Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Impeachment!
(And, Maybe A Couple Things You Didn’t!)
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. – United States Constitution, Article II § 4
It’s “Presidential Impeachment Time” again! This will be the fourth time we’ve gone through this process in America. I’ve been around for three of them. (Nixon, Clinton, & rump.) Not that I’m ancient, (Hell, I’m only 76!) but they’re a bit more frequent nowadays.
Andrew Johnson went through it back in 1868 on three counts of “High Crimes & Misdemeanors.” The House passed the articles of impeachment. However, conviction requires 2/3 majority of senators agreeing on guilt.
He “beat the rap” on all three counts by one vote, 35-19.
It was over 100 years until Presidential Impeachment Time rolled around again in 1973. This time it was Richard “I am not a crook!” Nixon (aka “Tricky Dick”).
He never actually went through the senate trial. He resigned after being told he had lost enough Republican senators that impeachment and removal from office were certain! On August 9th, 1974 he resigned and flew off to California.
Next up was Bill “Can’t keep it in his pants” Clinton. In 1998, he was charged with the proverbial “High Crimes & Misdemeanors.” This mainly revolved around lying about an affair he was having. (Imagine that! A man actually lying about extra-curricular blow jobs. String ’em up!)
Although they tried, there just weren’t enough Republican senators to convict him. Plus, it didn’t help their case that several Repubs were outed for similar escapades.
A quick (but not complete) list:
- Newt Gingrich, (R-GA);
- Robert Livingston, (R-LA);
- Helen Chenoweth-Hage, (R-ID);
- Henry Hyde, (R-IL);
- Pete Domenici Senator (R-NM);
That was then, when extra-curricular sex was political poison for a politician. (Gary Hart, anyone?) Nowadays, they get elected president.
I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there, and she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything.
I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.
But, this post is on the impeachment process, not the extra-curricular sexual practices of boorish troglodytes, so let’s get back to that!
Impeachment: A Brief History
The word itself originally comes from the Latin word “impedire,” meaning ensnaring the foot (“ped”). Along the way it transitioned into the Old French word “empeechier.”
The act of impeachment, itself, goes back at least as far as ancient Greece. The first aristocratic council of Athens (The Areopagus) engaged in impeachments, under the law of “eisangelia.”
In England, the impeachment process was first used by the Parliament in 1376, when they impeached Lord William Latimer for corruption. He was kicked out of the royal household, as well as the King’s council, levied a fine and carted off to prison.
In America, Virginia in 1776, and Massachusetts in 1780, incorporated impeachment in their state constitutions. Other states soon followed suit. However, the punishment was limited to removal from office.
And then, there’s the U.S. Constitution. Specifically the previous quote from Article II § 4. (I’d reprint it here, but I figure you know how to scroll.)
Impeachment: A Brief Overview
A simple definition of Impeachment is that it gives legislative bodies, such as Congress, a process for removing bad government officials. Still a lot of people are unclear of the process. For instance, just being impeached, does not automatically throw the miscreant out of office. It’s a multi-step process.
Unless you’re a tourist, just off the rocket from Planet Kolob, you’re probably aware that the House of Representatives is currently holding impeachment hearings to determine if there is enough cause to draw up articles of impeachment. In other words, this proceeding is pretty much the political equivalent to a grand jury.
However, impeachments are NOT criminal proceedings and the same rules DO NOT apply. A lot of people seem confused about that and Republicans are doing their best to keep them confused!
The Department of Justice has a “policy” that says presidents can’t be indicted while they are president, although the legality of that policy has been challenged by a number of constitutional experts. Still, with the current rumpster as Attorney General, it’s doubtful that he’s indicted before he reverts to civilian.
However, that only covers federal charges! State charges are a different kettle of rotting fish. As I write this, there are NY grand juries looking into crimes that rump committed in the state. So, stick around!
If the House decides that there are credible reasons to impeach, they draw up the “Articles of Impeachment,” delineating the applicable high crimes and misdemeanors. Then the action moves to the senate for the actual trial.
However, unlike legal trials, the governing rules may (and do) change from impeachment to impeachment. It only takes a simple majority (which the Repubs have) to change the rules. The senate Republicans are already talking about a secret ballot, so they can escape the political consequences of a vote either way.
So, if you’re expecting the senate impeachment trial to be as impartial as possible (as is required in criminal proceedings) don’t bet a nickle on it!
In any case, STAY TUNED! The next few weeks are going to be pivotal for the future of this country.
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