Is Trump impeachment a good move?

Just a few days before Joe Biden's inauguration, the Democrats are set to launch impeachment proceedings against outgoing US President Donald Trump. The party introduced a resolution to this effect in the House of Representatives on Monday, charging Trump with "incitement of insurrection" before the assault on the Capitol. Europe's press is divided over the timing of the move and whether it is wise to impeach a president who has already been voted out of office.

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Liberal (GR) /

Zero tolerance for political crimes

Impeaching Trump would send an important signal to democracies worldwide, the news website Liberal believes:

“It doesn't matter that there are only a few days left before President Trump's term in office ends. The fact that he incited his fellow citizens to rebel with his claims that the election - the results of which were ratified by the courts - was nothing less than an attempt to overthrow the democratic regime. ... We hope that the new US president will unflinchingly show how to deal with potential coup plotters, and this example must be followed in Europe and in our country in particular. Tolerance for political crimes must end.”

Polityka (PL) /

A symbolic duty - but not only symbolic

Polityka favours impeachment primarily in view of its impact on the outgoing president's future influence:

“Trump's impeachment will - unfortunately - remain an essentially symbolic act. Supporters of the move, however, point out that it is a moral duty of Congress, just as it was that body's moral duty more than a year ago, when the president was accused of urging his Ukrainian counterpart to launch an investigation against Biden's son in order to sully his rival's reputation before the election. This time, the aim is once again to prevent another dangerous and damaging move for the country by the unpredictable president. ... The impeachment could strengthen the security forces' resolve to prevent a new coup attempt by Trump.”

Die Presse (AT) /

Already voted out of office

Die Presse takes the view that the impeachment process is superfluous:

“US voters have already removed Trump from office. On 20 January, Joe Biden will be inaugurated as president. The impeachment process against Trump cannot be completed before that date. And to remove him after the end of his term is a bit late and would merely steal the show from the new man in the White House. Trump no longer deserves that much attention. ... Rarely has a politician disqualified himself as resoundingly as the notorious liar and demagogue Donald Trump. A fundamental principle of democracy is to accept electoral defeat and to relinquish power that has been endowed for a limited period of time. Those who are incapable of doing so should be denied access to the playing field forever. But it is the task of the Republican Party to do this.”

La Vanguardia (ES) /

Better left to the Republicans

It would be more effective to let the Republicans deal with Trump, La Vanguardia believes:

“In this final phase of his mandate, it would be good if Trump were left tarnished by the storming of the Capitol he incited and left with the stigma of what he is: an individual who is unfit to hold that office and should therefore have no possibility of occupying it again in the future. But accusations and removal by the Democrats, however justified, are not necessarily the best way to accomplish this. It would probably be better for him to be repudiated by the Republicans, something which has happened only to a small degree so far. ... A formula must be found to deactivate Trump. It needn't be quick, but it must be definitive.”

Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

Poland and Hungary closely watching Washington

Warsaw and Budapest will keep a close eye on how the US deals with the end of the Trump era, Hospodářské noviny believes:

“In Europe, the question of the rule of law has gained attention mainly because of the situation in Hungary and Poland. Now the focus has shifted to the conclusion of Trump's presidency and what this will mean for the US president and his allies, for example, in criminal justice. Irrespective of all the differences between the legal systems, this will be extremely interesting for Trump's allies in Budapest or Warsaw in terms of assessing their own prospects. It will determine whether and how the rule of law strikes back against those who have undermined it for years.”