Impeachment isn’t an ordinary trial

punditIf Caesar’s wife ought to be above suspicion, so should our President.

The idea that impeachment is like an ordinary trial is wrong. Impeachment is governed by a few clauses of The Constitution and rules adopted by House and Senate. In brief, the House votes to bring charges, the case is presented to the Senate, the Senate votes on removal.

To my knowledge, these are false:

  • There are limited, specific grounds for impeachment.
  • The President must be read his Miranda rights.
  • The President has a right to a speedy trial.
  • The President has a right to representation by counsel.
  • There is a right to an impartial jury.
  • There is a right to confront witnesses.
  • Minority members of Congress have right outside the rules to intervene in the process in House and Senate.
  • There is a penalty on conviction other than removal from office.

I have heard the claim that the President has a right to a “fair trial.” I know of no basis for this claim.

I have heard the claim that the President can’t be impeached for “abuse of power;” this and any similar claim is false.

I have heard the claim that if President Trump is removed, any future President can be removed on frivolous charges. The premise, that charges against Trump are frivolous, is false.

https://www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/98-806.pdf

 

About whungerford

* Contributor at NewNY23rd.com where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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4 Responses to Impeachment isn’t an ordinary trial

  1. While impeachment is not a typical trial, at this point, the House is taking depositions of potential witnesses, which can be considered analogous to a Federal Prosecutor gathering evidence to determine IF charges should be brought.

    It would be unfair if the House & Senate acted without facts.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. whungerford says:

    Surely fairness and facts are desirable if not necessary. I don’t know if the 1868 impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson was conducted fairly or not. I believe today those articles of impeachment are seen as relatively insignificant and decidedly political. Read more here:
    https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Impeachment_Johnson.htm

    Like

  3. Yes, the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson was apparently politically motivated.

    With modern communication, we have moved a long way forward in transparency. Part of the issue relies on 18th century semantics (not TV crime show definitions). I believe that in using the term “high crimes and misdemeanors,” our Founding Fathers believed removal from office should not be based on “mere” politics. Nor should it be invoked only if a “crime” had been committed; however, the current discussion of a president shooting someone would come within “misdemeanors” and therefore be grounds for removal from office and then prosecution. But that a violation of the Oath of Office to protect the Constitution is a “high crime.” Removal from office is not a prison sentence, it is a protection for our Constitution and for “We the People.”

    Justice Stevens once warned that we should be wary of anyone who claims “he” is the solution; Augustus Cesar made that claim which led to the fall of the Roman Republic.

    Thank you for providing a forum to help us clarify our thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. josephurban says:

    Impeachment is always a political event. But that does not make it right or wrong. Mr Nixon was going to be impeached for abuse of power which centered on undermining democracy. Mr Clinton was impeached for lying about a consensual sexual relationship. Trump makes him look like a boy scout in that area. The key issue behind any reasonable impeachment is the “abuse of power”.. That is the case the Dems are building, quite easily, I think. Like NIxon, Trump has been caught attempting to undermine the very process of free elections. If anyone in the House or Senate can justify that it will be using some real pretzel logic.

    Liked by 1 person

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