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Politics

Impeachment? Not Likely.

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Photo 121541501 © Richard Gunion – Dreamstime.com

The Internet, Twitter, and every major media outlet is on fire with the idea that President Trump faces impeachment, now that the Mueller Report is rumored to be in final preparation.  A sober look at known facts suggests a bit more circumspection.

The frenzy, building from flurry to blizzard, began when Mueller last week recommended prison time for Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, for violation of campaign finance laws.  The violations relate to alleged payments of “hush money” to two women by Cohen on behalf of then-candidate Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, presumably to avoid embarrassment for what the women allege were marital affairs.  Attempts to cover this up are being discussed as “obstruction of justice.”

As lawyers say, let us assume all facts as alleged.  That is, let us assume arguendo that alleged affairs occurred, payments were made by Cohen, candidate knew something about them, and campaign violations occurred.  These facts are not proven, but are a long way from impeachment.

Why?  Well, let’s start with basics.  On one hand, in 1974, the U.S House Judiciary Committee did vote an “obstruction” article out in 1974, along with “abuse of power” and “contempt of Congress.”  Others failed, but US House members can craft whatever they wish in the form of articles of impeachment; this does not assure their passage – or even suggest it.  Legal precedent and politics often tip the other way – and probably do here.

Legally, the idea of “hush” money to avoid embarrassment over marital infidelity may constitute a legal campaign violation, which is deserving of punishment.  Typically, punishment is a fine, and many campaigns have paid fines for campaign finance violations, including the Obama Campaign – although for different violations.

More pressing is the question whether this alleged campaign violation – or anything connected to it, such as perjury to support obstruction, could be assigned to the president, and whether that asserted obstruction would legitimately warrant “impeachment for and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and Misdemeanors,” under the US Constitution.

Barring a sworn statement proven a lie, such as affected President Bill Clinton, Congress would be hard-pressed to assess perjury in support of obstruction.  On the other hand, impeachment is a political process – not a criminal one – and so anything is possible.  Moreover, obstruction is a broad term, so antipathy could be poured into that vessel, especially if somehow invited by the Mueller report.

Still, much suggests impeachment will never happen.  Nixon’s offenses were election-affecting, deliberate and material to the outcome of the election, so much so that few Republicans could argue in his favor.  The notion that alleged campaign violations tied to these two women tipped the election for Trump, given his public record and absent anything like what led to Nixon’s article, seems unlikely.

To date, there has been no indictment brought proving intent to coordinate or collude with a foreign power to win the presidential election, which would be serious.  The idea of an obstruction article – on known facts – is hard to counsel.  Many Democrats would likely be gun-shy if their leadership briskly framed one, pushing it through Judiciary to the House floor.

More important is broader context for this entire discussion.  Theoretically, some lively House Democrats might think that impeaching a President – even if acquitted by the fortified Republican Senate – will bring satisfaction to those who dislike him and wanted a Democrat.  I rather doubt it.

Impeachment, even if Democrats went whole hog for it, seldom brings political satisfaction.  Most Americans – in both parties – think impeachment is an extreme act.  They know – or soon would – that impeachment has been voted just 17 times in our history, only three times against a President at committee level, twice from House, never resulting in a presidential conviction.

Other impeachments, one senator, one cabinet member and 13 judges, led to only seven convictions.  Presidential trials and the one committee vote leading to resignation tore the country apart.  Many of those who stirred the impeachment pot, paid for it.  Few heroes were made.

Similarly, practical considerations mitigate against a barn-burning push for impeachment.  Just as the legal violations so far implied are weak and the act politically risky, there is more to impeachment than meets the eye.

Like so many aspects of life, slinging a word around is easy – but doing the deed is dangerous, often irresponsible, inappropriate and unworkable.  The Nixon Select Committee took more than a year to examine what they had, with a sitting federal judge – Judge John Sirica – helping them produce tapes and documents that proved far more than even alleged here.

The Senate in 1974 was likely to convict, House was bipartisan in its approach.  Neither of those conditions exist here.  Perhaps most importantly, beyond differences in law, political climate, material facts, individual candidate, and likely outcome of a House impeachment – and even if Americans did not think impeachment extreme – time is a real factor.

Objectively, any impeachment vote from the House – leaving time for necessary procedure and due process – would be comically rushed and backfire, or would take more than a year.  At that time, no matter the equities, the 2020 election cycle will be under way; the notion that our country will want a Senate trial with all the preparation, trappings and ceremony of extreme condemnation at that time – assuming the world at peace – is hard to imagine.

In short, unless something dramatic and bigger appears, something that would likely have leaked by now, prudence, political wisdom and time suggest an impeachment is remote.

Still, do not let facts or analysis chip you up too much.  If you are among those who think impeachment a waste of time, energy, value and money to American taxpayers, you may be right.  Nevertheless, you will hear the media play it up, and surely some in Congress.   History teaches caution, but where a microphone, emotion and camera appear, history and caution are often forgotten.  So, well, stay tuned.

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Read more articles by Robert B. Charles

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Glenn Lego

If they want War all the Democrats have to do is try to start impeach proceedings against President Trump.

Mbutcher17

This is BS. Enough already. Let the man do the job he was elected to do.

Martin

The Democrats are at their best when accuse others of what they are doing and have done.
The saying “Don’t throw stones when you live in a glass house” fits them.

Carla Anderson

It’s time for the investigation of Killary and all the other’s!!!!!!! The hate for Trump is so great the left has lost all common sense and it’s time for the GOP to start fighting for our POTUS.

John

Let them vote to impeach. I love how each time the Democrats start slinging mud they always seem to get a lot splattered on themselves. as the Bible says…when you dig a hole you may fall in. (Proverbs)

Keith

All this rhetoric from the media, the Democrats about impeachment is BS. This is about driving President Trump’s approval rating down by trying to convince the American people that there was collusion. There is no evidence that suggests collusion with Russia to win the campaign and change outcome of the election. Cohen may have been in violation of campaign donations, but this is not a criminal offense as Obama’s campaign was fined numerous times without any mention from the media at the time.

Jlp

I have 2 degrees..which included Constiitutional law a few times…plus papers on it…I have studied our preamble…our constitution…Amendment 23 which some of these no nothing’s talk about..maybe I am missing something but have not found any thing impeachable .
They are going after things which happened as a private citizen. If these insane people do this what could happen to the rest of us ?
I could see another Civil War brewing..more insanity than most rational people can deal with. Socialism.too….as Margaret Thatcher stated…’ Socialism works until you run out of money ‘….
We all have to fight for what is right and how our country was founded.

Kay

Seems to me, that Democrats in House, in their right minds(‘course we know about that) would want to propose ways in which THEIR way would benefit whole country-I mean, really, think 2020 and what Democratic candidates can point to-what their fellow Democrats did) as if they cared about us peons in the US. Did they improve economy, offer ways in which small businesses can prosper, decrease unemployment, get us out of expensive programs that didn’t benefit US etc etc

cliff

enough is enough… quit spending our tax$$$$ on foolishness…Let Trump do what he was elected to do CLEAN THE SWAMP…. build the wall and protect all of the American Citizens that hasGOOD sense

Judith Ann Crouch

PLEASE MUELLER LETS GET ON WITH THE BUSINESS OF THE COUNTRY. HIS COMMITTEE IS MADE UP OF LEFTISTS WHO DO NOT WANT OUR PRESIDENT TO SUCCEED AT ANYTHING. WE HAVE IMMIGRATION, THE WALL (YES YES YES), CHINA TARIFFS, HEALTH CARE, ETC TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT. OUR CONGRESS NEEDS TO GET BEHIND PRESIDENT TRUMP AND SUPPORT HIM, INSTEAD OF NOW WANTING TO INVESTIGATE MORE AND MORE, BECAUSE THEY JUST PLAIN DO NOT LIKE HIM. AS A N AMERICAN I AM SICK OF ALL THIS BICKERING BY GROWN MEN AND LACK OF COOPERATION TO HELP AMERICA TRULY BE GREAT AGAIN!!

Carrie Teague

I would like to see Hillary, Obama, Maxine, Nancy, Chuck, Adam, Comey, and Muller all investigated and put in prison. We need to know how these people are getting rich after they were all voted into office. I think there are a few more Republicans and Democrats that should be investigated. Do not let them take the 5th either. Make them talk. We have had enough. Let President Trump do his job.

Johnnie

I am so tired of the leftists antics to destroy our country. They waste time and money that could accomplish so much for everyone!

Patricia L

Democrats only need to look at what happened in the election after the impeachment of Clinton. The House went major over to the Republicans because the electorate didn’t like impeaching a President over sexual misconduct and lying about it. Lies are not high crimes and misdemeanors requiring impeachment.

Michael W. Radelt

It’s all smoke. I don’t see any impeachment of President Trump.

Burton Pauly

All of the idiots hoping that the Potus is going to be impeached , are mostly so envious that a business man has the reins of gov. and they have hate in their hearts for him. And he has a most beautiful wife, and family who are all smarter than anyone that the democRATS could run against them. If anyone needs to be tried it should be Hillary, and slick willie.

Mary

The Impeachment senerio and Mueller’s witch is aimed at keeping the President and the American people away from what’s really is happening. The cover up of the previous administration wrong doing. The weaponization of the intellect agencies to silent any one who has been a threat to their agenda. Mueller has been sent in to clean up the mess.
In their world, President Trump must be destroyed anyway possible because he is not part of the corruption.

Rick

I think it’s time to start a resist movement against the Dems. Disrupt their hearings, clog their offices with protesters, mob them in public places; or should I say ” do unto them as they have done to Republicans.” I wonder how they would deal with protest when it is aimed at them?

Mimi

In spite of all the Bruhaha President Trump is doing an amazing job. Enough of your sour grapes Democrats, all your yelling and foul language only serves to make your party look like a bunch of children throwing a tantrum!!
Get over it!! Hillary is the one who needs to be investigated for all the backdoor dealings she was involved in. All this anger should get you put in the corner to think about your bad behavior. Shame on all of you!!!

antimarxist

It’s ashamed republicans don’t have the balls the dems do. Repubs act like a bunch of chicken sh–ed milque toasts even when they have all three branches. Afraid to upset the msm who is going to fry them anyway. Even when the dems are out of power they fight tooth and nail.

Francine McDermitt Chabot

The facts are clear that Mueller and his cohorts along with the Closet Commies in the Democratic Party and the 80 Communists already targeted and alluded to by Senator Allen West in 2012 and belong to the Progressive Congressional Caucus should be expelled arrested, and prosecuted . Why didn’t that happen? The Communists in control didn’t want that to occur and used bodily threats ( remember Scaluse’s shooting ) . Examine Mueller’s use of Disparity of treatment – it smells of coercive tactics directed by Hillary and her gang —the only treasonists —according to the unfair and illegal actions I’ve seen. The Dems are replete with those who want to do harm to us- the Legal citizens, who are not communists and seek truth,justice, and fair true elections . It will take an act of God to expose the liars but we have faith that Mueller will see and experience… Read more »