Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

What Does the Constitution Say about Impeachment?

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns impeachment of the President of the United States. The news is full of Democrat charges against President Donald Trump and defenses by Republicans. I personally believe that Trump is innocent of the charges. It seems that Democrats have been trying to impeach him since he won the 2016 election, even prior to him serving a single day as President. I can only think that they must be desperate to even charge him now.

            Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution reads as follows: “The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

            The Heritage Guide to the Constitution explains the “Standards for Impeachment,” and the chapter begins with these paragraphs.

Impeachment is the constitutionally specified means by which an official of the executive or judicial branch may be removed from office for misconduct. There has been considerable controversy about what constitutes an impeachable offense. At the Constitutional Convention, the delegates early on voted for “mal-practice and neglect of duty” as grounds for impeachment, but the Committee of Detail narrowed the basis to treason, bribery, and corruption, then deleting the last point. George Mason, who wanted the grounds much broader and similar to the earlier formulation, suggested “maladministration,” bur James Madison pointed out that this would destroy the President’s independence and make him dependent on the Senate. Mason then suggested “high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” which the Convention accepted.

Because “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” was a term of art used in English impeachments, a plausible reading supported by many scholars is that the grounds for impeachment can be not only the defined crimes of treason and bribery, but also other criminal or even noncriminal behavior amounting to a serious dereliction of duty. That interpretation is disputed, but it is agreed by virtually all that the impeachment remedy was to be used in only the most extreme situations, a position confirmed by the relatively few instances in which Congress has used the device.

            The Constitution outlines two steps to remove a President, Vice President, or other civil Official from office. The first step takes place in the House of Representatives. Member of the House can vote to impeach an official and do so by a simple majority vote of the Representatives (at least 218) (Article 1, Section 2, Clause 5). The Democrats have had the necessary votes to impeach Trump since they took control of the House. The second step takes place in the Senate where the Senators vote to convict the official of impeachable offense(s) and to remove them from office. This vote must be a two-thirds majority vote of the Senators (at least 67 votes) (Article I, Section 3, Clause 6).

            The Heritage Guide to the Constitution continues with its explanation about impeachment as follows:

In The Federalist No. 64, John Jay argued that the threat of impeachment would encourage executive officers to perform their duties with honor, and, used as a last resort, impeachment itself would be effective to remove those who betray the interests of their country. Like the limitations on the offense of treason, the Framers placed particular grounds of impeachment in the Constitution because they wished to prevent impeachment from becoming a politicized offense, as it had been in England. Nonetheless, Alexander Hamilton, in The Federalist No. 65, also warned that during impeachment proceedings, it would be difficult for Congress to act solely in the interests of the nation and resist political pressure to remove a popular official. The Framers believed that the Senate, elected by the state legislatures, would have the requisite independence needed to try impeachments. The Framers also mandated a supermajority requirement to militate against impeachments brought by the House for purely political reasons.

            The Framers did all they could to provide a way to remove bad presidents from office without allowing any president to be removed for “purely political reasons.” The impeachment inquiry currently taking place is being pushed for political reasons. Donald Trump is not one of Washington elites, and he is attempting to clear the swamp creatures from Washington. This was the reason why he asked Ukraine for a favor in investigating the part that country played in the 2016 election problems. He wants to get to genesis of the Russian dossier and how it came about. The swamp creatures are fighting back in every possible way to keep their corruption hidden. They began before Trump was inaugurated, and they continue today.

            The House of Representatives could possibly be successful in impeaching Trump, but I do not believe the Senate will convict him. I believe that the further the Democrats go towards impeachment, the worse their situation will become in the 2020 election. American citizens are not stupid, and most of us can see through the charades being played by the Democrats.

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