The Morro Bay City Council officially lent its endorsement to the second impeachment of President Donald Trump, drafting a letter accusing the President of “inciting violence” in connection with the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
As proposed, the unanimously passed letter dated Jan. 14, read:
“The Morro Bay City Council joins calls for President Donald Trump’s immediate removal from office, by impeachment, for inciting violence against the government of the United States and the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
“Donald Trump’s bid to overturn the results of the free and fair election that he lost cannot be met with silence. Our democracy belongs to the people and we all — Republicans, Democrats, Independents and members of other political parties — must strive to protect it. Thus, it is imperative that we hold those who violently attacked our Capitol, and who promoted such attacks, responsible.
“We join other local, state, and federal leaders to support this effort for the sake of our democracy, the very democracy that provides us the privilege to serve.”
The letter was the sole agenda item at a Jan. 14 special council meeting. It was signed by all five council members after they discussed such a move at their regular, Jan. 12 meeting.
It was apparently drafted by Councilwoman Dawn Addis, who “suggested content for the letter,” according to City Manager Scott Collins.
In a post from her Internet newsletter, Addis said, “This week, Council unanimously voted to send a letter to Congress supporting impeachment and barring the President from serving in office again.
“In doing so, we became the first local government in SLO County to speak up.”
She said it wasn’t an easy decision. “This wasn’t an easy decision; in fact, it weighed heavily on me,” she said. “However, I am grateful to work with colleagues who believe in our democracy and understand the seriousness of what happened at the Capitol. I urge other local leaders to raise their voices as well.”
Collins told Estero Bay News that the letter was changed to focus on the U.S. Senate, calling on that body to remove the President, as under the U.S. Constitution, the House of Representatives handles impeachment — which means to bring charges — with the Senate having the responsibility to conduct a trial presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and vote whether to remove the President from office.
In correspondences submitted before the special meeting on the impeachment letter, Morro Bay resident, Susan Stewart said, “For what it’s worth, I absolutely support the City of Morro Bay, tiny though we are, in issuing a letter of support for the impeachment of the Commander in Chief, whose actions in inciting violent protest and denying free and fair elections cannot be tolerated in a democratic and constitutional republic.”
On the other hand, Morro Bay resident, Lynn Meissen, wrote, “I vociferously disapprove of the Council sending a letter in support of the impeachment.”
The letter addresses the most unusual impeachment in U.S. history, as the House members did not hold any evidentiary hearings before House Committees, where allegations would be presented, sworn testimony heard and evidence submitted and weighed.
Impeachment charges would normally be recommended by Committee, then brought before the full House for a vote, a process that took several weeks in December 2019.
That was the first time President Trump was impeached. He was acquitted by the Senate in late-January 2020.
Instead, this time around House members voted to impeach in a single day.
Of note, the Morro Bay City Council did not submit a similar letter endorsing the President’s first impeachment. However, instead of a rather convoluted accusation of wrong doing over a phone call to the President of Ukraine, the events of the Capitol Building siege was widely documented and shocked the nation.
It had lawmakers claiming the President incited the riot and was “a clear and present danger” to the country.
Nevertheless, Trump Impeachment 2.0 didn’t make it through the Senate before Jan. 20, when new President Joe Biden was sworn in and former-President Trump left the White House for his Florida home.
At deadline, a Senate trial had yet to be scheduled.
Constitutional scholars, such as Harvard Prof. Alan Derschowitz, have argued that someone who is no longer in office cannot be impeached because impeachment means “to remove from office.”
Democrats pushed for the second impeachment, according to news reports, because it would also prevent Trump from potentially running for President again in 2024, as disqualification from holding any federal office in the future is the other consequence of impeachment.
If he were to run, he would join President Teddy Roosevelt as Presidents who ran again after being out of office for a term. Bull Moose Party candidate, Roosevelt, lost his comeback bid in 1912, in a 3-way race with incumbent, Republican President William Howard Taft, and Democrat Woodrow Wilson.
Wilson won the Presidency when Roosevelt and Taft split the Republican vote.