Is Impeachment Always Political and Should it be Prevented?

COMMENT: I don’t believe your ECM and when the Republicans impeached Clinton this is just payback which is well deserved. They should shut your site down.

Oppressed Democrat

REPLY: Don’t worry, I have no desire to live forever. I understand that Socialists hate cycles and want to oppress everyone for their own benefits. I am in favor of splitting the country on political principles where you can live with people who think like you, free of people like me who just want to be left alone.

As for your payback, well you are wrong on that also. In the case of Clinton, the impeachment came out from the special prosecutor’s report, which this case against Trump did not. Clinton committed perjury and then tried to get his secretary to confirm his lie. Because of that “obstruction of justice,” it is true that the Republicans controlled the House of Representatives back then as the Democrats do today. However, Clinton was impeached on a bipartisan vote of 258–176 (31 Democrats joined Republicans) because this did come from the special prosecutor report. Nevertheless, I believe that was wrong anyhow.

Clinton was impeached for a crime that in a normal legal proceeding would have landed him in prison for 5 years. The grounds for impeachment were perjury to a grand jury (first article, 228–206) and obstruction of justice (third article, 221–212). I disagreed with that because I question if something ancillary to the position of president is grounds to impeach a president. The perjury was with respect to his sexual conduct. I do not believe that is grounds for impeachment.

 

The impeachment of Andrew Johnson took place on February 24, 1868. A president is supposed to be impeached only for “high crimes and misdemeanors,” which in my opinion have never been articulated against Trump, Clinton, or Johnson. Anything a president does that is short of treason against the country, I believe, was never intended to be included in the high crimes and misdemeanors.

If the president was driving and failed to renew his license, that is actually a misdemeanor. Driving with a suspended license is considered a misdemeanor and can come with pretty severe consequences. Other traffic misdemeanors that are criminal in nature include driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired by drugs. In some instances, reckless driving can be considered a misdemeanor as opposed to a traffic infraction. The Founding Fathers never envisioned that there could be demands for a license and the failure to pay the fee would be a misdemeanor. That certainly is not grounds for impeachment, which begs the question — have we created way too many laws?

The primary charge against Johnson was a violation of the Tenure of Office Act, which Congress passed because they wanted to punish the South and they felt that Johnson was too soft on the Confederate states. Johnson removed from office Edwin M. Stanton, who was the Secretary of War. He was eventually replaced with General Ulysses S. Grant.

Andrew Johnson was against being hard on the South and opposed the Radical Republicans who demanded the South be punished. During the mid-term election, the Radical Republicans gained more seats and nullified any possible veto of Johnson.

Johnson was the first American president to be impeached on March 2–3, 1868, when the House simply disagreed with his policies. The trial in the Senate began three days later, with Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase presiding. The Senate failed to convict Johnson by one single vote (35–19) on May 16th. They called a 10-day recess attempting to convict him on additional articles on May 26th, but they failed to convict with the same vote.

The legal importance of the impeachment and trial of Andrew Johnson went directly to the political implications for the separation of powers. Congress, as a matter of principle, abused its power in the Johnson impeachment as they are doing with Trump for the principle that Congress should not remove the president from office simply because its members disagreed with him over policy.

The abuse of the impeachment power is creating a system that is undermining the very structure of the Constitution destroying the separation of powers seeking to replace it by a government ruled by Congressional Dictatorial Government.

Consequently, the fact that you have taken the time to send this email verifies my concern that the rise of tensions will become violent for the election. This impeachment of Trump is entirely political and there can be no obstruction of justice where a president is subservient to the House of Representatives, which in and of itself has become a den of political nonsense.

I personally disagree with the power to impeach a president residing in the House of Representatives on a simple majority vote. That has clearly allowed for abuse of Congressional power, for in all cases impeachment has been used simply as a political tool because they dislike the president and/or his policies.

To me, it is an abuse of power for Pelosi to order all Democrats to vote for impeachment. That is a very dangerous precedent. I do NOT say that as a Trump supporter, but as an American with at least a legal background and 40 years of experience with politicians. The plain truth is that politicians will always act in their own self-interest, precisely as Adam Smith discovered in his invisible hand. That has led to the abuse of the impeachment power in all three cases.