ask me in the event that actually an impeachment article is returned on wednesday i'm happy to answer that question but not now thank you we'd love to see you back both of you thanks for joining

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