How does impeachment of a president work? The House of Representatives acting as a super grand jury votes an indictment or impeachment. The Senate acting as a jury decides whether or not the charges brought warrant conviction. If the president is convicted by the Senate he is removed from office. If two thirds of the Senate fails to vote to convict the charges are dropped. In that case the president was still impeached but not convicted.
In 1868 the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Andrew Johnson. This was the first time any president was impeached. Contrary to popular belief President Nixon was never impeached. He resigned while the Watergate debacle was still under investigation. President Clinton was impeached but like Johnson he was not convicted by the Senate so he remained in office until the end of his term.
Why is this history lesson appropriate for May 17, 2017? Because I believe President Trump is going to be impeached.
Why was Andrew Johnson impeached? Although there were eleven articles of impeachment the main reason and primary cause was that he fired Edwin M. Stanton from the office of Secretary of the Department of War. Congress had passed a law: the Tenure of Office Act. This became law in 1867, over the veto of President Andrew Johnson. It denied the president the power to remove any executive officer who had been appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate, unless the Senate approved the removal during the next full session of Congress. The act was significantly amended on April 5, 1869. Congress repealed the act in its entirety in 1887. In 1926, the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional even though it had been repealed almost forty years before.
All appointees of the executive office serve at the pleasure of the president. He hires them, and even though the major ones must be confirmed by the Senate, he can fire them.
Andrew Johnson missed being convicted by the Senate by one vote.
Why was Bill Clinton impeached? In this case there were only two articles of impeachment: lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice. President Clinton was acquitted on both articles of impeachment. Needing a two-thirds majority to convict the prosecution failed to achieve even a majority. On the first charge of perjury, 45 Democrats and 10 Republicans voted “not guilty,” and on the second charge of obstruction of justice the Senate was split 50-50. However, others who were not as politically attuned were not so lenient.
In April 1999, U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright found Clinton in contempt of court for giving false testimony in the Paula Jones sexual harassment trial and fined him more than $90,000. Once he lost his presidential immunity he was disbarred from practicing law in Arkansas and was also disbarred from practicing law in front of the Supreme Court. Additionally he was fined $25,000 for his testimony in the Lewinsky incident.
Now the impeachment drums are beating again. Democrats determined since November 8th to declare the Trump victory illicit by any means necessary are planning a coup. The RESIST! Movement with its Antifa bully boys dressed in black hiding behind masks has no legs. The American people will tire of their over-the-top antics and eventually they will spawn their own backlash in a call for law and order.
However, the political hacks, the perpetually re-elected in Congress are a horse of different color. They’re biding their time waiting for enough blood to stain the water. They’re waiting for their stenographers in the ABCCBSNBCPBSCNNMSNBC Cartel to give them enough political cover. Then they’ll pounce.
Andrew Johnson was a Democrat impeached by a Republican Congress after the Civil War when the Democrat Party was completely discredited. The Republicans had a super majority and still they couldn’t convict.
In Bill Clinton’s case Republicans voted with Democrats not to convict even though some on both sides of the aisle gave speeches saying they knew he was guilty and repudiating his actions.
In the case of President Trump his political enemies have been field testing charges since day one. They say Russians hacked the election, and even though Hillary won the popular vote these hypothetical Russians were trying to elect Trump. They say President Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the election. Even though months of hearings and armies of investigative reporters have been chasing this mirage there is still no evidence.
Now he fired the Director of the FBI, and he supposedly gave classified information to the Russians. Everyone admits he has every right to fire any of the political appointees in the executive branch, and President Putin is offering to give the official transcripts of the meeting between Mr. Trump and the Russian ambassador which prove no classified information was shared. However innocence may not be enough to avoid impeachment just as it might not be enough to avoid conviction.
Why? Because the Ryan Rhinos control the house and the McCain/McConnell Never Trumpers control the Senate.
Donald Trump is the one thing none of the elites of the Washington Swamp can abide: a non-politician who beat them all at their own game. They cannot afford to let anyone see behind the curtain and find out how the sausage is made. They are dedicated to the proposition that government is too complicated for an average Joe to understand. While Mr. Trump is far from an average Joe he is not one of them. He didn’t go to the right schools, he didn’t pay his dues on the hustings, and he shines the light on the fact that they aren’t as special as they want us to think they are.
As I have said many times, I think the first 535 names out of any phone book would yield a Congress at least as good as what we have. What we have now is the best Congress money can buy. Under the Telephone Book Party we would at least have a few regular people in there.
Watch the news. Try to discern the fake from the real. Tempests in teapots and phony scandals will continue to ruffle the waters until the Government Party is ready to overthrow the Country Party. I believe impeachment will come. What will be the reaction of those riding the Trump train?
Will it be despair and withdrawal or rage and confrontation?
Over the years I have offered one piece of advice repeatedly. Keep the faith. Keep the peace. We shall overcome.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2017 Contact
Dr. Owens [email protected] Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens