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Trump trial and the ‘January exception’


(Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

Sir: Watching constitutional scholars debating former President Donald Trump Senate impeachment trial on February 9 was way more overwhelmingly breathtaking, both intellectually and emotionally, than the House of Representatives’ turn-taken proposition or opposition on January 13.

In the first-half of the debate, the Democrats did prove to be ‘home’ as they dissected the constitutional anatomy, citing profound erudite scholars, as well as the Capitol riot’s footage, linguistically, ideologically, and empirically  revealing instances to back-up their argument against Trump’s “inciting insurrection” on January 6th, and should therefore stand trial, and be impeached, again.

The ‘January exception,’ notably because new presidents are sworn-in to office on January 20, seems to be a Republican way of saying the President should be ‘pardoned,’ even with his ‘few-days-in-office’ alleged inciting of insurrection on the Capitol. This might have supported their view, again, that since the President is no longer in office, now a private citizen, it could be constitutionally puerile and infantile spending stupendous time on the case. And the constitutionality of his trial, hence ‘removal’ and/or ‘disqualification,’ may well be tainted along idiosyncratic “Right-side,” “Left-wing” lines.


Well, the Democrats, on the other hand, did suggest how slippery slope the argument of the Republicans could be in terms of this ‘January exception.’ And Trump still does have a few supporters, every which way, as 44 Republicans voted against his impeachment trial. Definitely, 50 Democrats, together with six Republicans who defected the Trump camp, have been given some headlong and headway in the coming trial, now that 2/3 is needed to convict Trump. Actually, 17 (meaning 11 more Republicans are needed, and if the six do not change their minds and mindsets on that day) Republicans are required for convicting Trump of inciting insurrection. That could be a difficult thing, since the other Republicans technically are the strongholds of the party.

Crucially, the Wednesday 6, 13, and 20 incidents did shake the foundations of America, and are extraordinary ‘January exception’ days not to be forgotten.  Of the three, of course, the January 6 Capitol Hill attack of pro-Trump supporters, which is a reflection of the fragility, delicacy, and frailty of democracy, is arguably most important. Eventually, the siege and invasion uncompromisingly necessitated the House of Representatives, a week after, January 13, to decisively debate the impeachment of President Trump, with no fewer than 10 Republicans sidelining the Democrats, deflecting the ‘Trump Party,’ literally. And even more important, a week later, January 20, President Trump, ‘feeling’ to Joint Base Andrews in the early hours of the day, would not attend Joe Biden’s swearing-in Inauguration Day, since 1869.

Trump’s trial calls for a balance of thoughts and feelings, both from Democrats and Republicans. That’s when contraries can progressively work together to bring, peace, equality, harmony and unity in America. Segun Ige, a freelance journalist, wrote from Lagos.


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