Impeachment: only 2 so far, and no convictions

President Andrew Johnson
Library of Congress/Mathew Brady
President Andrew Johnson
I don’t have a clear personal opinion on the question of whether it would be advisable for Democrats to initiate any halfway serious moves toward impeaching the current incumbent president. There’s plenty to work with, high crime and misdemeanor-wise, especially considering that the possible meaning of those terms is completely open to discussion. More below.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi advises against it, for now.

Leaving aside the legal/constitutional/crime/misdemeanor considerations for a moment, I assume Pelosi attaches significant weight to the understanding that, even if the House impeached Donald Trump (on whatever charges, and as I said, there’s material there) on a roughly party-line vote (since Democrats control the House it seems perhaps possible), all that does is pass the baton to the Senate.

The Republican-controlled Senate would conduct a trial, requiring a two-thirds vote for conviction/removal. Two-thirds vote. That would require at least 20 Republican senators to vote to convict/remove Trump. Hard to imagine that’s how it goes.

So the question is not really a substantive one, requiring us to try to figure out the meaning of the Constitution’s “high crime/misdemeanor” language. To me, it looks more like a partisan/political/strategic question. Pelosi is widely considered a shrewd one on such questions. For the moment, I’d encourage Democrats to be guided by her instincts and reading of the situation.

Trump weighed in in his usual sober, law-based way on the question, with a double tweet (here and here). If you didn’t click through, (spoiler alert) he claims to have been the most transparent POTUS ever, promises to “drain the swamp,” and asserts that he has committed no crimes or misdemeanors, but Hillary did.

Prediction: Congressional Republicans will take direction from Trump more reliably than Democrats will from Pelosi.

Trump is, of course, a student of history, right? So he knows that only two presidents have ever been impeached, and neither was removed. And he knows that one of those, Bill Clinton, was impeached for lying about his sex life. (Watch out, Trump.)

The other impeachee was post-Civil War President Andrew Johnson. Johnson was charged (impeached) by the House, and came within one vote of being convicted (removed) by the Senate, for the crime of firing a member of his own Cabinet without congressional approval.

Yes, you read that right. If you knew it already, forgive me for showing off. But it never ceases to amaze me that a president firing a disloyal member of his Cabinet constituted the highest crime (in terms of how close a president ever came to being convicted/removed) in the history of the impeachment process.

Johnson was a southerner, in the Civil War era, whom Abe Lincoln put on the ticket during his 1864 re-election campaign as a gesture of regional reconciliation and to reward “Tennessee” Johnson for staying loyal to the Union when his own state seceded.

Then Lincoln was assassinated, and suddenly: President Johnson (who was also a lifelong Democrat, except when he ran with Lincoln in 1864 as part of the ticket of the short-lived “National Union” Party.

Of course the Republican-controlled Congress didn’t like Johnson, wanted to get rid of him, and came within a single Senate vote of doing it.

Which gets me to the other history-nerd impeachment lesson. No less a revered figure than Gerald Ford, in his days as a high-ranking Republican member of the House, very much wanted to impeach Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, basically for being a flaming liberal (which Douglas was).

This was during the Nixon administration (but before Nixon made Ford vice president). Ford was angry that the Senate had rejected two Nixon nominees to the Supreme Court. So he argued for the impeachment of Douglas, and Ford got a bit of — but not nearly enough — support to get that done.

It’s a pretty strange and interesting tale, especially for those wondering about exactly what the famous constitutional impeachment phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors” might mean. Ford complained about Douglas writing articles for a magazine that also published risqué photos (not, you understand, risqué photos by or of Douglas or even photos accompanying his article).

In the course of making his argument for impeaching Douglas, Ford uttered this famous quote (or slightly famous, among impeachment history nerds):

“An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history.”

That standard would be bad for the current incumbent. And, of course, Ford saying it doesn’t make it true, with respect to Douglas or Trump either, except in a very basic instrumental sense that the Constitution grants the power of impeachment to a simple majority vote of the House, with no guidance except the mysterious phrase in the constitutional language “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Douglas, unimpeached, went on to set a record as the longest-serving Supreme Court member.

I’m also a Constitution nerd.  I know the sacred document contains many riddles and anachronism, with which we are sort of stuck (or of which we don’t always know what to make). But that clause about requiring a two-thirds vote in the Senate to convict and remove an impeached president is no riddle, and no anachronism.

So the question of whether the House should impeach Trump is not whether it will result in his early removal. It almost certainly won’t. And if it’s not that, what is the purpose and what interest does it advance?

Oh, in my ludicrous haste to display my obsession with impeachment history, I almost forgot to mention that Trump, in his impeachment mini-tweet-storm of yesterday, made a weird threat that if the House tries to impeach him, he will ask the Supreme Court to block the action, presumably (you can read the tweet) on the theory that the court might choose to decide that nothing alleged against Trump constitutes a “high crime” or “misdemeanor.” (Read the tweets, linked above.)

I’ll concede that, according to tradition, the high court can consider what words in the Constitution mean. I feel fairly confident that the Supremes would rule that it’s up to the House to define the mysterious term, and that the matter is not justiciable. But it is the case that, if the House impeaches a president, which creates the requirement that Senate conduct a trial to decide whether to remove him, the Constitution does say quite clearly, Article I, Section 3, subsection 6, that the presiding officer over the Senate trial of the impeached president shall be the chief justice of the Supreme Court.

That would be a nerd riot.

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Comments (54)

  1. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 04/25/2019 - 09:55 am.

    ” I’d encourage Democrats to be guided by her (Pelosi) instincts and reading of the situation.” (Eric Black)

    If followed – his is statement is a sure path to victory for the GOP.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/25/2019 - 03:35 pm.

      I think you are grossly overestimating the extent to which the voting public shares your abhorrence of Speaker Pelosi.

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 04/25/2019 - 10:05 am.

    It might become 3, but I hope not. The current thinking among talking heads I’ve seen on TV who weigh in on it is that Trump hopes to delay the fallout from the Mueller report, etc., which is why he’s urging White House staff and others who might be subpoenaed to refuse to cooperate (a strategy that seems essentially illegal to begin with to me, keeping in mind that I’m not a lawyer, but which fits the mob boss mentality Trump has displayed during and since the election of 2016) with the House. By the time any impeachment is settled by the assumed acquittal by a spineless Senate, the next election will be over, and, of course, Trump assumes, maybe not entirely justifiably, that he will win a second term. For the country’s sake, rather than impeachment, my own 2¢ is that we’d be far better off putting someone else in the Oval Office in 2020 – from either party – who is not connected to the current administration, literally or ideologically, and who has, shall we say, a better-developed sense that the office is not about self-aggrandizement or stroking of ego (though everyone who seeks the office almost surely has an ample supply of that ego stuff). The message I’d like to see voters send to candidates is that we’re not electing a king.

  3. Submitted by Leonard Foonimin on 04/25/2019 - 11:17 am.

    The Mueller Report is in, but so what? That Donald J. Trump is a narcissistic, ignorant, sociopath, totally unfit to serve is self evident from his words, tweets and actions.

    Democrats need to stop talking about Impeachment, (which will never happen given the Senate makeup and would only make Pence President) and move on to defeating Trumpism with an agenda carefully crafted by listening not to the siren song of Identity Politics, rather the voices of the nations moderate middle. Center left Democrats, Independents, and disaffected Republicans.

    Democrats need to tamp down the radical left minority of the party and concentrate on what matters. Pragmatic policies that address health care, infrastructure, and yes, global warming, but in ways that are meaningful in light of our current reality.

    Let’s not just check boxes in the nomination process but select an individual that can actually get elected in a General Election.

  4. Submitted by Bruce Adomeit on 04/25/2019 - 11:19 am.

    Andrew Johnson wasn’t removed from the presidency, but the day after his impeachment trial began in the U.S. Senate, he lost his tie to Minnesota: Andy Johnson County had been named for him in 1863, but the name was changed to Wilkin County on March 6, 1868. Sic transit gloria mundi.

  5. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 04/25/2019 - 11:26 am.

    Eric asks: “So the question of whether the House should impeach Trump is not whether it will result in his early removal. It almost certainly won’t. And if it’s not that, what is the purpose and what interest does it advance?”

    To me, it is important that Trump be formally reprimanded, held to account, for the non-indictable crimes he has committed against the country. He simply can’t be allowed to get away with his disdain for the law and the Constitutional separation of powers that grants to Congress certain powers.

    Trump needs to be marked, for history, as formally impeached. He may win re-election in 2020–that would validate his dictatorial tendencies and actions, and remove the threat of criminal charges through the expiring statute of limitations.)

    The House so marked two other Presidents with impeachment without Senate conviction, and almost marked Richard Nixon. (When I think of the impeachment of Bill Clinton “for lying about a sexual affair,” I cringe; by comparison the enormity of Trump’s crimes screams out at us!)

    The Republican-dominated Senate can do what it wants. The impeachment by the House of Representatives, following hearings for the public so the millions who won’t read the Mueller report can learn about Trump’s awful behaviors, is historically a significant thing. Trump will know that he didn’t win one, That he was chastised, at long last. That’s a good thing.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/25/2019 - 02:23 pm.

      Impeachment will do nothing to hold him to account. Nothing. Zero. Nada.

      Defeating him in 2020 is the only thing that will.

    • Submitted by Rosalie O'Brien on 04/25/2019 - 02:25 pm.

      I think this is correct.

      It seems that many of us slip into thinking of this in the alternative: either impeach or vote out of office. Perhaps that’s because the sheer volume of reasons why this man should not be in office has become so overwhelming to think about that, faced with the solidity of his base in both the Senate and the popular vote, we’re concerned that the amount of energy required to pursue corrective action is so overwhelming that to do both seems impossible.

      But there is no reason that both can’t occur, and in fact well-drafted articles of impeachment could themselves have a persuasive effect on the voting public. Recall, “impeachment” is only the bringing of the action by the House, and that could certainly be done well before the primaries.

      The two are only alternatives if viewed only as effective means of removing Mr. Trump from office, and in that sense it’s risky to shelve impeachment at this time. Considering the loudness and, thanks to social media in addition to news media, pervasiveness of his voice, it is not impossible that he could be re-elected. Then not only would the statute of limitations have run on his criminal actions, as Ms. Sullivan points out, but also the people of this country, as represented by those in the House, would be in the truly ignominious position of seeming either to have in effect said “oh, no big deal” to his many statements and acts that are unacceptable in a President, or to have foolishly assumed the outcome of the election.

      It’s easy to say “someone other than he, whether Republican or Democratic,” but at present it seems that the only possible way there would be a Republican candidate other than Mr. Trump, though highly unlikely, could be if he’s impeached (not convicted, just impeached) in such a strong way that it’s impossible to ignore the essence–and truth–of his unfitness. And while there are some fine Democratic potential candidates, it remains to be seen, in a search for perfection as perceived by a wide variety of voters faced with a complex characteristics and the potential for one wrong step by a seeming front-runner to spell curtains, whether the Democratic party will be able to coalesce behind one with sufficient vigor to prevail, much as we fervently hope so.

      • Submitted by Rosalie O'Brien on 04/25/2019 - 02:43 pm.

        By “this,” I meant Ms. Sullivan’s comment. Sorry for any confusion!

        • Submitted by Richard Steuland on 04/26/2019 - 03:04 am.

          Impeachment process of public hearings will gradually build public support for Trumps impeachment. Evidence shows he has committed impeachable offensive I see that the moderate Republicans are starting to gather and I think Trump will face the desertion of many who are seeking re-election. It’s known that Russia continues to interfer in our electoral process with Trump giving it a blind eye. Expose a Trump and all those who seek to derail the a Constitution. Shine the Light and watch the cockroaches run for cover. Restore respect for the office of the Presidency , Impeach this imposter.

  6. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/25/2019 - 11:36 am.

    Better for Trump to suffer a thousand cuts from Pelosi and varied congressional investigations, spread out over the next 20 months, than a much shorter party line impeachment vote and then on to the Senate for no action.

  7. Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/25/2019 - 11:40 am.

    If both political parties are not on board, impeachment is not an option. Republicans turned on Nixon and he would have been impeached and convicted. Democratic Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was impeached (114-1) and convicted (59-0) because the Democrats turned on him. Republican Missouri governor Eric Greitens resigned before Republican legislators could impeach him. But as of right now, most Republicans are not in support of impeaching Trump.

    Democrats need to focus on defeating Trump at the ballot box in 2020.

    • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 04/25/2019 - 02:55 pm.

      Impeachment is only a matter that involves the House of Representatives. Then the Senate can convict. Or not.

      Trump would still stand impeached. That would be an historic shame for him. He needs that.

      • Submitted by Steve Rose on 04/26/2019 - 05:30 am.

        I don’t think that the scarlet “I” is the mark that you believe it to be. Bill Clinton had fairly strong job approval numbers, even after impeachment. When the Clinton Presidency is discussed, is his impeachment central to the discussion?

        If the House thinks impeachment is a priority, they should pursue it. The President will surely be able to use that to his advantage.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/26/2019 - 10:30 am.

          “The President will surely be able to use that to his advantage.”

          That speaks volumes about Trump’s supporters, doesn’t it? Whatever else one might be able to say about them, they certainly aren’t constrained by ethical considerations.

          • Submitted by Steve Rose on 04/26/2019 - 07:08 pm.

            It speaks to the priorities of a party. Will the House pursue the people’s business or will they squander their time and the people’s money on a worthless pursuit. The latter is very easily criticized by the President. So, please proceed by all available means with articles of impeachment!

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/28/2019 - 01:40 pm.

              Or will the defenders of Trump wake up and smell the covfefe and realize that the man they support so loyally, so slavishly, is corrupt, lawless, and operates with an utter disdain for the Constitution and the principles of American government?

              You’ve pretty much given your answer. Conservatives, for all their talk about the “rule of law” and “hypocrisy,” are more than willing to stand by one of their own. Morals be damned – he pisses off the right people! What else could we want in a President?

        • Submitted by Rosalie O'Brien on 04/26/2019 - 01:17 pm.

          “Impeachment” is only the name for one of the two actions by which a president can be removed from office (the other being Article 25). Clinton’s impeachment was seen by most as a purely political action based on a lie that, while technically an impeachable offense, had little substantive significance with regard to the conduct of the office. If T were impeached, of course he’d say that was purely political, too, but one would hope that thinking persons would read the Articles of Impeachment and reflect on them. Of course, times have changed, which gives rise to some scary thoughts indeed.

          • Submitted by Steve Rose on 04/27/2019 - 08:20 am.

            I have been hearing more regarding Article 25 removal from office now that plan A hasn’t been stoked by the Mueller investigation and resulting report. There is a lot of fanning but no flames.

            It was supposed to go like this.
            1) Mueller Report details Trump-Russia collusion.
            2) House impeaches
            3) Senate votes to remove
            4) The President is handcuffed and frog-marched out the White House front door.

            That is how the fantasy goes. Each step of the sequence depends on accomplishment of the previous step. Step 1) was not accomplished. Time for Plan B, Article 25. Or, Plan C – Move on.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/28/2019 - 02:06 pm.

              Not even close. Here is how it was supposed to go:

              1. President is elected;
              2. He takes an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution;
              3. He abides by that oath, and doesn’t abuse his power or enrich himself through his office;
              4. He completes his term and writes a memoir that many people buy, but don’t read.

              Impeachment is the second unfortunate choice.

              • Submitted by Steve Rose on 04/28/2019 - 07:35 pm.

                The Resist movement started before Trump’s inauguration. There was no interest in allowing him to accomplish anything. The whole Mueller investigation was launched to impede his Presidency. Since when does our justice system investigate a person in search of a crime? It should concern it self investigating crimes in search of a person. Investigation is done, prosecutors found nothing upon which to base charges. Time is now to write Articles of Impeachment.

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/29/2019 - 10:19 am.

                  “The whole Mueller investigation was launched to impede his Presidency.”

                  Yes, I can see why holding Trump to account for his actions would be regarded as “impeding” him. Isn’t his general amorality part of his appeal? I don’t see it, myself, but Trump supporters think differently.

                  “Since when does our justice system investigate a person in search of a crime?”

                  Well, if there is reason to believe a person committed a crime (e.g. conspiracy), you investigate that person’s actions. That’s kind of what happened.

                  “It should concern it self investigating crimes in search of a person.”

                  That’s how it happens on CSI, but that’s just a TV show, not real life.

                  “Investigation is done, prosecutors found nothing upon which to base charges.”

                  Not exactly; in fact, that’s way off. Charges are not being brought because of the convention that the President is not criminally charged, but his offenses are referred to Congress for impeachment. The fact that Attorney General Barr decided there was no reason to investigate the obstruction charges means nothing more than that he is performing to expectations.

                  • Submitted by Steve Rose on 04/30/2019 - 11:47 am.

                    Only on TV are crimes investigated in search of a person. I heard it here first; I did not make that up.

                    What is the evidence of conspiracy?

                    “President is not criminally charged, but his offenses are referred to Congress for impeachment.” Has this referral you described occurred?

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/01/2019 - 09:01 am.

                      “What is the evidence of conspiracy?

                      Mr. Mueller concluded that there was insufficient evidence to make a case for criminal conspiracy.

                      There is no formal “referral” process for impeachment. Congress is given the information (or, the Attorney General is supposed to turn it over), and the House gets to decide what to do about it,.

  8. Submitted by Bob Petersen on 04/25/2019 - 12:56 pm.

    This article explains the hysteria that surrounds why impeachment is so seemingly on the table.. It is not, as Ms Sullivan repeats the same mantra of those in the MSM and everyone that despises this president (Including the ever attacking Mr Black) as being “held accountable for non-indictable crimes.” What the heck is that?

    Just because the president, whomever it is, does things you do not like, does not mean there needs to be the mob mentality of whatever punishment you feel. Every president, Republican and Democrat, have done things people despise. Just take the Fast and Furious program that was a complete cluster where scores of innocent people died including a US Border Patrol Agent. AG Holder was held in contempt for not submitting information to Congress so what does Obama do? He invokes Executive Privileged. So much for being the ‘most transparent’ administration that was promised…among so much else that turned into huge lies. And that’s just one incident.

    The people can hold those accountable at the ballot box. That;s how we are set up. Impeachment is a political process. It is not a black and white issue that Mr. Black seems to be verklempt about. It is intentionally a high bar process so that it is not carried out on just small whims.

    The excuse still is about Trump’s supposed potential obstruction. Mueller’s team could not find any. And almost his entire team was made of up HIllary proponents. If they can’t find anything in two years, there’s nothing there. But yet the clamoring are still strong because a group of people think they know so much better than anyone else. But it is that line of thinking that put Trump in the WH. Keep it up as it seems Pelosi is the only adult in the Dem room right now. If she lets impeachment go forward, the Dems are only going to suffer as the Republicans did when Clinton was in office. The seats that flipped from red to blue in the last election was by an average of just 1% margin where the Dems also role the trend of votes against the president’s party at the mid-term election. If the Dems keep being foolish and add this to the plate just before the next election, it’s not going to be pretty.

    • Submitted by David Lundeen on 04/25/2019 - 01:20 pm.

      Actually they found a lot of information if you read it objectively. I find your crticism of MSM quite comical. There really isn’t much of a liberal bias in the media as is claimed. It’s all owned by massive corporations. When was the last time NPR had an actual liberal on their show?

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/25/2019 - 02:21 pm.

      Almost every word of your comment is false. You should go read the actual Mueller report instead of the Fox News summary.

    • Submitted by Mike Chrun on 04/25/2019 - 09:14 pm.

      “(Including the ever attacking Mr Black)”

      And there is much to attack.

      “And that’s just one incident.”

      How about naming several more then? And please relate them as they happened–not as Fox has spun it. And also maybe let us know how the Republicans did everything possible to not only stymie Obama, but also to trap him in a box.

  9. Submitted by Noel Martinson on 04/25/2019 - 02:04 pm.

    I think avoiding impeachment proceedings would be a grave mistake for our representative republic. Doing so effectively lowers the bar substantially compared to past reasons for impeachment. Congress has thus far failed to hold this President (and therefore themselves) to a reasonable standard of integrity and accountability. I think it would be healthier for both parties to be able to claim a line that doesn’t get crossed irrespective of party. And if your base considers winning more important than that, for the sake of the country, please find a different base. Otherwise, we are all losing.

  10. Submitted by Don Casey on 04/25/2019 - 02:09 pm.

    A more concerning aspect of an impeachment effort would be fueling the troubling division in our nation. Let voters make a decision.

    It would be nice to have a choice between moderate candidates who can close the gap rather than another “lesser evil” choice that prolongs — or adds — to it.

    • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 04/25/2019 - 03:05 pm.

      Trouble is: Trump is making every effort possible to ensure that the American voter is uninformed about his actions to destroy the rule of law in our country. Informed voters would either have read the entire Mueller report, especially Volume II or watched lots of televised Congressional hearings that stem from the Mueller report and extend it. Only the uninformed repeat mantras they hear from Trump or Fox News.

      Plus, there’s the whole Trump financial messes thing, yet to be revealed by the Intelligence Committee, and Financial Affairs Committee, and his avoidance of taxation by nefarious means (You read last auitumn’s NY Times long piece on how dirty Trump is on finances, right?).

  11. Submitted by Phyllis Kahn on 04/25/2019 - 05:40 pm.

    It seems to me that submitting Articles of Impeachment without necessarily going thru the whole impeachment process would be a good first step. It could put in one concise place the case against Trump then not needing folks to read the whole Mueller report for enough info.

    • Submitted by John Evans on 04/26/2019 - 08:22 pm.

      I’d prefer to see the House do some investigating beyond the narrow mandate Mueller was given. We haven’t seen any report on the counter-espionage aspects of the case; that wasn’t Mueller’s job.

      That probably can’t be done without the broad access to Trump’s financial records that the House is demanding. Trump’s projects and partnerships are involved in several billions of dollars worth of investment and debt. Remember that U.S. banks won’t lend to Trump because his credit is terrible. That means that any money he borrows from foreign sources will come with unusual terms and conditions that will give the creditor a lot of leverage.

      We need to know who those creditors are, and how much leverage they have over Trump. It’s one thing if you’re talking about Deutsche Bank, it’s quite another if it’s one of Putin’s pet oligarchs.

      But yes, timing aside, the House has a constitutional duty to act quickly and thoroughly.

  12. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/25/2019 - 06:52 pm.

    Trump is clearly running out the string, hoping to tie things up in the courts for the rest of his life, which may not be that long giving his diet and sedentary lifestyle.

  13. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/25/2019 - 08:57 pm.

    Not to get disarranged, but I am still looking for the “T” folks to explain why they voted for him, what is the end game expectation? Tear America in half, kill all the lefties, gays, gender folks, deport all non-white immigrants, give the vigilantes the rule of law, establish a dictatorship, what are the expectations Is this the type of presidential performance they were expecting? Or do they just hate their fellow not ultra right country men so much that knowingly getting aid from the Russians to rig the election, and not saying a word about it is morally, ethically and patriotically acceptable?
    Back to the point, it is doubtful if more than 2 or 3 republican senators have the ethical morality and the cojones to vote for a “T” impeachment, the majority of them think the following phrase is for losers and that exactly what “T” thinks it is!
    “we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor” .

  14. Submitted by Mark Gruben on 04/26/2019 - 10:49 pm.

    Up to now, I’ve been torn on the question of impeachment; to me, it seems a question of doing what’s right versus doing what’s best. The right thing would be to pursue impeachment of Trump, yet this poses several problems – not the least of which is that a Senate vote for removal would almost certainly fail. If any Republican Senator were to vote to remove him, the folks back home would retaliate in like fashion; obviously, few would even consider taking the chance. And in the case of Trump, impeachment without removal is less than meaningless. What does he care? He’d scoff at it, then go right on doing what he does….only now, relentlessly and vengefully. But worst of all, his minions, who as we speak labor under the false notion that there must be evidence of an actual crime before an impeachment charge can be leveled, would surely marshal their resources into a vicious “no-holds-barred” grassroots effort on Trump’s behalf, which might – possibly – lead to a second upset victory, come Election Night. And the very thought of that, complete with a next-morning images of a smug, sneering, oh-so-arrogant Trump, and those of millions of chortling, snickering Republican voters, eager to rub America’s nose in it for the next 1500+ days, is, quite frankly, more than I care to contemplate. And thus, the irony – we dare not do what’s right, because we dare not take the chance. Instead, I feel we need to do what’s best – and let the voters decide Trump’s fate, some twenty months from now. In a very real sense, the impeachment process is already underway; even now, evidence is being sifted and weighed. This evidence being, of course, the many things which have already occurred at the hands of Trump, to say nothing of the deeds and misdeeds he will commit in the months ahead. But the day of reckoning will come at last, and the American people will respond by doing what’s best – for the good of the nation.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 04/27/2019 - 07:23 am.

      “But worst of all, his minions, who as we speak labor under the false notion that there must be evidence of an actual crime before an impeachment charge can be leveled, “

      Do explain how this impeachment thing works without evidence of an actual crime. Millions of voters, people you call minions – deplorables to Hillary, would be disenfranchised. Sounds like a good idea to you because it is not your vote.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/27/2019 - 10:47 pm.

        Did you read some of the report from Muller, not the twisted Barr/Trump pronouncement. There is lots of evidence, but as noted, appears there are lots of folks that are fine with an overthrowing of our democracy with the help of the Russians. Yes, there was a part that said they may not have collaborated,. but they knew it was happening and did or said nothing, may even have egged them on, so evidently lots of “T” supporters are good with it, they hate their fellow Americans so much they are wiling to wink at the Russians as they help overthrow our government. A need for paragraph and verse? Wouldn’t think so, any “T” supporter appears to bite on what ever comes out of his mouth, the truth/facts be damned. .

        • Submitted by Steve Rose on 04/28/2019 - 05:55 pm.

          Is one of the “folks that are fine with” President Obama? He knew of Russian meddling but failed to effectively address the problem. Sanctions at the end of December 2016 may be filed under the category Too Little Too Late. Had Hillary won, even that would have been left undone.

          Have you read the redacted report, or merely assuming the paragraphs and verses are numbered?

          • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/29/2019 - 08:28 am.

            Since you brought it up! https://www.npr.org/2018/02/21/587614043/fact-check-why-didnt-obama-stop-russia-s-election-interference-in-2016
            The big issue, Obama did not want to be perceived as putting a thumb on the scale for Clinton, Is there a suggestion that the FOX talking heads etc. would not have a had a field day or “T” would not have gone more ballistic on “rigged election”? Honorable people do honorable things, they all aren’t win at all costs like “T”.

            • Submitted by Steve Rose on 04/29/2019 - 09:04 am.

              Thanks for the link. Excerpt, which doesn’t seem to support your position.

              “So why didn’t Obama’s administration do more?
              That isn’t clear. Some former administration officials who have talked about it publicly have reproached themselves for not acting more aggressively. There also was a long-standing criticism of Obama that his foreign-policy making amounted to endless process with no outcomes — hours of meetings that yielded more meetings but no ultimate action.”

              Obama, assuming a Hillary win, didin’t want to cast a shadow of a doubt on the legitimacy of a Hillary victory. Oops. That quickly turned to a need to cast doubt on a Trump win. Hence, the Russia collusion charges from the left and their complicit media. Two years of history that don’t agree with your spin.

              • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/29/2019 - 04:46 pm.

                I sup[pose “Russia if you are listening” is fake news, the Muller report did say, Trump and campaign, were well aware that the Russians were helping them, and did and said nothing. From this perspective that indicates a corrupt, low moral, low ethical standard. You can do all the twists and turns you want, but the Trump lie and falsify fact machine is well over 10,000, not to mention the nepotism, lack of financial transparency, etc. etc. If you support that kind of dictator oriented leader ship hey, free country. The leader is a reflection of those that elected him!

                • Submitted by Steve Rose on 04/30/2019 - 05:09 pm.

                  As I mentioned in other comments beneath this column, with more information than candidate Trump had, President Obama did and said nothing, apparently concerned it could besmirch Hillary’s presidency.

                  You don’t know who I voted for. Is the candidate that received your vote a reflection of you?

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/28/2019 - 02:03 pm.

        At the risk of being accused of bringing up “more of the same and so tired,” I recall heady days of the Clinton impeachment and the glee with which conservatives cited a memorandum written by Hillary Rodham, a lawyer for the House Judiciary Committee back in ’73 or ’74, in which it was argued that the President could be impeached even if he did not commit a violation of the statutory criminal laws.

        Impeachment is a political process, not a criminal one.The phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors,” as the Founders doubtless knew, dates back to medieval England. Historically, under the English definition, impeachment for “high crimes and misdemeanors” included breaking a promise to follow the advice of a committee, cronyism, and negligence. None of them were crimes.

        As Hamilton put in in Federalist 65, “[t]he subjects of [a court of impeachment’s] jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.” Or, as Justice Story put it a few years later, “The offences, which the power of impeachment is designed principally to reach, are those of a political, or of a judicial character. They are not those, which lie within the scope of the ordinary municipal jurisprudence of a country. They are founded on different principles; are governed by different maxims; are directed to different objects; and require different remedies from those, which ordinarily apply to crimes.”

        • Submitted by Steve Rose on 04/28/2019 - 05:41 pm.

          At the risk of repeating myself yet again, by all available means, proceed with Articles of Impeachment. The Democrats have no reason not to.

  15. Submitted by Tom Crain on 05/01/2019 - 08:47 am.

    “But it is the case that, if the House impeaches a president, which creates the requirement that Senate conduct a trial to decide whether to remove him…”

    Eric, are you sure the constitution *requires* the Senate to hold a trial? The Constitution does not by its express terms direct the Senate to try an impeachment. In fact, it confers on the Senate “the sole power to try,” which might be read as a conferral of exclusive constitutional authority and not a procedural command.

    You think (R) Senators want to take this vote? McConnell has and will change rules governing Senate practice.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/01/2019 - 09:51 am.

      The Constitution does not explicitly require a trial, but the current version of the Senate Rules does. Of course, I have little doubt that the Republicans would change that rule in a hurry if the House even began considering Articles of Impeachment.

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