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Remove and Ban Trump Now

Summary:
Although it is a serious matter to deny individuals their basic civil rights, outgoing US President Donald Trump richly deserves such a punishment. For Republicans to avoid being devoured by the insurrectionist movement they have unleashed, they must support Trump's impeachment, removal, and permanent exclusion from political life. BERLIN – A year ago, jurists and pundits were debating whether impeaching an American president is primarily a matter of law or of politics. It is both, of course, and there is nothing wrong with the political part. Under the US Constitution, it is politicians, not courts, who are supposed to judge whether a president has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors,” and, crucially, whether a

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Although it is a serious matter to deny individuals their basic civil rights, outgoing US President Donald Trump richly deserves such a punishment. For Republicans to avoid being devoured by the insurrectionist movement they have unleashed, they must support Trump's impeachment, removal, and permanent exclusion from political life.

BERLIN – A year ago, jurists and pundits were debating whether impeaching an American president is primarily a matter of law or of politics. It is both, of course, and there is nothing wrong with the political part. Under the US Constitution, it is politicians, not courts, who are supposed to judge whether a president has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors,” and, crucially, whether a chief executive poses an ongoing threat to the republic.

With less than two weeks to go before Joe Biden replaces Donald Trump in the White House, the issue has come up again, with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi making clear that the president should be removed either by his cabinet, through the 25th Amendment, or by impeachment.

The violent insurrection at the US Capitol, incited by Trump, represents something new and profane in American history. Even though Biden will be inaugurated on January 20, the office of the presidency cannot be made safe in Trump’s hands. He must be impeached (again), removed from office, and barred from holding public office ever again.

Congress has a right, but not a duty, to impeach. Sometimes, lawmakers might simply tolerate certain presidential misdeeds, having concluded that the costs of pursuing further action would outweigh the benefits. But this is not one of those times.

Just as the act of punishing a public official sends a message about a polity’s moral commitments, so, too, does a failure to punish when it is warranted. By voting to acquit Trump last year, after the House of Representatives impeached him over the Ukraine scandal, Senate Republicans signaled that they were sticking with a career criminal, come what may. Trump enablers like Senator Susan Collins of Maine hoped that those proceedings would teach Trump a lesson. And so they did: Trump learned that there were no...

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