Monday, January 11, 2021

Investigate and Prosecute | New Jersey Law Journal

We typically highlight our independent Editorial Board's pieces in our Monday afternoon newsletter, but we're starting off with them this week because of the important issues addressed.

– David Gialanella, Managing Editor

Investigate and Prosecute | New Jersey Law Journal
By the Editorial Board

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. 

Article II, Section 4, Constitution of the United States of America

The sight of a ragtag mob, some armed, literally scaling the walls of the United States Capitol, breaking and entering the virtually undefended legislative chambers as senators and members of Congress proceeded to count the electoral votes for president and vice president is something we never expected to see. The mob was incited by a long rant by Donald Trump in which he catalogued allegations of a stolen election that his minions were unable to establish in 60 different lawsuits.

The mob drove the legislators from the chamber and obstructed their work until police drove out the invaders. Donald Trump lauded the mob’s efforts to block the election of his successor and delayed a call for them to recede. What is to be done? Many, including the conservative New York Sun and the Wall Street Journal, have called for the president to resign, but that is unlikely. Otherwise, the constitutional options are few. The 25th Amendment requires decisive action by the vice president and the president’s own cabinet. We see no sign of such a movement.

The next option, which we commend, is to impeach the president. Even though a trial in the Senate is presumably not feasible before Jan. 20, conviction after he leaves office may be possible and could bar him from future office. The House of Representatives can still charge the president with high crimes and misdemeanors for his abuse of his power as president.

Finally this unprecedented attack followed shortly after his appalling effort to bully the Georgia secretary of state into fraudulently overturning the victory of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. When the new administration takes charge with the highly respected Merrick Garland as attorney general, a relentless criminal investigation should be undertaken of every lawbreaker from Donald Trump to his acolytes, every thug who invaded the legislative chambers, and anyone who aided and abetted this failed assault on a centerpiece of our democracy.

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