By hamid Bayati  

Trump impeachment and stigmatizing MBS; the fate in the Congress’s hand

December 14, 2018

TEHRAN - Perhaps Mohammed bin Salman failed to imagine that his credibility and royal reputation, or what’s left of it, would depend on U.S. Senate, which has become a nightmare for him.

Bin Salman --, supported by Al Saud's wealth and undisputed U.S. support for the Yemeni war, repression of domestic opposition, hostage taking of the Lebanese Prime Minister, widespread mass repression of Shia Al-Qatif -- thought he could do whatever he wished, but now he is in a situation from which he may not be able to escape.

The honeymoon period for bin Salman ended with the United States in October after the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Meanwhile, although Riyadh tried hard to eliminate bin Salman from the Khashoggi murder case, evidence points to his undeniable role in the assassination.

U.S. Senators have been relying on the hard evidence so far gathered to deal with bin Salman effectively. Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator from South Carolina in an interview with “Fox “ claimed: “If it weren't for the United States, they'd be speaking Farsi in about a week in Saudi Arabia. We need them a lot less than they need us. I think by hooking up with him (MBS) we hurt our ability to govern the region.”

Republican Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has planned to introduce a resolution condemning Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of Khashoggi.

 “While this doesn’t affect policy ... it’s a pretty strong statement for the United States to be making, assuming we can get a vote on it,” Corker said, noting that condemning Mohammed was a bold move by Republicans.

Last week Republican Senator Lindsay Graham also introduced a resolution from a number of Republican and Democratic senators calling for bin Salman to be “co-defendant” in the murder of Khashoggi.

“In response to this resolution, the Washington Post reported that the United States Senate would officially condemn Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman before the end of 2018. With this condemnation, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia will be required to stop other hostile policies in the Persian Gulf.”

Trump has reason to fear he may be impeached 

Some in the U.S. Congress are not only looking to slam bin Salman, but also President Trump, and Trump himself has expressed concern about his own possible impeachment. 

A Congressional source said Trump sees impeachment as a “real possibility.” But Trump isn't certain it will happen, the source added. A separate source close to the White House told CNN that aides inside the West Wing believe “the only issue that may stick” in the impeachment process is the campaign finance violations tied to former Trump attorney Michael Cohen's payouts to Trump's alleged mistresses.

Impeachment talk has ratcheted up in recent days following a blockbuster filing from prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. In that filing, prosecutors directly alleged for the first time that Cohen was being directed by Trump when he broke the law during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Democrats are suggesting Trump committed an impeachable offense and could even be sent to prison when his term in the White House is over. The incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerry Nadler, said Sunday that the allegations if proven, would constitute “impeachable offenses.” Democratic Sen. Chris Coons said Monday Trump could be indicted after he leaves office.

Cohen first made the allegation in court in September that he was directed by Trump to make the payments to the two women, Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. Prosecutors endorsed the allegation in a sentencing document for Cohen on Friday, in which they said Cohen should receive a “substantial sentence” for the crimes he committed, which included campaign finance violations for the payments to the two women, tax fraud and lying to Congress.

Lawyers say that the prosecution of Trump during his presidency is difficult and the only way to dismiss him is to interrogate him first.

Procedurally regarding possible impeachment, charges must be brought by the U.S Congress which then could result in a trial of the President. The law holds that the President, Vice President, and U.S. state officials can be impeached for treason, bribery, and a variety of other possible crimes.

The process of impeachment must start from the House of Representatives and needs to be voted on by the majority of the representatives (half plus one). If this occurs, the trial will be held in the Senate.

At this point, two-thirds of the Senate's votes are needed to dismiss the President. Though the threat of impeachment has been raised on numerous occasions, only two American Presidents have been impeached.

Bill Clinton, the forty-second president of the United States, was impeached for lying to a jury and related malfeasance, but he was not thrown out of office.

The only other president who was impeached in the history of the United States was Andrew Johnson, who served as the 17th President of the United States. He managed to avoid a trial in the U.S. Senate, like Clinton.

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