Posts tagged with "impeachment"

Donald Trump illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 MAGAZINE

Donald Trump Impeached Again

By Dana Feeney

The House of Representatives has voted to impeach President Donald Trump for the second time in his four-year term as president, which started in January of 2017. He is the third president to be impeached and the first president ever to be impeached more than once. This second impeachment comes shortly after the riots in the capital last week on January 6th, 2021. Trump is being impeached on the charge of “incitement of insurrection’’ because of the statements he made on January 6. He told his supporters to “fight like hell” because the Democrats were stealing the election. You can watch the speech hereDuring the riots, Trump supporters carrying a variety of racist and white supremacist paraphernalia swarmed the Capitol and forced their way into the building to stop the count of electoral votes. The riot caused the deaths of at least five individuals, including a Capitol police officer. 

Because of the insurrection, Democrats pushed for Vice President Mike Pence to enact the 25th amendment, which he could use to declare Trump unfit to serve as president and remove him from office. Republicans blocked this move. U.S. Congressmen David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Ted Lieu (CA-33), and Jamie Raskin (MD-08) introduced the article of impeachment to the House of Representatives on the morning of January 11, 2021. The article of impeachment is co-sponsored by 211 members of Congress according to Cicilline’s press release. You can read the full article of impeachment here. On January 13, 2021, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump with a 232 to 197 majority. 10 Republicans voted to impeach, more members of the president’s party than in any prior impeachment.

Impeachment does not mean removal from office; impeachment is adjacent to an indictment. The difference in American law is that indictment applies to criminal charges, while impeachment is the accusation of misconduct in a political setting. Any civil officer in the United States can be impeached. In the case of the President or Vice President, the first step is the introduction of the article(s) of impeachment in the House of Representatives. After the article(s) of impeachment are introduced to the House, the House then votes on each article of impeachment, and if any pass by a simple majority, more than 50%, the articles will be tried in front of the Senate. During the Senate trial, the chief justice of the Supreme Court presides over the Senate trial, the Senate body functions as the jury, a committee of House representatives, called “managers,” act as the prosecution, and the president and his or her lawyers act as the defense. All articles of impeachment are argued on the Senate floor, then are voted on by the Senate body to either convict or acquit; to convict, there must be a two-thirds majority. Only two presidents, Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson, were impeached and reached the Senate trial, both were acquitted. Despite an extensive impeachment investigation, Richard Nixon was never impeached because he resigned.  

Yesterday, January 13, 2021, the House voted to impeach Trump with only six days until the inauguration of Joe Biden. It is highly unlikely that Trump will be removed from office before the end of his term as president. The Senate is not set to be in session until January 19, 2021, and neither Democrats nor Republicans benefit from rushing the trial to be any sooner as this Senate trial will be a lengthy process that requires preparation from both the prosecution and the defense. Despite Trump losing the support of some members of his party, it is unclear how likely it is that Trump will be convicted because, even Mitt Romney, who voted to impeach in the first impeachment, has implied he is unsure that this is the right way to go. Many Republicans may hesitate to vote to convict because of the 74 million people who voted for Trump; these are the people who control whether Republicans will be reelected in the future. The main person who could cause a possible shift is Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader. If McConnell chooses to vote to convict Trump, other members of the Republican party may do the same. McConnell released this statement on January 13 saying that “there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week.”

Trump has been silent since besides releasing this video condemning violence and has not acknowledged the second impeachment. He has been banned from social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitch, and Snapchat. Along with these bans, the tech industry has made broad statements against this recent violence. Apple and Google have removed the app Parler from their app stores. The app was used by Trump supporters and white supremacists to communicate and coordinate the attack on the Capitol. Further, Amazon Web Services, which hosted the app, has cut off its service to Parler on the premise that it violated its terms of service. One feature of the app was that users could upload a photograph of their government-issued ID or driver’s license to become a “Verified Citizen.” The app lost the support of its security services, which protected user data, leaving it vulnerable to hackers who stole the data and turned it over to the FBI to be used to identify terrorists present at the riot. Read more about it here. Additionally, there are accounts publicly identifying people in photographs from the riots on platforms including Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. Federal officials are identifying and arresting individuals who were at the event.

 The riots have caused many security changes in Washington D.C. and state capitals across the U.S. as Joe Biden’s inauguration grows closer and threats of further violence continue to spread online. These changes include the resignation of the U.S. Capitol Police chief, Steven Sund, increased police and national guard presence in Washington D.C. and the implementation of high security barriers around the Capitol building. Many D.C. businesses inside of the security perimeter are already making changes in preparation for the inauguration. Some are boarding up their windows in preparation for possible protests while others are preparing to serve guests who come to D.C. for the inauguration. In response to various local, state, and federal officials asking people not to travel to Washington, D.C., Airbnb has canceled all reservations in the Washington, D.C. metro area during the inauguration week, according to this press release. Some hotel chains in the city have stated that they will be hosting guests; as of now, nothing has been done to prevent this.

The events in this article, including the Senate trial, the consequences of the riots, and the coming inauguration, are all ongoing.

 

Will Society Grow Angry Enough to Oust Trump? Watch the Stock Market

By Alan Hall

The political left is busy gathering rationales for impeaching President Trump. The political right is busy crying foul. Both sides may be missing an important indicator of his fate: the stock market.

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to impeach a president twice in history. In both cases, the stock market was rising, and in both cases, the Senate voted for acquittal.

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Figure 1

Figure 1 shows the timing of President Andrew Johnson’s impeachment. On March 2, 1868, the House of Representatives formally submitted eleven articles of impeachment against Johnson. Yet the Senate acquitted Johnson on May 26, 1868, during a stock market rally that added to the 250% increase since October 1857.

 

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Figure 2

Figure 2 shows that a substantial rally in the Dow preceded President Bill Clinton’s impeachment in the House and subsequent acquittal in the Senate. Some of the most dramatic events in the Monica Lewinsky scandal occurred during the largest slide in the Dow during Clinton’s presidency. And despite a $70-million prosecution of perjury and obstruction of justice charges, the Senate ultimately acquitted the president as the Dow, Dow/gold and Dow/PPI rose to important peaks.

 

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Figure 3

Figure 3 shows the Dow Jones Industrial Average surrounding President Richard Nixon’s near-impeachment and resignation from office. The Watergate break-in occurred toward the end of a strong 67% rally in the Dow from May 1970-January 1973. That rally preceded Nixon’s landslide re-election. But as the Dow fell, the Watergate investigation ramped up, and Nixon’s fortunes changed. With almost certain impeachment looming, Nixon resigned from office on August 9, 1974.

Why are stocks and presidents’ fates tied so closely together? Socionomic theory posits that society’s mood influences both stock prices and the public’s perceptions of its leaders. Positive social mood makes society feel optimistic, buy stocks and credit leaders for their good feelings. Negative social mood makes society feel pessimistic, sell stocks and blame leaders for their bad feelings.

These tendencies show up in the results of U.S. impeachments and near-impeachments, and they’re also evident in presidential re-election outcomes. My colleagues at the Socionomics Institute demonstrated in a 2012 paper that stock market declines have tended to precede defeats of incumbent U.S. presidents, while stock market advances have tended to precede re-elections of incumbents. In fact, they found that the stock market proved to be a better re-election indicator than inflation, unemployment and GDP growth combined.

 

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Figure 4

So, what does this mean for President Trump? We considered this question in the June 2017 issue of The Socionomist. Figure 4 is a chart from that issue, updated to the present. It depicts the trend of social mood as reflected by the Dow. We left the gray arrows showing our 2017 analysis, and we added red arrows to suggest the possibilities going forward. In July 2017, Congressman Brad Sherman formally introduced an article of impeachment against Trump in the House of Representatives. Yet the impeachment process fizzled as the stock market advanced during 2017. Following the stock market peak on January 26, 2018, however, the tone of the critiques shifted, and even some on the political right became more disapproving of the president.

Since the October 3 stock market peak, criticism of the president has grown more raucous, and the Mueller investigation has implicated more of the president’s inner circle in illegal activities. The Democrats won control of the House in the 2018 midterms. On November 23, A New York judge allowed a lawsuit against the Trump Foundation to move ahead. A November 26 Gallup poll revealed Trump’s disapproval rating had hit an all-time high. By December 17, the Mueller investigation had issued more than 100 criminal counts and charged 34 people, 10 of whom have been found guilty. That same day, Wired published its list of “All 17 (Known) Trump and Russia Investigations” and said, “it’s increasingly clear that, as 2018 winds down, Donald Trump faces a legal assault unlike anything previously seen by any president.”

On December 18, the Trump Foundation agreed to dissolve, accused by the New York attorney general “of engaging in ‘a shocking pattern of illegality’ that included unlawfully coordinating with Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.” On December 20, Secretary of Defense James Mattis resigned, followed closely by diplomat Brett McGurk. Pentagon chief of staff Kevin Sweeney has also resigned. Christmas week, the National Christmas Tree stayed dark due to the government shutdown. Several news organizations ran stories Christmas Eve with versions of The Atlantic’s headline, “President Trump’s Nightmare Before Christmas,” as the stock market plunged. Of course, staunch supporters of the president remain, though it’s worth noting that Nixon had an approval rating among Republicans of approximately 50 percent when he resigned. Yet the number of critics of Trump is rising. According to a December 19 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 41% of Americans favor impeachment hearings.

What the Mueller investigation will ultimately reveal remains a big question. But social mood may play a bigger role in Trump’s fate than the facts. For that, watch the stock market closely, our best reflection of the trend of social mood.

Stock Market could predict Trump’s impeachment?

Those who want President Trump to stay in office should hope the stock market rises, and those who want him ousted should hope it crashes.

Why? History shows that the stock market is a useful indicator of people’s attitudes toward the president. Socionomic theory proposes that society’s overall mood regulates both stock prices and the public’s perceptions of its leaders. Positive social mood makes society feel optimistic, bid up stock prices and credit leaders for their good feelings. Negative social mood makes society feel pessimistic, sell stocks and blame leaders for their bad feelings.

These tendencies are evident in presidential re-election outcomes. Presidents Hoover and Carter, for example, lost bids for re-election during trends toward negative social mood as reflected by declining stock prices. In fact, the stock market is a better re-election indicator than inflation, unemployment and GDP growth combined, as my colleagues at the Socionomics Institute demonstrated in a 2012 paper.

Social mood’s influence is also evident in the results of U.S. presidential impeachments and near-impeachments. Twice in history, the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to impeach a president. In both cases, social mood was trending positively, as reflected by rising stock prices, and in both cases, the Senate voted for acquittal.

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Figure 1

Figure 1 illustrates the timing of the first presidential impeachment. On March 2, 1868, the House of Representatives formally agreed to eleven articles of impeachment against President Andrew Johnson. The Senate took three separate votes, and each fell one vote short of the two-thirds majority necessary to remove Johnson from office. The Senate acquitted Johnson on May 26, 1868, during a stock rally that added to the 250% increase since October 1857.

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Figure 2

Figure 2 shows that a substantial trend toward positive social mood preceded President Bill Clinton’s impeachment in the House and subsequent acquittal in the Senate. Note that some of the most serious events in the Monica Lewinsky scandal coincided with the largest downturn in the Dow during Clinton’s presidency. Yet, as the Dow recovered, so did Clinton’s approval ratings. And despite a $70-million prosecution of Clinton’s related perjury and obstruction of justice charges, the Senate acquitted the president as positive social mood lifted the Dow, Dow/gold and Dow/PPI to important peaks.

 

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Figure 3

President Richard Nixon’s near-impeachment and resignation from office serves as a textbook case of how social mood influences the fortunes of public figures. Figure 3 shows the Dow Jones Industrial Average surrounding his time in office. The soon-to-be-infamous Watergate break-in occurred toward the end of a strong 67% rally in the Dow from May 1970-January 1973. That trend toward positive mood helped Nixon win re-election in a landslide. But as mood trended toward the negative, the public’s view of its leader darkened, its appetite for scandal increased, the investigation accelerated, and Nixon’s fortunes changed. With almost certain impeachment looming, Nixon became the first president to resign from office on August 9, 1974.

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Figure 4

What does this history tell us about the probability that President Trump will serve a full term in office? We considered this question in the June 2017 issue of The Socionomist. Figure 4 is a chart from that issue, updated to the present. It depicts the trend of social mood as reflected by the Dow. We left the gray arrows showing our 2017 analysis in place, and we added red arrows to indicate the possibilities going forward. In July 2017, Congressman Brad Sherman formally introduced an article of impeachment against the president in the House of Representatives. Yet as the market rose during 2017, President Trump—despite low approval ratings, tremendous staff turnover, unrelenting criticism from the political left and numerous indictments and charges of Trump associates in the ongoing Mueller investigation—did not face an impeachment vote. After the stock market peaked on January 26, 2018, however, the tone changed, and even some on the political right became more critical of the president.

Since the October 3 stock market peak, disapproval of the president has grown steadily louder and more strident. At the same time, the Mueller investigation has implicated more and more of the president’s inner circle in illegal activities. The Democrats won control of the House in the 2018 midterms. A November 26 Gallup poll revealed Trump’s disapproval rating had hit an all-time high. On December 10, Fox News’s senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano said Trump could be charged with “three separate crimes and could be indicted while serving as president.” By December 17, the Mueller investigation had issued more than 100 criminal counts and charged 34 people, 10 of whom have been found guilty. That same day, Wired published its list of “All 17 (Known) Trump and Russia Investigations” and said, “it’s increasingly clear that, as 2018 winds down, Donald Trump faces a legal assault unlike anything previously seen by any president.”

In the weeks since the Trump Foundation agreed to dissolve, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis and diplomat Brett McGurk have resigned. On December 24, Time reported, “National Christmas Tree to Stay Dark During Holiday Due to Government Shutdown,” and several news organizations ran stories with versions of The Atlantic’s headline, “President Trump’s Nightmare Before Christmas,” as the stock market plunged. Of course, stalwart supporters of the president remain. Yet the number of oppositional voices is rising. A December 19 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 41% of Americans favor impeachment hearings.

We don’t know what the Mueller investigation will ultimately reveal, but for Trump, the facts may not matter as much as the social mood. Fasten your seatbelt and keep your eyes on stock market indexes, our best reflection of the trend of social mood.