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Author Topic: Impeach / Punish  (Read 2253 times)

griz

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Impeach / Punish
« on: February 09, 2021, 08:46:02 PM »

Since the entire purpose of the current trial seem to be to prevent President Trump from running for office again (and to figuratively pin a scarlet letter "I" on him) would it be legal to impeach somebody who was already out of office before the first vote?  I know it's not going to happen, but if it came out that, hypothetically, Al Gore encouraged Portland protesters or some other evil deed, could he legally be impeached. tried, and barred from office?
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sumpnz

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Re: Impeach / Punish
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2021, 09:31:44 PM »

Firstly, would there even be point to doing that?  I mean, Gore isn’t going to run for, let alone win, political office ever again (for one thing he’s making too much money to bother, but he’s also even less inspiring than John Kerry).  Most likely the same is for true for Trump (given his age).

Factor in the Streisand Effect and it might be better in most regards to not provide the publicity or notoriety to them.  If criminal charges are justified, seek them.  But impeachment is a political process/tool and would probably do more harm than good.

griz

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Re: Impeach / Punish
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2021, 05:05:51 AM »

No, there would be no point to it.  Just asking from a legal standpoint since there doesn't seem to be a point to the current one.
 I guess it comes down to it not being a judicial thing, but as you said:
  But impeachment is a political process/tool and would probably do more harm than good.
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bedlamite

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Re: Impeach / Punish
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2021, 06:00:34 AM »

It'll never happen, but part of me wants to see the R party get control of both houses, and then impeach the next D candidate just before the election.
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Fly320s

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Re: Impeach / Punish
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2021, 06:13:52 AM »

Since the entire purpose of the current trial seem to be to prevent President Trump from running for office again (and to figuratively pin a scarlet letter "I" on him) would it be legal to impeach somebody who was already out of office before the first vote?  I know it's not going to happen, but if it came out that, hypothetically, Al Gore encouraged Portland protesters or some other evil deed, could he legally be impeached. tried, and barred from office?

In my opinion, no, he could not legally be impeached.  In the opinion of the current democrat-controlled congress?  Seems like they can impeach anyone for anything.
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Ben

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Re: Impeach / Punish
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2021, 06:17:04 AM »

In my opinion, no, he could not legally be impeached.  In the opinion of the current democrat-controlled congress?  Seems like they can impeach anyone for anything.

IANAL, but it seems that following the law, neither Trump nor Gore could be impeached. Following the theory that the dems are pushing, every single previous president is guilty of an impeachable offense.
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MechAg94

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Re: Impeach / Punish
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2021, 07:27:10 AM »

Since the Chief Justice of the SC is not presiding over the impeachment, they aren't following the constitutional process anyway.  Might as well just change it to majority vote.
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Ben

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Re: Impeach / Punish
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2021, 07:30:45 AM »

Since the Chief Justice of the SC is not presiding over the impeachment, they aren't following the constitutional process anyway.  Might as well just change it to majority vote.

Not to mention that the current "unbiased judge" has already been well-documented as saying that Trump is guilty.
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MechAg94

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Re: Impeach / Punish
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2021, 07:34:58 AM »

Not to mention that the current "unbiased judge" has already been well-documented as saying that Trump is guilty.
Crowder was saying he was also going to be a witness against him and would be voting on the impeachment.  So he is witness, jurist, and judge all in one.
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DittoHead

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Re: Impeach / Punish
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2021, 09:13:27 AM »

This seems relevant
These questions and the non-incumbency theory behind them fundamentally misconstrue the constitutional remedy of impeachment, which is not limited to removal from power but includes disqualification from future office. Moreover, their premise is wrong: The proceeding against Clinton would not be a presidential impeachment; it would be an impeachment based on her abuses of power as secretary of state, which would have the constitutional effect of disqualifying her for the presidency.

The Constitution does not limit impeachment to incumbent officials. Article I endows the House of Representatives with the “sole Power of Impeachment” — i.e., the power to file articles of impeachment. It further empowers the Senate with “the sole Power to try all Impeachments.” Significantly, in prescribing the standard for conviction in the Senate, Article I, Section 3 states that “no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present” (emphasis added).
McCarthy comes to a different conclusion than I would have, but he's a pretty smart guy and I generally trust his legal judgement.
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fifth_column

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Re: Impeach / Punish
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2021, 09:27:07 AM »

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will... The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. ― Frederick Douglass

No American citizen should be willing to accept a government that uses its power against its own people.  -  Catherine Engelbrecht

Brad Johnson

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Re: Impeach / Punish
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2021, 09:34:43 AM »

Babylon Bee:  Pelosi Preemptively Announces Articles Of Impeachment Against Candace Owens

Sadly, if the farce of a court now in session returns a guilty verdict, the satire may well end up becoming all too real. I could easily see libs taking the same tactic against any conservative they view both as threat and serious contender for POTUS

Brad
« Last Edit: February 10, 2021, 12:00:49 PM by Brad Johnson »
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TommyGunn

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Re: Impeach / Punish
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2021, 11:02:47 AM »

This seems relevant: McCarthy comes to a different conclusion than I would have, but he's a pretty smart guy and I generally trust his legal judgement.

If you put him in the same room with Mark Levin (whose legal credentials are, IMHO, far superior)  who would survive the ordeal? 

The point of impeachment is to remove from office.  Trump is out.  Where in the Constitution does it say he can be prohibited from running again?   I'd like to know:  it could be in there somewhere.

The only thing about impeachment I could find in a quick survey is article II  section 4:

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, or other high Crimes and Misdeameanors.

Maybe it's elsewhere?   IANAL.
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dogmush

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Re: Impeach / Punish
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2021, 11:27:46 AM »

Article 1, section 3:

Quote
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.

bolding mine.

Hawkmoon

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Re: Impeach / Punish
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2021, 01:52:33 PM »

Article 1, section 3:


I think we have to look at the totality of impeachment as addressed in the Constitution:

Article 1, section 2:
Quote
...
The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Impeachment is thus mentioned, but not defined.

Article 1, section 3:
Quote
...
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

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.

Again, impeachment is mentioned but not defined. So we still don't know who can be impeached, except that the list includes (but is apparently not limited to) the President.

Words have meaning, and in law words have very specific meanings. My work for the past 30+ years has been code enforcement, and for all those thirty years the people teaching our in-service classes have stressed that "and" does not include "or." If a law calls for something if 'A' and 'B' are met, then both 'A' and 'B' must be present or the condition does not apply. If a law calls for something if 'A' or 'B' is met, then the law applies if either 'A' or 'B' or both is/are present.

What the Constitution says is that the punishment upon conviction by the Senate "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." Therefore taken at face value based on the language of the Constitution and the principles under which all laws are construed, since Trump is no longer in office he cannot be removed from office "and" prohibited from holding federal office again. Therefore, my opinion (as a linguist, not a self-proclaimed Constitutional scholar like a certain former President) is that the trial has no merit and is not constitutional.

Now lets look at where else impeachment is mention in that musty old Constitution.

Article 2, Section 4:
Quote
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, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

And there you have it. Article 2 is "The Executive Branch," and Section 4 is "Disqualification." It says the President, Vice President, and all civil officers may be removed from office upon impeachment and conviction. Article 1 IMHO only establishes who has the authority to do the impeaching. Article 2 Section 4 establishes who can be impeached, and it includes only current office holders. Right now, and as of 20 January, Donald Trump is a private citizen, not an officer of the United States government. The government's authority to impeach him ended the moment he left office. He can be prosecuted in criminal court and/or sued in civil court, if they think they have a case, but (IMHO) he cannot now be tried by the Senate and convicted.

Jim147

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Re: Impeach / Punish
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2021, 02:10:27 PM »

Add to that the Chief Justice is not presiding over it should automatically be unconstitutional.
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griz

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Re: Impeach / Punish
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2021, 03:04:23 PM »

The "impeach means removal" camp is the one I'm in, so it seems a very political move to try someone who's already out of office.  My belief is because it seems clear the entire impeachment process was put in the constitution to have a process other than judicial to remove someone from office.  Ironically, the process has been deemed to exclude congress critters, probably because they are doing the voting.  My concern is: since it isn't a process controlled by the judicial system, congress is effectively making it up as they go along.  If they can decide to try somebody after they leave office merely to stop them from holding office again, what's to stop them from "impeaching" somebody who has never been in office just because congress thinks they are not worthy?  That would probably be a big enough over reach that the courts would stop them, but it's the same logic.
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TommyGunn

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Re: Impeach / Punish
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2021, 03:34:48 PM »

Article 1, section 3:

bolding mine.

Yes.   My search in the earlier post was done as I was typing it out and was cursory - - - and obviously insufficient. I later went back and located the section you quote. I suppose if Trump were still in office, and thus subject to impeachment, he could be prohibited from attaining the office of honor (etc) mentioned.  In fact as I read it,  impeachment is both removal from office, and prohibition from it in the future.  Atleast, that's my interpretation.  Again,  IANAL. (Thank God).

I still argue he cannot (or atleast should not)  be impeached as he is no longer in office,  and as a factual matter,  he did not commit the  wrongs he's being accused of. 

This whole thing,  IMHO, is a disgusting, puerile circus of political hatred and cynicism.  I believe it's doing serious damage to America.  Griz's post #16 above this one illustrates one serious reason I think this is a malignant process.
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dogmush

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Re: Impeach / Punish
« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2021, 05:49:19 PM »

While withholding comment on the merits (or not) of the current trial, I actually agree with the article Dittohead shared: that the impeachment process is for people that have proven too corrupt to be allowed to continue to have power in are government,  but may not be criminals. As such it seems in line with that intent to allow impeachment and barring from further office even if the person has left office (or resigned in an attempt to avoid this very fate).

There have been lengthy theses written on the comma use in the Constitution,  (the second ammendment springs to mind) and I'm not educated enough on the english of the day to refute Hawkmoon's post,  but I will point out that the legal usage of English in the 20th century doesn't always bear a lot of resemblance to the English the Founders used.

In any case, the point is moot this year, as our legislators are way more concerned with Party than facts, and there is no real chance the Senate will convict on this particular yeast infused circus.

Hawkmoon

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Re: Impeach / Punish
« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2021, 05:49:27 PM »

Add to that the Chief Justice is not presiding over it should automatically be unconstitutional.

The Dems want to have it both ways. They are claiming that because Trump is not the President, it isn't necessary for the Chief Justice to preside. Roberts hasn't said, but my guess (and my fervent hope) is that he doesn't think it's constitutional, and by keeping his pie hole closed he won't have to recuse himself if Trump is convicted and appeals.

Hawkmoon

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Re: Impeach / Punish
« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2021, 05:54:07 PM »


There have been lengthy theses written on the comma use in the Constitution,  (the second ammendment springs to mind) and I'm not educated enough on the english of the day to refute Hawkmoon's post,  but I will point out that the legal usage of English in the 20th century doesn't always bear a lot of resemblance to the English the Founders used.


That's true in many respects, but I don't think the meaning of either "and" or "or" has changed. Lawyers don't throw those words around casually. As I explained, they are used carefully because using the wrong one can make a HUGE difference in how a law is interpreted and applied.

T.O.M.

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Re: Impeach / Punish
« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2021, 06:19:07 PM »

IAAL, and here is my opinion.  Legally, it's uncharted territory.  Frankly, in terms of presidential impeachment, there's not much to go on.  No president has been removed from office.  As pointed out above, the plain language of COTUS is for both removal and prohibition from future office holding.  Given this, it's legally logical that a person could be impeached for acts committed in office after leaving that office.

Now, that said, this has nothing to do with anything so noble as to prevent a criminal from holding office again.  Clearly, this is pure politics.  It's a chance for Dems (and some Reps) to grandstand on the events of January 6 and lay a foundation for the next election, while sending emails to potential donors claiming to have escaped the jams of death, then stood up to domestic terrorists.

Legal opinion and political opinions there.  Now, setting aside my personal opinions on the politics, I think this is stupid.  If the purpose of the Dems is to snuff out the last of the Trump Train fire, this isn't how to do it.  Its really fanning the flames of his supporters by confirming their beliefs that they have been out to get Trump from the beginning and are willing to go to extremes to keep him from even running for election again.  If anything, an impeachment here is going to provide him a springboard that he can use to really launch the Patriot party, fundraise, and start campaigning his heir to the Oval Office.  They think that this will get rid of Trump from the political arena.  If they impeach/convict Trump, he will become more powerful than they could possibly imagine.
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TommyGunn

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Re: Impeach / Punish
« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2021, 07:20:08 PM »

  ..... Given this, it's legally logical that a person could be impeached for acts committed in office after leaving that office.  .........

Given the punishment is removal from office  how is it logical to impeach a person no longer in office.  You cannot,  at this point, prohibit him from holding office again (the "and" instead of the "or") since he can't be impeached in the first place.

If a legitimate crime was commited by President Trump,  he is vulnerable to the legal consequences that anyone charged with a crime should face.  This would be true under the present circumstances,  or if Trump had been legitimately impeached and removed from office.
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brimic

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Re: Impeach / Punish
« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2021, 12:38:45 AM »

IANAL, but it seems that following the law, neither Trump nor Gore could be impeached. Following the theory that the dems are pushing, every single previous president wrongthinking American is guilty of an impeachable offense.

Fixed that for you?

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T.O.M.

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Re: Impeach / Punish
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2021, 08:35:35 AM »

Given the punishment is removal from office  how is it logical to impeach a person no longer in office.  You cannot,  at this point, prohibit him from holding office again (the "and" instead of the "or") since he can't be impeached in the first place.

If a legitimate crime was commited by President Trump,  he is vulnerable to the legal consequences that anyone charged with a crime should face.  This would be true under the present circumstances,  or if Trump had been legitimately impeached and removed from office.

In statutory interpretation, the use of the term "and" here implies removal from office, prohibition from future office holding, or both.  If it said "or" it would be one or the other, period.  And, to be clear, I'm a criminal/family law/probate lawyer, not a Constitutional specialist, and I have no experience with impeachment. 
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