The events on Capitol Hill last Wednesday illustrate, in the eyes of the famous American lawyer, former Attorney General of the State of New York and expert in constitutional law, Reed Brody, the virulence “Trumpian” and remain the “last desperate and pathetic burst. of the white racist power which is moving away, although still too slowly, in history ”. In this interview, this “dictator hunter” known for his work alongside the victims in the Hissein Habré, Augusto Pinochet and Jean-Claude Duvalier cases, argues that a possible conviction of Donald Trump by the American justice system could disqualify him from occupying a civil service in the United States. Whoever is currently working with victims of former Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh believes that Americans were on the brink of losing their democracy on several occasions.
The Democrats filed this Monday, January 11, 2021 in the House of Representatives an indictment against the US President. Thus, we are moving towards the opening of a second impeachment procedure against Donald Trump, whom they accuse of having “incited violence” which hit the Capitol. Could we expect Trump to leave the White House prematurely?
The Democrats have announced that they will proceed with impeachment proceedings for “incitement to insurgency” if the vice-president (Editor’s note: Mike Pence), within 24 hours, does not appeal to the 25th Amendment of the Constitution which gives the possibility to the vice-president, with a majority of the ministers, to certify that the president is “unable to discharge” his functions. Since it is unlikely that the vice-president will do it, we will certainly go towards the impeachment procedure on Wednesday (Editor’s note: tomorrow).
It is almost certain that impeachment will succeed in the House of Representatives by simple majority, but the Senate leader, a Republican, has made it clear that there will be no trial until the inauguration on January 20, which means that it is unlikely that the President (Editor’s note: Donald Trump) will be removed from his post before his term expires, although this trial and the possible conviction of Trump may come later. It could also lead to Trump’s disqualification from public service forever. Given the gravity of what Trump has done, upholding the Constitution would appear to compel Congress to move forward.
The members of the American extreme right announce that they intend to demonstrate on January 20, during the swearing-in of the new President of the United States and even intend to challenge the police and the army. What is your reaction to this approach?
Everyone has the right to demonstrate peacefully, even those who are lost or who would deny the same right to others. As someone who has traveled to Washington often to protest for civil rights and against the wars in Vietnam, Nicaragua and Iraq, I think it is important that the January 6 insurgency attempt does not serve as an excuse to restrict the right to demonstrate. But there is clear and specific evidence on social media that far-right organizations are planning violent armed actions, and this cannot be tolerated. Indeed, it is essential that, unlike January 6, the Forces of order use all their intelligence tools to avoid a repetition of what we have seen, or worse.
How do you read the events of last Wednesday at the Capitol? Isn’t the American democratic model cracked?
This insurgency was the culmination of a campaign waged, since his electoral defeat, by Trump and his supporters to reverse the results by claiming without evidence that there was fraud and by pressuring officials and elected officials to they refuse to certify these results. On several occasions since November 4, we were on the verge of losing our democracy.
Even on January 6, when the Capitol was besieged from outside the crowd, it was also under siege intellectually from within. You had about a third of Congress playing around with the idea of just rejecting the presidential election results.
But the assault was a warning, a wake-up call about the dangers, about the existence of armed right-wing fanatics who follow Trump and conspiracy theories and will stop at nothing. The masks have fallen. I hope January 6 will be remembered as the day America realized how dangerous President Trump and the movement behind him was.
Many of his former Republican supporters and allies broke with him this week. Biden didn’t say a word. “Our democracy is under an unprecedented assault,” he said, calling it “domestic terrorism”. This could mark the start of a renewal of democracy in my country. I hope so at least.
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How do you assess President Trump’s “many oversights” on the events on Capitol Hill? He hasn’t even said a word publicly for the police officer killed in Wednesday night’s clashes, Brian Sicknick?
Trump seems to care only about himself. He claims to be on the side of the working class, soldiers and law enforcement, but in reality he sees them as “pigeons”. After inciting the crowd, Trump refused to condemn the consequences of his comments.
The Black Lives Matter already speaks of racism to qualify the events of last Wednesday, appreciating the intervention of the police at the Capitol. Would you say the same?
Obviously, if it was a group of black lives matter protesting, they would have been treated very differently from the mob of violent thugs who stormed the Capitol. There is even substantial evidence of direct complicity of the Forces of order with the rioters.
But the racism goes further, because the motivation behind the insurgency, behind the contestation of election results, actually one of the main reasons for Trump to vote, is that many whites are trying to build a firewall around it. what remains of their empire as the demographics of our country continue to change. By 2045, whites will constitute only about half of the population, up from about 83% in 1970. After that, America will become a “majority minority” country. So the “Trumpian” virulence on display on Capitol Hill should be seen as a last desperate and pathetic leap of white racist power moving, though still too slowly, into history.
America has always set itself up as a democratic lesson-giver. Today, she is the laughing stock of the world because of the clumsy actions of Donald Trump and his supporters. Its leadership is even questioned in some parts of the world. In what direction will it be necessary to act to put things right?
This is correct and it is regrettable. There are many things the United States must do to regain its place. Respect human rights at home, tear down the Trump Wall, close Guantanamo, take a world leadership position on the climate issue, contribute to the global fight against poverty and inequality, ensure that we have better relations with democracies and be firmer with dictators, unlike what Trump was doing.
Internally, electoral reform is urgent. The electoral college inherited from slavery gives rural and conservative states a preponderant voice in the choice of the President. The Democratic presidential candidate has now won the popular vote in seven of the last eight elections. But partly because the system empowers rural states, twice (Bush and Trump) the “losing” Republican candidate has been elected. And even this year, although Trump lost by 7 million votes, if he could have “found” 60,000 votes in three key states – as he had attempted to do – he would still have won.
There will of course remain the so dangerous fact that 47% of voters still chose to re-elect Donald Trump and the majority of those voters accepted the propaganda on voter fraud. It is very difficult to make democracy work when a substantial part of a People can be convinced that the truth is a lie and that the lie is true.
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