As the anniversary of last year’s riot on Capitol Hill approaches, progressive politicians and pundits have attempted to tie former President Donald Trump to a supposed insurrection.
Of course, none of the suspects arrested in connection with the riot are facing charges of insurrection, rebellion, or sedition, leading one conservative writer to conclude that the rhetoric is influenced primarily by an effort to kill Trump’s influence in American politics.
As Byron York wrote in a recent piece for the Washington Examiner, the left seems determined to use the Jan. 6 Capitol breach as a means to destroy any possibility that Trump could be elected to office in the future.
The matter is currently being investigated by a House committee dominated by Democrats and could advance to the Department of Justice, potentially concluding with criminal charges against Trump or the invocation of constitutional provision disqualifying him from office.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), one of the two Republicans on the panel and a fierce critic of Trump, openly discussed the agenda following two failed impeachment efforts that sought to bar the then-president from holding office in the future.
Cheney has accused Trump of “dereliction of duty” for failing to intervene during the riot, pushing her perspective on the topic during a recent ABC News appearance.
In response to a question about the possibility of “criminal negligence” charges against Trump, the congresswoman replied that there were “potential criminal statutes at issue here,” but there was “no question that it was a dereliction of duty.”
As for what her panel is most interested in probing, Cheney said it includes determining “whether we need enhanced penalties for that kind of dereliction of duty.”
Making her personal bias known, the lawmaker asserted that Trump “is clearly unfit for future office, clearly can never be anywhere near the Oval Office ever again.”
To the overwhelmingly pro-Trump majority of her party, she urged them to “reject insurrection, to reject what happened on Jan. 6, and to make sure that Donald Trump is not our nominee and that he’s never anywhere close to the reins of power ever again.”
As York pointed out, however, dereliction of duty, even if proved, is not a crime. More importantly, Congress cannot retroactively make it a crime or pass any law specifically targeting Trump individually.
Congress has only a few other options available to prevent Trump from seeking office, including a constitutional provision initially aimed at barring former Confederate officials from holding office after the Civil War. In the end, it all seems to come down to one thing for anti-Trump politicians on both sides of the aisle: do whatever it takes to kill any chance of a second term in the White House.