Advertisements
Open post

America’s History Teacher Provides A 12-Minute Master’s Course on Impeachment

Today’s Campaign Update – Guest Piece by Larry Schweikart
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)

[Note: I have followed Larry Schweikart, American historian and retired professor of history at the University of Dayton, on social media for several years. After reading several threads he posted on his Twitter account (@LarrySchweikart) regarding the history of impeachment in the U.S. and as it related to our current situation, I reached out to him. He agreed to contribute this piece to help inform the loyal readers of Today’s Campaign Update. Larry is the co-author andauthor of several great books, including A Patriot’s History of the United States and his latest, REAGAN: The American President.

Trust me, after you read this, you will know more about impeachment than 99% of the U.S. population.]

 

The Essentials of Impeachment. (It’s more than you think!)

There is a lot of talk about “impeachment” out there, most of it uninformed. Impeachment can (and in most cases historically, did) involve judges as well as a president. Indeed, since 1803, there have been 63 impeachment proceedings, and only two involved presidents—Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.

The Constitution provides for the removal of judges (who generally have lifetime appointments) and U.S. presidents for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” What are those? Well, realistically, it is whatever the House of Representatives says it is. The House alone is charged by the Constitution with defining behavior that rises to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” And it can be anything. Literally, anything that a majority of the House votes for can be a “high crime or misdemeanor.” Spitting on the sidewalk. Using “he” when talking to a “she” transgenderist. You get the picture. The Constitution did not define the terms. In the case of the 61 judges impeached, all had actually committed real crimes ranging form bribery to jury tampering to conflict of interest violations.

Under the Constitution, the House must pass articles of impeachment, which are the charges against said judges or presidents. Once articles of impeachment pass the House, they are sent to the U.S. Senate for a trial. A notice must be sent to the person charged, and there are a few other formal steps that must be taken, but shortly the Senate receives the articles of impeachment. Following a trial—more on that later—the Senate acquits or convicts but conviction must be by a 2/3rds vote (in today’s case, 67 votes to convict, or a very high bar). The past two impeachments have lasted three and four months respectively from passage of the articles to acquittals.

Let’s first look at some judicial impeachments. The following judges were impeached:

*John Pickering (1803)

**West Humphreys (1862)

*Robert Archbald (1912)

*Halsted Ritter (1933)

*Harry Claiborne (1983)

*Alcee Hastings (1989)

*Walter Nixon (1989) Nixon was removed, and he appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which rejected his appeal as a non-justicable political question.

*Thomas Porteous, Jr. (2010)

In addition to those convicted by the senate and removed, 16 judges who were being investigated resigned, and 2 died in the process of the proceedings. One (Agilar) had his conviction overturned.

Moving to the impeachments of U.S. presidents, the first, in March 1868, was by a Republican House (dominated by the so-called “Radicals”) contended with Lincoln’s vice president, Andrew Johnson . . . who was a Democrat. Lincoln thought he would not win reelection, and brought in Johnson to draw Democrat votes. After Lincoln’s assassination, the hated Johnson became president. He completely opposed the Radicals’ Reconstruction plans, and used his legal, Constitutional authority to obstruct them. The Republican Congress overrode two Johnson vetoes on the Reconstruction Acts.

Rather than trying to accommodate the Republican Congress, the belligerent Johnson fought it. He was looking for a confrontation, and got it. The issue involved the Reconstruction Acts, which placed Union generals in charge of five Southern districts. Johnson sought to replace Radical generals governing the South with more pliable or friendly men. Congress countermoved by passing the Tenure of Office Act requiring the president to get the approval of the Senate before removing a general. Johnson flagrantly fired Edwin Stanton, a Radical favorite, to bring about a constitutional test. (In fact, he should have filed a court challenge and let the Supreme Court decide it).

Wild World of History Logo

[Note: Email Larry Schweikart at larry@wildworldofhistory.com and he will provide you with a free Reagan webinar and an Excellence in Business webinar.]

The House filed 11 articles of impeachment. The only serious article of the 11 (which included several “conspiracy” claims) was the final article, 11, which literally accused Johnson of “bringing disgrace and ridicule to the presidency.” (One could suggest at least one recent president had done that, repeatedly!). Keep in mind it is the House’s duty—and only the House’s duty—to define the “high crimes and misdemeanors.” The Senate is charged by the Constitution only in determining guilt or innocence, not again weighing in on whether the actions rise to the level of “impeachability.” Still, as we will see, in both U.S. presidential impeachments, the Senate ran well outside its Constitutional authority.

In the Johnson trial, the Senate failed to convict by a single vote of reaching the necessary 2/3rds (35-19) with one of the key senators later being praised in John F. Kennedy’s book, Profiles in Courage. That would be the junior senator from KS, Edmund Ross. Ross and others determined that the charges did not rise to the level of impeachment. Well, in this case they did—Johnson had clearly violated the law—but the Senators did not think it was good for the Republic to convict Johnson. Thus the Senate defied the Constitution, but probably did the “right” thing.

When Richard Nixon was under investigation in 1974, he almost certainly was facing impeachment (for the right reasons) but he resigned before an impeachment vote was held.

In the 1990s, Bill Clinton was accused by a special counsel of committing perjury, coaching a witness, submitting a false statement, and obstruction of justice. Eventually, the House passed two articles of impeachment (perjury, 228-2016) and obstruction (221-212). The Senate then took up the trial. Two weeks into the Senate trial, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia introduced a motion to dismiss. This motion only failed by seven votes—despite overwhelming evidence of Clinton’s guilt. Once again, the Senate did not do its Constitutional duty, again wading into issues of questioning whether the charges rose to the level of impeachability. Clinton was acquitted. As one Democratic staffer told the Republican “prosecutors” from the House, “there wouldn’t be 67 votes to convict if they had found a dead body in the Oval Office.”

So where does this put us today? First, there is a question of whether or not Speaker Nancy Pelosi has the votes. I submit she doesn’t or she would file for an impeachment vote right away, not an “investigation.” That makes news, but it is not an impeachment vote.

But say she does find the votes and the House impeaches President Donald Trump. Next up is a Senate trial. As in 1999, the Senate “could” entertain a motion to dismiss without a trial. I do not think this is out of the realm of possibility. Such a motion needs only 50 votes, and Mike Pence can break a tie.

My current math—based on no inside info whatsoever—suggests Trump has 34 hard acquittal votes already (meaning he is already out of the woods), with another 10 “squishy” Republicans who will see which way the wind blows before voting. That brings us to 44, or just six short of dismissal. Out of the remaining GOP senators, while I could see some balking at an outright dismissal, I only see perhaps two defecting to convict—Mitt Romney and maybe Mike Lee. Many of the Senators are in tight races in 2020, and they simply cannot risk having the whole GOP base stay home, which is exactly what would happen if they voted to convict.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I think stories that “30 GOP Senators would convict Trump” are true if you take the voters out of it. Of course these toads want to get Trump out. He has overturned the entire apple cart. But in a public vote? No. Trump will come close to 50 acquittals and needs only 37. If the charges, though, are extremely frivolous, the Senate may indeed dismiss outright.

Finally, there is a wild card: Ruth Bader Ginsberg. The Democrats want to argue that if RBG dies during impeachment proceedings, that “no president under impeachment should be allowed to appoint a Supreme Court justice.”

This is a massive problem in timing for the Democrats. After all, Ginsburg isn’t cooperating by giving them a date for her demise! If they rush ahead with impeachment and it’s over in four months ending in an acquittal—and Ginsburg is still alive!—then they have lost their “can’t replace” card. But if they wait until Ginsburg cooperates, which might not be in 2020 at all, they stand a chance of losing their impeachment card. Decisions, decisions!

You can find this and lots of other ongoing political and historical analysis, as well as just fun historical columns on music, culture and other topics, at the Wild World of History.com. Some is free, but my new “1620 Default” series—arguing that American Exceptionalism dates from 1620 and the arrival of the Pilgrims, not from the Virginia colony in 1607. Look for the “VIP section.”

Larry Schweikart, Ph.D.

Author, Reagan: The American President and co-author, A Patriot’s History of the United States with Michael Allen.

That is all.

 

 

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

Advertisements
Open post

The Democrat/Media Axis of Propaganda is Rotting our Society

Today’s Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)

Media blackout on anything positive continues. – On his way to Japan Friday, President Donald Trump (I still never tire of typing those three glorious words) stopped in Alaska to visit with U.S. troops there, an appropriate gesture given that honoring America’s military and its veterans is the entire purpose of the Memorial Day holiday.

The troops cheered and, unlike their reaction whenever Barack Hussein Obama his own self would make such a visit, were obviously excited and thrilled to be in the presence of the President. Naturally, I had to go to the semi-conservative Washington Examiner’s website to find any news coverage of the visit. Undeterred as always, the President gave us his own coverage via his Twitter account, including a clip of the gathering:

Our national news media remains America’s worst historic disgrace. This truth of modern society has never been demonstrated more starkly than in the current behavior by the Democrat members in the U.S. House of Representatives, by Obama appointees in the courts, and our fake news media’s enabling of that behavior.

In fact, what we have seen since January from doddering, gibberish-spewing San Fran Nan and her evil minions is a clear illustration of the major weakness of the U.S. Constitution.

See, the men who drafted that document, which is quite possibly the most impressive piece of genius ever conceived by the human mind, were all men of good intent, men who loved America and the very idea of the creation and maintenance of a constitutional Republican form of government. And they were being covered every day by a press – what they referred to as the Fourth Estate and considered to be a crucial element to any free society – that, though it had major faults and biases, was dedicated to holding those in power accountable to the people.

The fundamental weakness of the document they created back during May-September of 1787 is that it assumes that future generations of Americans would continue to send people of good intent, people who love their country and want it to prosper in the world, to represent them in the U.S. Congress. The Constitution also presumes that the Fourth Estate would continue to pursue its societal duty of serving as the people’s watchdog, dedicated to holding all those in power accountable to the public.

These two elements are absolutely key to the healthy maintenance of the separation of powers between our three branches of government – without them, power-mad zealots would be able to run amok as they abuse and distort the system, and deny one or both of the other branches of government the ability to perform their necessary and envisioned duties.

We have seen such abusive behavior from Obama appointees in the federal courts since January, 2017. An array of these seditious people have made a practice of issuing a seemingly-endless series of lawless decisions and national injunctions, all designed to deny the Trump Administration the ability to govern the nation. This is all by design, a part of the “Lawfare” strategy developed by Obama and his fellow America-haters specifically in anticipation of the election of the next Republican president. It is un-American, it is seditious, it is lawless, and it is frankly evil. Sadly, our nation’s corrupt, fake media establishment ignores the serial abuses of these judges and refuses to inform the vast majority of citizens about the truth of this intentional strategic initiative.

Since January of this year, we have seen the committees in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives weaponize the legislative branch of our government in a second effort to deny a duly-elected President of the United States the ability to govern the nation. This strategy is designed to keep the executive branch so preoccupied with a vast array of baseless investigations that again, it is unable to properly carry out its duties and implement the policies it was elected to affect.

Again, our fake national news media is mute on the reality of all of this, intentionally refusing to inform its viewers and readers of the seditious mendacity being practiced daily by the Democrats.

It is vitally important that those of us who are “woke” to all of this understand what has really happened, that we as a nation have a major political party that no longer elects people of good intent who love our country and want it to prosper in the world. The Democrat Party simply no longer has any priority other than the acquisition and maintenance of political power for its own sake.

If we had anything resembling a media establishment dedicated to holding those in power accountable to the people, the Democrat Party could not possibly ever win another election of any kind with its current lawless philosophy. But we must understand and accept that our society has also lost this crucial element so necessary to its survival as a free nation. That loss may be irretrievable, given the sorry state of our system of higher education and our nation’s journalism schools.

All of this is why the road upon which Attorney General William Barr has embarked is so vitally important. Because the Obama Administration organized an effort to fix the 2016 presidential election in favor of its party’s candidate, and then, having failed that, extended that effort into an outright coup attempt. This is now crystal clear to any informed, thoughtful person of good intent in our society.

If there is no punishment, no consequences for having committed such a high crime, a literal atrocity against the very foundations of our society, then what incentive would San Fran Nan and Chuck Schumer and the rest of the despicable leadership of the Democrat Party ever have to modify their behavior?

There must. be. consequences.

That is all.

Follow me on Twitter at @GDBlackmon

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

Open post

Watch Nancy Pelosi Promise to Ignore the Results of the 2020 Elections

Today’s Campaign Update, Part II
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)

Following up on my piece from yesterday afternoon (Despicable Dems Setting the Stage for Rejecting 2020 Election Results), House Speaker took her rhetoric to borderline seditionist lengths Tuesday morning.

Here’s the clip – a transcript will follow:

As a courtesy to those of you who still like to read stuff, I have transcribed the Speaker’s exact remarks here [emphasis added]:

==========

To…uh… we have to make sure … this will sound political but…we have to make sure that the Constitution wins the next presidential election. We can’t be worrying about, well, how long is this going to take or that…it will take as long as it does. And we will press the case so that in the “court of public opinion” …people will know what is right.

But we cannot accept a second term…for Donald Trump…if we are going to be faithful to our democracy and to the Constitution of the United States. And that is just a fact.

So we have to operate on many fronts. We have to operate in the congress, in the courts and in the court of public opinion. And we must win the next election.

==========

Like I said, borderline sedition. Maybe outright.

Let’s unpack the emphasized comments:

  • “make sure that the Constitution wins” is a veiled attack on the Electoral College, which, according to the Constitution, is the sole determinant of U.S. presidential elections. Pelosi is implying that Donald Trump – who was a landslide winner in the EC in 2016 – was somehow not the constitutional winner of that election.
  • “How long is this going to take” refers to the Democrat Party plan to filed hundreds of lawsuits challenging the results of the 2020 elections, not only in the presidential race, but in all congressional, gubernatorial and local races that are remotely close. The party’s plan is to declare them all “illegitimate” and challenge them in the courts. The longer it takes, the better as far as they are concerned.
  • “But we cannot accept a second term…for Donald Trump” – you need me to explain what that means? Really? C’mon.
  • “We have to operate in the congress” refers to the ongoing kangaroo court investigations being conducted by multiple House committees under Pelosi’s guidance. Important: We must also remember that as Speaker, Pelosi has a role in certifying the results of the 2020 election. This is also a bit of foreshadowing of the role she plans to play. 
  • “we have to operate in the courts” obviously refers to the Party’s plans to challenge the election results in any race they lose by fairly narrow margins in 2020.

This all thinly-veiled code language aimed at the Democrat Party’s mind-numbed base its supporters in the fake news media. Stacy Abrams running around for months after a 55,000 vote loss claiming to be the “real” Governor of Georgia is just a trial balloon for taking every Democrat loser down that same road come next November.

We talk a lot about the absolute need to defeat today’s demented Democrats. Nancy Pelosi is making it crystal clear to anyone paying attention that defeating her and her evil minions at the ballot box will only be a first step in a long and miserable slog that will last for many months after Election Day 2020.

Get ready.

That is all.

Follow me on Twitter at @GDBlackmon

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

Open post

Trump Does the Right Thing on Border Securty – Will John Roberts do the Same?

Today’s Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)

See something, say something, do something. – President Donald Trump has seen a national emergency developing along our southern border for several years now, and he’s been saying that for a long time. On Thursday, left with no other choice by ineffective Republicans who have no spine and Democrats who refuse to negotiate, the President did exactly as he has been promising to do and declared the situation to be a national emergency.

Naturally, the fake news media/Democrat axis of disinformation portrayed the declaration as the end of American society as we know it, because of course they did. That’s what they do anytime this particular President exercises his obvious legal and constitutional authorities.

How obvious is said authority? Barack Hussein Obama – America’s Worst Mistake – declared no fewer than 13 national emergencies in his nine years in office, at least nine of which are still active. On October 24, 2009, he declared it a “national emergency” when 12 people died of the Swine Flu. I swear I don’t make this stuff up. Who could?

All of the Obama “national emergency” declarations that are still active have to do with seizing the personal assets of various minor international bad actors, people you’ve never heard of. Funny he couldn’t find it within himself to take similar actions against the Iranian Mullahs or the socialist thugs down in Venezuela, or against the radical Islamic terrorists who assaulted our embassy in Benghazi and murdered four U.S. diplomatic personnel.

How do any of Obama’s “emergencies” remotely compare to a situation in which our country is literally being invaded by thousands of mostly-military-age males across our border with Mexico each and every day? It is important to note that, when America’s Worst Mistake exercised his clear authorities to declare said “emergencies,” no one in our fake news media or in the Democrat Party uttered a peep of protest. Nor did a single Republican squish like Marco Rubio, who appears to be auditioning for John McCain’s old role as the Senator From The News Media on this issue.

Jonathan Turley, Constitutional Law Professor at George Washington University, told Fox News that the leftist interests who will inevitably challenge the President’s authority to declare this emergency will “fail spectacularly” in the courts on that question. He also thinks that the President has full authority under laws passed in 1977 to reallocate funds from other parts of the budget, and in 2005 to target them towards building the wall.  Why? Because congress gave presidents those powers – reaffirming his already-existing constitutional authority – to do those things, and has never acted to try to repeal them.

So what you’re seeing in the fake news media this morning is – you guessed it – more fake news!

Some things never change.

Having said all of that, there are at least seemingly legitimate political arguments to be made against President Trump’s actions. I don’t agree with them, but they are fair.

Many Republicans reeled in horror yesterday when San Fran Nan implied that a future Democrat President might use the same authority to seize guns. But this is an absurdity. There is no authority – statutory or constitutional – that would allow any president to effectively amend the Constitution or reverse decisions by the Supreme Court via an executive order. It’s typical Pelosi idiocy.

Late last week we saw Rubio and other GOP squishes fret about the potential that a future Democrat would declare “climate change” to be a national emergency and enact the lunatic “Green New Deal” via executive fiat. That’s a concern that’s at least understandable to some extent, especially were we to elect someone like Bernie Sanders or Fauxcahontas, neither of whom will ever become president.

But the declaration of a “national emergency” is not the same as a president appointing himself to be a de facto dictator. The actions he takes under a national emergency declaration still must be founded in a legal authority, either statutory or constitutional. Where the “Green New Deal” is concerned, there is no such legal authority that would allow a president to, for example, unilaterally triple the price of gasoline and your electricity and home heating bills in order to make you stop using fossil fuels, or force privately-owned companies to go bankrupt building thousands of miles of railroads to nowhere, which is exactly what that mindless plan contemplates.

Look, if that were going to happen, Barack Obama would have already tried it and failed. So quit worrying about it.

The real wild card in this is Chief Justice John Roberts. In recent months, Roberts has made several decisions in which he has sided with the leftist minority on the Court, indicating that he may be turning into another Anthony Kennedy, an unreliable jurist with no real principles.

At least one of the inevitable court challenges to President Trump’s declaration will ultimately come before the Supreme Court. That is when we will find out once and for all whether Justice Roberts still respects the Constitution and his role in interpreting it, or if he has become just another Deep State skunk.

Might as well find out now.

That is all.

Follow me on Twitter at @GDBlackmon

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

Scroll to top
%d bloggers like this: