Posts tagged ‘Impeachment’

01/27/2020

Why Andrew Johnson Was Impeached

Andrew Johnson had a long political career, as an alderman, mayor, Tennessee house member; governor, U.S. Senator, Vice-President, President, and finally Senator again.

When President Lincoln ran for re-election in 1864, he dropped Vice-President Hannibal Hamlin, as well as the Republican label, and instead headed a new “National Union Party” with Johnson as his Vice President.

Why did Abe pick a Southern Democrat who had owned slaves until he was forced to release them under the Emancipation Proclamation? Lincoln tagged him because: 1) he fought to preserve the Union; 2) he did not oppose the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery; and 3) he could help carry the Border States in the 1864 election.

Johnson had in fact been the only Southern Senator to vote against secession. After he called his former friends and neighbors traitors, he himself was branded a turncoat. As the Tennessee militia set out to arrest him, he narrowly escaped on horseback.

Greenville, Tennessee, where Johnson lived, changed hands 27 times during the Civil War. With Andrew gone, the rebels ransacked his home and left threatening messages on his walls. His wife Eliza was detained for two days before she was released. Johnson’s son Charles, who enlisted as a doctor in the Union Army, would die in uniform in 1863.

So why was the loyal Johnson targeted for impeachment? Even though it was Abe who dumped Republican Hamlin to make way for a Southerner, Johnson took the blame. The basic problem was Johnson was a States Rights Democrat. and as such, he was isolated, because his fellow Southern Congressmen had not yet been re-seated.

Johnson was not against all things Republican. For example, he supported the Office of Education, as he understood the value of learning. Since he had never been to school, his wife had to teach him how to write. The fundamental disagreement was over the use of federal legislation to override state measures endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan.

When white supremacists created “Black Codes” in 1865 to perpetuate unequal treatment for blacks in the state courts, Congress passed a bill to supersede them, but Johnson vetoed it. When Congress tried again to guarantee equal treatment under the Civil Rights Act of 1866, Johnson again vetoed, but this time he was overridden.

As the Klan continued interfering with the voting rights of former slaves, Congress passed a Reconstruction Bill (1867) directing the armed forces to register all black voters, but Johnson vetoed it, as he believed the states should decide such questions. As the Republicans overrode yet another veto, the U.S. Army proceeded to register black voters.

Many former Confederates demanded that Johnson remove Sec. of War Edwin Stanton over what U.S. troops were doing. Anticipating a discharge of Stanton, Congress passed the Tenure in Office Act (1867), which barred the Commander-in-Chief from firing any military commander without Senate approval.

The President vetoed the Tenure Act, as he viewed it as unconstitutional, saying he felt it infringed on his executive powers. After his veto was overridden, Johnson went ahead and fired Stanton anyway, but the Sec. of War stubbornly refused to vacate his post.

Johnson was impeached over his alleged violation of the Tenure Act and his belief that Congress could not lawfully pass any bill, unless the former rebels were first reseated. The hysteria ran so high, some alleged Johnson conspired to kill Lincoln. Many forgot that Andrew was also targeted by the assassins and the only reason he lived was that the man who was to shoot him lost his nerve.

After the House voted 128 to 47 to impeach (accuse) Johnson, the case moved into the Senate, where a two-month trial (with live witnesses) was held from March through June 1868. Thanks to two Senators from Iowa and Kansas, who changed their minds late in the proceedings, Johnson was acquitted by just one vote.

After Johnson’s “not guilty” verdict, Congress shunned him and he spent his final ten months as a “lame duck.” The President did however get back at the Republicans, as he granted amnesty to Jefferson Davis and pardoned all Southerners who fought in the Civil War. Once again popular in Tennessee, Johnson was returned to the U.S. Senate in 1874.

12/03/2019

IMPEACHMENT AND THE CONSTITUTION

As to Presidential impeachments, the Constitution provides: “The House of Representatives…shall have the sole power of impeachment” Art. I, Sec. 2 (5). “The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments.” Art I, Sec. 3 (6) “The President…shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” (Art II, Sec. 4).

Since many Americans who enlisted in the Revolution were accused of “treason,” the Founders set a very high standard of proof in the Constitution to prove it: “Treason against the U.S. shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.” (Art. III, Sec. 3 (1). So much for treason.

ATTEMPTED BRIBERY

Although the Constitution also listed “bribery” as an impeachable offense, no specific definition was given, as it was widely understood as an offer of “something of value” to a public official for something in return.

The something of value offered by Trump was military weaponry owned by the U.S. government. The law appropriating money to buy it was made by Congress under their legislative powers. Art. 1, Sec 1. Although Trump often gives the false impression that he alone controls the public purse strings, it’s Congress that exercises the power to decide what funds are appropriated and where they flow. The Constitution provides:  “no money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law…” Art I, Sec. 9 (7).

President Trump was to simply enforce the Ukrainian appropriations law, without interjecting his own personal conditions. He had no authority to demand “favors” in exchange for U.S. aid. More specifically, he had no right to use taxpayer dollars to extract an investigation into Joe Biden, his political rival.

When Trump took his Presidential oath, he swore: “I…will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Art II, Sec 1 (8). In doing so, he accepted the duty to: “…take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Art II, Sec 3.

Some of Trump’s non-lawyer apologists, like the insufferable Jim Jordan of Ohio, shout out in a rage that no investigation was commenced and the aid was delivered. But what the Congressman refuses to admit is that the abandonment of a criminal scheme upon being exposed by a whistleblower is no defense. By analogy, if a murderer starts stabbing someone, but he is then stopped, and the victim survives, all is not forgotten. The charges are simply reduced from “murder” to “attempted murder.”

The Founders considered an attempted crime just as onerous as a completed one. American Jurisprudence, a legal authority, states: “An attempt to commit a crime was itself an indictable offense at common law.”

To show an “attempted bribe,” all that is required is an “overt act” coupled with an “intent.”

Here, the “attempted bribery” occurred as Tramp ordered his people to withhold the military aid to the Ukraine until the Ukrainian President first publically announced an investigation re Biden, his political rival.

When Alexander Hamilton explained in Federalist #65 that impeachment trials would be held in the Senate, he noted: “The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust.” Here, since Trump was simply to deliver foreign aid as appropriated by Congress, and he instead added political conditions beneficial only to his own re-election campaign, he violated the public trust, and yes, that is an impeachable offense, which justifies removal. We simply cannot trust Donald Trump.

VIRTUOUS BEHAVIOR STANDARD

Before addressing “other” crimes and misdemeanors, the Congress must first consider the standard of conduct applicable to a President. As guidance, the Constitution sets standards for lawmakers and judges: “Each House may…punish its members for disorderly behavior and with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.” Art I, Sec 5 (2). “The judges, of the Supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior…” Art. III, Sec. 1. Since no Presidential standard was included in the Constitution itself, we can look to the Federalist Papers for help.

Alexander Hamilton established a “Preeminent Virtue Standard” for Presidential behavior in Federalist #68 (1788), where he wrote “…the Office of President will seldom fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” He added: “There will be a constant probability of seeing the station filled by characters preeminent for ability and virtue.”

As to impeachment crimes and misdemeanors, they are not to be judged by what a criminal court might have done or would do. If this were the case, Trump would always get 4 of 12 on a jury to vote not guilty, no matter what facts were shown. Presidential removals do not depend on unanimous jury verdicts, for as Hamilton put it in Federalist #65, impeachments “are of a nature which may…be denominated political.” For the House to impeach, each count simply requires a majority to agree that Trump has not lived up to Hamilton’s Preeminent Virtue Standard.

OTHER CRIMES & MISDEMEANORS

Since House Democrats would be making a major mistake if they proceeded on just onecount of bribery, they should examine what the Founders meant in the Constitution when they allowed impeachment for: “other high crimes and misdemeanors.” What “other” “high crimes”? What “other” “misdemeanors”?

In addition to attempted bribery, Trump has shown a lack of virtue as to other crimes and misdemeanors, such as: 1) sexual assault; 2) adultery and prostitution;  3) invasion of privacy; 4) slanderous defamation; 5) malicious prosecution; 6) battery, as party to crime; 7) disorderly conduct; 8) witness intimidation; 9) whistleblower law violations; 10) subordination of perjury; 11) contempt of court as to subpoenas; 12) receiving foreign emoluments (illegal pay); 13) income tax concealment; 14) fraud as to Trump University students; 15) fraud against creditors; 16) abuse of bankruptcy process; 17) obstruction of justice; and 18) obstruction of Congress.

SEXUAL ASSAULTS

While being secretly recorded by Billy Bush of Access Hollywood in 2005, Trump admitted that he committed at least one fourth degree “sexual assault.” Most states have various degrees of sexual assault, ranging from first degree (rape) to fourth degree, which is usually some sort of “offensive touching.”

In talking to Bush, Trump made comments indicating a lack of virtue regarding a Palm Beach woman as he said: “I did try and fuck her. She was married….I moved on her very heavily…I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there and she was married.”

During the same conversation, as Trump was about to exit a bus to meet Arianne Zucker, he said to Bush: “I better use some Tic-Tacs, just in case I start kissing her….I am automatically attracted to beautiful (women)….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.” When Bush asked: “Whatever you want?” Trump replied: “Grab ‘em by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Many woman and campaign workers have alleged Trump forcibly kissed them or grabbed them, but there is not enough room here to recite all their stories.

Although it may be news to Trump, it’s not legal to randomly kiss or grab women by the pussy, or to do whatever you want, without their prior consent.  Under Hamilton’s “virtuous behavior” standard, Trump’s admitted conduct as to women should be added to our impeachment cart before we check him out.

ADULTERY & PROSTITUTION

The fact that Trump paid at least two high-priced call-girls substantial sums of money shows a willingness to engage in “prostitution” and a lack of the sort of “virtue” Hamilton thought Presidents should possess.

On dozens of occasions during a nine-month period while Trump was a 60-year-old and married to is then 36-year-old wife Melania, he had an affair with a 35-year old Playboy supermodel, Karen McDougal. Once Trump became the Republican Presidential nominee in 2016, his personal attorney Michael Cohen recorded a conversation with Trump in which they discussed paying off McDougal to keep her quiet. But instead of making direct payments, they used a trusted friend at the National Enquirer, who worked out a plan, where the tabloid paid McDougal $150.000 on Aug. 5, 2016 for a non-disclosure agreement and the “exclusive” rights to her story. This was so they could bury it. In another recorded conversation with Cohen, Trump asked if “one-fifty” was needed and Cohen said yes. When the affair nonetheless surfaced a few days before the 2016 election, Trump instructed his campaign aid Hope Hicks to lie about it by telling the public it was “totally untrue.” But the truth wouldn’t go away. Based on McDougal’s own memoirs, the New Yorker later corroborated the affair. McDougal said when they first had sex, Trump offered to pay her and promised to buy her an apartment in New York. During the affair, to avoid evidence, Trump instructed McDougal to cover her own air flights and hotels for later reimbursement. McDougal ended the affair in April 2007, because Trump made some offensive comments to her. As for Trump’s lawyer Cohen, after he pled guilty to violating the federal campaign finance laws by paying $150,000 in hush money “at the direction of a candidate for public office,” he was sentenced to prison for three years. His guilty plea also covered the Stormy Daniels buyout.

Once again when Trump was a 60-year-old, he had another affair with a then 27-year-old Stormy Daniels, who was an adult film star. After they had sex, Daniels said she used a Forbes Magazine to spank him (not hard enough obviously). Since Trump was a public figure, news of the affair was published in 2011. As Trump started running for President, Daniels was then threatened to sign a nondisclosure agreement. In Las Vegas, as she and her infant daughter exited a car, an unknown man said: “Leave Trump alone. Forget the story. That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.” So one month before the 2016 Presidential election, Daniels finally signed a non-disclosure agreement in consideration for $130,000. Since the money was technically an in-kind contribution to the Trump campaign, after Trump was elected, his personal attorney Michael Cohen admitted that he made a payment to Daniels for Trump and he pled guilty to illegal campaign finance contributions “in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office.” Rudi Giuliani admitted Trump reimbursed Cohen in 2017. But Trump himself continued to lie about it, as he denied having any knowledge of Cohen’s payment to Daniels. Trump’s press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was instructed to perpetuate the lie, as she told the media, they had “no knowledge of any payments from the President.”

INVASION OF PRIVACY

Trump operated several beauty pageants between 1996 through 2015. At them, Trump admitted to Howard Stern in 2005: “I’ll go backstage before a show, and everyone’s getting dressed and ready and…no men are anywhere. And I’m allowed to go in, because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it…You know, there’re standing there with no cloths, and you see all these incredible looking women…so I sort of get away with things like that..”

Just to name three of the ladies who complained, Miss Vermont Teen, Mariah Billado, described her dressing room incident this way: “I remember putting on my dress really quick, because it was like, oh my god, there’s a man in here.” Trump said: “Don’t worry ladies, I’ve seen it all before. Miss New Hampshire, Bridget Sullivan said when Trump walked into her dressing room ostensibly to wish the contestants good luck “they were all naked.” Miss Arizona, Tasha Dixon, said “(Trump) just came strolling right in. There was no second to put a robe on or any sort of clothing or anything. Some girls were topless, other girls were naked.”

Trump apparently suffers from the delusion that because he “owned” the beauty pageants that he had a legal right to invade contestant privacy by just walking in on them while they were nude. No judge or jury anywhere would agree with that twisted thinking.

SLANDEROUS DEFAMATION

Trump has routinely abused his position of trust by tweeting out a torrid of “defamatory statements” as to anyone who crosses him. He made so many false comments about so many people it’s impossible to recite them all in one article. Persons previously unknown to the public, like former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, have been singled out and subjected to vile and slanderous comments.

Trump’s most widely-known slander was perhaps his insidious race-based fiction that President Obama was not born in the United States. As character assassin-in-chief, Trump headed the Birther Movement, a group of low-information right-wingers who seriously believed Obama was not an American. Their ignorance was in large part due to Trump’s non-stop lying on the issue. Since Trump professes to be a “genius,” why did he not comprehend demonstrable facts that clearly showed Obama was in fact born in Honolulu, Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961? Why did he not accept Obama’s birth certificate or his “birth notice” published in a Honolulu newspaper in 1961? With facts readily available, why did he continue slandering Obama for years? The simple answer is Trump doesn’t care about truth and his proclivity to slander evinces a total lack of virtue.

MALICIOUS PROSECUTION

Since our Founders objected when King George III abused his power and arrested political opponents, the framers protected Senators and Representatives in the Constitution by making them “…privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses…” Art. I, Sec 6 (1). For the next 230 years, it was largely considered un-American for Presidential candidates to promote the prosecution or jailing of political opponents.

Trump managed to introduce a new invective into the American lexicon as he repeatedly encouraged his mobs to join him in the malicious prosecution of Hilary Clinton. He encouraged his thugs to just “lock her-up!” Historically, such threats were only heard in places like Franco’s Spain, Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany. Such dark chants are seriously dangerous when repeated to uncorked Trump backers.

By encouraging the malicious prosecution of political opponents, Trump put himself in legal quagmire as he took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government.” Art IV, Sec. 4.

Trump cannot on the one hand blindly promote a lawless state by telling his thugs to just “lock her up” and simultaneously carry out his Presidential duty to guarantee of a republican form of government, which by definition includes peaceful transfers of power. Trump abuses his position of trust every time he calls for another “malicious prosecution” of a political opponent. Now he is saying “lock up” Hunter Biden. If Trump is allowed to continue acting like a dictator of a banana republic, his conduct will have a corrosive effect on the future of our democracy. Trump is not the sort of man the Founders wanted to head a republic.

BATTERY, AS PARTY TO CRIME

Trump publically encouraged his hard-core supporters to engage in unprovoked physical acts of “battery” against media employees and those who merely disagree with him. He then co-conspired with his thugs by telling them he would pay their legal fees.

At a rally in Nevada in early 2016, when a detractor appeared to denounce the candidate’s racist rhetoric, Trump provoked his unbalanced supporters by shouting out: “I’d like to punch him in the face.” At another event in Kentucky the same month, Trump made it clear that if his bullies did engage in battery, he would cover their legal fees, as he shouted out: “Try not to hurt him. If you do, I’ll defend you in court.”

Armed with the knowledge that their legal fees would be covered, a white 78-year-old man in North Carolina then sucker-punched a 26-year-old black man, who appeared at a Trump rally in March 2016 to voice his opposition to Trump’s repeated use of hate speech.

When prominent public figures use their stations to egg-on supporters by promising to cover their legal fees if they engage in battery, they should be treated as a “party to the crime” to battery. Under Hamilton’s “virtuous behavior” standard, Trump failed miserably. The encouragement of battery should be added to our impeachment cart.

DISORDERLY CONDUCT

Under the same fact pattern above, disorderly conduct is often charged as lesser alternative to battery.

On many occasions, Trump engaged in “disorderly conduct” as he made hate-filled speeches and uttered comments that encouraged his unbalanced supporters to engage in physical violence. Trump tended to cause or provoke public disturbances. Since Hamilton argued impeachment could flow “from the misconduct of public men,” Trump’s disorderly style of conduct should be considered an impeachable act. No one could seriously argue Trump’s conduct is virtuous.

WITNESS INTIMIDATION

“Witness Intimidation” is a crime under both federal and state laws. Trump silenced some would-be accusers and attempted to mute others, as he used his twitter account to threaten those who dare testify against him. The list of those he as assailed is quite long, but just to name a few, he tried to intimidate his former Attorney Michael Cohen as he testified regarding the hush money paid to Karen McDougal. He intimidated Stormy Daniels in attempt to keep her quiet about their affair and the money she received. He also made intimidating tweets to former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch while she testified before a House committee. Trump uses this sort of intimidation anytime anyone makes any statements that might hurt him. While some brave souls have come forward to speak the truth as to his corrupt practices, others have sadly been intimidated into silence. It’s time for that to end. Witness intimidation should be added as an impeachable offense.

WHISTLEBLOWER LAW VIOLATIONS

The federal Whistleblower Act (1989) was signed into law by Republican President George H. W. Bush. It’s a good law that protects government workers who report possible violations of laws, rules or regulations. The statute prohibits any reprisal or retaliatory action against the person reporting the alleged wrongdoing.

Confidentiality exists for a reason. The legal system has used confidential informants for a long time. Arrests in drug cases, for example, often begin with a tip from an anonymous undercover agent. Their identities remain secret and unavailable to the accused. If courts exposed them, they could be endangered.

Yet the President demands the whistleblower’s name. He wants it so he can retaliate against the person who disclosed his attempted bribe of Ukraine’s President. Trump demand is without regard to the law protecting the whistleblower’s identity or safety. Although it should be obvious, someone needs to tell the President that what is demanding is a violation of the Whistleblower Act. If Trump wants to change the law, he should use proper channels. As long as the law keeps the name of the whistleblower confidential, then the President can’t have it. Period. Since Trump doesn’t care about obeying the law, our only option is to add another reason for impeachment.

SUBORDINATION OF PERJURY

When Hamilton explained in Federalist #65 that impeachable offenses could flow “…from the misconduct of public men, or in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust,” it’s doubtful he could have even imagined a President as untrustworthy as Trump. The President has no credibility. He’s dishonest. He doesn’t understand the difference between what is true and what is false.

Trump’s habitual lying about almost everything, including demonstrably true facts, goes well beyond normal political rhetoric. It’s to the point where he has absolutely no reputation for truth. He lost the public trust. Does anyone really think he would not perjure himself if he testified under oath? Even his most ardent backers would have to admit he’s a pathological liar.

But since his attorneys know he would commit perjury, they will likely keep him off the witness stand. But this then leads us to the President’s men. I’m not sure why some Democrats want hostile witnesses like Bolton, Pompeo or Barr to testify. While Trump will certainly tell them to lie on his behalf, there is a question as to how many will actually do it. Will they let Trump commit another subordination of perjury?

We know Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort was convicted of lying to investigators and sent to prison. We also know Trump was guilty of a subordination of perjury as to Michael Cohen, who lied under oath as directed by Trump. Cohen is now in a federal prison as a result. For encouraging these acts, Trump should be impeached and removed from office.

CONTEMPT OF COURT AS TO SUBPOENAS

Since nobody else in America can simply thumb their nose at a subpoena and refuse to appear, where does Trump get off by ignoring lawful processes and by engaging in “contempt of court”? Who does he think he is? Is he suffering from the delusion that because he is President, he can disobey the law? The U.S. is not a monarchy or a dictatorship. Trump is not a king. We have a republic and the rule of law applies to everyone.

What is really impeachable is that Trump issued unlawful orders to his subordinates to disobey subpoenas. Perhaps many of them do not realize that their first obligation is to the Constitution. They do not owe allegiance to Trump. They owe it to their country.

Since Trump blatantly abused his power and violated his oath of office, which is tuphold the Constitution, he should be impeached for his frivolous conduct in disobeying subpoenas. Even the Republican-controlled Supreme Court will not accept a blanket “executive privilege” that allows him to avoid every subpoena.

RECEIVING FOREIGN EMOLUMENTS

The domestic emoluments clause says: “The President shall…receive for his services, a compensation…and he shall not receive…any other emolument from the United States or any of them.” Art II, Sec 1 (7). The foreign emoluments clause provides: “…No person holding any office…shall…without the consent of Congress, accept…any present (or) emolument…of any kind whatever from any king, prince or foreign country.” Art I, Sec 9 (8).

Trump was sued under the Foreign Emoluments Clause, because foreign governments and diplomats have been paying rents and other sums at the Trump Tower, Trump’s DC Hotel and Restaurants, and to Trump’s Golf Resorts and International Hotels. One allegation by 30 Senators and 166 Representatives was Trump violated the “without the consent of Congress” language of the emoluments clause. Congress does not know which nations are giving Trump money.

Trump appears not to understand that as President he is to serve the American people and not his own financial interests. While he need not totally divest himself of all holdings, he should have instructed his hotels and resorts to turn away all revenue from foreign countries during his Presidency. He needed to do this to stop receiving their money and to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

But Trump being Trump, he of course does not see anything wrong with trying to profit from foreign states and leaders. He instead invites them to spend cash at his Mar-a-lago Resort. The Founders like Hamilton were concerned about foreign corruption. Trump’s failure to first get the consent of Congress is a Constitutional violation and a reason for impeachment.

INCOME TAX CONCEALMENT

Unlike all previous modern Presidents, Trump not only failed to produce complete income tax and financial records for the years prior to his election, he has also actively sought to block their release in the courts. When the House Oversight Committee sought routine information from the period before Trump became President, he balked and forced the issuance of a subpoena to his accounting firm. After a federal judge ordered the accountants to release the records, Trump appealed and the case is now in the Supreme Court.

This issue is not complicated. A virtuous President would have simply photocopied his records and disclosed them, because he would have nothing to hide. Trump’s evasion refusal to disclose rightfully makes everyone suspicious. Who does he think he is? Trump’s concealment of his records and his refusal to obey subpoenas as to their production is impeachable.

FRAUD RE TRUMP UNIVERSITY STUDENTS

“Trump University” was basically just a real estate seminar, which was sued for various illegal business practices. A class action joined by about 7.000 former students was filed against Trump alleging he defrauded them by using misleading marketing tactics. Their claims were ultimately settled for 25 million in 2016. One fraud was the illegal promotion of the business as a “university.” Since it was not licensed, chartered or accredited, Trump was not legally allowed to promote it as a “university.” He conned more than 5,000 into paying up to $35,000 to get the benefits of his “deal.” Trump was personally found liable for running the fraudulent company without a license. As a tactic to try to remove one judge, Trump said he was “Spanish” or “Mexican” and that he was a “hater.” In fact, Judge Curiel was a U.S. citizen born in Indiana. His parents were Mexican immigrants. Sen. Mitt Romney could not have said it any better, as he stated “Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.” A man who profits off the backs of students has no virtue. Impeach him.

FRAUD AGAINST CREDITORS

Trump is a litigious con-artist, speculator and swindler who has for years, improperly used the federal and state court systems to unfairly defraud real estate and business creditors out of contractual sums they are owed. He has been involved in over 3,500 lawsuits, 1,900 as a plaintiff, and 1,450 as a defendant. He also cheated tax authorities by refusing to pay and forcing them to file tax liens against his properties. Trump improperly used the delay inherent in the legal system as a tactic to bully his adversaries into giving up. His long record in this regard shows a total lack of virtue.

ABUSE OF BANKRUPTCY PROCESSES

As the Founders recognized a need to allow people to escape perpetual debtors’ prison sentences, they gave the Congress the power to establish bankruptcy courts. Art I, Sec 8 (4). While there is nothing wrong with bankruptcy for those who legitimately need it, Trump is a serial filer, who has abused the processes to swindle his creditors.

Trump’s hotels and casinos declared bankruptcy a total of six time between 1991 and 2009. Trump admitted to Newsweek in 2011: “I do play with the bankruptcy law—they’re very good for me” At another time, he said: “I’ve used the laws of this country to pare debt.”

Trump’s six bankruptcy filings included the Trump Taj Mahal (1991); Trump Plaza and Casino, (1992); Plaza Hotel (1992); Trump Castle Hotel and Casino (1992); Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts (2004) and Trump Entertainment Resorts (2009). His other business failures include his New Jersey Generals football team, his Shuttle Airline, and his defunct Trump University.

OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE AND CONGRESS

No long explanation is needed as to the multitude of things Trump has done which justify charges for an “obstruction of justice” and “obstruction of Congress.”

SENATE VOTE 47-23 TO CONVICT

The Constitution does not require the vote of 67 Senators to convict a President on impeachment charges. They may do so with the concurrence “of two-thirds of the members present.” Art I, Sec 3 (6).

Since there are 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and 2 independents (who caucus with Democrats), the split is effectively 53 to 47. If all 47 in the minority support impeachment, Trump could be removed if 20 Republicans join the Democrats, or if 30 Republicans purposely fail to show up for the vote. Theoretically, Trump could be removed by a vote of 47 to 23.

Although it is probable the Republican-controlled Senate will acquit or otherwise excuse Trump, this reality is no excuse not to vote for Articles of Impeachment in the House as to the above offenses.

Our apprentice President, who is unethical, unprincipled and unscrupulous, totally lacks any redeeming value or virtue, and he should be sent a clear Congressional message, perhaps even he might understand: “Donald, you’re fired!”

11/26/2019

Impeachment Under Federalist 65

When Alexander Hamilton discussed impeachment in Federalist #65, he wrote regarding a trial in the Senate: “The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust.” He further stated: “…they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”

The Constitution provides in Art II, Sec. 4: “The President…shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

While treason and bribery are relatively easy to understand, what did the Founders mean by the words: “other high crimes and misdemeanors”? What “other” “high crimes”? What “other” “misdemeanors”?

In addition to Trump’s attempted bribery of the Ukraine President, he committed “other” crimes and “misdemeanors,” such as repeated sexual assaults, prostitution, slanderous defamation, habitual lying and a loss of the public trust as to perjury, attempted malicious prosecutions of political opponents, co-conspiring with supporters to engage in battery, disorderly conduct, witness intimidation, obstruction of justice, obstruction of Congress, contempt of court, and willful violations of lawful subpoenas issued by federal and state prosecutors and the Congress.

Trump committed at least fourth degree “sexual assault” against a multitude of women. The evidence that he paid at least one high-priced call-girl over $150,000 shows a willingness to engage in “prostitution” and a lack of the sort of “virtue” the Founders thought Presidents should possess.

Trump routinely abused his position of trust by tweeting out a torrid of “defamatory statements.” He made so many false comments about people it’s impossible to recite them all in one article. Persons previously unknown to the public, like the Ambassador to the Ukraine, have been singled out and subjected to false, vile and slanderous comments.

Trump’s tendency to lie about demonstrably true facts goes well beyond normal political rhetoric. It evinces a loss of the public trust as to the crime of “perjury,” since the President clearly doesn’t understand the basic difference between what is true and what is false.

Trump abused his position of trust by using his powers to wrongfully encourage the “malicious prosecution” of his political opponents. Apparently unaware of how power is transferred in a republic, he recklessly threatened to lock-up his 2016 rival Hilary Clinton.

Trump at rallies publicly encouraged his hard-core supporters to engage in unprovoked physical acts of “battery” against media employees and those who merely disagreed with him. He then co-conspired with his thugs by telling them he would pay their legal fees.

Trump engaged in “disorderly conduct” on many occasions, as he tried to provoke public disturbances.

Trump silenced some would-be accusers and attempted to mute others, as he used his twitter account to engage in “witness intimidation,” a federal crime. While brave people appeared before the House to speak the truth as to his corrupt practices, he tried to silence them.

Trump is guilty of “obstruction of justice,” the “obstruction of Congress,” and of “contempt of court,” not only with respect to his tax returns, but also as to his unlawful orders to subordinates that they disobey subpoenas and their higher oath to the Constitution. He blatantly abused his power and violated his oath of office, which is to uphold our Constitutional form of government and the rule of law.

Hamilton believed the President would only be a man of “virtue.” When he wrote Federalist #68 he explained that the electors who would attend the Electoral College would not choose a President of “low intrigue.” He thought “…the Office of President will seldom fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” He added: “There will be a constant probability of seeing the station filled by characters preeminent for ability and virtue.”

The probability that the Republican-controlled Senate will not convict or remove Trump from office is no excuse for not voting in favor of Articles of Impeachment in the House as to the offenses outlined above with respect to a man who has absolutely no virtue.

11/25/2019

Impeachment & Federalist Papers

When Alexander Hamilton wrote Federalist #68 in an effort to convince New Yorkers to ratify the Constitution, he explained that the electors who would attend the Electoral College would not be choosing a President of “low intrigue.” He thought “…the Office of President will seldom fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” He added: “There will be a constant probability of seeing the station filled by characters preeminent for ability and virtue.”

The Founders believed that only a qualified man of “virtue” would be entrusted to hold the Presidency.

Hamilton discussed impeachment in Federalist #65. Regarding a trial in the Senate, he wrote: “The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust.” He further stated: “…they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”

The Framers provided in Art II, Sec. 4 of the Constitution: “The President…shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” While treason and bribery are relatively easy to understand, what did the Founders mean by the words: “other high crimes and misdemeanors”? What “other” “high crimes”? What “other” “misdemeanors”?

In addition to Trump’s attempted bribery of the Ukraine President, is he also guilty of “other” “misdemeanors,” such as sexual assault, prostitution, slanderous defamation, habitual lying and perjury, attempted malicious prosecutions of political opponents, co-conspiring with supporters to engage in battery, disorderly conduct, obstruction of justice, and willful violations of subpoenas issued by prosecutors and the Congress?

Trump committed “sexual assault” against a multitude of women. The evidence that he paid at least one high-priced call-girl shows a willingness engage in “prostitution” and a lack of “virtue” of the sort the Founders believed a President should possess.

Trump routinely abused his position of trust by tweeting out a torrid of “defamatory statements.” He made so many false comments about people it’s difficult to list them all. Persons previously unknown to the public, like the Ambassador to the Ukraine, have been singled out by him and subjected to false, vile and slanderous comments.

Trump’s tendency to lie about demonstrably true facts goes well beyond normal political rhetoric. It evinces a mindset willing to commit “perjury,” since he appears not even to understand the basic difference between right and wrong.

Trump abused his position of trust by using his powers to wrongfully encourage the “malicious prosecution” of political opponents. Unaware of how a democracy works, he recklessly threatened to lock-up his 2016 rival Hilary Clinton.

Trump at rallies publicly encouraged his hard-core supporters to engage in unprovoked physical acts of “battery” against media members and those who merely disagree with him and he then co-conspired with his thugs to pay their legal fees.

Trump engaged in “disorderly conduct” on many occasions, as he tried to provoke public disturbances.

Trump is guilty of “obstruction of justice,” the “obstruction of Congress,” and of a “contempt of court.” As he ordered subordinates in the Executive Dept. to disobey House subpoenas, he blatantly abused his power and violated his oath of office, which is to uphold our Constitutional form of government.

The probability that the Republican Senate will not convict or remove Trump from office is no reason not to support Articles of Impeachment in the House of Representatives.

10/03/2019

IMPEACHMENT OF DONALD TRUMP

The United States Constitution provides the following procedures for impeachment:

“The President…shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Art. II, Sec. 4.

“The House of Representatives…shall have the sole power of impeachment.” Art. I, Sec 2 (5).

“The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. Art I, Sec (3) (6).

“When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside…”Art I, Sec 3 (6).

“…No person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members present.” Art I, Sec 3 (6).

“Judgement in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the U.S.…” Art I, Sec 3 (7).

The Constitution states the oath Donald Trump took in Jan. 2017:

“Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation: Art II, Sec. 1 (8)

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Art II, Sec 1 (8)

(Note: The Founders did not include the words “so help me god” in the Constitution and that language is not part of the oath, though many recent Presidents like Trump have included them)

Among the various Presidential duties set forth in the Constitution is the obligation that: “he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Art II, Sec 3.

The duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” requires the President to enforce all federal laws and implicitly bars him from violating them. Since the President is not above the law, any act that is illegal for ordinary Americans, is also unlawful if committed by the President. Since it is illegal for ordinary Americans to combine or conspire with foreign governments or officials to interfere in American elections, it is likewise unlawful for the President to do it. The President is not exempt from the very laws he is constitutionally obligated to enforce.

04/18/2012

Recall: Impeachment by Another Name

Wisconsin will soon be conducting a Recall Election against Scott Walker, and a band of Republican State Senators, who like Mary Surratt, provided aid and comfort to the Governor, as they plotted and conspired to deny state workers of their collective bargaining rights.

If voters wonder why an Impeachment indictment was not presented in the State Assembly, and specific charges were not prosecuted at a trial in the State Senate, the answer is while a Recall is like an Impeachment, by an another name, there are differences.

Before the Progressives amended the Wisconsin Constitution to give the people a direct voice in the removal of elected officials, Impeachment was the only way to take out rouge public figures. The proponents of the Wisconsin Constitutional Amendment that created the recall in 1926 intended to give voters a direct method for replacing office holders. They wanted to bypass the impeachment process, which requires a majority vote in the State Assembly, and a two-thirds margin in the State Senate.

U.S. Senator Robert La Follette had advanced similar measures at the federal level. Until the ratification of the 17th Amendment in 1913, U.S. Senators were not chosen through a vote by the people, but were hand-picked by state representatives. La Follette transferred power to ordinary people by removing the smoked-filled rooms, and by shifting the process into the hands of the voters, through the ballot. Impeachment, like the indirect method of picking Senators, was also outside the reach of ordinary voters, that is, until the advent of the Recall.

Unlike Impeachment, which requires a Senate trial where evidence of bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors is presented, only two things must be done to win a Recall. The first is the extremely onerous requirement of obtaining the signatures of 25% of those who voted in the prior election, which in Walker’s case was over 500,000, and second is the heavy burden to reverse the previous vote of the electorate, a majority of whom supported Walker. People generally do not like being told they were wrong in the first place, even if they were.

While impeachments have historically been used against Presidents by political opponents, for political reasons, and have often resulted in political outcomes, the Recall is not burdened with the personal agendas or egos of individual Senators.

After the death of Whig President William Harrison, John Tyler, a Southern Democrat, entered the White House, and when he started vetoing nearly every measure the Whig Party presented, an Impeachment resolution was introduced in the House, before it was defeated 127 to 83, thanks to Democratic resistance.

Andrew Johnson, a Democrat, who became Republican Lincoln’s Vice-President in 1864 under a National Union ticket, became President when Abe was assassinated in 1865, and after he vetoed several Republican measures, the House voted to impeach him, before a Senate trial resulted in an acquittal, by just one vote.

Bill Clinton, who had a consensual and perfectly legal affair with a younger woman, was targeted in an impeachment charade egged on by the sinister Newt Gingrich, which ultimately failed in the Senate by a handful of votes. If the Recall method had been used, instead of impeachment, the people would have acquitted Bill in a landslide.

The Recall is not easier than Impeachment, as two large obstacles must be overcome before there can be a removal, it is more democratic, and it gives more direct power to the people.

02/09/2012

Maldives: Two Unconstitutional Acts

The Maldives, a small island-nation of 396,334, located 400 miles southwest of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, was subjected to two unconstitutional acts as: 1) President Mohammed Nasheed arrested Judge Abdulla Mohamed, because he had found the detention of a government critic illegal; and as: 2) army and police officers, allegedly working for Vice-President Mohammed Hassan, responded by threatening to use firearms against Nasheed, if he refused to leave office, which he did.

In terms of legal traditions, the Maldives was governed by Dutch law for 231 years, from 1656, when the Netherlands took the islands, until 1887, when Britain seized control. English law was then used for the next 78 years, through independence in 1965.

After independence, one-party rule was imposed in 1968. One man dictated everything for 30 years, from 1978 through 2008. Upon the adoption of a democratic system in 2008, Nasheed took office, as the island’s first freely-elected leader.

From an American standpoint, with our written constitution, and respect for the rule-of-law and separation-of-powers, the act of jailing a judge, without due process, and forcing a President out, because he imprisoned the judge, are not the way to do things.

The problem is the people of the Maldives have no American-style tradition of an independent judiciary, or of using elections as a means of changing power, since they were governed by Dutch and British monarchs for 309 years.

We in the U.S. would never tolerate the jailing a judge by a President over a disagreement regarding a court ruling, nor should the Maldives. By the same token, we would not respond to a President’s illegal jailing of a judge, by threatening violence as a means of forcing him out of office. We would instead instigate impeachment proceedings, and would not remove him, until he was first given the due process of law.

Legal proceedings to formally impeach President Nasheed for jailing the judge should now be commenced, even though he is already out of office, so his removal is retroactively based on evidence, properly presented under the Maldives constitution. If for no other reason, it is not good for trade or tourism (their primary industry) to let stand the removal of leader by force.