US to Witness More Political Vandalism before Biden’s Inauguration: Journalist
- January, 07, 2021 - 16:56
- World news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An American investigative journalist said the United States is expected to witness more political vandalism before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated at noon on January 20.
“I expect Americans will now finally debate a new presidential disability and succession amendment to create a workable system to remove an American president when necessary because of injury, illness or, as with Trump, madness,” David Cay Johnston told Tasnim in an interview.
He added, “On the night of the 2020 election Trump began his outgoing acts of political vandalism. There will be more before Biden is inaugurated at noon on Jan. 20”.
David Cay Johnston is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who has broken many major stories over the past 50 years about corruption, spying, and official misconduct. He has known Donald Trump for 29 years, revealed in 1990 that he was no billionaire and in 2016 wrote the worldwide bestseller ‘The Making of Donald Trump’, which documents Trump’s decades of deep entanglements with mobsters, a major drug trafficker, and various swindlers.
Following is the full text of the interview.
Tasnim: Members of US President Donald Trump's cabinet on Wednesday discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to force Trump's removal from office after his supporters stormed the Capitol. What's the 25th Amendment and how does it work? What would it require?
Cay Johnston: The 25th amendment is a method by which the American vice president and the president’s cabinet (secretaries of major government agencies like diplomacy and agriculture) can temporary remove a president. It's unwieldy and has never been applied except voluntarily by a president who was, for example, about to undergo scheduled surgery.
It was adopted after the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy and the subsequent first heart attack of President Lyndon B. Johnson.
I expect Americans will now finally debate a new presidential disability and succession amendment to create a workable system to remove an American president when necessary because of injury, illness or, as with Trump, madness.
Tasnim: Experts argue that impeaching Trump might be the appropriate remedy and using impeachment to remove him from office would bar him from running for President again. But there's likely no time to impeach and try the President again in the next two weeks. What are your thoughts on this?
Cay Johnston: Impeachment, trial, and removal could be done in a single day if there was a unified agreement in Congress that it was necessary.
But given that a small number of Republicans in Congress — after the invasion and looting of The Capitol — continue to defend and support Trump’s crazy claims that the November presidential election was stolen and that a significant number of Republicans, perhaps half, believe his attempted coup on Jan. 6 was reasonable and was really the fault of Joe Biden, who will become president on January 20, there isn’t the unified agreement needed to remove Trump.
On the night of the 2020 election, Trump began his outgoing acts of political vandalism. There will be more before Biden is inaugurated at noon on Jan. 20.
Hopefully, after Trump is again a private citizen, he will be prosecuted for inciting to riot in Washington, DC, and a host of other local and federal crimes he committed while in office.
Tasnim: Congress could also appoint its own body to review the President's fitness instead of the Cabinet. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, during the last Congress, introduced a bill to create a congressional body for this purpose, but it was not signed into law. Kindly explain this.
Cay Johnston: The legislation you describe is one of many bills that passed the House of Representatives only to die in the Senate. This is the work of Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican Senator who was the majority leader but is about to become powerless and virtually irrelevant as the Senate minority leader.
Because Democrats won both runoff elections in Georgia this week their party will have a slight majority in the Senate, giving them the power to bring up for a vote the kinds of legislation which McConnell spent the last four years putting in her desk drawer.
In addition, in days America will have a new president who is well-versed in government and diplomacy after 36 years as a senator and eight as vice president and who, unlike Trump, is emotionally mature and mentally healthy.
Tasnim: Americans’ confidence in their democracy has been eroded for years by a system that has, at various junctures, delivered victory to Republican presidents who lost the popular vote, permitted industrial-scale gerrymandering of electoral maps, and is built around a Congress rigged in favor of conservative states. But faith in the conduct of the presidential election itself has collapsed among large numbers of voters amid Donald Trump’s onslaught after he lost November’s presidential election to his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, by a record 7m ballots. Do you believe that Trump has blown up the US democracy?
Cay Johnston: No. The fact that millions of people who were eligible to vote but never did until 2020 shows that Trump has made many Americans realize that they hold the power and need only exercise it. That so many voters turned out for the Jan. 5 Senate runoffs in Georgia, both won by Democrats against incumbent Republicans, further shows that Trumpism has awakened the power of the ballot box.
For decades, I've written about how too many Americans didn’t vote, in effect becoming renters or squatters in the American democracy, inadvertently aiding those who get rich not from the market, but from the government rule book from regulations that favor some companies over others to corporate welfare. What we are seeing is a recognition that instead of “the government,” as reported in the news, it is “our government.” We own it. We are again acting like owners. At DCReport.org, the news service I lead, we always refer to “our government” and remind readers that elected officials work for us — we are their bosses.