Trump has now sent a tweet suggesting Nancy Pelosi should be impeached as House speaker for holding up the articles of impeachment, even though members of Congress cannot actually be impeached.
The Constiution specifies the House can only impeach the “President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States,” and the Senate detemined in 1799 that members of Congress do not qualify as “Civil Officers of the United States.”
According to Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution, members of Congress can be expelled for “disorderly behavior” if two-thirds of their colleagues support their removal. But expulsion and impeachment are different mechanisms of removal.
Trump just sent a tweet declaring his “FULL Endorsement” for Jeff Van Drew, the congressman who switched his party affiliation to Republican after opposing the president’s impeachment.
“South Jersey is TRUMP COUNTRY, so I know ALL NJ Republicans will join me in supporting Jeff Van Drew,” the president wrote.
The tweet comes one day after Van Drew appeared alongside Trump in the Oval Office and declared his “undying” support for the president, setting off plenty of Twitter heckling.
Van Drew won his congressional seat as a Democrat last year with 53% of the vote, so it’s possible the district could change hands. But the Cook Political Report has rated the seat as “Lean Republican” following Van Drew’s party switch.
Eric Ueland, Trump’s legislative affairs director, said the president is “baffled” by Nancy Pelosi’s threat to hold back the House-passed articles of impeachment from the Senate.
“I think the president is completely baffled at the theory that Nancy Pelosi appears to have that somehow holding back impeachment articles will leverage some sort of specific behavior out of the Senate,” Ueland told CBS News.
The legislative affairs director added it would be “constitutionally questionable” and “extraordinarily unprecedented” if Pelosi held back the articles of impeachment.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone had a “brief conversation” with Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell as he and Trump’s legisaltive affairs director, Eric Ueland, toured Capitol Hill to look at potential locations for the eventual impeachment trial.
Shortly after Trump bragged that he has been the best president for “religion itself,” Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg sent this tweet.
Buttigieg has often discussed his faith on the campaign trail and has used it to explain his political positions. For example, the Indiana mayor got into a bit of a feud earlier this year with Vice President Mike Pence, who signed a law as governor of the state that LGBTQ advocates feared would allow businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples.
“If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade,” Buttigieg said in April. “And that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand: that if you’ve got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
Congress has no more votes scheduled before the holidays, but the Senate is already looking ahead to its 2020 business.
Senator Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the finance committee, has announced a Jan. 7 markup session for the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, which the House approved yesterday.
The Democratic-controlled House approved the bill by a vote of 385 to 41, so it seems likely the Republican-controlled Senate will pass the legislation, which Trump is eager to claim credit for.
But at a press conference yesterday, Nancy Pelosi praised the House Democratic caucus for working to get the bill passed. “Of course we’ll take credit for it,” the House speaker said. “It would have collateral benefit for the president. I don’t care about that. We had an opportunity to do something very important for America’s people.”
Trump then lashed out against Pelosi on Twitter — claiming the House speaker, who oversaw months of negotiations with US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, “doesn’t even know what [the bill] says.”
Two senior Trump advisers, White House counsel Pat Cipollone and legislative affairs director Eric Ueland, are visiting Capitol Hill to view locations where the president’s eventual impeachment trial could take place.
“It will be a good straightforward run-through,” Ueland said.
Trump accepts state of the union invite
Trump has accepted the House speaker’s invitation and will deliver his annual state of the union address on Feb. 4, one day after the Iowa caucuses.
“President Donald J. Trump has accepted the Speaker’s invitation to deliver the State of the Union Address on February 4, 2020,” White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley said in a statement.
The timing means Trump will likely deliver the annual speech shortly after he is acquitted in a Senate impeachment trial.
Joe Biden seems to be taking the high road after Sarah Sanders, Trump’s former press secretary, sent a now-deleted tweet mocking the former vice president for his history of stuttering.
During last night’s debate, Biden reflected upon children he has met on the campaign trail who have asked him for help because they also struggle with stuttering.
To emphasize the point, Biden did an impression of his own past stutter. Shortly afterwards, Sanders sent a tweet reading, “I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I hhhave absolutely no idea what Biden is talking about.”
Biden quickly replied on Twitter, “I’ve worked my whole life to overcome a stutter. And it’s my great honor to mentor kids who have experienced the same. It’s called empathy. Look it up.”
Sanders later deleted the tweet and apologized, claiming she did not know about Biden’s history of stuttering. “I actually didn’t know that about you and that is commendable,” Sanders said. “I apologize and should have made my point respectfully.”
Less than two months after dropping out of the presidential race, Beto O’Rourke has launched a political action group meant to boost Democratic candidates in his home state of Texas.
In an email to supporters, O’Rourke said the group, which is called Powered by People, will bring “together volunteers from around the state to work on the most important races in Texas.”
“Powered by People will organize grassroots volunteers to do the tough, necessary work that wins elections: registering Texans to vote (especially those that have just moved to Texas and those who are just turning 18), knocking on their doors, making phone calls, and connecting the dots so that we all understand that in order to make progress on the issues we care most about — like gun violence, healthcare and climate — we will have to register, volunteer and vote,” O’Rourke said.
It’s worth noting what a historic week it has been for Nancy Pelosi. In less than 48 hours, the House speaker oversaw the impeachment of a president, shepherded through a renegotiated North American trade deal and invited Trump to deliver his state of the union address.
Meanwhile, Trump is still stewing over the evangelical magazine Christianity Today calling for his removal from office, claiming he has been the best president for “religion itself.”
Despite the magazine’s censure, Trump’s approval rating among white evangelicals, whose support he will need to win reelection, remains very high.
Nancy Pelosi’s letter inviting Trump to deliver his state of the union seemed to take on an added meaning considering the House’s vote this week to impeach the president for abusing his power and obstructing Congress.
“In their great wisdom, our Founders crafted a Constitution based on a system of separation of powers: three co-equal branches acting as checks on each other,” the House speaker wrote.
“In the spirit of respecting our Constitution, I invite you to deliver your State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 in the Chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives.”