As per the 12/14/2018 Economist report, “Can a president be indicted while in office?” “Although America’s constitution is silent on the question, the Watergate-era memo observed, a president subjected to an indictment would trigger “a traumatic event” both “politically and constitutionally”. It would “interfere with the president’s unique official duties”, too.”
“This theme was reiterated in the memo of 2000, when the OLC (Office of Legal Counsel of the US Department of Justice) argued that Congress’s impeachment power was the sole legitimate way to discipline presidents for bad behaviour. To indict a president via “an unelected grand jury and prosecutor” is “inconsistent” with the framers’ “carefully considered judgment” that it is impeachment or bust. Indictment in office would subvert the “underlying dynamics of our governmental system in profound and necessarily unpredictable ways.”
Here’s the rub. According to the below recent poll results, there’s a disconnect by the American public who don’t seem to get that the US Congressional impeachment tool was specifically designed by the US Constitution to hold a president accountable for his many wrong-doings.
By the way, if President Trump is impeached by the House, as directed by the US Constitution and because it’s not the equivalent of a criminal court, he can still be held criminally liable, once he leaves the White House in January 2021.
But if he’s reelected for a 2nd term via the electoral college map, he may never have to face any federal criminal consequences for his lawlessness, ever, because there’s a 5 year “statute of limitations” for the federal crimes he’s alleged to have committed.
Jed Shugerman tweeted following:
Here’s the rest of the story…
As per the 6/2/2019 Hill report, “Poll: Support for impeaching Trump rises to 41 percent” by Justin Wise, “About 4 in 10 Americans now say that President Trump should be impeached and removed from office, according to a CNN poll conducted by SSRS.”
“The survey found that 41 percent of Americans said the president should be impeached based on what they have read or heard. The figure represents a 4 percentage point increase from a CNN poll released last month.”
“The increased percentage favoring impeachment largely stems from growing Democratic support for it. 67% of Democratic respondents said they support impeaching Trump, an 8 percentage point increase from April.”
The poll indicating that 41% of Americans favor the House commencing an impeachment investigation/ inquiry, appears to contradict another poll, where nearly 70% of Americans favor the judicial system being able to criminally indict a sitting president who is still serving in office.
As per the June 12. 2019 Hill report, “Poll: Nearly 70 percent of Americans say sitting president should be subject to criminal charges” by Justin Wise:
“The national survey, which was released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University, found that 69 percent of Americans polled support charging a sitting president. Meanwhile, 24 percent of respondents said that a president should face charges for alleged crimes only after they leave the White House.”
“Fifty-two percent of Republican respondents voiced support for charging a sitting president, while 83 percent of Democrats said they’d favor charging a sitting president.”
“A majority, 57 percent, of respondents said they think Trump committed crimes before he was in the White House.”
Based on the FBI’s Mueller report, there are over 1000 federal prosecutors from both sides of the aisle who have publicly declared that President Trump would’ve already been arrested if he were not president.
Link to Washington Post report: Trump would have been charged with obstruction were he not President...
The Cliff Notes version of Impeachment proceedings…
As per Wikipedia:
- First, the Congress investigates. …(this is the impeachment investigation/ inquiry step.)
- “Second, the House of Representatives must pass, by a simple majority of those present and voting, articles of impeachment, which constitute the formal allegation or allegations.
- “Third, the Senate tries the accused.”
Only the House of Representatives has been granted the power by the US Constitution to initiate the start of the “Impeachment proceedings.”
The US Constitution makes the one non-legislative function granted to the US Congress a multi-step process. The House Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives has been assigned the duty of conducting the first two steps which is first, an impeachment investigation (Inquiry) and at its completion, there’s the second step.
If it’s determined that an elected official should be impeached, the House Judiciary Committee will craft the list of charges, called the “Articles of Impeachment.” Then the members of the House will vote on the “Articles of Impeachment,” and if the majority of members of the House of Representatives vote to approve these “Articles of Impeachment,” a US president will be forever marked as having been charged with the word impeached, as an asterisk next to his name.
The US Senate has been granted the duty to conduct the trial and if the majority of the US Senate pronounces the elected official, guilty, then the elected official is removed from office.
It’s important to note that past impeached presidents have never been successfully convicted (ousted) by the US Senate.
Of the prior 3 US presidents’ marked with the word, “impeached,” 2 were tried and charged with “Articles of Impeachment” by the House but they were not convicted by the US Senate.
President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974, rather than undergo the humiliation of the US House voting to impeach him and having to undergo a trial in the US Senate.
Both presidents Andrew Johnson, in 1868, for dismissing Edwin M. Stanton as secretary of war and Bill Clinton, in 1998 for charges of lying under oath in regards to sexual relations with a White House intern, were impeached by the House but they were acquitted during US Senate trial deliberations. Both presidents served out the remainder of their terms.
The republican President Trump would most likely be charged with impeachment by the House but not convicted by the US Senate which follows the pattern of previously impeached presidents.
Why impeachment may be the only way to hold President Trump accountable for all his misdeeds…
Because President Trump has managed to weaponize the US Department of Justice under the leadership of the US Attorney General William Barr, who has proven himself to be the president’s eager and obedient partner in abusing the power of the state to advance the president’s political interests, we already know that he’ll never lift a finger to hold the president accountable if President Trump wins reelection in November 2020 via the electoral college map, no matter how flagrantly the president abuses his power or how many laws he continues to break. Instead, the Attorney General Barr will probably invent a pretext for investigating the Democratic presidential nominee who’ll oppose the president in 2020.
In addition, if President Trump wins reelection in 2020, there’s this 5 yr. “Statute of Limitation” which kicks in for the all the criminal activity that President Trump is alleged to have perpetrated, as per the FBI’s 3/22/2019 final report regarding its 22 months long Trump-Russia probe, led by the Special Counsel Robert Mueller III, who was the former 12 year FBI Director, appointed by a republican president. This means that he could walk away scot-free from any criminal liability for any of the federal crimes that he’s been accused of doing. There are some who suggest that the “Statute of Limitations” can be tolled/ stopped while he’s serving his 2nd term in the White House but that’s not true in criminal law. There’s talk of passing legislation to fix this problem which will never see the light of day as republican controlled US Senate will block its passage.
So, unless President Trump is subject to an impeachment inquiry by the House, he will not be facing federal criminal charges until after he leaves office, at the earliest, January 2021, and if he’s reelected, he’s likely to game the system where he can’t be held criminally accountable.
To have the House avoid its constitutionally mandated duty to initiate the formality of an impeachment inquiry, the Democratic Party Speaker Nancy Pelosi has directed the House’s 6 oversight committees to conduct investigations into the alleged criminal activities of President Trump and any co-conspirators in crime. Her intent is to circumvent the House having to initiate impeachment proceedings for probably, mostly political considerations, and to have the 2020 elections be the final voters’ verdict.
But if President Trump perceives that he’ll not be made to pay a price for all of his crimes as he seeks reelection, it only stands to reason that he, like any Bully-in Chief will be claiming vindication within a couple of months before the November 2020 election date, and why not. The US House by refusing to use the tool of impeachment, will have left the indelible impression with the American public, that the president’s numerous felonious activities weren’t serious enough to warrant the remedy of impeachment. This likely scenario trumps the Democratic Party’s House leadership’s concern that the US Senate will never end up convicting him.
Frankly, the US House Judiciary Committee members have so much criminal investigative work to do, I doubt they’ll will be finished by November 2020.
Any GOP talking points that the Republican Party welcomes the Democrats initiating “Impeachment proceedings” is a red herring.
In addition, he’ll only be emboldened to push the envelop even further to test how much more extreme authoritarian type behaviors he can get away with doing, and of course, this sets a dangerous precedent for future lawless presidents.