Hard as it may be to believe, it's barely been a year since President Trump was impeached by the United States House of Representatives. Now, as the violent putsch he gleefully initiated rolls across the nation's capital, Trump is once again facing calls for his immediate impeachment and removal from office.
As the full scale of the (at this time still ongoing) terrorist assault on the halls of Congress came into stark relief Wednesday, a growing chorus of lawmakers and pundits began demanding Trump be held accountable for his role instigating this coup. After calling for everyone involved in the violence to be fully prosecuted, Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu (Calif.) addressed his own party on Twitter, saying, "For those Dems saying we shouldn’t impeach [Trump] again? You are wrong."
Lieu's call was echoed by Republican pollster Patrick Ruffini, MSNBC hosts Chris Hayes and Joe Scarborough, and Lincoln Project co-founder George Conway, whose wife Kellyanne Conway was instrumental in helping Trump amass the very power and influence he used to unleash violence on the U.S. Capitol. In a separate tweet, Lieu also acknowledged the other, perhaps less legislatively onerous option for ensuring Trump can't use his office to instigate more violence: invoking the 25th Amendment.
Incredibly (or perhaps not, considering who we're talking about), this is the second time this week that there have been growing calls for another Trump impeachment effort. Earlier this week, The Washington Post released audio of the president overtly attempting to strong-arm Georgia officials into falsifying their election results to award him the state — the sort of blatant criminality which prompted Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar (D) to blast the president's behavior as "clearly an impeachable offense."
There is, of course, plenty of debate to be had over whether or not impeaching Trump — both for his transparent attempt to subvert the election results, and for backing Wednesday's militia action — is the most effective way to end the whirlwind of violence and chaos the president has sown in his final days in office. Impeachment could, it's true, both remove him from the White House and bar him from future office — something in which he's reportedly been interested. But impeachment is also a messy, inherently contentious process, and we've already seen how little the Republican Party – now in Trump's thrall more than ever — actually cares to use it. It's hard to imagine that changing, even with Wednesday's dramatic, dangerous escalation, though Omar tweeted Wednesday afternoon that she would attempt to initiate the process.
Still, with nearly two weeks to go before Trump is scheduled to legally leave office, it's hard to imagine him suddenly pulling back on the chaos and destruction he's so obviously delighted to have at his disposal. Yes, everything the president has done this week is an impeachable offense. Yes, impeachment is how the Constitution is designed to deal with presidents who break the law and abuse their power. But if we've learned anything over the past four years, it's that what the Constitution was designed for, and what it can actually accomplish, are two very, very, different things.