Impeachment, impeachment, impeachment. “Trump has been impeached,” shout the news media.
And what does it mean?
News interviews reveal some people are thinking President Donald Trump has had a fair trial, been convicted of high crimes and removed from office.
As such, they think this reverses the 2016 election and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is now president.
Some think that the presidency returns to the preceding holder of the office, meaning Democrat Barack Obama. And others are thinking other things of their own imaginations.
Our republic has laws. Central to these is the U.S. Constitution. Maybe we should look at the legal system and our laws to better understand what has transpired.
In the criminal justice system, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. You are not officially a criminal until you are convicted of a crime.
In this country, our judicial system has a process. It starts with the report of a crime. The known crime is then investigated [Not an investigation of a person not liked by the prosecution as they look for a crime to “hang” on him.]
Evidence of the crime and who was involved is gathered. When this shows connections to other places and people, search warrants are issued by the courts to search out more evidence.
The prosecutor presents this evidence before a grand jury. The grand jury has the task of weighing this evidence to determine whether it merits the issuance of an indictment or not.
Using only the evidence presented and no preconceived notions or prejudices against the people involved, the grand jury must issue an indictment before the case can proceed to a trial. The indictment must be presented to a judge.
The accused is given an opportunity to plead either guilty or not guilty. If the accused pleads not guilty, then the judge binds the case over for trial.
During the trial, the accused has the right to confront the witnesses presented against him and must be allowed to present a defense. The prosecutor will present the same case that was presented to the grand jury.
In order to introduce more evidence, the prosecutor is required to present that evidence to the judge and the defense attorney.
The defense attorney can prepare for and object to the new evidence, in which case the prosecutor must present to the judge why the new evidence should be presented.
In the end, either the judge or a jury, depending on the case, will make a decision of guilty or not guilty. If the decision is not guilty, then the accused is not a criminal because he or she has not been convicted of a crime.
This is a condensed explanation of the criminal court process as understood by a layman. These principles also are present in the process of impeaching a president.
The articles of impeachment represent the parameters of the criminal accusations as supported by the evidence. The passing of the articles of impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives represents the indictment. The Senate conducts the trial and the senators stand as the jury. The House of Representatives appoints members to stand as the prosecution.
The president’s attorneys present the defense and have an opportunity to question the prosecution’s witnesses. The prosecution also can question the defense’s witnesses.
The jury, in this case the Senate, must pass the articles of impeachment by a two-thirds majority vote in order for the president to be convicted of the alleged crimes.
Until all of these steps are completed and the Senate passes the articles of impeachment, the president hasn’t been convicted of a crime any more than an arrest warrant automatically makes an accused a criminal.
The American College Dictionary defines “impeachment” as: “2. (in Congress or a state legislature) the presentation of formal charges against a public official by the lower house, trial to be before the upper house.”
Who is to bring these charges?
Article I, Section 2, Paragraph 5, of the Constitution states, “The House of Representatives shall choose their speaker and other officers; and shall have the sole power of impeachment.”
They got that part right. But is this a real inquiry into a real crime?
This was the seventh time the House Democrats have put forth articles of impeachment against Trump. And none of those causes were brought into this one.
And some Democrats were calling for impeachment right after the election, simply because they did not like the outcome of the election.
The Democrats are making their impeachment inquiry a political sham, a drama being played out against we the people’s election choice.
Where were the crimes before Trump was sworn into the office? In more than two years of basically unlimited investigation, Robert Mueller — the U.S. Department of Justice’s special counsel overseeing an investigation into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and related matters — found no crimes from Trump.
What crimes are to be considered for impeachment?
Article II, Section 4, of the Constitution reads, “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.”
During the House impeachment hearings, it is interesting that Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, was purposeful in asking the witnesses if they had factual evidence of impeachable crimes. None answered in the affirmative!
So where are the “high crimes”? Crimes worthy of impeachment? None of the witnesses had it.
What should happen next? Article II, Section 4, says, “… Impeachment for and conviction of …” — not just the accusation. There must be a trial.
Article I, Section 3 , paragraphs 6-7 are clear: “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.”
In the current case, we have just the accusation, without supporting facts of a crime worthy of impeachment.
A trial without factual criminal evidence leads to acquittal. That is all the Senate can lawfully do.
Presuming the Senate could lawfully remove the president from office, who takes his place?
Turning again to the Constitution, we read in Amendment 25, Section 1, “In case of the removal of the president from office or of his death or resignation, the vice president shall become president.”
That is our law! The Democrats can’t put Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama into the office of president. Vice President Mike Pence is the only alternative. So. why all the drama?
The only reason I can see is that the House Democrats are using the power of their offices to impugn Trump so as to affect the 2020 election.
Is this not the misuse of the power of their office? Please don’t fall for their political fakery.
ALICE BARNES of Henry County is a member of the local Volunteers for Freedom Tea Party. Her email address is email@example.com.