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Opinion: Congress took an important first step, but it must go even further

January 13, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 22.3%. 1 min read.

Julian Zelizer writes that Congress took a necessary step in impeaching President Donald Trump on Wednesday -- after he helped incite a riot on Capitol Hill last Wednesday -- but it cannot be the last step the legislative body takes.

Trump is now the first president in American history to be impeached twice -- this time for his role in inciting an insurrection on the US Capitol, an abuse of power so egregious that somewhere former President Richard Nixon, disgraced over Watergate, is shaking his head in disbelief.

Only three US presidents have been impeached: Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and now Trump.

In 2019, Pelosi had resisted pursuing the first impeachment process, fearing that voting to punish Trump would only embolden his supporters and improve his chances for reelection in 2020.

Taking on impeachment in the final days of a one-term presidency is just about the last thing that Pelosi or likely any Democrat had in mind as a top priority.

The GOP can talk about the problems with a rushed impeachment process, but in the end their vote represents an acceptance of the erratic and dangerous behavior the President has engaged in since the November election.

Trump's dual impeachments will likely go down as an acknowledgement of the immense dangers that our republic has found itself in after the radicalization of the Republican Party resulted in a near total abandonment of norms and institutional restraints.

Although the President will likely complete his final days in office -- as a Senate trial date has yet to be set and it remains unclear if enough Senate Republicans would vote to convict him -- the action by the House won't be forgotten.

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