This forward-looking vision came less than 24 hours after the Washington Post posted an hour-long phone call in which Trump (aka Mafia Don) attempted to threaten Georgia’s top electoral officials and persuade them to “find” enough votes to upset the state’s election results.
Even so, Kate Bedingfield, an adviser to President-elect Joe Biden, offered Jeffries a similar attitude, saying, “The country is ready to move forward.”
The problem with simply rushing past Mafia Don’s political grave is that ignoring his seditious actions threatens the future of American democracy as much as Trump’s failed efforts in the first place. In short, seditious, treasonous acts that are not controlled create seditious, betrayal acts. In fact, with the twinkle in the eye of the 2024 presidential offers, Senate Republicans are already standing in line to support Trump’s efforts to tear down democracy in order to keep power in check. Trump’s final game is sure to fail on Wednesday during a joint congressional session to confirm election results, but the most important aspect is that many future GOP trumps are waiting in the wings to destroy representative democracy on the way to their own meeting of political goals unless a price is charged for it. And the lesson these Republicans have learned so far – just as Trump learned from his acquittal – is that there is no serious political or other price for betraying the country.
Both the new Biden government and Congress play a role in securing our democracy for generations to come. One is a criminal and the other is a matter of governance. Biden has to call smart, determined leaders to the Justice Department and then just get out of the way and let them do their jobs. To obstruct in any way justice over Trump’s endless assault on the law and constitution would be disastrous for the country’s future. But Biden can easily make these appointments with the Justice Department and then rightly send the message that his administration is focused on getting the ship back in order in the face of the pandemic and stalled economy.
House Democrats, however, cannot afford to just move on as if the threat to our democracy ends when Trump is unceremoniously booted out of the White House residence. This is a blatantly false claim, given the upheaval we are already seeing in the Republican Party. Trump must be held accountable. This can be done in a number of ways, some of which are already in progress.
One way is to make a criminal referral to the FBI for Trump’s attempted election crimes, an investigation into the Reps Ted Lieu from California and Kathleen Rice from New York are already calling on FBI Director Chris Wray to do so.
Another option is to blame Trump for calling Georgian Foreign Minister Brad Raffensperger. Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson, with the support of 90 of his colleagues, tabled a motion of no confidence on Monday. That number is likely to grow in the coming days and weeks when Congress gets back to work – or at least it should rise, given that there are currently 222 Democratic members in the House.
Impeachment is another possible option, but for what purpose at this point? Trump is a little over two weeks away from removal, and as we’ve seen earlier, the GOP-controlled Senate would certainly block the effort. Heck, more than a quarter of the Senate Republican caucus has jumped aboard the team coup at this point.
What seems like a worthy effort, however, is the continued investigation into Trump and his henchmen. Not only does the facts need to come out, but if Democrats want to legislate to protect our democracy from future Trumps, they need to know exactly what action he and his enablers have taken in their sweeping efforts to kneel America’s institutions and systems of government.
But none of these three options – a criminal referral, criticism, and ongoing investigation – simply means “looking ahead”. What is past will haunt the nation, and the Democrats in particular, if it is buried before an autopsy can be performed and people held accountable for their role in fighting and undermining American democracy.