In the Arena: Should the President be Impeached?

In the Arena: Should the President be Impeached?

The reason for impeaching a President is specifically stated in Article II, Section 4, of the Constitution: “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.”

On 17 May 2018 the acting Attorney General appointed Robert S. Mueller III as Special Counsel to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election and other matters as the Special Counsel saw fit to examine.  That report has been filed and most of it has been made public. 

The in-depth examination by the Special Counsel resulted in thirty-four indictments and the conviction, so far, of seven individuals.

The report issued by the Special Counsel does not charge the President with anything.  On the matter of obstruction of justice is very specifically does not exonerate him.

In Scottish Courts there are three possible verdicts.  There is one verdict of conviction known as “guilty”.  There are two verdicts of acquittal known as “not guilty” and “not proven”.  It is safe to say, upon examination of the Special Counsel report, that it concluded with “not proven”.

Some, and may I emphasize not all by a long stretch, Democratic Members of Congress are interested in pursuing impeachment based on the Special Counsel’s report and other Presidential actions where the President is withholding information from Congress.

I do not support impeachment of the President. 

Impeachment proceedings have been attempted three times by the House of Representatives.  In two instances the impeached President – Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 – were acquitted by the United States Senate.  In one instance – Richard Nixon in 1974 – the proceedings for impeachment ended upon his resignation.

If the President instructs Executive agencies not to provide documents requested by either branch of the Congress then there is another course that could be followed.  Either the United States Senate or the United States House of Representative can vote to censor the President.

The Senate censured Andrew Jackson in 1834 for withholding documents requested by the Senate.  Three years later, when control of the Senate shifted, the Senate retracted the censure.  The House censured James Polk in 1848 for starting a war with Mexico without a vote by Congress.

Other censures include an attempt to censure Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in 1793.  This effort failed.  Attorney General Augustus Garland was censured in 1886 for not providing documents.  While the Senate and House can and have censured their own members the two presidential censures and the censure against an Attorney General are the only non-House/Senate member censures by either house of Congress.

This brings us to the current day.

The House of Representatives has requested a number of documents as part of its oversight duties.  The President’s administration appears to be adamant about not providing these documents.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have the right to exercise oversight of the executive branch.  Regardless of which political party has organizational control of the House when the House requests documentation from the Executive branch it does so as an official part of the government.

For example, the House Select Committee on Benghazi requested documents and testimony from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  The Secretary of State responded to questions over an eleven hour examination.  The committee acted properly as did the Secretary of State.

If the President or the Secretary of various departments continue to refuse to hand over requested documents – and ones a court orders to be turned over – then the House, acting independently of the Senate, should censure that Secretary or the President.  I would support such a move.

The censure, while not limiting or ending the power of the transgressor, does put a permanent stain on the person censured.  Of course, as Andrew Jackson proved, a censure in one year can be removed three years later.

Since I cited President Jackson’s censure it still exists in our country’s collective memory even if it was removed from the official Senate records.  Our current President’s effort to thwart oversight may put the Secretaries of various departments, and himself, in the position of being censured by a majority vote of either the House or Senate.

Going back to the desire of some Democratic leaders, including our former Mayor, for impeachment I would oppose such.  The voters themselves can make a judgement in November 2020.

Based on the record of withholding documents and information by the current Administration I could support a motion to censure.

——–

Jon M. Ausman is the longest serving member of the Democratic National Committee in Florida’s history (December 1992 to January 2017).  He can be reached at ausman@embarqmail.com or at 850-321-7799.

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17 Responses to "In the Arena: Should the President be Impeached?"

  1. Avatar
    David   May 4, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    I don’t remember democraps being upset when the obummer administration, along with Holder ( DOJ) or Comey ( FBI) or Lerner (IRS) would not provide documents.

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    TONY   May 4, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    MOST of the Democrats are the ones that need to be Impeached, Investigated and JAILED.

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    Jerry A Kimbro   May 4, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    Well written. Too bad no one will heed your sage advice.

    Reply
  4. Avatar
    Rodolfo   May 4, 2019 at 10:21 pm

    Mueller has no authority to exonerate, all he could and did was serve indictments for crimes committed.
    His use of terminology is no more than smoke and mirrors to continue a haze of disarray during misinterpretation.
    If anybody needs to be investigated is Obama for how he strategically planted Muslims in our country and now invading our government when it’s known from history that they have a barbaric agenda to genocide the world in order to eliminate all religions aside Islam.
    Let that sink in!

    Reply
  5. Avatar
    TG Brown   May 4, 2019 at 10:25 pm

    If you think Shillary handed over thing in the case of Benghazi, you my friend, are an idiot.

    Reply
  6. Avatar
    News Maven   May 5, 2019 at 8:59 am

    Jon:
    Would you support indicting “our former mayor”?

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Hope   May 5, 2019 at 7:29 pm

      Crickets…

      Reply
    • Avatar
      WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot   June 11, 2019 at 10:09 am

      No response, huh?

      Reply
  7. Avatar
    Vernon   May 5, 2019 at 9:48 am

    Thank you Mr Ausman for your feeble attempt to be non partisan on an issue that has been nothing but extremely partisan since Donald Trump came down the escalator. You have conveniently omitted the facts…the ones that are the reason Trump supporters stick with him…that the Obama administration used government agencies to to covertly attack the political opponents of his party and look the other way as crimes were committed by his own department heads.

    Lois Lerner using the IRS against conservative donors, AG Eric Holder running guns to Mexican drug cartels, and actually stated he was Obama’s “wing man,” ignoring many of the laws he swore to uphold…AG Lorette Lynch’s meeting on the tarmac with Bill Clinton was so brazen…she could not rule on Hillary’s crimes but would not recuse herself either…allowing Jim Comey to step in and exonerate her…without legal authority to do so. The FBI embedding spies in the Trump campaign, Top DOJ officials colluding with the democratic party to prvide an “insurance policy” in case Trump became President, The NSA wiretapping conversations given to Samantha Power, and Susan Rice…the abuse of the FISA court…and there are probably many more we havent discovered yet.

    Impeachment or censure, it doesnt matter…both will be nothing but partisan politics from the democrat party, because after 2 years of intensive investigations with no holds barred tactics…they found an embarrassing BIG FAT NOTHING on the President!

    Reply
  8. Avatar
    Old Voter   May 5, 2019 at 10:15 am

    Great history lesson, but who among us is surprised that a lifelong, win at all costs Democrat, thinks the President should be censured? The elder statesman routine just doesn’t work when political bias is so apparent.

    Reply
  9. Avatar
    Old Cop   May 5, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    As an arbiter of current political issues, your hardcore Democrat activities of the past negate the possibility of unbiased evaluation. An elder statesman you’re not, your bias is readily apparent.

    Reply
  10. Avatar
    Hope   May 5, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    A lot of energy expended on your column when it should be expended on cleaning up your own backyard.

    Reply
  11. Avatar
    WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot   May 5, 2019 at 10:58 pm

    Thanks for the history lesson, but you’ll always be a hardcore Liberal, nothwithstanding your tuxedo pic. Must be the ear stickpin that gave you away. You will always be the pro union, pro Clinton, left wing zealot you’ve always been. You supported candidates in this county who belonged in jail, and you knew it. Don’t try to restructure yourself now.

    Reply
  12. Avatar
    TONY   May 6, 2019 at 7:13 am

    Our GREAT President Trump has done NOTHING to get Impeached over. NOTHING. It is just a bunch of Whinnyass Worthless Loser Democrats that are Butt Hurt over their GOD Hillary losing. ANYONE who is asking for Impeaching Trump should themselves be Impeached.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Pretty Petty   July 19, 2019 at 2:14 pm

      Don’t know where you’ve been, but the democrat “GOD” served 8 full years as president. Hillary was just a better option than who ended up winning. No one was that stoked about her being the party’s nominee…that being said, she was infinitely better qualified than they dufus you all keep supporting hook, line, and sinker. He’s embarrassing you. Period. The eagerness to feel in control again after a black man was elected has you all looking like morons. Spinning and contorting yourselves to defend an awful man with awful rhetoric and deeds. Many democrats are getting along just fine, either way, but we know your true character now. Pretending and couching your hatred for brown people behind empty promises and phony concern won’t work in the future. I, for one, didn’t think my fellow americans were actually this bigoted, but I see I was naive and ignorant about how deeply racism is rooted in this society. I truly believe the only way to move past it is to keep encouraging black men to make your grandchildren darker and darker. It’s already the trend…maybe you can learn to love your own family, even if they’re brown. Maybe you’ll cringe at others labeling YOUR family members simply because they won’t catch skin cancer on the beach. Maybe I’m just being naive again.

      Reply
  13. Avatar
    News Maven   May 6, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    One of my favorite editorial cartoons from Election Night 2016:
    https://grrrgraphics.tumblr.com/post/166853685780/the-hilldenburg-new-ben-garrison-cartoon

    Reply
  14. Curtis
    Curtis   June 1, 2019 at 9:13 am

    Should he be impeached? If Part II of the Mueller Report is accurate, probably. However, a more thorough investigation by the House certainly is warranted.

    Reply

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