With only five days left in office, US president Donald Trump is facing an unprecedented kind of impeachment. The step is based on the Democratic party leadership's resolution to the House of Representatives on the charge that on January 6, Trump incited people to storm into the Capitol building. When vice president Mike Pence rejected the request, the House decided to put it to vote and the resolution was passed by 232 votes in favour and 197 against. As the next step, if the Senate passes it with a two thirds majority, Trump will be removed from office. Though the Senate strength is just equally divided between Republicans and Democrats in terms of election results, that too when the two new Georgia Senators are sworn in, and it is much less than the required two thirds, indications are that ten Republicans are likely to vote against Trump.
It would appear therefore, that Trump's prospects are far from safe. But since the Senate is unlikely to convene until the inauguration of Joe Biden, in a technical sense removing Trump is impossible. Even then, if he is declared guilty through an impeachment, Trump will be deprived of many rights and privileges, including being barred from becoming President again and from holding any public office. Whatever that be, current developments will doubtlessly will be crucial in US politics as much as at the international level.
It is not the first time that a president is being impeached in America. Trump himself is facing it for the second time, but the 2019 December resolution was rejected due to want ot majority in the Senate. In the impeachment resolution moved in the House then, Democrats alleged that Trump had asked Ukraine President Vladimir Zelenski to make an investigation into the the dealings of Joe Biden when he was the vice president under Barack Obama. The charge was using his office for political gains, a charge that could not be proved. Abuse of power was also the charge raised against the first impeachment made against Andrew Johnson. Bill Clinton, the next president to be impeached, was put in the dock on the charge of lying under oath and obstruction of justice following revelations of sexual harassment of his staffer Monica Lewinsky. There again, what came to light was Clinton committing the alleged act on the back of power of the office he held.
However, the political context of the second Trump impeachment is quite different. It all began with the refusal of a president and his followers to accept the electoral verdict in the world's oldest democracy. Trump who asserted several times that he did not lose the election and that he would not leave the White House, had been preparing for large-scale violence and riot early on, which was quite in display in the Capitol Hill on the eventful day when the Congress had to certify Biden's election through majority of electoral votes. The lawless mob stormed into the building when the Congress was about to begin business. In fact the ideology of that throng was all too clear from their slogans of unmistakably of their right-wing racist politics. For that very reason, the current moves will have to be seen as an impeachment of that brand of racism too.
Once judged guilty in the impeachment, the place of Trump will certainly be in the dustbin of history. Even after Trump's ejection from history, the blood-stained damage Trump has caused to American heritage and democracy through racial hatred and Islamophobia will linger long. With only hours left before leaving office, Trump and Trumpists are sucking that blood. A look at the number of decisions by Trump and his state secretary Mike Pompeo over the last few days would illustrate that legacy. And they are still in the process of taking decisions that would put the future administration under stress and embarrassment.
The move to declare Cuba as a terrorist state and to impose sanctions on it is part of that. The intent of this move is obviously to prevent Joe Biden from resuming the friendly talks with that country, which had begun during the last days of the Obama administration. And the move of lifting the ban on officials from Taiwan, is also clearly targeted against China. The actions against Houthis in Yemen and the military moves against Iran branding it a terrorist state, are all part of a strategy to estrange those countries from Biden. The driver for this kind of 'subversive diplomacy' is nothing but extreme racism. What is to be keenly watched now is how Biden and his team will deal with this dangerous politics of hatred.