Say It Ain’t So, Joe: The Failure of Biden To Denounce This Impeachment Is A Missed Presidential Opportunity

This week, President-elect Joe Biden made a highly commendable decision to nominate Judge Merrick Garland as the next United States Attorney General. Like many, I praised Garland as an outstanding choice and a move that advanced Biden’s earlier pledge to seek unity. That is why I was so disappointed in Biden refusing to take a position on the effort to impeach Donald Trump next week. As with his equally inexplicable refusal to take a stand on court packing, Biden’s silence on this clearly unsupportable “snap impeachment” was a missed opportunity to show real leadership when it matters most.  It is not popular to oppose this impeachment, but leadership often demands that presidents take unpopular but correct positions.

Biden stated on Friday that President Trump “isn’t fit to hold the job”  and said that he did not want Trump to attend the inauguration.  I have no problem with that statement. Indeed, Trump himself has said far worse about Biden and he has also stated that he does not want to attend the inauguration.  I also have no problem with calls for Trump’s resignation or a bipartisan statement of condemnation from Congress. However, critics want to push through an impeachment will little discussion or deliberation on highly dubious constitutional grounds.

When asked, Biden stated;

“I’m focused on the virus, the vaccine, and economic growth. What the Congress decides to do is for them to decide,” Biden answered when asked if he supported such moves. … We’re going to do our job and the Congress can decide how to proceed with theirs. That’s a decision for the Congress to make. I’m focused on my job.”

The defense of the Constitution is “his job” and this would gut both the process and the standard for impeachments. This was an opportunity to take a principled stand to unify the country by asking his party to stand down and not pursue a “snap impeachment.”  As I discuss in my column today, this impeachment not only threatens principles underlying impeachment but also free speech in our Constitution.

As with court packing, this is not the time for good people to stand silent even in the face of such unhinged anger. Indeed, Democrats may loathe the day that they embraced the concept of a “snap impeachment” — a contradiction in constitutional terms. Impeachments are designed for deliberative, not impulsive, acts.

Indeed, Biden’s reference to more pressing matters is preciously the point.  He should have asked Congress to focus on those issues and not an impeachment that will not succeed in removal but will succeed in undermining our constitutional system.

There could be evidence to support impeachment but it has to be found outside of this speech. That requires an inquiry.  Biden should oppose any “snap impeachment” to allow for hearings at a minimum.

This was the type of “Say It Ain’t So, Joe” moment that I was hoping for after the election.  Biden could have refused to go along with this plan or to remain silent in the face of a clearly improper use of the impeachment power.  He could still have condemned the speech and the President, as many have done. He could then have asked for his party not to do greater damage by rampaging through the Constitution to try to remove Trump in his final days. That was a presidential moment missed by the President-elect.


347 thoughts on “Say It Ain’t So, Joe: The Failure of Biden To Denounce This Impeachment Is A Missed Presidential Opportunity”

  1. No, Jonathan Turley, the Prez-Elect should just stay out of it. For the violations are of Congressional grounds and personnel so another impeachment, a political act, seems appropriate.
    There is nothing in the Constitution requiring deliberation. 😕
    Just impeach King Donald the Mad. Again.


    Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor who testified in the House against Mr. Trump’s first impeachment, said the latest drive was a rush to judgment out of partisan anger. The fact that Mr. Trump’s critics have called for him to be removed either by impeachment or the 25th Amendment, he said, showed that they are interested only in the outcome, not the legitimacy of the method.

    “This opportunistic use of impeachment would do to the Constitution what the rioters did to the Capitol: leave it in tatters,” Mr. Turley said. “The Democrats,” he added, “should not repeat one impulsive, destructive act in the Capitol with another in such an impeachment.”

    Edited from: “For Trump And The Nation, A Final Test Of Accountability”

    The New York Times, 1/9/21

    I’ve been reading that Republicans expect Democrats to forgive and forget. Like a siege on the Capitol is not ‘that’ big of a deal. As though we should allow Trump the ‘courtesy’ of serving out his remaining 2 weeks.

    So apparently Turley is towing the party line on this matter. Which goes to show Republicans have learned nothing whatsoever from this extraordinary week.

    Turley overlooks the reality that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have to cover their butts. Historians will naturally wonder ‘why’ Trump wasn’t removed from office immediately after the insurrection. It’s an obvious question certain to build over time. Yet a lot can happen in 2 weeks with a rogue president at the helm. Trump has proven, beyond any doubt, that he cannot be trusted with the levers of power.

    If Trump seeks to pull another momentous stunt, Pelosi and Schumer want to have their concerns formally noted in the strongest terms. That’s just common sense for them. If Trump were a general, the Pentagon would strip him of command and confine Trump to a brig. The rules for Commander In Chief should really be no different.

    1. Wow! this is so insightful. Thank you for that great quote

      “This opportunistic use of impeachment would do to the Constitution what the rioters did to the Capitol: leave it in tatters,” Mr. Turley said. “The Democrats,” he added, “should not repeat one impulsive, destructive act in the Capitol with another in such an impeachment.”

  3. Mozilla and its FIREFOX browser are promoting tech censorship and expanded deplatforming because, in part, “reprehensible as the actions of Donald Trump are, the rampant use of the internet to foment violence and hate, and reinforce white supremacy is about more than any one personality”

    I liked using Firefox but I have deleted its app on my devices and will switch to another browser on my computers.

    There is no need to address their vile and untruthful allegations. They speak for themselves. They have made it clear that they are a company I can no longer trust.

    A search shows Firefox market share declining sharply. I suspect this ill considered and somewhat stupid policy declaration maligning about half the country will not reverse the trend to extinction.

    I look forward to the layoffs. They should start with the overgrown zit who thought of this.

    1. Young….Thank you for this information! We too, have Firefox, but will look for another…Please let us know if you find a suitable one.

    2. I too suffered trouble just to get here now & posting. Ph’ MSFT, Foxfire, Facebook, Twitter … Google/Apple, etc.. are trouble for some of us, yet they are toast also going forward, but you have to stop using them & go elsewhere with you biz.

      And remember those same lying b*stards will lie again & tell us the numbers of customers lost now is far greater then the know Liars, like etc.., will admit.

    3. They maligned Trump himself, not most of his supporters. Only those supporters who foment violence and hate and advance white supremacy. Are you one of those?

      1. Really?
        Maybe you can explain this.
        “Trump will be an ex-president in 13 days. The fact is that getting rid of Trump is the easy part,” Twitter. “Cleansing the movement he commands is going to be something else.” – ABC News political director Rick Klein

        1. Really.

          I was responding to a comment that Young made about Firefox. Do you mistakenly think that ABC News is a subsidiary of Firefox? Or were you just not paying attention to the fact that I was responding to Young’s comment about Firefox?

  4. No Calvary Is Coming!


    The growing crowds outside the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon sounded menacing but at bay as senators began to debate challenges to the electoral college vote. A top adviser to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stepped out of the ornate chamber for a short break.

    Alone in the Capitol’s marble halls, just outside the chamber’s bronze doors, it was suddenly apparent that the citadel of U.S. democracy was falling to the mob incited by President Trump.

    A cacophony of screaming, shouting and banging echoed from the floor below. McConnell’s security detail rushed past and into the chamber. The adviser began walking toward the Rotunda and came face to face with a U.S. Capitol Police officer sprinting in the opposite direction. The two made eye contact and the officer forced out a single word: “Run!”

    The aide to McConnell (R-Ky.) darted down a side hallway lined with offices. He jiggled one locked doorknob, then another. A co-worker poked his head out of the office of McConnell’s speechwriter. The adviser lunged, pushing him and a colleague back inside.

    The screaming and shouting soon seemed right outside. Only then, a text alert from Capitol police blared on every phone in the room: “Due to security threat inside: immediately, move inside your office, take emergency equipment, lock the doors, take shelter.”

    Congressional staff members take cover after rioters breach the Capitol.

    Three senior GOP aides piled furniture against the door and tried to move stealthily, worried that the intruders would discover them inside. In waves, the door to the hall heaved as rioters punched and kicked it. The crowd yelled “Stop the steal!” Some chanted menacingly, referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Where’s Nancy? Where’s Nancy?”

    Peering out a window into a courtyard below, the adviser could see scores of people still streaming in — and no police in sight.

    Before Congress met on Jan. 6 to formalize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund had assured members of Congress that his force of 2,000 officers could handle the large expected crowds, according to multiple people who spoke with Sund in the days leading up to the siege.

    But across the Capitol that day, as lawmakers and aides were holed up in offices, closets and conference rooms, a terrifying reality was taking hold — the Capitol police had lost control and no one was coming to save Congress, at least not right away.

    The deaths of five people, including a Capitol police officer, were linked to the riot. During their rampage, marauders came perilously close to penetrating the inner sanctums of the Capitol while lawmakers were still there, according to a reconstruction of the events based on eyewitness videos and interviews with nearly 40 lawmakers, staff members and law enforcement officials. The belated emergency response carried out with the help of the D.C. police, FBI and National Guard came after pleas by people sheltering throughout the complex.

    Edited from: “Inside The Capitol Siege: How Barricaded Lawmakers And Aides Sounded Urgent Pleas For Help As Police Lost Control”

    Today’s Washington Post

    1. For the past several years these people have been telling us riots are a good thing. Even the Michigan capitol was invaded and taken over by slobs, but all for the greater good we were assured.

      What happened to change their tunes?

      The politicians and Capitol didn’t even get the Portland or Minneapolis treatment.

      Hard not to despise the lot of them. Those of us who once cared about civility, who cared about law, who respected those in our courts and legislatures, don’t so much anymore and that should worry all of us. Despite the media narrative, that was no terrifying riot in the capital, but if it had been I am not sure I would care. I don’t care about those people anymore. If they stuff their pockets with graft, I don’t care. If they are led to the Gemonian Stairs mumbling ‘but once I was your leader’, I don’t care. I will mind my own business and grow cabbages.

  5. Your extremely obvious role in this Insurrection will be noted and investigated. What Kompromat does Putin have on you? You will henceforth ONLY be remembered as the Main Apologist for a Fascist. Nice way to ruin your own legacy, Turd.

  6. Jake Tapper: “Source close to the vice president tells me while the VP and his family were in a bunker in the Capitol, the President did not reach out to check on his safety or condemn those who said the VP should be executed.”

    Chris Hayes: “Some in the crowd chanted “HANG MIKE PENCE” And to top it all off AFTER THE CROWD HAD BREACHED THE CAPITOL, perhaps the very moment they were asking aloud where Pence was, and chanting “HANG MIKE PENCE”, Trump ***sent out a tweet attacking Mike Pence.***”

    Trump’s tweet on the afternoon of Jan. 6: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution”

    Shimon Prokupecz: “Vice President Pence has not ruled out an effort to invoke the 25th amendment and wants to preserve it as an option in case Trump becomes more unstable, a source close to the VP says.”

  7. I agree with Professor Turley and Alan Dershowitz, this impeachment effort is unconstitutional and purely vindictive. It’s only going to make both sides angrier and damage free speech. President-Elect Biden should have gently warned the Democrats off.

    The American people are not happy with Pelosi to begin with–she actually lost House seats. If the President-Elect can’t confront the House openly about this, he should at least work behind the scenes to kill this impeachment.

    1. Impeachment is a matter for the Legislative branch, not the Executive branch. It’s not up to Biden.

      It’s not unconstitutional. It’s literally written into the Constitution that Congress can impeach for high crimes and misdemeanors. Trump has been trying to overturn the election results and stay in office.

    2. Dershowitz cares nothing for the constitution or the truth; he is a poseur and a pathological liar. The country is gone. We know who did it; we know their names; and no one cares. God Bless the former United States of America. You are now living in the Soviet Union. Oh, sure: when it’s convenient, they will defend the Constitution. But when the Constitution gets in the way of their own power and greed, then the One Percent will excrete all over said Constitution. The judiciary failed. The Supreme Court failed. The FBI, CIA, and DOJ failed. And the Republican Party failed. An oligarchy seized hold of the country and now y’all will be permanent serfs. Court packing is coming. Pogroms against Christians are coming. Expect the likes of Andrew Weissman to begin targeting the vulnerable, the marginalized, the conservative, and the Christian. Why not? He got away with unethical conduct for years, his fellow travelers stole an election, and the institutions of the state sat back and allowed it to occur because every single one of them is fatally compromised. The United States remains a credible military threat to other countries, but it is no longer respected as a moral hegemon. It is now a country in fatal decline. And it could have been stopped a dozen times over. No Constitution can survive when the government entities designed to uphold it simply refuse to do so.

      1. “No Constitution can survive when the government entities designed to uphold it simply refuse to do so.”

        100% agree.

      2. Trump failed.

        Trump and his enablers are the single biggest reason that the US is no longer respected as a moral hegemon.

        1. he US is no longer respected as a moral hegemon.

          You’re either a Millennial who knows nothing of anything which happened prior to 2009 or you fancy the rest of us are as memory-impaired as the incoming President.

          1. Neither.

            What would you nominate as the single biggest reason that the US is no longer respected as a moral hegemon?

            1. Amazing. We are “No longer respected” but multiple millions of people every year, legal and illegal seek to enter our country. Clearly there is Something we are doing right.

          2. I see the problem with most Americans as they only watch biased news and do not read any foreign news. They really have no idea what is going on in the rest of the world or how other countries operate.

  8. I have a question for Prof. Turley. Is it even constitutional to impeach a president who is no longer president? There is no way it gets done in the next 11 days. If it is legal, who’s next? Bush? Teddy Roosevelt? Herbert Hoover?

  9. Sen. Sherrod Brown, “Both @HawleyMO and @SenTedCruz have betrayed their oaths of office and abetted a violent insurrection on our democracy. I am calling for their immediate resignations. If they do not resign, the Senate must expel them.”

    Should be an interesting debate.

  10. Just so we all understand what the President is saying. These are some of his words.

    “I would like to begin by addressing the heinous attack on the United States Capitol, like all Americans I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem.” …

    “A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20th. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation”

    “To the citizens of our country, serving as your president has been the honor of my lifetime. And to all of my wonderful supporters, I know you are disappointed but I also want you to know that our incredible journey is only just beginning”

  11. Trump as the winner had problems, sure, but at least he tried to stay within the Constitution. He accepted the word of legal experts, sometimes, because he knew he didn’t know enough to win within the law. But Trump as the loser is the worst. He’s painted himself into the corner where the only choice he allows himself is with his dangerous moron supporters. He may think his words don’t really incite violence – no, not really – but the only ones listening are unable to do anything but riot and rampage. That’s why impeachment makes sense. You may think these are Trump’s “last days”, after which he’ll go quietly, but after Wednesday, who can be sure? He’s still listening to those dangerous wackos, and may feel he has no choice but to encourage them. Biden was wise to stay out of it. He can only hope – like the rest of us – that Congress’ action may convince them that it’s over. He’ll have problems enough after the 20th.

    1. 74 million voted for Trump that had nothing to do with that small groups violent actions. They are not going away even if Trump leaves politics. They will remember Trump did not get us into any new foreign military actions. Made the country energy independent that was only talked about for decades.

  12. During 2nd debate, when pressed on question, Biden, in his all-to-often angry snap, asserted that “he is the democrat party”. Guess he was lying. Irony here is that Trump spent four years making unpopular decisions: a true leader. Now Biden is quickly revealing himself as the nasty partisan he has demonstrated for 5 years! Get ready for more disappointment!

    -Earn Valuable Prizes by Reporting Dangerous Activities

    WASHINGTON, DC- The Party today announced its new Party Points program, which was adopted as part of the historic domestic terrorism legislation enacted by President Biden earlier this week. Party Points can be used to earn valuable prizes as well as privileges under the Party’s social credit program.

    Party Points can be earned by reporting persons engaged in dangerous activities such as supporting domestic terrorist Donald Trump and his allies. Points can also be earned by reporting persons known or suspected of questioning the results of the 2020 election or making inappropriate comments about the hairstyle of senior Party official Nancy Pelosi, who the Party has entrusted to be third in line for the nation’s nuclear launch codes.

    “Earning Party Points is easy and fun. This morning on the way to my part-time job at the non-profit, I earned 100 points just for using the new Party Points app to upload a picture of a pickup truck with a Trump bumper sticker,” said Hope Taylor (they/them/their) of Round Rock, Texas. “On my break, I redeemed my Party Points for a caramel macchiato at the Starbucks downstairs. My macchiato tasted so much better knowing that I helped bring a domestic terrorist to justice,” they concluded.

    “I literally feared for my life when my mother wondered whether the 2020 election might have been tainted. The Party Points app even let me report her anonymously, so she doesn’t even know it was me,” said Shannon Haggerty-Jones (he/him/his) of Lake Forest, Illinois. “The Points put me over the top for a new iPhone 12 Pro Max. But what really rocks is that the Party will cover my college tuition while my mother is being re-educated,” Haggerty-Jones added.

    The Party Points app is available on all major Party-affiliated technology platforms, including Google, Twitter, TikTok, and WeChat. Points can be redeemed at participating retailers nationwide and can also be used to earn privileges such as interstate travel.

    Blog moderators and readers will recognize that the foregoing is intended as satire to foster discussion on important issues relating to the role of the government, the rule of law, and free speech.

    1. Party Secretariat for Safety and Unity says on January 9, 2021 at 4:53 PM: “Blog moderators and readers will recognize that the foregoing is intended as satire to foster discussion on important issues relating to the role of the government, the rule of law, and free speech.”

      Excellent…it could have come from The Onion website…LOL

    2. Recognized as satire immediately. However, reading some comments here suggest they would like it to be true.

  14. Big mistake voting for Joke Biden.Imagine: he compared Ted Cruz to Goebbles and he hasn’t
    even been sworn in yet. Meantime an ABC top honcho called for “cleansing” all Trump supporters,
    i.e. over 75 million Americans. He didn’t mean giving us all a bubble bath but actually
    exterminating us and anyone else who dares to dissent including respected intellectuals
    and freedom loving folks who at some point in time have voted for them…

      1. You can’t think past the present and imagine that others are like you. I wouldn’t trade my future for any amount of money.

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