HOUSTON-Americans are waiting with baited breath for the next episode of “As the White House Turns”.
Like “Scandal”, it is sure to leave faithful watchers on the edge waiting to see what is next for President Donald J. Trump.
In the latest turn, Houston Congressman Al Green Called for the Impeachment of President Trump
“Our mantra should be “I. T. N. – Impeach Trump Now,” he said. “A bedrock premise upon which respect for, and obedience to, our societal norms is “No one is above the law. President Trump is not above the law.”
According to Green and other Democrats, Trump has overstepped his constitutional boundaries and has allegedly entered dangerous territory in attempts to quell swirls, rumors and controversy surrounding his presidency over alleged investigations and relationships with the Russian officials.
“The president is acting more like a ruler than a president (of the people),” Green said. “You can’t govern America using distractions and Tweets.”
According to the seasoned Congressman, Trump has a misunderstanding about the duties and the power of the office of President of the United States.
Stoking that flame of controversy and calls for impeachment is the latest firing of former FBI Director James Comey.
According to Green, some of the alleged acts committed by the President that, when combined, merit his being charged (impeached) for obstructing a lawful investigation include:
The President fired the F.B.I. Director overseeing a lawful investigation of the President’s campaign ties to Russian influence in the President’s 2016 Election.
The President acknowledged he considered the investigation when he fired the F.B.I. Director.
The President made the F.B.I. Director the subject of a threatening tweet – “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press.”
“President Trump has committed an act for which he should be charged by the U.S. House of Representatives,” Green said. “He has committed an impeachable act and must be charged. To do otherwise would cause some Americans to lose respect for, and obedience to, our societal norms.”
The charging of the President, is known constitutionally as impeachment.
Impeachment, of the President, by the House of Representatives is not a finding of guilt.
The House of Representatives cannot find the President guilty of anything. Only the U.S. Senate can do this after a trial.
Impreachment is a process that is used to charge, try, and remove public officials for misconduct while in office. It is a fundamental constitutional power belonging to Congress.
The constitution provides it as a safeguard against corruption can be initiated against federal officeholders from the lowest cabinet member, all the way up to the president and the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Besides providing the authority for impeachment, the U.S. Constitution details the methods to be used. It is a two-stage process begins in the House of Representatives with a public inquiry into allegations. It culminates, if necessary, with a trial in the Senate.
At both the federal and state levels, impeachment is rare: From the passage of the Constitution to the mid-1990s, only 50 impeachment proceedings were initiated, and only a third of these went as far as a trial in the Senate.
The roots of impeachment date to ancient Athens. Its place in the U.S. Constitution was secured by the influence of English Common Law on the Framers of the Constitution. Originally, any English subject, politician, or ruler could institute impeachment charges in Parliament. By the fourteenth century, this power became the exclusive domain of the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
In 1776, the American colonies included much of the English tradition in state constitutions, but the delegates of the Constitutional Convention hotly debated how best to embody it in the federal Constitution. Their most contentious question was over the offenses that should be considered impeachable.
Past Challenge to Impeachment
In 1989, federal judge Alcee Hastings was removed from the bench by a Senate vote, becoming the first judge in U.S. history to be impeached after being acquitted in a criminal trial. Hastings vigorously proclaimed his innocence, challenged the proceedings in court, and alleged that racism drove the proceedings.
An appointee of President Jimmy Carter, Hastings joined the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida as its first African American judge in 1979. In 1981, federal prosecutors indicted him on conspiracy to accept a bribe from a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent posing as a defendant in a case before him. They charged Attorney William A. Borders, president of the National Bar Association, with offering the agent a lenient sentence from Hastings in exchange for $150,000. Borders was convicted in 1982. Hastings was acquitted in February 1983.
Hastings’s troubles soon deepened. In April 1983, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit set in motion a three-year investigation into charges that Hastings had manufactured evidence for his defense. The probe concluded that he was guilty, and in March 1987, the Judicial Conference of the United States recommended impeachment. The House of Representatives agreed. On August 3, 1988, the full House voted 413–3 to send the case to the Senate with seventeen Articles of Impeachment, including false testimony, fabrication of false records, and improper disclosure of confidential law enforcement information.
In August 1989, the Senate panel heard twenty-four days of testimony. On October 20, the panel convicted Hastings on eight of the impeachment articles and removed him from office. Hastings left the bench continuing to profess his innocence, attacking the Senate’s handling of evidence, and maintained that he was the victim of racism.
Former President William Jefferson Clinton’s impeachment trial was the 15th in U.S. history, and the second of a president. Andrew Johnson, the other president to be impeached by the House of Representatives, was acquitted by the Senate in 1868 in a vote that mostly followed party lines. Especially in light of prior impeachments, seven of which ended with the removal of federal judges, Clinton’s case will affect the future use of impeachment, the process of impeachment, and the definition of “high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
Historian Benjamin Ginsberg observed,“The history of American politics over the last few decades is that the victims of a political attack denounce it as an illegitimate endeavor—but within a few years adopt it themselves. It’s like an arms race.”
Clinton’s experience, like Johnson’s, shows that impeachment can be a strong tool of political warfare.
House Republicans pursued Clinton by disregarding polls that said two-thirds of the nation opposed impeachment. The vote in the House then fell mostly along party lines.
The Politics of Impeachment
Republicans and Democrats alike might hesitate to pursue another unpopular impeachment with so much at risk. However, that risk is worth taking for political parties sparring for the heart of the American people.
The fight for justice and transparency is the top priority for leaders and officials trying to stay relevant in changing political environments and issues.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee released a statement today in response to the explanations being provided by Trump Administration officials surrounding the President’s disclosure of highly sensitive information to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak during an Oval Office meeting.
“President Trump has repeatedly rejected, ignored and diminished the intelligence community and become America’s Leaker in Chief. His actions are both irresponsible and dangerous and require that Congress take seriously its oversight responsibilities to protect the American people.,” she added. “That is why I continue to call for the creation of an independent bipartisan commission to investigate President Trump’s ties to Russia and for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the Trump campaign’s ties to the Russian agents and entities that interfered in our presidential election. Congress must seek justice and follow the facts no matter where they lead.”
It appeared that as a result of America’s leadership using impeachment as a political tool, House majorities will now use this to impeach a political opponent, even without substantial public support.
Green said that Trumps case involves combined acts of intimidation and obstruction.
“If the President is not above the law, he should be charged, by way of impeachment, by the U.S. House of Representatives,” he said. “Whether he is guilty is a separate action for the U.S. Senate to decide. I have said on previous occasions, and do now say again, the President should be impeached.”
Officials have stop short of calling this another Watergate Scandal like the one that brought down former President Richard Nixon, but indicate the eerie comparisons.
“I also say that this can happen with a Republican-controlled House and Senate if the public weighs in by demanding that the Republican President be charged by way of impeachment,” he said.”The American people needs and deserve closure on this issue.”
Most say “Trump-Gate” will find its own way into the history books.
The FreeDictionary.com by Farlex contributed to this story.
By: Darwin Campbell