Impeachment is the action of calling into question the integrity or validity of something; a charge of misconduct made against the holder of a public office.
Judging from the media hype and what I’ve heard from others, it appears many people believe that to ‘impeach’ a President is to kick him out of office. That is NOT the case.
Impeachment starts with an inquiry in the House of Representatives. It’s the process by which the House gathers testimony and documents to uncover evidence, if any, to support Article II, Section 4 of the US Constitution and prove a charge of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors against the President. It is NOT a criminal or legal action; it is a political action, a safeguard to our Republic. This evidence, if deemed sufficient by the House Intelligence Committee, is brought to the House floor for a vote of impeachment. It takes a simple majority to agree with the evidence to impeach.
If the House votes to impeach, in other words, the evidence supports misconduct by the President pursuant to Article II, Section 4, the Senate is then tasked with conducting a ‘trial’ to decide if the President should be ‘removed’ from office. That ‘trial’ is overseen by the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court and requires a 2/3 majority vote FOR removal of the President.
To date, three former Presidents (Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton) have been impeached by the House, but two were acquitted by the Senate (Johnson and Clinton), and Nixon, assured the Senate would vote to have him removed, resigned before the vote took place. No President has ever been ‘removed’ from office because of an impeachment.
So with all this talk of impeachment in the news, what’s really going on right now?
The House Intelligence Committee received information from a whistleblower of wrongdoing by the President. As required by the Constitution (Congress is charged with oversight of the Executive Branch), an inquiry was opened to establish the validity of the information. Trump doesn’t believe the inquiry is legitimate, so he’s calling for the full House to vote on an ‘impeachment inquiry’ BEFORE he will cooperate with the investigation, calling the Intelligence Committee a kangaroo court. However, there is no ‘court’, no ‘trial’, not until the Senate takes over. There’s no ‘due processes’ or ‘right to face his accuser’ during an inquiry. Nowhere in the Constitution or House Rules does it call for the full House to vote on whether an ‘inquiry’ can take place or not. The vote to impeach or not comes AFTER the inquiry.
As with any investigation, the suspect or accused has the right to remain silent. But not Trump. He’s badmouthing Schiff, Pelosi, the media, and all Democrats, in front of foreign dignitaries, airing his dirty laundry in public while stonewalling the inquiry at every turn. His actions are the very definition of Obstruction.
So today, in the American Pork pigsty, as we wade into the muck of impeachment, I have to wonder why Trump is so worried about this inquiry. The Republican-based Senate won’t likely vote to have him removed from office, anyway…unless maybe he’s worried the inquiry might turn up more grievous misdeeds. Oink! Oink!