Public Impeachment Hearings and Fireside Chats

Prologue :  The Impeachment Inquiry moved into a second phase with a vote in The House of Representatives on Thursday, October 31.  The subject was new Rules for the Inquiry that gave the president and his lawyers a role to participate that was not offered in the Nixon and Clinton impeachments.  The result was 232 Democrats (minus 2)  in favor and 196 Republicans against. New York Times banner headline: “Fractured House Backs Impeachment Inquiry”

On Friday, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham spoke about a potential impeachment, saying “ I wouldn’t say it’s a foregone conclusion. I would say that we‘re expecting it.”  On Thursday, Trump, while giving an interview to The Washington Examiner,  had suggested he might read the transcript from his call to Ukraine’s president as “a fireside chat”  (ala FDR) on live television because people have to hear it.”

This vote followed weeks of former public officials defying subpoenas from the White House and testifying under oath before The House Intelligence Committee. They spoke about the phone call Trump made to President Zelensky of Ukraine asking for a “favor”
in return for allowing millions of dollars in aid that had been passed by Congress to be sent.  The favor was to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter for illegal activity in Ukraine.  Trump had put a hold on that aid earlier.

Possible Articles of Impeachment:

First, consider his Oath of Office and then weigh his actions, speech and behavior during almost three years as president.

Oath of office: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States , and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

 

Article One of ImpeachmentBetrayal of The United States Constitution.

The Emoluments clause of The Constitution in Article I, Section 9 prohibits the President “without the consent of Congress”  from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office or Title of any kind from a King, Prince or Foreign State.”

Donald Trump failed to divest himself of his business interests in the United States and other countries on assuming the presidency as all former presidents have done. Thus, he has reaped millions of dollars at the Trump International Hotel in Washington from foreign officials who visit the White House ,  as well as his other hotels and sports locations in foreign countries.

He has also had his lawyers block releasing his tax returns to avoid a public record of the millions he has made while in office.

 

Article Two: Abuse of Power

President Trump called President Zelensky of Ukraine and offered Javelin missiles to protect against Russian tanks only if he would do “a favor”.  The favor was to investigate former Vice President Biden and his son Hunter for illegal business dealings. A whistle blower revealed this telephone call that developed into a major White House scandal.   It was labeled a “shake down”  and a form of corruption to ask a foreign president to interfere in our political system.

 

Article Three : Obstruction of Justice

The Mueller Report , Volume 2, lists seven examples of Donald Trump’s Obstruction of Justice. They were highlighted in blocks on the front page of The New York Times after the 400 plus pages were finally made public.  April 19, 2019.

Example six: “Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the president’s corrupt use of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances that no person is above the law.”

Epilogue:  Article II, Section 4 of The Constitution was part of the original document written in l787.  “The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from office on Impeachment for and Conviction of Treason, Bribery and other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

They had fought the revolution against King George and they wanted to make sure this final section of Article  II, The Executive, gave Congress the responsibility of removal from office on Impeachment and Conviction.

A famous anecdote describes Benjamin Franklin emerging from the building in Philadelphia where The Constitution was signed. He was  asked a question by one of the women in the crowd, “Dr. Franklin, do we have a monarchy or a republic?”  His reply was quoted by Speaker Pelosi after the House vote on Impeachment Rules was passed.  “A Republic…. If you can keep it. “

…………………………………………Joyce S.  Anderson