World

STATE OF AMERICA

Trump gets a date with fate, Yellen gets a date with history

US President Donald Trump’s likely prosecutable misdeeds fall into five broad categories, says the writer. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Oliver Contreras / Pool)
By An Wentzel
26 Jan 2021 11

As the article of impeachment is walked from the House to the Senate, Janet Yellen becomes the first female Secretary of the Treasury and Biden bumps up his vaccination goal.

The House voted to impeach Donald Trump on Wednesday, 13 January, a week after the Capitol riot which tried to derail the certification of the Electoral College votes and left five people dead. On Monday, 25 January, the article of impeachment was delivered to the clerk of the Senate, and the second impeachment of Trump is set to get going around February 8. 

Constitutionally, the impeachment starts the day after the article is read in the Senate, but Republican leader Mitch McConnell asked for more time, which the Senate majority leader agreed to.

It will be the fourth impeachment trial of a president in the history of the US. It is also the first time a president has been impeached twice and the first time one has faced an impeachment trial after he has left office.

Unlike the first, the second trial will not be presided over by Chief Justice John Roberts, since Trump is no longer a sitting president and the constitutional requirement of a chief justice presiding falls away. The most senior Senator and President Pro Tempore (the Senator in the majority party with the longest record of continuous service), Patrick Leahy, will preside.

Leahy, despite having called for Trump’s conviction earlier, pledged on Monday to be impartial. 

Some American political analysts have said Roberts does not like being involved in political cases and is probably pleased he doesn’t have to preside.

The article of impeachment – the charge of incitement – was read to the Senate by the lead House impeachment manager, Republican Senator Jamie Raskin:

“President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government… President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of trust, honour or profit under the United States.”

A Senate conviction could lead to another vote – to block Trump from holding “any office of trust, honour or profit under the United States” in future and ensure he cannot run for office again in 2024, as he has stated. 

Trump is losing more than the presidency – the cachet of being “in his circle” is gone. His country club, Mar-a-Lago, is reported to be rapidly losing $200,000-a-year members who apparently paid for the privilege of being associated with a sitting president and “the food’s no good”.

The Senate also voted on Monday to confirm economist Janet Yellen as the US’ first woman Secretary of the Treasury in the department’s 230-year existence. The vote was an overwhelming 84-15 (with one abstention) for the 74-year-old former chair of the Federal Reserve (the Fed), where she was also the first woman in the position from 2014 to 2018. She also headed former president Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers in the late 1990s. 

Before Senate approval, Yellen received a unanimous green light from the Senate Finance Committee last week.

In a radio interview in 2019 she said Trump did not understand economic policy or the Fed’s responsibility: “I doubt that he would even be able to say that the Fed’s goals are maximum employment and price stability… ”  

It is expected Yellen will shape President Joe Biden’s economic policies and, more immediately, be a central figure in getting Congress to approve his $1.9-trillion coronavirus relief plan. She has been vocal in her support for more stimulus measures, telling the Senate Finance Committee that “more must be done”. She said: “Without further action we risk a longer, more painful recession now.”

While acknowledging the US needs to move towards fiscal sustainability and work on reducing its debt, Yellen says the problem at hand must be dealt with first: “Right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is to act big.”

On Monday, Biden also said he was hoping to be able to increase his 100 million vaccinations in 100 days to 150 million in 100 days as soon as distribution issues are resolved. Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has urged New Yorkers to be patient while they wait for more doses: “We have the operational capacity to do more than 100,000 doses a day – we just need the dosages.”

According to Johns Hopkins University, the US closed Monday with 25.2 million confirmed Covid-19 cases and more than 420,000 deaths. DM

An Wentzel is Night Editor and specialist reporter for Daily Maverick, she went to the US to visit family as the pandemic struck and is currently marooned in the land of the “free”.

Gallery

"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"

Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

All Comments 11

  • Listening to the reading of the impeachment articles by Raskin, one could not help but detect the ‘passion’ in his tone. He could take a note out of McConnell’s (insincere as it is !) repertoire on tone… and turn down the passion ! Regarding McConnell, it should be noted that despite his nonchalant ‘open’ stance re this impeachment, he like his grandiosely flip-flopping Graham colleague, has always placed party before country or constitution ! Without that dispositional ‘ploy’ (and grand intellectual dishonesty) he would not have retained his vaunted position in the party for so long. That he would vote otherwise in this impeachement, is expecting too much ! Just ask the Romneys and Cheneys what the consequences are of having principles and standing up to the white supremacist and masculinity dominated thugs in the Republican majority.

  • Well, I’d imagine the DemockRats will have to make an “offer-he-can’t-refuse” to Mc Connell…..and by extension to the rest of floor crossers (every party and every country has them: yesterday furious anti-devil, today devil-friendly). Then what about the rest of the GOP members?…Are they sheeple-like the ‘one-party-free-demockracy’ voters here?

    • Funny how you mock the dems as being, as you put it, ‘one-party-free-demockracy’ and yet they’er not the ones who tried to overthrow the reuslts of a legitimate election through violent means – I would suggest that the party that believes martial law is better than losing an election is the real problem…

      • The yahooligans summoned to invade the Capitol are certainly not all members of the Republican Party or conservatives, yet the New Order is determined to ‘erase’, ‘cancel’ and “deprogram” their opponents whether they supported Tramp or not, and also to squash harshly any claiming that the election process was rigged. Tramp “impeachment” is the excuse. This manoeuvering is led from the Senate with the Speaker Pelosi, the Vicepresident (not for long) HArris and other characters like Alexandria Occasional Cortex. They have stated their intentions publicly and in all media. The double standards displayed by the DemockRats by ONLY judging the mob of one side and not the own (Antifas and BlackLivesMatter thuggery which was praised also publicly by Harris and Pelosi and the rest) is quite evident as are their intentions to hold absolute power over the majority. And you know what Lord Acton said about ‘absolute power’…..

  • It is sad for me to watch all the political posturing which goes with this. We will have huge grandstanding on the facts such as they may be, but the vote is political which is inherently flawed if anyone is actually interested in that much abused concept called justice. The reported facts apparently do not support the incitement narrative, I imagine the Donald was as surprised and dismayed as anyone that there was an invasion, but it suits his opponents to pin it on him. That means that the blue crew will vote to convict, irrespective. The other lot will mostly vote NOT to convict, save for some who are virtue signalling to the other side in view of the fact that its in power and they want to show that they do not support the wicked Trump. It is high farce, suitable for 5 year olds. If there is a credible case against the man, private Citizen Trump, he should be indicted and tried by a court of law, but how to find an unbiased jury – or judge. It is also undeniable that there was a degree of fraud in the election, and a degree of unlawfulness. Enough to make it illegitimate? I don’t know, I doubt anyone really does. With the very narrow margin, putting your hands over your ears and closing your eyes and shouting over and over “it was free and fair, it was free and fair, and don’t you deny it” is about as juvenile as declaiming the opposite in like manner. The facts need to be examined carefully by a balanced commission of some sort which then deals with the issues and makes recommendations to restore the faith of tens of millions of Americans in their system. Pursuing Trump like this is only more divisive and answers no questions. Even if it weren’t obviously unconstitutional.

    • Shame ….a seven million or so difference in the popular vote (up on the only 3 or so million in the previous election) and a Trump collaborator AG Barr describing the election as being free of large scale fraud (not to be confused with minor irregularities) …. something in your arithmetic and conclusions seems awry. Maybe it is just a Trumpian ‘slip’!

        • Everyone interprets – it’s the human condition.

          My interpretation for example is that your spelling of the word democrat says everything about your lack of objectivity and the puerile nature of your thinking.

          As a Republican I would really prefer you stop defending our position – it’s not helpful.

  • Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted