Letter to the editor: This week should make for good political television
Disqualification from future office is not Donald Trump’s worst-case scenario.
Lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin has put former President Trump and his legal team in a no-win situation vis-a-vis Trump’s potential criminal liability. Trump’s dilemma has to do with the language of Article 1, Section 3, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution, which states:
“Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States: but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law.”
Raskin knows that impeachment is an inherently political process and not a criminal matter. It is my expectation that Raskin will mercilessly taunt Trump during the impeachment trial for refusing to testify in his own defense. This is the “strong adverse inference” that Raskin obliquely references in his letter to Trump on Feb. 4. Trump needs, and likely wants, to personally testify to defend both himself and his brand. But because he is currently the subject of numerous criminal investigations arising out of the events of Jan. 6, his lawyers simply cannot allow it.
This week should make for good political television, but the more interesting drama will unfold at Trump’s later criminal (and civil) trials. Will he opt for a D.C. judge or a D.C. jury of his peers? Either is likely to result in an adverse judgment to Trump and, derivatively, significant damage to the Trump brand.
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