I have been waiting for years to hear something intelligent or even intelligible come from the lips of Maxine Waters. But this year she is all about impeachment. “We’re fiddling while Rome is burning,” insists Rep. Waters. Another Democrat (quelle surprise), Rep. Al Green from Texas, concurs. “The mantra should be ITN — impeach Trump now,” says he.
The liberal activist group MoveOn.org insists that the president “must be impeached immediately.” J.B. Pritzker, a Democratic candidate for governor of Illinois, said, “We simply do not have the luxury of time to wait for months or years.”
[Sources: Don’t Rush to Impeachment, by Steve Chapman; The US Constitution; So, let’s say Trump gets impeached. Then what? By Fred Hiatt]
Their colleagues should advise them to read the Constitution and study American history. Impeachment is an enumerated power of Congress. The requirements for impeachment are strict and difficult to prove. The President must commit “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
Only two presidents have been impeached. Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached in the House (think of “articles of impeachment” by the House as the equivalent of an ‘”indictment”). However, neither of these presidents was “convicted” in the Senate. The impeachment process only requires a majority in the House of Representatives. However, conviction in the Senate requires a 2/3 rd majority (67 votes). Richard Nixon resigned before he was impeached (although it is a near certainty he would have been and likely convicted in the Senate, as well). To date, no U.S. President has been removed from office by impeachment and conviction (241 years and counting as of July 4, 2017).
As for MoveOn.org’s desire for the president to be “impeached immediately,” the process itself is daunting. More than two years passed after the Watergate break-in before the House Judiciary Committee voted against Nixon – that’s just the Committee that would bring the vote to the floor of the House. The special prosecutor’s investigation of Clinton began in January 1994, and the Monica Lewinsky affair came to light in January 1998, and it was December 1998 before the House approved articles of impeachment.
Let’s hypothesize that Maxine’s fairy godmother waves her wand and grants her wish. The Constitution lays out the precise Order of Succession of the President. (After posting this it was correctly pointed out that the Order of Succession in the Constitution only extends to the Vice President. Further succession is mandated by statute – thank, Dave) It is as follows:
- Vice President – currently Mike Pence
- Speaker of the House – currently Paul Ryan
- President pro tempore of the Senate – currently Orin Hatch
- Secretary of State – currently Rex Tillerson
- Secretary of the Treasury – currently Steve Mnuchin
- Secretary of Defense – currently James Mattis
- Attorney General – currently Jeff Sessions
- (For the remainder of the list please see the footnote 1.)
So, Maxine, pretty much everything Trump wants to do would continue under President Pence (or Ryan). As well, President Trump will not disappear. It is even well within the realm of possibility that he could run for president again in 2020 – and make lots of noise along the way (footnote 2).
Fred Hiatt is a Washington Post editorial writer and he HATES TRUMP! Even he says the following: “Trump opponents are kidding themselves if they think that sacking him will restore comity and peace to the nation... Dream on. Here’s a likelier scenario: Trump goes to Mar-a-Lago to regroup, not retreat. Early in the morning, he tweets: “Join me on Day One of our campaign to reverse the most corrupt theft in political history and reclaim the White House in 2020.” His supporters vow to reverse the coup d’etat… Trump was legitimately elected by Americans who knew they were voting for an inexperienced, bombastic… businessman.”
Wow! I finally agree with a Fred Hiatt statement. One of the reasons I voted for Trump is that he hadn’t been wallowing in the swamp with the rest of the Washington elites. HE’S NOT A POLITICIAN – THANK GOD!
- Secretary of the Interior
- Secretary of Agriculture
- Secretary of Commerce
- Secretary of Labor
- Secretary of Health and Human Services
- Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
- Secretary of Transportation
- Secretary of Energy
- Secretary of Education
- Secretary of Veterans Affairs
- Secretary of Homeland Security
Footnote 2: (Brad Chapman)
Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution has the clause…
Judgment 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 United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
Meaning, if an impeached President were to be convicted, one of the two penalties (generally one that would require a separate vote after the conviction passed, which automatically invokes the first penalty, removal from office) that is possible is “disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office…”. If the Senate voted to disqualify an impeached and convicted President from future office, he/she could never serve the office again. If they didn’t vote for such disqualification, and the President was still otherwise eligible for the job (had only been elected one term and not served more than two years of another President’s term), he/she could run again and, if elected again, become President again.