Donald Trump, president of the United States of America has officially lost the battle to remain in office for another four years. But his loss may be more than that. The embattled president also risks impeachment, though he has just a few days to go. Reason is that he is being held accountable for the attack on the Capitol, America’s National Assembly building.
Protesters had besieged the Capitol on Wednesday January 6, apparently with a purpose to frustrate the authentication of the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, as president-elect and vice president-elect respectively. The violation of the Congress building angered many people, including some leading members of the Republican Party who were routing for Trump to be declared winner of the election for which Biden had been pronounced winner.
Biden won the highest popular votes at the November poll and also won the Electoral College votes with 302 against Trump’s 232. But Trump, even in defeat, is so far the loser to win the highest number of votes. By law, the winner should score 270 Electoral College votes. Trump became president in 2016 because he led in the Electoral College votes against Hilary Clinton, former first lady, and then candidate of the Democratic Party. Clinton had more popular votes than the president at that time.
But Trump insists that the election was rigged and that Democrats stole the votes for Biden. He is being fingered in the attack on Capitol because of his tweets ahead of the attacks urging Americans to go to the venue to defend their votes from being awarded to the wrong person.
The certification process had begun when the protesters, apparently groups sympathetic to the president, happened on the Capitol. They outnumbered the security men there and broke into offices of Congress leaders, thus forcing the Congress to adjourn.
Prior to the meeting of the Congress chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, constitutionally regarded as the president of the Senate, there had been speculations of a disagreement between Pence and his principal who wanted him to use his position to influence the direction of debate in his favour at the Congress. But it is said that the constitution does not invest the vice president with any power capable of empowering him to bear such influence on the Congress.
By the time the Congress reconvened on Wednesday, some of the Republican legislators who hitherto were angling for the direction that Trump wanted discussions there to go, had in anger dropped their objection to the contested votes. They felt that by instigating an invasion of the Capitol, Trump had gone too far. Now, it is believed that discussions going on among leaders of the Congress may tend towards a consideration of an impeachment of the president. However, the president’s cabinet could make that easier by invoking the 25th amendment, requesting that the president be impeached for violation of the constitution. This is considered remote, since he appointed them. But the amount of disunity in the cabinet also suggests that nothing is impossible.
While the meeting in the Capitol was going on, Trump finally did what was considered impossible for him to do: he conceded defeat, though conditionally. He said, “Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th.” It remains to be seen if his statement would temper emotions in the country.