The thing that's driving me crazy about the impeachment coverage on TV cable news is that the primary goal isn't getting him out of office these last 12 days (although that would he helpful). It's all about banning him from running in 2024 and removing him from public life— Will Bunch Sign Up For My Newsletter (@Will_Bunch) January 8, 2021
Surely, as Bunch suggests, the primary goal should not be getting Donald Trump out of office in the last few days of his presidency. That's especially true given that President Pence's first act would be to pardon Donald Trump in what would be for once, a President actually doing something on "Day 1."
Unless the US Constitution was, unbeknownst to the public, changed overnight, neither Donald Trump nor anyone else can be "removed from public life" except by incarceration.
Donald Trump could be impeached for a second time or be removed via the 25th Amendment, the latter highly unlikely, though it would let congressional Democrats and Republicans off the hook.
Yet, there is little chance Democrats will be officially in charge of the Senate before January 20 and thus there will be no conviction, if even a trial, of the President before that date. Obviously, then, he would not be banned from running in 2024 because he'd first have to be convicted by the Senate; nor removed from public life, whatever that phrase means.
Once he leaves office, Donald Trump could be impeached and tried in the Senate. The former may well happen; the latter will not, given that conviction requires a two-thirds majority and the distribution of power in the next Congress between senators Schumer and McConnell is yet to be determined.
If the Senate were to convict and- as is uncertain even in the next Congress- then rule that Trump could not again run for public office, it would be a punishment akin to that rendered upon more than 99.9% of Americans. Donald Trump could not enter another presidential race, just as you, I, and virtually every other individual will never even sniff the presidency.
This would not be a fate worse than death, the latter a far more likely condition for what in 2024 would be a 78-year-old man who has made at least two trips to the hospital in the past 14 months.
Nonetheless, there is an action which Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic officials, and much of the media realize holds greater peril for Donald J. Trump. That is prosecution, and not of the variety being investigated by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office nor the New York State Attorney General but that which would be pursued by the Justice Department.
Joe Biden- and probably Merrick Garland, the presumptive upcoming Attorney General- would like to go in another direction. It would be easier for them to fulfill their fantasy of moving on or "not looking backward" were ex-President Trump to be impeached, thus "punished enough already," as we might hear. Paradoxically, that may be why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, her caucus, many Senate Democrats, and Democratic-leaning legal analysts see impeachment, if the 25th Amendment is not invoked, as the easy way out.