A Senatorial Impeachment Two-Step?
My initial instinct, when discussions began in earnest about a second impeachment proceeding in the immediate aftermath of the attack on the Capitol—was it really only one week ago?!—was to dismiss the prospect as too blunt and unwieldy for the task at hand.
There can be no question that President Trump committed impeachable offenses in connection with the events of (and leading up to) Jan. 6. But the Senate can only remove a president from office after it has convened a “trial”; the Constitution uses the verb form, giving the Senate the power to “try,” not to “decide” or to “hold hearings” or to “consider,” impeachment. And it seemed to me, as a matter of fundamental due process to which even a president who has committed impeachable and perhaps even criminal acts is entitled, that a “trial” requires giving the defendant adequate notice of the charged offenses, allowing the defendant time to prepare a defense, allowing him to present evidence and to question witnesses, etc. etc.
All of which would clearly be impossible to achieve before Jan. 20, when the primary object of such a proceeding—the removal of President Trump from office—would already have occurred.
But Ilya Somin’s post (The Case for a Swift Impeachment), and some additi
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