Legal analysts have called what the U.S. House did to President Trump earlier this month a “snap impeachment.”
The article of impeachment submitted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., accuses him of inciting insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in Jan. 6 through his rally speech. The president’s defenders argue the Capitol had been breached even before Trump finished his speech one mile away, and he never called for violence, urging supporters instead to make their voices heard “peacefully.”
And now further evidence has emerged that the Capitol riot was planned long in advance of Jan. 6.
The Justice Department has charged three people who are believed to have been communicating with each other as early as November.
Constitutional scholar Alan Dershowitz told Just the News that if Trump “didn’t know about it, they had planned it without him, then you’re missing the causal relationship.”.
“It would have happened without his speech as well. So that would be relevant on the issue of causation,” he said.
Prosecutors this week charged Jessica Marie Watkins, Donovan Ray Crowl and Thomas Caldwell with conspiracy, obstructing an official proceeding, destruction of government property and unlawful entry on restricted building or grounds.
Just the News pointed out that for speech to be inciting, the speaker must indicate a desire for violence and have the capacity to carry it out.
Kevin Brock, a former assistant director of intelligence for the FBI, told Just the News that there is neither in the claims against Trump.
Brock said he didn’t hear in Trump’s speech “anything that would trigger a reasonable person to believe that he was inciting— violence.”
“He even used the words ‘peaceful’ and ‘respectful,'” Brock said.
The former FBI official said it appeared that Trump was surprised by the violence and had received no intelligence of any specific threat.
“We shouldn’t be in a position where knuckleheads like Proud Boys and Oath Keepers can plan a disruptive violent event and it catches us by surprise,” Brock said.
He said Trump’s use of words such as “march” and “take back our country” are common political rhetoric, and if they are inciting, many other politicians would be punished.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor this week: “No Democrat will honestly ask whether Bernie Sanders incited the [pro-Sanders] shooter that nearly killed Steve Scalise. No Democrat will ask whether Maxine Waters incited violence when she literally told her supporters” to confront Trump officials in public.
Dershowitz, an emeritus law professor at Harvard, said the First Amendment actually protects Trump’s statements.
“The Bible has caused violence, the Quran has caused violence. [Karl Marx’s] ‘Das Kapital’ has caused violence,” he explained. “You can’t be held responsible for making constitutionally protected arguments that lead others to engage in violence. Jefferson wrote about that in 1801. It goes way back in our history, we punish the actor, not the speaker.”
The Democrats have made it clear that they are moving ahead with a Senate trial even though Trump has left office, because they want to prevent him from running again.
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said that if their impeachment effort fails again, as is likely, they might use the 14th Amendment against Trump, which prevents anyone who has engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” against the U.S. from holding office.
Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley believes Pelosi’s “snap impeachment” was unwise.
“The concept of a snap impeachment is a contradiction in constitutional terms. This is a process that was designed to be deliberative, not impulsive—and this really is not what the framers envisioned. This is trying to run to the floor and skip any inquiry and hearing on these very troubling issues,” he said.
He warned: “Democrats may loathe the day that they created this pathway. In two years the Republicans could take over the House. Would they then oppose a snap impeachment of President [Joe] Biden. There has to be some integrity left in this process.”
“Many people have said that what President Trump did was an actually crime of incitement—many legal experts have come forward with that view. I have to tell you, I think that is just fundamentally wrong. I know of no case that would say that that speech was criminal incitement. The speech itself was reckless, but at points in the speech Trump says that people should go there peacefully. That they should go to the Capitol to support members of Congress in challenging the election,” he said.
That type of “protest” has happened over and over “for years,” he said.
“So I don’t think any court would allow a charge of criminal incitement,” he said.
Under the Democrats’ precedent, he said, any future president could be removed for his or her words if any of their supporters commit criminal acts.
Content created by the WND News Center is available for re-publication without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].
This article was originally published by the WND News Center.