By James Fitzgerald
After the US Senate cleared Donald Trump of the impeachment charges on February 13, he released a brief valedictory statement, before going to ground in Florida.
After his acquittal — for allegedly inciting violence among his supporters on January 6 — Trump stated: “Our cherished Constitutional Republic was founded on the impartial rule of law, the indispensable safeguard for our liberties, our rights, and our freedoms.
“It is a sad commentary on our times that one political party in America is given a free pass to denigrate the rule of law, defame law enforcement, cheer mobs, excuse rioters, and transform justice into a tool of political vengeance, and persecute, blacklist, cancel and suppress all people and viewpoints with whom or which they disagree,” he said. “I always have, and always will be a champion for the unwavering rule of law, the heroes of law enforcement, and the right of Americans to peacefully and honorably debate the issues of the day without malice and without hate.”
Conservatives and other supporters around the world must have been lifted from their post-election gloom when they read his “MAGA” remarks: “Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun. In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people. There has never been anything like it!”
If words could kill, then Sen Mitch McConnell would no longer be with us. On February 16, a statement from “Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States of America” lambasted the senator for Kentucky, saying that “The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm … McConnell did nothing, and will never do what needs to be done in order to secure a fair and just electoral system into the future. He doesn’t have what it takes, never did, and never will,” said Trump, who went on to mention McConnell’s family’s “substantial Chinese business holdings. He does nothing on this tremendous economic and military threat.”
He continued: “Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again.”
On Presidents’ Day Trump unexpectedly appeared in a motorcade close to his Mar-a-Lago stronghold in Palm Beach, which spurred a frenzy of activity from crowds who had gathered for a rally. They roared as his SUV slowed to a crawl and he waved and shouted “we love you” to his supporters.
The grandstanding by Democrats continued when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that Congress would form a body similar to the 9/11 Commission to investigate the January 6 breach of Capitol Hill.
“It is clear from his findings and from the impeachment trial that we must get to the truth of how this happened,” she said in a statement. “To protect our security, our security, our security, our next step will be to establish an outside, independent 9/11-type Commission to ‘investigate and report on the facts and causes’” of the breach.
She had earlier asked retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré to undertake a review of the Capitol’s security protocols. In a letter to her Democratic colleagues, Pelosi said the House would provide spending to boost security at the Capitol. “As we prepare for the Commission, it is also clear from General Honoré’s interim reporting that we must put forth a supplemental appropriation to provide for the safety of Members and the security of the Capitol,” the letter read.
In turn, House Republicans are seeking answers from Pelosi over decisions made around security in the run-up to the January 6 protests, according to a report.
In a letter signed by Judiciary Committee member Jim Jordan and Intelligence Committee member Devin Nunes, Republican lawmakers accused Pelosi of blocking their requests for information on security failures.
“As you are aware, the Speaker of the House is not only the leader of the majority party, but also has enormous institutional responsibilities,” read the letter. “The Speaker is responsible for all operational decisions made within the House.”
The Republicans demanded to know why requests for the National Guard to be deployed before the insurrection were rebuffed.
Capitol Hill Police were heavily outnumbered by the Trump supporters and Antifa infiltrators who breached the Congress building.
The Republicans noted that Capitol Police Chief Steve Sund approached Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving on January 4 to request National Guard support, but his request was denied.
“When then-Chief Sund made a request for national guard support on January 4th, why was that request denied?” Republicans wrote, according to Fox News.
They also queried the Speaker’s unilateral decision to appoint retired four-star Army Gen. Russel Honoré to complete a security review.
“While there is wide-spread support to conduct an independent security review of the campus, General Russel Honoré was appointed solely by you, without consultation of the minority,” the Republicans wrote. “It is easy to understand why we and our Senate counterparts remain skeptical that any of his final recommendations will be independent and without influence from you.”
Pelosi is also under scrutiny over the decision to retain 5,000 National Guard troops in the capital until mid-March, although some reports suggest they could remain well into Fall. Around 26,000 National Guard were deployed ahead of Biden’s inauguration to a cost of $500m.
The desperate Democrats are still mulling over a “Plan B” proposal to ban Trump from returning to office using the 14th Amendment, after their second impeachment attempt failed. Lawmakers could conceivably declare that Trump engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” under the 14th Amendment. If successful — which would be unlikely — such a move would prevent Trump from running for the presidency again, but would require a majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Two-thirds of each chamber can subsequently vote to drop the ban.
The costs involved in both impeachments are likely to be several millions, when the salaries of lawyers, lawmakers and the 106 congressional staffers are figured in. Roll Call estimates the first impeachment trial in January 2020 cost $1.83m. Whereas the Heritage Foundation put the price tag at $3m.
While these sure-to-fail spectacles raged on, hundreds of thousands of small businesses were kept in lockdown and the economy continued to spiral downwards.
On Monday, the “former” president released a statement in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to deny his request to halt the release of his taxes to a Manhattan district attorney. Trump had requested that a lower court ruling that had directed his accountancy firm, Mazars USA, to meet a subpoena to turn over his tax records and other documents to a grand jury under Democrat district attorney Cyrus Vance be put on hold.
“This investigation is a continuation of the greatest political Witch Hunt in the history of our Country, whether it was the never ending $32 million Mueller hoax, which already investigated everything that could possibly be investigated, ‘Russia Russia Russia,’ where there was a finding of ‘No Collusion,’ or two ridiculous ‘Crazy Nancy’ inspired impeachment attempts where I was found NOT GUILTY. It just never ends!”
It concluded: “I will fight on, just as I have, for the last five years (even before I was successfully elected), despite all of the election crimes that were committed against me. We will win!”
The Supreme Court on Monday also rejected several cases related to the 2020 election, including disputes from Pennsylvania that had divided the justices just before the election.
The rejections related to challenges filed by Trump in five states that Joe Biden won: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Trump will speak at CPAC 2021 in Florida this week.