Former president Donald Trump's second impeachment trial, on charges of incitement to insurrection, is set to begin in the U.S. Senate tomorrow (February 9). For a preview, we turn to an esteemed constitutional scholar and presidential historian whose work has been cited in Supreme Court opinions more often any other active legal scholar's. Akhil Reed Amar is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University Law School. He has won awards from both the American Bar Association and the Federalist Society. He hosts the podcast, Amarica’s Constitution, and he is the author of the forthcoming book, The Words That Made Us: America’s Constitutional Conversation, 1760-1840, to be published this May.
His most recent opinion piece -- suggesting some potent witnesses for the Senate trial -- appears today in the New York Daily News.
President Joe Biden and the Democrats have been in a hurry to wrap up negotiations on their $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan -- with or without Republican support -- in part because the impending impeachment trial will pose a powerful distraction for lawmakers in both chambers.
The Republican opposition to the Biden plan is premised, in part, on the cost. We also note the cost to the American taxpayer that Mr. Trump and his supporters have created in their insistence on fabricating assertions about the validity of the election, and the riot at the U.S. Capitol last month. From legal fees the government has had to pay in frivolous lawsuits, security for poll workers whose lives have been threatened, repairs to the Capitol building after the insurrection and the thousands of National Guard troops deployed to Washington since January 6, the Washington Post estimates that the government has already spent more than a half a billion dollars.
And what will the cost to democracy be if Mr. Trump is acquitted of the impeachment charge he faces tomorrow?
WYPR will carry NPR’s coverage of the historic proceedings tomorrow right after Midday, at 1:00pm Eastern.
Akhil Reed Amar joins us on Zoom…