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Yale 62


The question: Was the President already held accountable for his term in office by losing the election? Or, as a result of his words and actions on January 6, was his second impeachment and now possible conviction necessary?

(Ed. Note: On Friday afternoon – January 15 – invited the 39 classmates who participated in our January 7 “The Day After” Coffee Hour to respond to a single question in about 100 words. Their responses are posted in the order they were received. Just as at the Coffee Hour sessions, classmates offered interesting ideas and opinions. Our long life experience certainly is valuable. There is a Comment area at the bottom of this page for those who participated to respond to each other and also for other classmates to add their own views.)

Was the President already held accountable for his term in office by losing the election? NO Or, as a result of his words and actions on January 6, was his second impeachment and now possible conviction necessary? Yes

This man should not be allowed to run for office again. Pardon might be reasonable, on the basis of mental illness, but his illness is not adequately treatable so he should be barred for office for life.

David Bingham, Salem, CT

I do not think the events of 6 Jan greatly changed the opinion of my “breakfast buddies” who were extreme devotees of Trump well before the invasion of the Capitol bldg. They firmly believe the election was “rigged” and fraudulent and that the election of Biden is the beginning of the end on the road to socialism and complete destruction of our Country.

That being said, they are opposed to the impeachment and subsequent trial in the Senate. I have written to them (about 6 in number) and said I was going to nominate them for membership in the flat earth society.

Bill Weber

Trump is a terrible threat to the world – maybe. As a past military Officer my opinion is that the US has no one “in charge”. Maybe Vice President Pence could be, but I doubt if he thinks of it in my way. If my Commander-in-chief gave me an order to start WW III I would not obey it. In my service I have refused to carry out a command and was threatened with a possible Court Marshall. I still refused. Another time I received a necessary “Oral” Discipline hearing for violating a National Law. The Committee was led by a General, and five Bird Colonels. I was rightfully given the “oral” reprimand. I deserved it. But it was the right thing that needed to be done at 4 AM in the morning. National security was at stake. It was the right necessary thing to do. The Oral Discipline never was written into my records. It worked. It appeased the press. But the Committee unofficially took me to dinner that night.

My point is that few if any Commanders would follow an illegal command from the President. He now has lost most of his dictatorial power. Vice-President could handle it and would possibly take over and his commands would be obeyed.

Bob Breault

Impeachment, conviction, and barring from future office are necessary. He incited insurrection (come on the 6th – ‘it will be wild’ – followed by his urging the mob to invade the Capitol). He sought to suborn election officials. He has shown no contrition (‘it was a perfect speech’ – like his calls with the Ukrainian president and Raffensperger), nor concern for the consequences. There could be no worse offenses against the Republic and the Constitution. He must be barred from further office-holding and stripped of his pension and other perquisites accorded to exiting presidents. A large majority of Republicans nevertheless believe him innocent. That verdict cannot stand, now and in history.

Richard Portes

Is the second impeachment and possible (but improbable) conviction necessary? Answer: No. The guy will be gone in five days, and he is not coming back. Even the Republicans have had enough. The whole thing smells of unnecessary roughness.

Larry Price

The president was obviously not held accountable by losing the election, because if he had been, he would not have created and pressed the lie that the election was “stolen” from him. His own denial answers the first part of the question. The second part of the question includes a false premise: It asks whether “as a result of his words and actions on January 6, was his second impeachment and now possible conviction necessary?” The President’s words and actions at least since November 3 and continuing until at least late in the afternoon of January 6, if not thereafter, warranted his impeachment and conviction.

The most serious injury Trump has done is to convince a large percentage of his followers that the election was stolen from him and that Biden’s presidency is illegitimate. The propagation of that falsehood was the predicate for the assault on the Capitol. It was that lie that made his followers want to stage a violent coup, rather than accept the election result. The lie is as much an element of Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanors as his failure to condemn the violence it fomented until late afternoon on January 6, but even in his message then he repeated the lie rather than recanting it. To this date, he has not admitted that there was no material irregularity or fraud in the election. Moreover, Trump’s failure to fully recant the lie, and his failure for several hours on January 6 even to act to call for an end to violence, were both violations of his oath of office to defend the constitution against enemies foreign and domestic, and his refusal to recant the lie continues to date. Before reconciliation, there must be truth.

Conviction of a crime, both by the impeachment process and in the normal criminal procedure, does not require that the accused remain in office. The precedent of William Belknap demonstrates that for impeachment. Countless CEO’s and state and local officials have been convicted of crimes after they ceased to hold those positions And, although the likelihood that Trump will again run for office may be small, his threat to do so is a continuing one.

So my answer is, yes, absent a clear admission that the election was legitimate, Trump should be convicted.

George Grumbach

Vindictive. Petty. Pointless. The Liberal playbook.

Ken Merkey

Was the President already held accountable for his term in office by losing the election? Or, as a result of his words and actions on January 6, was his second impeachment and now possible conviction necessary?

Yes, to the first question. But that only covered up until election day and it did cover his whole term until then.

Yes to the second question, as the impeachment addressed his behavior after Election Day and, most importantly, the day of his one hour peroration that fired up and launched his supporters on the Capital.

John Hatch

The impeachment and conviction are essential if we are to continue as a democracy based upon fundamental ethical principles as opposed to mere political expediency and compromise. Also at stake is the presently maligned concept of proven expertise as opposed to a postmodern relativism that allows conspiracy theories, junk science, and malevolent disinformation to be held in equal regard with hard-won objective data. Failure to punish Trump would be the end of the American dream, replaced by callous calculation based upon short-term results as opposed to supporting long-term bed rock principles that could make America great again.

For a moment of amusement combined with a bit of “I told you so”, check out the 2017 op-ed piece I wrote in the New York Times regarding Donald Trump’s inhumane behavior.

Opinion | Donald Trump, Our AI President (published 2017)
AI President

Bob Burton

Trump’s second impeachment and a conviction is necessary. His words and actions post election, culminating on January 6, make it a practical possibility. Trump has, and continues to attack our democracy and institutions. And he will not stop now, even after he leaves office. The conviction should allow the government to take away his post presidential perks which will include MILLIONS of dollars each year for 24 hour Secret Service protection, office expenses (including personnel), etc. Egregiously, not only salaries of the multiple Secret Service officers for Trump AND his family, will be paid by our tax dollars, but also a huge amount will be paid directly to Trump through his properties for housing them, not to mention travel, etc. We should not subsidize Trump’s attacks on our UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

Charles Merlis

The president’s snap impeachment is not only ill advised, it is politically driven, lacks due process and will not garner the 2/3 majority required in the Senate to succeed as both parties readily conceed. Furthermore, as law enforcement agencies gather more evidence on the participants, they are discovering that many of the individuals involved are known insurrectionists operating under the guise of protestors. My sense is that this impeachment vote in the House is designed to set the stage for President elect Biden to publicly announce that he does not support the House’s initiative, and in the interest of healing political discord and moving toward a more united country, he will direct Pelosi to refrain from sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

AJ Carbone

No and Yes

There are 2 questions here.
My response to the first question is NO. President Trump was not held accountable for his actions in office by losing the election. He failed to win by more than 7 million votes rendered by the PEOPLE and the 50 States and Congress certification that the Democratic Party candidate shall be the next President through the well understood, mandated procedures set forth in the Constitution and election laws and procedures. Mr. Trump has an unqualified right to run for re-election and has been clear that he intended to do so. The will of an aspiring democratic people prevailed.

Regarding the second question, my response is YES, by his words and actions on January 6, President Trump’s second impeachment and possible conviction was necessary. This more personal political judgement than the NO answer above comes with a plentitude of well-established law, experience, and widely shared opinion. Brevity requires that I invite the inspection of the damage to the fragile causes of democracy, equity and sustainability President Trump has caused, as well as that we be more accountable for persistent engagement in the responsibilities of our USA citizenship.

Richard Riseling

Donald Trump incited a mob which nearly killed the Speaker of the House, the Vice President of the United States, and who knows how many other people had they been successful. Five people died because of this. Donald Trump, and his son, daughter, and lawyer, committed sedition, possibly treason, and were accessories to murder. We should surely impeach Donald Trump. It is the least we can do.

Chip Neville


We welcome your comments below.

12 comments to Impeachment?

  • Roman L Weil

    1. Losing election not adequate come-uppance.
    2. Impeachment without conviction is historical PR, but of little consequence. Think Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. So what? We think ill of Johnson because of his failure to govern and well of Clinton because he governed well. We wink at his sex life.
    3. Necessary? Who defines that? Respected scholars on both sides of the issue come to difference conclusions. I have no opinion on what it means in this context, so I think I can’t say whether conviction is necessary. I’d like those say it is to tell me what “necessary” means to them.
    4. I’d like there to be conviction as it lessens, maybe to zero, the chances that Trump can run again. I want the Republican Party to rise again and Trump’s running will muck up the 2024 campaign. Without his being able to run, things will go more smoothly. Elsewhere I’ve written that I think it’s nuts for Democrat strategists to push for conviction as a convicted Trump, out of the 2024 running, makes Dem’s chances worse. Since I think Dem strategists are smart, they will arrange for there to be no conviction. Not sure what they will say about it, but I’ll bet against conviction.
    5. My grandkids who will engage with me on the subject of the preceding paragraph are adamant that conviction is the right thing to do for the sake of America’s principles. They don’t care if it dampens Dems’ election prospects, even though the strongly support the Dems. At my age 20 I likely would have felt the same.

    • George J. Grumbach, Jr.

      Roman, Your comments are thought-provoking and I’m not sure there are any clear answers. As to whether conviction is “necessary,” take a look at the full interview of Bernie Sanders by Stephen Colbert on YouTube. I think Sanders is quite persuasive. As to your point 4, I agree that if Trump threatens to run again, even if it is only to keep control over what was formerly the Republican Party, it will muck things up. Indeed, I am surprised that more Republicans don’t want Trump out of the way, as McConnell seems to. Whether it makes the Democrats chances worse, I think is unknowable, unless you are positing that Trump would actually the the Republican candidate. I won’t take your bet against conviction because I think there are not enough Republican senators who are not to scared to vote for conviction. As to your item 5, your kids are right.

  • Tim Adams

    Anyone who doesn’t think think the election was stolen is underestimating the power of the press, the political savvy of the opposition , the impact of social media, and the willingness of a small majority of the American public to put personality over politics, and the ability of a pandemic to influence out omes. Maybe “stolen” was a bad choice of words. Perhaps a strategy of countering the “dirty tricks” of the old position might have produced a different t outcome.

  • James Breese

    I keep hearing that “there is no evidence of voter fraud”, so I went looking for it. Places like I was unable to find any significant evidence. Maybe I am not a good detective—can someone point me toward some actual data, not just opinions from an analyst or commentator?
    Jim Breese Jan 18

  • Paul Torop

    I’ll take the epistemological risk of countering a conspiracy theory by another conspiracy theory. I think it was a failed coup and not a riot. It was not a demonstration that got out of hand. Somebodies organized the attempt to take over the government. What would have happened if some legislators had been killed or kidnapped and trump had taken Flynn’s advice to declare martial law?

  • David Bingham

    If Republicans in the Senate were allowed to have a secret ballot, my guess is that they would convict. He has embarrassed or disrespected them all at one time or another, but it will not be easy to vote to convict in the light of day, which transparency demands.

    So my bet is that while there will be no conviction, enough Republicans will stand up to Trump to help the many R’s I know feel better about their party and may be willing to help bring it back to reality. His day is over in the party. Hillary had over 70 Million voters and has had little or no influence in the Democratic Party, and the same fate likely awaits DJT.

  • Ken Merkey

    Not sure what you old white guys are smoking but send some down here. I need a break from reality.

    So how does the impeachment fit in with Sleepy Joe’s unity plan?

    Of more importance, how is Plugs going to manage the China threat when his son is in bed with them?

  • Dave Hummel

    Many months ago Trump began to understand that he would lose the election. Since he is such a sore loser, he needed to come up with an excuse so he arrived at a strategy of a fraudulent election with focus on mailed ballots. Unfortunately he convinced too many uninformed people that his ideas had validity in spite of stong evidence to the contrary. When his own Attorney General and numerous Republican election officials confirmed the accuracy of the vote count, it still did not convince his uneducated base. Here in Montana about 70 per cent of the ballots are received by mail. We only need to request the mailed ballot one time and it is then sent automatically for every election. I haved voted by mail for probably 15 years. The Republicans won every statewide position on the Montan ballot by a large margin. Why is it that this procedure is acceptable where they won but not where they lost? I can easily explain why Biden won the election by giving a personal example. The first time that I have ever voted for a Democrat for Preident was in the November election. I am convinced thaty I had lots of company. After thousands of lies and disgusting personal behavior I am ready to support impeachment of the worst President that out country has ever experienced.

  • George Grumbach

    When this forum was opened for answers to the question and for comments, “The only requirement is that everyone be civil.” Apparently, to at least one of our classmates, civility does not prevent using Trump’s insulting epithets for our new president nor false allegations with respect to his son. But, in answer to that classmate’s first question, for unity there must first be truth and accountability. His second question is not worthy of an answer.

    • Ken Merkey

      Gosh, I guess I stepped on somebody’s wingtips. It is just so hard these days being a Fox-watching deplorable.
      It has been said there needs to be truth and accountability before we can have unity. Since when? Says who?

      Even a Park Avenue lawyer should wonder why the “Big Guy” took Hunter along on Air Force Two to China. They couldn’t find Chinese food in Wilmington? The allegations are neither true nor false. They are allegations. Someone has been watching too much CNN.

      BTW Check out Cece Telfer. I doubt that any of your daughters would want this person sharing a locker room with them. Certainly, my daughters do not. I think the Big Guy might have his (or his handlers’) priorities twisted.

  • Larry Price

    Many of our classmates seem to be offended by the fact that President Trump maintains that the election was stolen from him. Those protests are not credible, but that is not the point. President Trump had to endure a concerted campaign to undermine the legitimacy of his 2016 victory. So his denials lay the groundwork for a similar campaign questioning the legitimacy of President Biden.

    So for the next four years, we shall hear chants of: “Sleepy Joe stole the election! Sleepy Joe stole the election!” Will these chants be true or fair? Of course not. But remember. The first rule of the playground is: Turnabout is fair play.

    I predict that the republic will survive this nonsense as it survived the nonsense of the last four years.

  • I appreciate Larry’s comment and reply, although I don’t agree. But his statements are considerably more compelling that those of Ken Merkey, who does not seem to be confident in his opinions, which he has every right to express, and as passionately as he does, but his method is not going to change anyone’s mind or even generate any respect for his beliefs..