Dear Dems, A US House’s Impeachment Inquiry Doesn’t Have To End In Transfer To US Senate

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There’s a debate brewing in the USA about whether or not the US House Democrats should act on the power granted it by the US Constitution to commence an impeachment inquiry against the republican President Donald Trump based on his numerous felonious actions as detailed in the 3/22/2019 FBI’s final report regarding its 22 months long Trump-Russia probe.

There are some of us who have this need to have our faith restored in the “rule of law” and in a functioning US government, but there are others who view taking this step as being politically costly.

The US Constitutional scholar and Harvard law professor, Laurence Tribe is proposing a compromise, a bridge between pro-impeachers and those who’re opposed.

On June 5, 2019 Laurence Tribe tweeted following:

Here’s my modest proposal for : I want it to build a bridge on which the advocates and the crowd can meet — and move forward together to protect constitutional democracy. In the June 6

Later George Conway responded with following tweet:

“It’s not a modest proposal—it’s brilliant. Nothing in the Constitution dictates the procedure by which the House decides whether to pass a bill of impeachment. No reason why it can’t hold a trial for the American people to see. Let the chips fall where they may.”

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Here’s the rest of the story…

On June 5, 2019, Laurence Tribe, the University Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard and the coauthor, most recently, of “To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment” penned the following opinion piece for the Washington Post, “Impeach Trump. But Don’t Necessarily Try Him In The Senate.”

“It is possible to argue that impeaching President Trump and removing him from office before the 2020 election would be unwise, even if he did cheat his way into office, and even if he is abusing the powers of that office to enrich himself, cover up his crimes and leave our national security vulnerable to repeated foreign attacks. Those who make this argument rest their case either on the proposition that impeachment would be dangerously divisive in a nation as politically broken as ours, or on the notion that it would be undemocratic to get rid of a president whose flaws were obvious before he was elected.”

“Rightly or wrongly — I think rightly — much of the House Democratic caucus, at least one Republican member of that chamber (Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan) and more than a third of the nation’s voters disagree. They treat the impeachment power as a vital constitutional safeguard against a potentially dangerous and fundamentally tyrannical president and view it as a power that would be all but ripped out of the Constitution if it were deemed unavailable against even this president.”

“That is my view, as well.”

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HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI

“Still, there exists concern that impeachment accomplishes nothing concrete, especially if the Senate is poised to quickly kill whatever articles of impeachment the House presents. This apprehension is built on an assumption that impeachment by the House and trial in the Senate are analogous to indictment by a grand jury and trial by a petit jury: Just as a prosecutor might hesitate to ask a grand jury to indict even an obviously guilty defendant if it appeared that no jury is likely to convict, so, it is said, the House of Representatives might properly decline to impeach even an obviously guilty president — and would be wise to do so — if it appeared the Senate was dead-set against convicting him.”

“But to think of the House of Representatives as akin to a prosecutor or grand jury is misguided. The Constitution’s design suggests a quite different allocation of functions: The Senate, unlike any petit (or trial) jury, is legally free to engage in politics in arriving at its verdict. And the House, unlike any grand jury, can conduct an impeachment inquiry that ends with a verdict and not just a referral to the Senate for trial — an inquiry in which the target is afforded an opportunity to participate and mount a full defense.”

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“It seems fair to surmise, then, that an impeachment inquiry conducted with ample opportunity for the accused to defend himself before a vote by the full House would be at least substantially protected, even if not entirely bullet-proofed, against a Senate whitewash.”

“The House, assuming an impeachment inquiry leads to a conclusion of Trump’s guilt, could choose between presenting articles of impeachment even to a Senate pre-committed to burying them and dispensing with impeachment as such while embodying its conclusions of criminality or other grave wrongdoing in a condemnatory “Sense of the House” resolution far stronger than a mere censure. The resolution, expressly and formally proclaiming the president impeachable but declining to play the Senate’s corrupt game, is one that even a president accustomed to treating everything as a victory would be hard-pressed to characterize as a vindication. (A House resolution finding the president “impeachable” but imposing no actual legal penalty would avoid the Constitution’s ban on Bills of Attainder, despite its deliberately stigmatizing character as a “Scarlet ‘I’ ” that Trump would have to take with him into his reelection campaign.)”

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“The point wouldn’t be to take old-school House impeachment leading to possible Senate removal off the table at the outset. Instead, the idea would be to build into the very design of this particular inquiry an off-ramp that would make bypassing the Senate an option while also nourishing the hope that a public fully educated about what this president did would make even a Senate beholden to this president and manifestly lacking in political courage willing to bite the bullet and remove him.”

“By resolving now to pursue such a path, always keeping open the possibility that its inquiry would unexpectedly lead to the president’s exoneration, the House would be doing the right thing as a constitutional matter. It would be acting consistent with its overriding obligation to establish that no president is above the law, all the while keeping an eye on the balance of political considerations without setting the dangerous precedent that there’re no limits to what a corrupt president can get away with as long as he has a compliant Senate to back him. And pursuing this course would preserve for all time the tale of this uniquely troubled presidency.”

Link to entire report: Impeach TrumpBut don’t necessarily try him in the Senate.

8 comments

  1. While I would, of course, prefer to see him impeached, tried and convicted in the Senate, and sent packing to await his arrest, I’m pragmatic enough to understand that isn’t likely to happen, barring some dramatic new event. That said, this seems a good proposal. The democrats in the House, by doing nothing, are risking losing their seats next year, for the people who see what an abomination Trump is are fed up with the inaction, the hand-wringing. As Mr. Conway said, “Let the chips fall where they may”. Hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Jill,

      Speaker Pelosi is right in worrying about an Impeachment Inquiry vs. President Trump being probably a political minefield.

      But when 76% of her base want this and 30 progressive groups warn her that they want her to end excuses, she risks losing the war. One out of many reasons that Dems lost in 2016 was due to depressed voter turnout. The same could happen in 2020. In 2018, Dems won in part because of record voter turnout, despite it being a midterm election. It wasn’t just about issues.

      Besides, if she believes, he should do prison time, then she has a constitutionally mandated duty to commence an -I- inquiry. This is not a binary choice of -I-word or prison time. He has 1yr 1/2 to do more crimes.

      In addition, as per Laurence Tribe of @tribelaw, “an UNIMPEACHED Trump, if soundly defeated on 11/3/20, could easily resign between 11/4/20 and 1/19/21 so that Pence, as the interim POTUS, could PARDON him. Please start taking into account how the CONSTITUTION works!”

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 3 people

      • Unfortunately, there is no easy answer, no panacea, but I think that doing nothing is simply not an option, either for the sake of this nation or for the sake of a democratic presidential win next year. Already I have heard a number of democrats, some our mutual friends, say that they are getting fed up with the democrats inaction. We don’t need people being disillusioned this early in the game. You’re right, this is a large part of the reason for all the democratic wins in 2018, and those could be wiped out next year if the party doesn’t show some unity, doesn’t stand firm. I don’t envy Nancy Pelosi, for quite honestly, she is going to be ‘damned if she does, and damned if she doesn’t’. We are in quite a pickle, and I suspect that some mega-revelation will be the only thing that can make impeachment a success. Hugs!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Dear Jill,

          I am not right on lots of stuff. Remember the situation with Merrick Garland where Democrats took the route of no action, the safe route because they were sure HRC would win. I’m saying we can’t afford the play safe game plan as to whether or not the House commences an impeachment inquiry against President Trump, as it will bite us where it hurts, again.Remember he has a 11/2 years left in his term to do a lot of damage.

          Hugs, Gronda

          Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Tokyo Sand,

      if somehow the Senate GOP lawmakers end up trying the impeachment case where they all fall down on the job, as they will,then Democrats can tell their voters in 2020 to step up to to the ballot boxes to declare their verdicts against President Trump by supporting all Democratic Party candidates.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Hello Gronda. The Senate can not take up the Impeachment question without a referral from the Senate is my understanding. The Senate can not act as the House independently on this issue, as I understand the process. I do not think this is as divisive as Speaker Pelosi thinks. More importantly the Republicans will be forced to vote on the record. If the Democratic candidates can not hammer on those votes they are crap politicians. That is why McConnell won’t let the bills passed by the house come up for a vote, the record would kill the Republicans. Remember in 2018 when the Republicans were getting hammered on healthcare their candidates simply started lying. They claimed to be the party protecting people’s healthcare, the party saving Medicare / Medicaid, the party protecting people with pre-existing conditions all at the same time they were in court trying to kill these same things. tRump will claim to be the victim, the guy doing something for the little guy, the tough savior for the people no matter what the Democrats do. We have to be ready for this and still do what is needed without fear. The House has shown it can legislate and still hold hearings even while tRump’s crew spouts that they can not. We can not let the fear of Republican base set our goals. tRump’s base will be fired up anyway. We need to fire out the rest of the country for us. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Scottie,

      I couldn’t agree more. I don’t get why the Democratic Party House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is playing on the president’s game board. It’s a given that the president will play the victim card, that the Dems have been on a ‘witch hunt’ because they can’t accept the election loss of 2016.

      The Speaker is worrying about further dividing the country. The 35-40% who back President Trump have a right to support him but that can’t be the reason the House doesn’t do its constitutionally mandated duty, to conduct an impeachment inquiry based on the Mueller report and other data detailing his numerous felonious activities. It has to be handled with solemnity and seriousness that this obligation entails.

      It’s Speaker Pelosi who has to make President Trump realize that she has her own game plan where she’s not going to a victim of past ghosts where she’ll be paralyzed from taking an offensive move, like the launching of an impeachment inquiry.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 1 person

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