Donald Trump speaks to followers outside the White House, January 6 (Tasos Katopodis/Getty)
A House manager of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial says one reason for charging him with “incitement of insurrection” is to ensure that he can never return to the White House.
Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas, one of nine managers appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said in a Sunday interview,
Somebody who incited a riot, an attempted coup of the United States government, should not be President again.
So it’s not just about making sure that there are consequences to his behavior. Certainly it’s that, but even after he’s left office, it’s also making sure that he can’t run for President again.
Castro explained, “This is a President who, knowing that he was in a very combustible, emotionally-charged situation, continued to work up his supporters not once or twice but repeatedly, telling a big lie about a ‘stolen election’….This is a President who knew what he was doing as he watched that mob take over the Capitol.”
“I’m Not Gonna Lose My Country”
Rep. Jaime Raskin of Maryland, the lead impeachment manager, echoed, “The Constitution, of course, talks about conviction, removal and disqualification from holding further public office.”
He emphasized that the incitement of the attack on the Capitol on January 6, coming less than three hours after Trump told followers outside the White House to “fight like hell” to block the Congressional confirmation of President-elect Joe Biden, was “the most dangerous crime by a president ever committed against the United States”,
Raskin, whose son Tommy committed suicide last year, warned against foregoing a trial “because we just want to let bygones be bygones”:
I’m not gonna lose my son at the end of 2020 and lose my country and my republic in 2021. It’s not gonna happen.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a close friend of Trump, appealed to Republican colleagues to avoid a trial, “If we embrace an unconstitutional impeachment of Donald Trump after he’s out of office, it will destroy the party.”
The top Senate Republican, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, indicated last week that he will accept a trial after Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. He also indicated that he is open to Trump’s conviction — a position that could spur the 17 Republicans necessary to join all 50 Democrats in the required 2/3rds majority.
Castro said he recognized the “high bar” needed for conviction:
Our plan is to go after every single vote. We want to make sure that every senator is standing up for this country, that every senator is considering the evidence against President Trump, and the fact that he incited a deadly insurrection. And so, we’re optimistic that when we lay out our case, we’ll be able to convince folks that, in fact, President Trump is responsible for inciting this deadly insurrection and that the Senate should convict.