Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump climb the walls of the U.S. Capitol during a protest against the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, in Washington on January 6, 2021.
Stephanie Keith | Reuters
A lawyer friend tells me that there is a strong At first glance case against the president Donald trump, which means there is enough corroborating evidence to support charges that he at least violated federal insurgency and rebellion law.
This United States Code reads: “Anyone who incites, dismisses, assists or engages in a rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws of the United States, or brings aid or comfort, shall be fined under that title or imprisoned for not more than ten years, or both, and may not hold office in the United States. “
Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives plan on Monday to introduce articles of indictment with similar language on incitement to insurgency.
President Nancy Pelosi would prefer the threat from the House, which would make Trump the only president to be impeached twice, prompted the president to step down before his term expires on January 20. She also explored a second option that Vice President Pence and the Cabinet – or the Vice President and a non-partisan group established by law – impeach Trump by the 25th Amendment.
Some Republicans, who hope to regain influence in the party after the Trump presidency, argue that the best solution would be to run away from the president, deprive him of the attention of his oxygen, ensure that guards- body prevent him from dangerous acts in the next few days, and let the clock tick on January 20. Even some Democrats prefer this approach to avoid energizing Trump and his millions of supporters with other grievances.
So which of these options would provide the United States with the best chance to heal faster at home in order to act more effectively abroad?
A supporter of President Trump watches a message urging violent protesters to return home on Jan.6, 2021 in Salem, Oregon.
Nathan Howard | Getty Images News | Getty Images
As unlikely as it seems Trump will take this route, his resignation next week would serve him and the country best. Even the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, that bastion of American conservatism, argues that resignation would be the best solution.
Trump’s resignation would provide president-elect Joe biden his best “chance” (with a nod to Hamilton) at being the healing and unifying leader he aspires to be, allowing the country to avoid another polarizing impeachment brawl. It would also be the one who would make the most of the horrific events of the past week that were so closely followed by the edifying certification of the November Elections Congress.
In those few hours, a worried nation and world witnessed both the vulnerability and resilience of what former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski this week called the Atlantic Council the “Global Guarantor.” of democracy. The country where the institutions function and where the rule of law reigns “.
That this guarantor fails, and “under the leadership of the US president, this is unacceptable,” Kwasniewski argued. The impact would be disastrous not only for American prestige but also for its impact on other world democracies. If it can happen in Washington, according to his logic, it can happen anywhere.
Return to the Wall Street Journal editorial, he called this week’s attack on Capitol Hill “an attack on the constitutional process of transfer of power after an election … It goes beyond simply refusing to concede defeat. In our view, it crosses a constitutional line that Mr. Trump hasn’t crossed before. It’s flawless. “
Members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) SWAT team patrol the Longworth House office building after a joint session of Congress to count the votes for the 2020 presidential election was held in Washington, DC , United States, Wednesday, January 6, 2021..
Erin Scott | Bloomberg | Getty Images
After examining the pros and cons of impeachment, however, the Journal said that President Trump’s resignation would be the “cleanest solution” in that it would hand over the presidential duties to Vice President Pence, spare the Americans. another polarizing impeachment fight and would give Trump “the agency, a la Richard Nixon, on his own.”
“It’s better for everyone, including himself, if he goes away quietly,” The Journal concluded. He could have added, “and a few steps from public life, as Nixon did.”
It would also allow President Biden to focus on the myriad of challenges he faces as quickly as possible: the ongoing pandemic, the economic threats that accompany it, and the ongoing challenges from Russia and China. The continued Chinese crackdown this week against what remains of democracy supporters in Hong Kong, following Russia’s recent cyberattack on American institutions, underscores the growing cost of American distraction.
To that end, Biden hopes to convene a summit of democracies in his first year in office to “bring the group together,” in the words of one of his top advisers. Some argue that this week’s events should prompt the suppressed US to pull out of this kind of global ambition. Instead, the lesson must be that the strength of democracies comes in numbers, partnerships and alliances. They are needed more than ever in recent memory.
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks after announcing cabinet nominees who will complete his economic team, including trade and labor secretaries, at the Queen Theater on January 8, 2021 in Wilmington, Delaware.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images
I argued in a comment earlier this week, under the headline “Learning from the Capitol Abyss”, “It is not enough to simply condemn Wednesday’s dangerous, destructive and illegal violence and the irresponsibility that sparked it. The trauma must prompt us to redouble our efforts within the United States and among allies and partners to simultaneously strengthen our principles and our bonds. “
It was telling that President-elect Biden this week did not publicly pass impeachment on the 25th.e amendment or Trump’s resignation. “I’m focused on my job,” was Biden’s refreshing response, with Covid-19 at the top of his to-do list.
Biden understands that his success hinges on marginalizing Trump and the forces he unleashed this week – and remain a current threat – rather than amplifying them further. He needs to find Republicans he can work with by building rather than burning bridges.
He understands that he and the Democrats in Congress must even try to work with lawmakers – 139 members of the House and 8 in the Senate – who opposed certification of his electoral victory. The onus should be on those members to demonstrate their readiness to participate constructively in American democracy, by working with the new administration, showing up at the inauguration, and accepting the legitimacy of Biden-Harris leadership.
Biden knows that it is reconciliation and not retribution that has historically strengthened democracies. Its challenge will be how to best expand the reasonable center upon which all enduring democracies depend, as law enforcement and judicial bodies punish those who have committed or instigated crimes this week.
As President-elect Biden said in his victory speech in November, “We do not lead by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.” Biden’s historic challenge will show the world that this week’s shock with disaster is not an example of weakness but can be a catalyst for American democratic renewal. And home renewal is the best solution for increasing America’s efficiency abroad.
Frederick Kempe is a bestselling author, award-winning journalist and CEO of the Atlantic Council, one of the United States’ most influential think tanks on world affairs. He worked at the Wall Street Journal for more than 25 years as an overseas correspondent, deputy editor, and senior editor of the newspaper’s European edition. His latest book – “Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the World’s Most Dangerous Place” – was a New York Times bestseller and has been published in over a dozen languages. Follow him on twitter @FredKempe and ssubscribe here at inflection points, his look every Saturday at the main stories and trends of the past week.
For more information on CNBC contributors, follow @CNBCopinion on Twitter.