Democratic Congressman David Cicilline –He Leads Our Nation in the Necessary Second Impeachment of Demagogue/Insurrectionist Donald Trump January 14, 2021
Donald Trump has made dubious history again. On 1/13/2021, our lying Demagogue-in-Chief has become the first “President” of our nation to be impeached for a second time, 232-197. This time, unlike in 12/2019, when Trump was impeached for extorting Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, the vote was bi-partisan. Ten GOPers, including third-ranking Republican Liz Cheney of Wyoming, voted along with all the House Democrats to approve the Article of Impeachment. This vote was taken with thousands of National Guard troops surrounding the DC area and the Capitol. The House rightly voted to impeach Donald, even though he has one week to go before he leaves office and Democrat Joe Biden becomes President. Why? In order to preserve our democracy and make it clear that such conduct by any future American Chief Executive will not be tolerated. As anyone living on this planet knows by now, on 1/06/2021, Trump incited a mob that attacked the Capitol while Congress was meeting to affirm Democrat Joe Biden’s 11/03/2020 Electoral College victory. Hundreds of people, attacked the Capitol by climbing ropes. They had weapons and broke glass to get inside. Lawmakers were forced to flee for their lives in a rampage that killed five people, including a Capitol Policeman (See nytimes.com, Fandos, 1/13/21).
On 1/12/2021, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi named nine managers, or the prosecutors who will present the evidence against Donald in the Senate trial. They are all attorneys who have expertise in constitutional law, civil rights, and law enforcement. They come from all over the country and represent different ideological wings of the Democratic Party. Seven of these nine are people of color, LGBTQ, or women (nytimes.com, Broadwater & Cochrane, 1/13/21). One of them is Congressman David Cicilline .
Cicilline was a key drafter of the Article of Impeachment that passed the House, Article I: Incitement of Insurrection. On 1/06/2021, Cicilline and his staff went into hiding in the Rayburn Office Building. He gave shelter to CA Dem. Cong. Ted Lieu. Cicilline and Lieu saw throngs of rioters, some carrying Confederate flags, smashing doors and windows. Lieu texted his wife and parents to let them know he was safe and in lockdown. Cicilline and Lieu understood that they were in the middle of an attempted coup incited by Trump. On social media, Donald had told his supporters to descend on Washington on Jan. 6 and said it would be “wild (latimes.com, 1/10/21).” On 1/06/2021, Trump gave an inflammatory speech to the crowd of thousands assembled at DC’s Ellipse. He riled them up with false claims of mass election fraud, which he had repeated endlessly since his election loss to Biden. Donald told this crowd, “We will not take it anymore and that’s what this is all about. To use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal.” Trump directed them to march to the Capitol. He said, “You’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.” The insurrectionists followed his orders. They marched to the Capitol to stop Congress from accepting the certified Electoral College results. They scaled the wall, beat police with lead pipes and stampeded their way inside. Trump tweeted a video telling the Capitol rioters, “we love you (latimes.com, 1/10/21).” IMHO, this type of speech is advocacy “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” Under the 1969 Brandenburg v. Ohio decision, this action can be restricted (See Trachtman, The Supremes’ Greatest Hits,”2d Edition, 2007, 2009, 2016).
Sheltering in place and fearing what a mob incited by Trump would do next, Congressmen Lieu and Cicilline decided that they had to impeach Donald again. Cicilline, Lieu, and Cong. Jaime Raskin, later appointed lead impeachment manager, worked late into the evening with House Judiciary staff on drafting the article of impeachment. It was not a difficult one to write (latimes.com, 1/10/21). In the final article of impeachment that passed the House, more of Trump’s incendiary rhetoric was added clearly demonstrating how he incited “big time” this MAGA-loving crowd. The impeachment article Cicciline helped write quoted Trump as saying his big lie over again, “we won this election, and we won it by a landslide.” Cicilline and his co-writers also wrote in the impeachment article how Trump willfully made statements that, “in context, encouraged—and foreseeably resulted in lawless action at the Capitol,” a Brandenburg violation. They put in the key Trump statement that got the mob lawlessly running to attack the Capitol-- “if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.” Translation: “Go out to the Capitol and ‘take your country back,’ making Trump the electoral winner,” even though such action was 1,000% illegal. Cicilline and his co-authors additionally noted in their impeachment article that Trump’s 1/06/2021 agitation of the crowd was not an outlier/one time deal. He had engaged in a prior 1/02/2021 telephone call to subvert and obstruct the results of the 2020 presidential election with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. He told Rafffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn GA’s presidential election results and threatened Raffensperger if he failed to comply. The impeachment article rightly concludes that Trump “threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and betrayed his trust as President.” It aptly called Trump a continuing “threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution, requiring impeachment.” He should be impeached for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Cicilline and his co-authors added that under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment any person who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States is prohibited from holding any office under the United States (nytimes.com, Article I: INCITEMENT OF INSURRECTION).” The 14th Amendment’s Section 3 was aimed at barring Confederates who had tried to overthrow our government by fighting in the Civil War. How appropriate for Confederate-loving Trump, the heir to secessionist chief Jefferson Davis and his crew. If Trump’s 1/06/2021 and 1/02/2021 actions don’t constitute impeachment, nothing does. Here's impeachment drafter/manager Cong. Cicilline.
Sixth-term Congressman David Cicilline (59) currently represents Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District (CD). The RI 1st contains part of the cities of Providence as well as Newport. Pawtucket also lies in the Ocean State 1st. The 1st takes in much of Providence, including the East Side and College Hill around Ivy League Brown University. In recent years, Providence has revived itself physically with a waterfront, active night life, and restoration of neighborhoods around the state capitol. Pawtucket has rehabbed many abandoned mills and lofts, created an arts district downtown, and commercial space for entrepreneurs. In the south part of the 1st, on the ocean is the old city of Newport. Newport is the home of restored 18th Century houses and the summer “cottages/”mansions of famous 19th Century industrial titans. Newport has been the home to the America’s Cup races and has hosted a popular jazz festival since 1954. Newport is the site of the famous Touro Synagogue, the oldest Jewish house of worship in N. America. President George Washington once told that congregation that the U.S. gives “to bigotry no sanction, to persecution, no assistance.” RI is heavily Italian-American and French-Canadian American. The 1st is more French-Canadian and the less Italian of RI’s two congressional districts. It has a current “Royal Blue” Cook PVI (Partisan Voting Index) of D+14 (Cohen & Cook 2020 Political Almanac). RI is a heavily Democratic state and voted for Biden over Trump by nearly 21 points (Cohen & Cook 2020, google.com, 12/16/20).
Providence, RI native David Cicilline is the middle of five children. At age 17, his Catholic father eloped with his 16-year-old Jewish mother. David grew up celebrating the traditions of both faiths, but now identifies as Jewish. His father was a criminal-defense attorney. Cicilline received his 1983 undergraduate degree from Brown University. At Brown, he founded a chapter of the College Democrats, and worked two jobs waiting tables. He was a classmate of the late JFK Jr. At Brown, Cicilline came out as gay, and was fortunate to have a supportive family. He received a 1986 law degree from Georgetown University and then worked in D.C. as a public defender for juveniles. After returning to RI, he won election to the RI House and served there for four terms (1995-2003). In that chamber, Cicilline pushed to raise the legal age from buying a gun from 13 to 18 and fought attempts to restrict abortion rights (Cohen & Cook Almanac 2020, cnn.com, 1/12/21). In 2002, he won election to the first of two terms as mayor of Providence, where he served from 2003-2011. He was the first openly gay mayor of a state capital city. He ran as a reformer against the two-decade reign of Buddy Cianci who was convicted of corruption. Cicilline was president of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors (Cohen & Cook 2020).
When 1st CD Dem. Congressman Patrick Kennedy, son of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, decided not to run again in 2010, Cicilline won the Democratic congressional primary. Cicilline beat his GOP opponent by a narrow margin because of his Providence’s economic problems when he was mayor. In 2012, Cicilline narrowly won again because he was criticized for not having been forthcoming about Providence’s economic problems. However, in his 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020 Cicilline easily coasted to re-election. In 2020, Cicilline clobbered his GOP rival by a 55% margin (Cohen & Cook 2020, CQ 117th Cong. Early Guide).
In Congress, Rep. Cicilline has established himself as an outspoken liberal which has helped him in his super “Blue” district. He has voted with “Team Blue” 96% of the time and has been described as a “Populist-Leaning Liberal (projects.washingtonpost.com,issues2000.org).” He has voted with Demagogue/Insurrectionist Donald a mere 14% of the time and in the present 117th Congress none of the time (projectsfivethirtyeight.com). Cicilline’s 1st CD standing has been elevated by Democratic leadership’s view of him. After Democrats took back the House in 2018, Speaker Pelosi created a new leadership position specifically for him—Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. In that post, Cicilline developed a policy agenda and communications strategy to unify Democrats in Congress. He was also put on the powerhouse Judiciary Committee where he serves as Chair of the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law. He serves on the major Foreign Affairs Committee. Cong. Cicilline forcefully spoke out against GOP budget cuts to programs for low-income citizens. On the Judiciary Committee, Cicilline strongly went after Facebook chairman Mark Zuckerberg for lying to Congress about Facebook’s data-sharing practices which helped Trump in 2016. Cicilline criticized Zuckerberg for turning “a blind eye to the spread of hate speech and Russian propaganda on its platform.” Facebook and other key social media giants have finally banned Donald from their platforms (too little and too late) after he incited his MAGA wackos to conduct a coup against our democracy. Cong. Cicilline has repeatedly sponsored gun control legislation in Congress, whether in the minority or majority (Cohen & Cook 2020). Cicilline, of course, voted twice to impeach Donald. He is interested in climbing further up the Democratic leadership ladder. His strong role as an impeachment drafter and soon-to-be manager will certainly help.
Although the impeachment trial against Donald will probably begin during the Biden Administration, as Cong. Cicilline noted, this charge must not be dropped. As Cicilline stated prior to the House’s impeachment vote, “we do not have a choice. This impeachment charge is meant to defend the integrity of the republic. Both Democratic and Republican members of Congress must attend to the duties of their oath. Failing to act would set an irresponsibly dangerous precedent for future presidents who are about to leave office.” Cong. Cicilline noted, “there can be no healing of the divisions in our country without justice for the man most responsible for this horrific insurrection. The president must be held accountable. That can happen only by impeaching him for a second time and convicting him in the Senate. A conviction that would allow Congress to prohibit him from ever serving in federal office again. What happened last Wednesday (1/06/2021) was an abomination. Mr. Trump becomes more of a threat to public safety by the moment (Cicilline, D., nytimes.com, 1/11/21).” Cong. David Cicilline must be remembered as one of the true heroes of our democracy.