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Beskuldiging

Beskuldiging


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Beskuldiging is die proses wat 'n wetgewende liggaam in staat stel om 'n openbare amptenaar uit sy amp te verwyder. Dit bestaan ​​uit twee dele: (1) 'n beskuldiging of aanklag en (2) 'n verhoor.

Hierdie praktyk het wortels in die Engelse grondwetlike geskiedenis. Parlementslede het in die 1600's 'n beskuldiging teen koninklik aangestelde amptenare van Stuart aangewend. Die konsep is na die Amerikaanse kolonies gebring, waar wetgewende vergaderings dit teen koninklike amptenare gebruik het. Min ander lande het voorsiening vir beskuldiging.

Die Grondwet van die Verenigde State (teks) maak die volgende bepalings vir die beskuldiging van federale amptenare:

Artikel I, afdeling 2
Klousule 5: Die Huis van Verteenwoordigers kies hul Speaker en ander Beamptes; en het die enigste bevoegdheid tot beskuldiging.
Artikel I, afdeling 3
Klousule 6: Die Senaat het die enigste bevoegdheid om alle beskuldigings te verhoor. As hulle vir daardie doel sit, moet hulle op eed of bevestiging wees. As die president van die Verenigde State verhoor word, sal die hoofregter voorsitter wees: en niemand word skuldig bevind sonder die toestemming van twee derdes van die teenwoordige lede nie.
Klousule 7: Vonnis in sake van beskuldiging strek nie verder as verwydering uit die amp en diskwalifikasie om 'n amp van eer, vertroue of wins onder die Verenigde State te beklee en te geniet nie; maar die party (verweerder) wat skuldig bevind is, is nietemin aanspreeklik en onderhewig aan beskuldiging, verhoor, oordeel en straf, volgens die wet.

Ingevolge hierdie tweeledige prosedure word die Huis van Verteenwoordigers aangekla van die aanvang van die proses deur artikels van beskuldiging teen 'n beskuldigde te openbaar. Die senaat verhoor op sy beurt die beskuldigdes op die aanklagte van die huis. Daar is min riglyne vir hierdie senaatsverhore. As die president aangekla is, word die hoofregter van die Hooggeregshof aangewys as voorsitter; die vise-president het in alle ander gevalle voorsit.

'N Tweederde-stem van die senaat is nodig om die amptenaar uit sy amp te skuldig te bevind en te verwyder. Diegene wat so skuldig bevind word, word in die toekoms verbied om 'n federale amp te beklee.

Geen reël verhinder die beskuldiging van lede van die Huis of Senaat nie, maar daar is nooit suksesvol opgetree nie.

Die Grondwet verwys ook na die oortredings wat as onaantasbaar geag word:

Artikel II, afdeling 4
Die president, vise -president en alle burgerlike amptenare van die Verenigde State word verwyder uit die kantoor van vervolging vir en veroordeling van verraad, omkopery of ander hoë misdade en wangedrag.

Verraad en omkopery is gewoonlik begrippe wat duidelik verstaan ​​word, maar 'hoë misdade en wangedrag' is baie oop vir interpretasie. Sommige grondwetgeleerdes het aangevoer dat slegs strafbare oortredings aan die standaard voldoen, maar ander het volgehou dat 'n eenvoudige skending van die openbare vertroue voldoende is.

Tydens die Grondwetlike Konvensie het 'n paar van die Framers 'n beroep gedoen dat "wanadministrasie" by die lys van strafbare oortredings gevoeg word. Ander het hierdie byvoeging verstandig gekant, uit vrees dat beskuldiging 'n triviale politieke saak kan word.

Die volgende tabel gee 'n opsomming van die handjievol beskuldigings wat plaasgevind het. Hierdie middel is hoofsaaklik gebruik teen federale regters, wat lewenslange aanstellings is en nie verkiesbaar is nie.

Federale amptenaar

Posisie

Datum

Uitslag
William Blount

Amerikaanse senator
Tennessee

14 Januarie 1799

Gebrek aan regsbevoegdheid het tot ontslag van aanklagte gelei.
John Pickering

Amerikaanse distriksregter Distrik van New Hampshire

12 Maart 1804

Uit die amp verwyder.
Samuel Chase

Associate Justice
Amerikaanse Hooggeregshof

1 Maart 1805

Vrygespreek.

James H. Peck

Amerikaanse distriksregter Distrik van Missouri

31 Januarie 1831

Vrygespreek.
West H. Humphreys

Amerikaanse distriksregter Distrik van Tennessee

26 Junie 1862

Uit die amp verwyder.
Andrew Johnson

President
van die Verenigde State

26 Mei 1868

Vrygespreek.
William H. Belknap

Oorlogsekretaris

1 Augustus 1876

Vrygespreek.
Charles Swayne

Amerikaanse distriksregter Distrik van Noord -Florida

27 Februarie 1905

Vrygespreek.
Robert W. Archbald

Mederegter
Amerikaanse handelshof

13 Januarie 1913

Uit die amp verwyder.
George W. Engels

Amerikaanse distriksregter Eastern District of Illinois

4 November 1926

Bedank uit die amp; ontslaan.
Harold Louderback

Amerikaanse distriksregter Noordelike distrik van Kalifornië

24 Mei 1933

Vrygespreek.
Halsted L. Ritter

Amerikaanse distriksregter Southern District of Florida

17 April 1936

Uit kantoor verwyder.
Henry E. Claiborne

Amerikaanse distriksregter distrik Nevada

9 Oktober 1986

Uit die amp verwyder.
Alcee L. Hastings

Amerikaanse distriksregter Southern District of Florida

20 Oktober 1988

Uit die amp verwyder.
Walter L. Nixon Jr.

Amerikaanse distriksregter, suidelike distrik van Mississippi

3 November 1989

Uit die amp verwyder.
William J. Clinton

President
van die Verenigde State

12 Februarie 1999

Vrygespreek.

Is 'n Amerikaanse hooggeregshof ooit aangekla?

Regters van die Hooggeregshof dien lewenslank, tensy hulle bedank, sterf of beskuldig word en uit die amp onthef word. Die rede vir hul leeftyd is om hulle in staat te stel om besluite te neem sonder druk van die uitvoerende of wetgewende takke van die regering. Sedert die hooggeregshof in 1790 vir die eerste keer byeengeroep het, was daar 112 regters en nog net een is aangekla.

In 1804 het die Amerikaanse Huis van Verteenwoordigers gestem om mede -regter Samuel Chase te beskuldig. Chase, 'n ondertekenaar van die Onafhanklikheidsverklaring, is in 1796 deur president George Washington in die hooggeregshof van die Verenigde State aangestel. 'N Federalis, Chase, het Thomas Jefferson en sy Republikeinse bondgenote in die kongres ontstel en is aangekla op polities gemotiveerde aanklagte van partydige optrede. tydens verskeie proewe. In 1805 word Chase egter vrygespreek deur die senaat, 'n besluit wat gehelp het om die onafhanklikheid van die regbank te beskerm. Hy dien in die hof tot sy dood in 1811.

In 1969 word Abe Fortas die eerste — en tot dusver enigste enigste regter van die Hooggeregshof wat bedank het onder die dreigement van beskuldiging. Fortas, wat in 1965 deur president Lyndon Johnson aangewys is, moes noodgedwonge uittree as gevolg van finansiële ongerymdhede waarmee hy ingestem het om as betaalde konsultant op te tree vir die familie -stigting van 'n man wat ondersoek word na sekuriteitsbedrog.

Benewens Samuel Chase, is 14 ander federale regters (wat deur die president aangestel en deur die senaat bevestig is) in die loop van die Amerikaanse geskiedenis aangekla, op aanklagte wat wissel van dronkenskap op die bank tot die aanvaarding van omkoopgeld. Die eerste beskuldiging was in 1803 en die mees onlangse was in 2010. Agt van die regsgeleerdes is deur die senaat skuldig bevind en uit die amp onthef, terwyl drie vrygespreek en drie bedank het.


Inhoud

Andrew Johnson (vervolg op 18 Februarie, vrygespreek Mei 1868) Edit

President Andrew Johnson was onenig met die kongres, wat hom verskeie kere probeer verwyder het. Die wet op die ampstermyn is uitgevaardig oor Johnson se veto om sy mag te bekamp en hy het dit vroeg in 1868 openlik oortree. [7]

Die Huis van Verteenwoordigers het 11 artikels van beskuldiging teen Johnson goedgekeur. [8]

Hoofregter Salmon P. Chase was die voorsitter van Johnson se senaatverhoor. Die skuldigbevinding het in Mei 1868 met een stem misluk. Die beskuldiging teen 130 jaar was 'n unieke gebeurtenis. [9]

Bill Clinton (beskuldig Des. 1998, vrygespreek Februarie 1999) Edit

Op 8 Oktober 1998 het die Huis van Verteenwoordigers gestem om 'n ondersoek na die beskuldiging van president Bill Clinton te begin, deels weens bewerings dat hy onder eed gelieg het toe hy in die Clinton -Lewinsky -skandaal ondersoek is. [10]

Op 19 Desember 1998 is twee artikels van beskuldiging deur die Huis goedgekeur, wat Clinton beskuldig van meineed en belemmering van geregtigheid. [11] Die aanklagte spruit uit 'n regsgeding teen seksuele teistering wat deur die staatswerknemer Paula Jones in Arkansas teen Clinton ingedien is, en uit Clinton se getuienis wat ontken dat hy 'n seksuele verhouding met die internis van die Withuis gehad het, Monica Lewinsky. [ aanhaling nodig ] Hulle was:

Artikel I, het Clinton van meineed beskuldig. [12] [13] [14] Artikel II het Clinton aangekla van dwarsboming van die gereg. [12] [15]

Hoofregter William Rehnquist was die voorsitter van Clinton se senaatverhoor. Beide artikels van beskuldiging het nie die vereiste super-meerderheid gekry nie, en Clinton is dus vrygespreek en is nie uit sy amp onthef nie. [16]

Donald Trump Edit

Eerste beskuldiging (aangekla Desember 2019, vrygespreek Februarie 2020) Redigeer

Nadat 'n fluitjieblaser president Donald Trump daarvan beskuldig het dat hy 'n buitelandse regering onder druk geplaas het om namens Trump in te meng voor die verkiesing in 2020, het die Huis 'n ondersoek na die beskuldiging begin. [17] [18] Op 10 Desember 2019 het die Regterlike Komitee twee artikels van beskuldiging (H.Res. 755) goedgekeur: magsmisbruik en belemmering van die kongres. [19] Op 18 Desember 2019 het die Huis gestem om Trump op twee aanklagte te beskuldig: [20]

  1. Magsmisbruik deur "die Oekraïne te druk om sy politieke teenstanders te ondersoek voor die verkiesing in 2020, terwyl 'n Withuisvergadering en $ 400 miljoen aan Amerikaanse veiligheidshulp van Kiev weerhou word." [21]
  2. Belemmering van die kongres deur opdrag te gee teen die dagvaardings wat deur die Huis uitgereik is en amptenare te beveel om te weier om te getuig. [21]

Op 31 Januarie 2020 het die Senaat 51–49 gestem teen die oproep van getuies of die dagvaarding van addisionele dokumente. [22] Op 5 Februarie 2020 het die senaat Trump met 'n stemming van 48–52 onskuldig bevind aan magsmisbruik, terwyl die Republikeinse senator Mitt Romney die enigste senator was - en die eerste senator in die Amerikaanse geskiedenis - wat partygrense oorgesteek het deur te stem om skuldig te bevind, [23] [24] en onskuldig aan belemmering van die kongres, met 'n stemming van 47–53. [23] [24]

Hoofregter John Roberts was die voorsitter van Trump se eerste verhoor. Aangesien beide artikels van beskuldiging nie die vereiste super-meerderheid ontvang het nie, is Trump vrygespreek en is hy nie uit sy amp onthef nie. [24]

Tweede beskuldiging (beskuldig Jan 2021, vrygespreek Februarie 2021) Redigeer

Trump is vir 'n tweede keer beskuldig nadat hy daarvan beskuldig is dat hy 'n dodelike opstand teen die Verenigde State aangewakker het deur te probeer om die uitslag van die presidentsverkiesing in 2020 om te keer na sy verlies aan Joe Biden. [25] [26] [27] [28] Op 13 Januarie 2021 het die Huis gestem om Trump vir 'n aanhitsing tot opstand 'te beskuldig.

Hoewel Trump se termyn op 20 Januarie geëindig het, het die verhoor in die Senaat op 9 Februarie begin. [29] Op 13 Februarie het die Senaat Trump onskuldig bevind aan aanhitsing tot opstand, met 'n stem van 57 vir skuldigbevinding en 43 teen, onder die 67 stemme nodig vir 'n groot meerderheid. [30] In vorige beskuldigingsverrigtinge het slegs een senator ooit gestem om 'n president van hul eie party skuldig te bevind. Hierdie keer het sewe Republikeinse senatore Trump skuldig bevind, wat dit die mees tweeledige beskuldiging maak.

Aangesien Trump nie meer president was nie, was die president pro temore van die senaat, Patrick Leahy, die voorsitter van Trump se tweede verhoor. Aangesien die artikel van beskuldiging nie die vereiste super-meerderheid kon kry nie, is Trump vrygespreek.

Tabel van resultate vir beskuldiging van beskuldiging Wysig

Skuldverhoor stemme
Stem Skuldig Onskuldig Uitslag
Stemme % Stemme %
Beskuldiging van Andrew Johnson [31] Artikel II 35 64.82% 19 35.19% Vryspraak
Artikel III 35 64.82% 19 35.19% Vryspraak
Artikel XI 35 64.82% 19 35.19% Vryspraak
Artikels I, IV, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X geen stemming gehou nie Vryspraak
Beskuldiging van Bill Clinton Artikel I [32] 45 45% 55 55% Vryspraak
Artikel II [33] 50 50% 50 40% Vryspraak
Eerste beskuldiging van Donald Trump [34] [35] Artikel I 48 48% 52 52% Vryspraak
Artikel II 47 47% 53 53% Vryspraak
Tweede beskuldiging van Donald Trump [36] 57 57% 43 43% Vryspraak

Richard Nixon (begin Oktober 1973, bedank in Augustus 1974) Edit

Die regterlike komitee van die huis het drie artikels van beskuldiging teen president Richard Nixon goedgekeur vir dwarsboming van die gereg, magsmisbruik en minagting van die kongres vir sy rol in die Watergate -skandaal. [37]

Op 30 Oktober 1973 het Nixon beveel dat die spesiale aanklaer, Archibald Cox, afgedank word, wat die Saterdagaand -slagting tot gevolg gehad het. 'N Massiewe reaksie het plaasgevind, veral in die kongres, waar 17 resolusies tussen 1 November 1973 en Januarie 1974 ingestel is: H.Res. 625, H.Res. 635, H.Res. 643, H.Res. 648, H.Res. 649, H.Res. 650, H.Res. 652, H.Res. 661, H.Res. 666, H.Res. 686, H.Res. 692, H.Res. 703, H.Res. 513, H.Res. 631, H.Res. 638, en H.Res. 662. [38] [39] H.Res. 803, geslaag op 6 Februarie, het 'n ondersoek van die regterlike komitee gemagtig [40], en in Julie het die komitee drie artikels van beskuldiging goedgekeur. Voordat die Huis opgetree het, is die beskuldiging teen Nixon aangevoer toe Nixon op 9 Augustus 1974 bedank het. 'N Verslag met artikels van beskuldiging is op 20 Augustus 1974 deur 'n stemming van 412–3 deur die volle Huis aanvaar. [41]

Hoewel Nixon nooit formeel aangekla is nie, is dit die enigste proses van beskuldiging wat daartoe lei dat die president sy amp verlaat. Nixon is begenadig deur sy opvolger, Gerald Ford.

James Buchanan (1860) Redigeer

In 1860 het die Huis van Verteenwoordigers die Amerikaanse Huisgeselskapskomitee op die been gebring om beweerde korrupsies in die regering, wat bekend staan ​​as die Covode-komitee, te ondersoek, nadat sy voorsitter, rep. John Covode (R-PA), ondersoek ingestel het na president James Buchanan op die vermoede van omkopery en ander bewerings. Na ongeveer 'n jaar se verhore het die komitee tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat Buchanan se optrede nie 'n beskuldiging verdien nie. [42]

Andrew Johnson (1867) Redigeer

Op 7 Januarie 1867 het die Huis van Verteenwoordigers gestem om 'n ondersoek na 'n beskuldiging deur die Huiskomitee oor die Regbank goed te keur, wat aanvanklik geëindig het in 'n stemming van 3 Junie 1867 deur die komitee om aan te beveel om artikels van beskuldiging aan die volle Huis te stuur. [43] Op 25 November 1867 het die Huiskomitee oor die Regbank, wat die uitslag van sy ondersoek nie voorheen aan die volle huis gestuur het nie, egter hul vorige besluit omgekeer en met 'n stem van 5–4 gestem om beskuldigingsverrigtinge aan te beveel. die volledige Huis het hierdie aanbeveling egter met 108–56 stemme verwerp. [44] [45] [46] Johnson sou later, afsonderlik, in 1868 aangekla word.

Thomas Jefferson Edit

Op 25 Januarie 1809 stel rep. Josiah Quincy III ('n federalis van Massachusetts) besluite voor wat 'n ondersoek na die beskuldiging van president Thomas Jefferson sou begin, teen 'n lame eend wat op 4 Maart 1809 sy amp sou verlaat. Quincy beweer dat Jefferson het 'n 'groot wangedrag' gepleeg deur Benjamin Lincoln, die doeane -versamelaar van Boston, in daardie federale kantoor te hou, ondanks Lincoln se eie protesoptog dat hy te oud en te swak was om met sy werk voort te gaan. In 1806 het Lincoln Jefferson geskryf waarin hy sy eie bedanking voorstel, maar Jefferson versoek dat Lincoln in die amp bly totdat hy 'n opvolger aangestel word. Quincy het aangevoer dat Jefferson, deur Lincoln in die pos te laat, 'n federale amptenaar onregverdig in staat gestel het om 'n jaarlikse salaris van $ 5,000 te ontvang, "omdat hy geen dienste verrig het nie". [47]

Die resolusie het onmiddellik weerstand van beide federaliste en Demokratiese Republikeine gekry, en 17 lede van die Huis het daarteen gepraat om selfs die resolusie te oorweeg. [47] Quincy het geweier om sy besluit terug te trek, ondanks die geweldige opposisie. [47] Kongreslede het aangevoer dat die versoek om Lincoln in die amp te bly, nie 'n hoë misdaad of 'n wangedrag was nie, en dat daar nie eens bewyse was van 'n ondoeltreffende bestuur van die doeanehuis nie. [47] Die Huis het 93–24 gestem om die resolusie te oorweeg. [48] ​​Na oorweging is dit verslaan met 'n stem van 117–1. [47] [48]

John Tyler Edit

Nadat John Tyler in Junie 1842 'n veto teen 'n tariefrekening afgelê het, veroordeel 'n komitee onder leiding van oudpresident John Quincy Adams, destyds 'n kongreslid, die gebruik van Tyler se veto en verklaar dat Tyler aangekla moet word. [49] (Dit was nie net 'n kwessie van die Whigs wat die bank ondersteun nie en tariefwetgewing wat Tyler 'n veto gemaak het. Tot die presidentskap van die aartsvyand van die Whigs, Andrew Jackson, het presidente selde veto gemaak, en dan oor die algemeen op grondwetlike, eerder as beleidsgronde, [ 50] dus was Tyler se optrede ook teenstrydig met die konsep van die president van die Whigs.) In Augustus aanvaar die Huis hierdie verslag, wat impliseer dat Tyler in 'n stemming van 100–80 onberispelike oortredings gepleeg het. [51]

Tyler het die huis gekritiseer omdat dit volgens hom 'n stemming was wat hom in werklikheid beskuldig van strafbare oortredings sonder om hom van sulke oortredings te beskuldig, en hom sodoende in staat gestel het om hom teen hierdie aanklagte in 'n senaatverhoor te verdedig. [51]

Rep. John Botts (Whig-VA), wat president Tyler teengestaan ​​het, (wat lid was van dieselfde party), het op 10 Julie 1842 'n beskuldigingsbesluit ingedien wat verskeie aanklagte teen Tyler hef oor die gebruik van die presidensiële vetoreg en bel vir 'n komitee van nege lede om sy optrede te ondersoek, met die verwagting van 'n formele aanbeveling vir beskuldiging. [52] [53] Die resolusie van beskuldiging is op 10 Januarie 1843 in 'n 127–83 stemme verslaan. [53] [54] [55]

Ulysses S. Grant Edit

Rep. Joseph Clay Stiles Blackburn (D-KY) het in 1876 'n resolusiebesluit teen president Ulysses S. Grant ingedien oor die aantal dae wat Grant in die Withuis afwesig was. Die resolusie het nooit momentum gekry nie en is in Desember 1876 ter tafel gelê. [56]

Grover Cleveland Edit

Rep. Milford W. Howard (D-AL) het op 23 Mei 1896 'n resolusie (H. Res. 374) ingedien waarin president Grover Cleveland aangekla word vir die verkoop van ongemagtigde federale effekte en die verbreking van die Pullman Strike. Daar is nie gestem of na 'n komitee verwys nie. [57]

Herbert Hoover Edit

Op 13 Desember 1932 en op 17 Januarie 1933 stel rep. Louis Thomas McFadden (R-PA) twee besluite oor beskuldiging teen president Herbert Hoover oor ekonomiese griewe. Die besluite is etlike ure oorweeg en is daarna ter tafel gelê. [57] [58]

Harry S. Truman Wysig

In April 1951 het president Harry S. Truman generaal van die weermag Douglas MacArthur afgedank. Republikeine in die kongres het met talle oproepe om Truman se verwydering gereageer. Die senaat het verhore gehou, en 'n jaar later het die kongreslede George H. Bender en Paul W. Shafer afsonderlik huisrekeninge voorgelê 607 en 614 teen president Truman. Die besluite is na die regterlike komitee [59] verwys, maar die senaat het dit nie oorweeg nie.

Op 22 April 1952 stel rep. Noah M. Mason (R-IL) voor dat 'n proses van beskuldiging teen president Harry S. Truman begin moet word omdat hy beslag gelê het op die staalfabrieke in die land. Kort na die opmerkings van Mason stel rep. Robert Hale (R-ME) 'n resolusie voor (H.Res. 604). [60] [61] Na drie dae se debat op die vloer van die Huis, is dit na die Huisregterlike Komitee verwys, maar daar is nie opgetree nie. [57]

Ronald Reagan Edit

In 1983 het die verteenwoordiger van die kongres, Henry B. González, saam met Ted Weiss, John Conyers Jr., George Crockett Jr., Julian C. Dixon, Mervyn M. Dymally, Gus Savage en Parren J. Mitchell 'n resolusie voorgelê waarin hy Reagan in die gesig staar " die hoë misdaad of misdryf om die inval in Grenada te beveel in stryd met die Grondwet van die Verenigde State, en ander hoë misdaad of oortreding daarby. " [62]

Op 5 Maart 1987 stel Rep. González (D-TX) H.Res. 111, met ses artikels teen president Ronald Reagan rakende die Iran-Contra-aangeleentheid by die Huisregterkomitee, waar geen verdere stappe gedoen is nie. Alhoewel geen verdere stappe gedoen is oor hierdie spesifieke wetsontwerp nie, het dit direk gelei tot die gesamentlike verhore van die onderwerp wat die nuus later daardie jaar oorheers het. [57] [62] [63] [64] Nadat die verhore verby was, USA Today berig dat artikels van beskuldiging bespreek is, maar daarteen besluit is.

Edwin Meese het in getuienis tydens die verhoor van Reagan -hulpverlener Oliver North erken dat amptenare in die Reagan -administrasie bekommerd was dat die beskuldiging van 1987 daartoe kan lei dat Reagan die amp van president moet verlaat. [65]

George H.W. Bush Edit

President George H. W. Bush [66] was onderhewig aan twee resolusies oor die Golfoorlog in 1991, beide deur verteenwoordiger Henry B. González (D-TX). [57] [38] H.Res. 34 is op 16 Januarie 1991 ingevoer en is op 18 Maart 1992 verwys na die Huiskomitee oor Regspraak en daarna sy Subkomitee vir Ekonomiese en Handelsreg. [67] [68] H.Res. 86 is op 21 Februarie 1991 ingestel en verwys na die Huisregterkomitee, waar geen verdere stappe daaroor gedoen is nie. [69]

George W. Bush Wysig

Tydens die administrasie van president George W. Bush, het verskeie Amerikaanse politici probeer om hom te ondersoek vir moontlike strafbare oortredings of om daadwerklike beskuldigings aanhangig te maak. Die belangrikste hiervan het plaasgevind op 10 Junie 2008, toe rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) en rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) H.Res. 1258, wat 35 artikels van beskuldiging [70] teen Bush bevat. [71] Na byna 'n dag van debat het die Huis 251–166 gestem om die resolusiebesluit op 11 Junie 2008 na die Huisregterkomitee te verwys, waar geen verdere stappe daaroor gedoen is nie. [72]

Joe Biden Edit

Op 21 Januarie 2021, die dag na die inhuldiging van Joe Biden, het rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) beswaarskrifte teen president Biden ingedien. Sy noem dat hy sy mag misbruik terwyl hy as vise -president dien. Viktor Shokin ondersoek die stigter van Burisma Holdings, 'n reus in aardgas in die Oekraïne. Biden se seun, Hunter Biden, was sedert 2014 lid van die raad. [73] Shokin ondersoek egter nie die onderneming nie. Daar is geen konkrete bewyse wat daarop dui dat Biden die Oekraïne onder druk geplaas het om sy seun te bevoordeel nie. [74]

In Junie 2021 het Donald Trump belangstelling getoon om by die middeltermynverkiesing in 2022 kandidaat te wees vir 'n setel in die Huis van Verteenwoordigers, om hom as president van die Huis verkies te kry en dan 'n ondersoek na die beskuldiging van president Biden te begin. [75]

Lyndon B. Johnson Wysig

Op 3 Mei 1968 is 'n versoekskrif om president Lyndon B. Johnson weens 'militêre en politieke dubbelsinnigheid' te beskuldig, na die Huisregterskomitee verwys. [76] Geen stappe is gedoen nie. [ aanhaling nodig ]

Barack Obama Edit

Op 3 Desember 2013 het die regterlike komitee van die huis 'n verhoor gehou oor president Barack Obama wat formeel die titel gehad het "Die president se grondwetlike plig om die wette getrou uit te voer", wat politieke joernaliste beskou het as 'n poging om regsgeding te begin regverdig. Op 'n vraag deur verslaggewers of dit 'n verhoor oor beskuldiging was, het rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) beweer dat dit nie so was nie, en gesê: "Ek het nie melding gemaak van beskuldiging nie en ook nie een van die getuies in reaksie op my vrae by die regterlike komitee nie gehoor." [77] [78] [79] Een getuie het wel beskuldiging direk genoem: die professor in die regsgeleerdheid aan die Universiteit van die Georgetown, Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, het gesê dat ''n tjek op uitvoerende wetteloosheid 'n beskuldiging' is, omdat hy Obama daarvan beskuldig het dat hy 'die reg van die koning beweer het' staan ​​bo die wet. ” Die poging tot beskuldiging het nooit verby gegaan nie, wat Obama die eerste president in 28 jaar gemaak het wat nooit artikels van beskuldiging teen hom na sy huisregterkomitee verwys het nie. [80]


'N Geskiedenis van presidentlike beskuldiging in die Verenigde State

Wat sal hulle daarmee doen, met 'n geredigeerde weergawe van die Mueller -verslag in die hande van wetgewers?

  • Daar was slegs drie groot beskuldigings -episodes waarby die president betrokke was: Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon en Bill Clinton
  • Die Republikeinse Huis het president Johnson probeer verwyder oor sy hantering van heropbou na die burgeroorlog
  • President Nixon is nooit aangekla nie, maar het uiteindelik bedank

Sommige Demokrate, insluitend presidensiële kandidate, vra dat 'n proses van beskuldiging teen die president begin word. Maar sommige in die demokratiese leierskap van die huis stoot hulle terug en doen 'n beroep op wetgewers om dit stadig te neem.

Gedurende 240 jaar van die geskiedenis van die Verenigde State was daar slegs drie groot beskuldigings -episodes waarby die president betrokke was: Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon en Bill Clinton. Wat kan hierdie gevalle ons, indien enigiets, leer?

Presidensiële beskuldiging in die Amerikaanse geskiedenis

In die 1860's het die Republikeinse Huis president Johnson beskuldig te midde van 'n geveg oor sy hantering van heropbou na die Burgeroorlog. Hy is egter nooit uit sy amp onthef nie, want daar was nie genoeg stemme in die senaat om hom skuldig te bevind nie.

'N Soortgelyke scenario het in die negentigerjare plaasgevind toe die Republikeinse Huis probeer het om Clinton, 'n demokraat, te verdryf. Alhoewel die Huis Clinton aangekla het, het die Senaat hom vrygespreek.


President Nixon is nooit aangekla nie, maar het uiteindelik bedank te midde van toenemende druk van Capitol Hill. Hy was bang dat albei kamers van die kongres sou instem om hom te verwyder in die neerslag van Watergate.

Lesse uit die geskiedenis

Bied hierdie geskiedenis van beskuldiging lesse? As dit iets is, bewys dit dat die grens vir beskuldiging taamlik hoog is, sê Matt Dallek, medeprofessor aan die George Washington University se Graduate School of Political Management.

'Die magte sou regtig in lyn moes kom. U sal 'n oomblik nodig hê waarin daar tweeledige ondersteuning was, 'het hy gesê.

Beskuldiging is inherent 'n politieke proses. Om 'n president te verwyder, verg 'n tweederde stem in die senaat, wat beteken dat wetgewers dwarsdeur die gang moet werk om dit te laat gebeur. Byvoorbeeld, in die geval van Nixon, terwyl die getuienis steeds ophoop en sy peilinggetalle daal, het sommige Republikeine saam met die Demokrate saamgestem om beskuldiging te ondersteun.

Dallek bevraagteken egter of die Nixon-scenario in vandag se hiperpolariseerde politieke omgewing herhaal kan word.

'Nixon het nie Fox News nie, hy het nie dieselfde konserwatiewe apparaat om hom te verdedig nie,' het hy gesê. "Trump het, in teenstelling met Nixon, 'n baie meer ideologiese, ideologies homogene Republikeinse party om hom te ondersteun."

Demokratiese afdeling oor beskuldiging

Die geskiedenis wek ook kommer onder sommige Demokrate, wat bekommerd is dat beskuldiging kan lei tot 'n herhaling van die laat 1990's, toe die Republikeine van die Kongres gely het by die stembus nadat hulle die stryd teen die beskuldiging begin het.

'Die vrees wat die Demokrate het, is dat dit 'n partydige geveg word en dat dit ongewild raak omdat baie kiesers die kongres as disfunksioneel beskou, as deelneem aan partydige oorlogvoering en nie fokus op die kwessies waarop hulle gekies is om op te fokus nie: infrastruktuur, gesondheidsorg, werk, ”het Dallek gesê.

Nancy Pelosi, speaker van die huis, het hierdie week 'n beroep gedoen op die bespreking van beskuldiging en gesê daar is ander maniere om die Withuis aanspreeklik te hou. Maar daar is 'n duidelike skeuring in die party, en sommige wil voortgaan om die president te verdryf.


Andrew Johnson

President Andrew Johnson is deur die Huis beskuldig en in 1868 deur die Senaat vrygespreek.

Groot ondersoeke: Die historiese beskuldigings van justisie Samuel Chase en president Andrew Johnson deur William H. Rehnquist

Verslag van die negentiende-eeuse beskuldigings van 'n regter en 'n president deur die skrywer van Die Hooggeregshof (DB27628). Rehnquist, 'n voormalige hoofregter van die Verenigde State, gebruik hierdie twee sake om die onderskeid tussen regs- en politieke besluite en tussen beskuldiging en skuldigbevinding te illustreer. Hy voer aan dat dieselfde twee sake die skeiding van regeringsliggame versterk soos bepaal deur die Grondwet. 1992.
Laai die DB38303 af

The Impeachers: Die verhoor van Andrew Johnson en die droom van 'n regverdige nasie deur Brenda Wineapple

'N Verslag van die eerste beskuldiging van 'n sittende Amerikaanse president. Beskryf die gebeure wat tot hierdie gebeurtenis gelei het, die sleutelfigure betrokke en die daaropvolgende implikasies vir die land. Ongegradeer. Kommersiële oudioboek. 2019.
Laai DB95385 af


Die Chase Impeachment

Die kwessie van die omvang van strafbare oortredings is vroeg aangesluit as gevolg van die pogings van die Jefferson -administrasie om van die federalistiese regters ontslae te raak wat die land deur middel van groot jurie -aanklagte en ander middele gepropageer het. Die teorie van uiterste breedtegraad is deur senator Giles van Virginia uitgespreek tydens die beskuldiging teen Justice Chase. 'Die bevoegdheid tot beskuldiging is sonder beperking aan die Huis van Verteenwoordigers gegee, en die bevoegdheid om beskuldigings te probeer, is gelykop sonder beperking aan die Senaat gegee. . . . 'N Verhoor en verwydering van 'n regter by beskuldiging hoef geen misdaad of korrupsie by hom te impliseer nie. . . [maar] niks anders nie as 'n verklaring van die Kongres hieroor: U het gevaarlike opinies, en as u dit laat geld, sal u die vernietiging van die nasie bewerk. Ons wil u ampte hê om dit aan mans te gee wat hulle beter sal vul. ”871 Chase se advokaat het geantwoord dat optrede 'n onskuldige oortreding moet wees. verdeeldheid in die senaat as op die meriete van die argumente.873


Die Engelse geskiedenis van impeachment

Geillustreer | Wikimedia Commons, Nenov/iStock

Beskuldiging is miskien die mees onduidelike en onbeduidende konsep in die regstradisie van die Anglosfeer. Daar is geen deskundiges oor beskuldiging nie, om die ongekompliseerde rede dat beskuldiging nie meer as 400 jaar in die terme wat regsprofessore voorgestel het, slaag nie. Soos in die Verenigde State, waar dit drie keer misluk het om 'n president uit sy amp te verwyder, was die beskuldiging van ministers 'n grootliks onbesliste saak in Brittanje. Om te praat (soos die getuies geroep het om te getuig oor die onderwerp voor die Huisregeringskomitee verlede week) van beskuldiging asof dit 'n roetine-aangeleentheid is, met goed gedefinieerde parameters en bevredigende regsuitkomste, is eenvoudig 'n klug.

Hier is die eeue lange rekord van beskuldiging in Brittanje, waarop die president se teenstanders onlangs probeer het om aandag te vestig, insiggewend. Die geskiedenis daarvan bestaan ​​uit onsekerheid, faksionalisme en heerskappy.

Beskuldiging het in die Middeleeue uit die oerwoude van die Engelse gemenereg gekom, toe dit tot eweknieë beperk was. Teen die einde van die 15de eeu het dit in onbruik geraak, net om onder die Stuarts herleef te word deur 'n reeks jaloerse parlemente. Die huis het twee keer probeer om die hertog van Buckingham, die groot gunsteling van James I, te beskuldig en twee keer het die monarg die vergadering ontbind. Hier sou sake nie toegelaat word om te rus nie, selfs na James se dood. Baie het beweer dat die hertog se oortreding aan die voete van die John Lambe, sy privaat dokter, gelê kon word. Hierdie toegewyde towenaar, wat teen 'n bedrag van £ 50 daarop aangedring het dat hy die plek van gesteelde voorwerpe in sy kristal kon ontdek, is deur 'n skare doodgegooi. Maar steeds het Buckingham se vyande gehuil:

Laat Charles en George doen wat hulle kan, die hertog sal sterf soos dokter Lambe.

Op 23 Augustus 1628 is hy vermoor in 'n taverne in Portsmouth.

In die daaropvolgende dekade sou die graaf van Strafford baie vyande maak terwyl hy as adjunk van Ierland dien. Nadat hy na Engeland teruggebring is, het hy die onderwerp van beskuldiging gevind. Dit is laat vaar toe daar na 'n volledige ondersoek van sy gedrag geen onaantasbare oortredings gevind kon word nie. In plaas daarvan is 'n wetsontwerp - die voorkeurmetode om geregtelike sluipmoorde in die vorige eeu onder die Tudors te bekom - in die Commons aanvaar. Strafford is in die gevangenis gesit, maar koning Charles het gesweer dat daar geen kwaad hom sou tref nie, en dit lyk asof die Here huiwerig was om die bevelvoerder op te neem. Helaas, 'n belaglike komplot van sy majesteit se dienaars om die Tower of London te bestorm en Strafford dus buite-geregtelik tot vryheid te herstel, is blootgestel. Die wetsontwerp is aangeneem. Die koning het sy biskoppe geraadpleeg, wat hom verseker het dat hy met 'n goeie gewete sy belofte aan Strafford kan aflê, wat self vir Charles gesmeek het om sy teregstelling ter wille van die koninkryk toe te laat. Among Charles' last words in 1649 were his avowal that his own beheading was divine retribution for "that unjust sentence which I suffered to take effect." One of the first acts taken by Parliament upon the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 was the official expungement of the attainder on the grounds that it had been "treasonable and scandalous."

The unfortunate earl is, so far as I am aware, the last person to have been killed as a direct result of an impeachment inquiry. After his death the process would destroy only fortunes and reputations.

Warren Hastings, the first governor-general of British India, knew Bengali, Urdu, and Persian, among other languages. He wrote the introduction to the first English translation of the Bhagavad Gita and devoted a considerable amount of his time and resources to the study of Sanskrit. After serving for 10 years as governor-general, Hastings returned to England in 1785, where he showered his friends with presents, among them "a certain richly carved ivory bed which the Queen had done him the honour to accept from him." Even before his arrival it had become clear that he would find himself on the receiving end of a great deal of abuse from the Whig minority in Parliament, who accused of him of various misdeeds, including the use of excessive force in a variety of conflicts with minor native rulers.

The question of Hastings's responsibility is one that has never been adequately settled. It is certainly odd to think of a man who once claimed that he "loved India a little more than I do my own country" of being a genocidal maniac. Lytton Strachey, no friend of imperialism, once called Hastings "the best-abused personage in history." Nearly all historians now agree that Hastings was, by the standards of his contemporaries in India, a man of humane and enlightened views, and that his alleged misdeeds were of mostly instrumental importance to the opposition party at home, which sought to embarrass the Tory administration. It took Edmund Burke days to read the articles brought against Hastings in 1787, and the process would drag on until 1795, when he was finally acquitted in the Lords. By then his legal defense had cost him more than £70,000.

A few years later, impeachment was again taken up by the Whigs. Despite the ample evidence of his financial mismanagement — which was ubiquitous in British politics at the time among members of both parties — and his impeachment by the Commons in 1806, the Tory Viscount Melville was also acquitted in the Lords. This was the least ambiguous case in two centuries, but it did not succeed, in part because there was no clear statutory offense that corresponded to his behavior, in part because Melville's own party controlled the balance of power in the upper chamber.

A far less deserving target of similar proceedings was Caroline of Brunswick, the unfortunate wife of King George IV. The two had been married in 1795 at a ceremony during which George, who was then the prince regent, was drunk. He hated his wife and sought to prevent her from becoming queen by any means necessary. Rumors were circulated that she had engaged in adultery and even given birth to an illegitimate child these were investigated and found baseless. (A similar inquiry would not have reached the same conclusion about the conduct of the regent himself, who, among other things, had secretly married the Catholic Maria Fitzherbert in 1795.) When impeachment faltered, legislation was introduced in 1820 to "deprive" Caroline of her title and dissolve her marriage on the grounds that she had "carried on a licentious, disgraceful, and adulterous intercourse" with an Italian commoner named Bartolomeo. The ensuing debate on the floor of the Commons was effectively a trial in which she had no rights. The British people were appalled, and when the so-called Pains and Privations Bill failed in the Lords the windows of newspapers that had supported it were smashed to pieces. When George was finally crowned king the following year, she was not permitted to attend the ceremony. A weeks later she died. His Majesty did not attend the funeral.

Decades later, Lord Palmerston would be the object of the last serious attempt at impeachment in English history. In 1848, his rivals charged that he had entered his country into a secret treaty with the Russian imperial government. The vote failed. In 2004, a Welsh MP announced his intention of impeaching Tony Blair, only to be told by Peter Hain, then the leader of the Commons, that impeachment had "died," perhaps as long ago as 1867, when suffrage was expanded by the Second Great Reform Bill. (Among the handful of supporters of this failed motion was one Boris Johnson.)

Male witches, Irish officials, Urdu scholars, ornate furniture, shadowy diplomatic back channels, manipulation and vilification of the press, men behaving swinishly towards women: This exhausts the modern history of this supposedly well-established trans-Atlantic constitutional process.

What does it tell us about President Trump's increasingly likely impeachment and acquittal? Perhaps it depends upon the view one takes of the relationship between the British and the American understandings of impeachment. If one adopts the (to my mind sensible) position that there is no meaningful connection between an ancient procedure for trying ministers of the crown without obtaining the sovereign's permission and an eponymous but otherwise unrelated provision of the U.S. Constitution of 1788 as it is understood 231 years later, then it is difficult to glean anything of importance from the history of British impeachment proceedings. This is not only because the president's position lies somewhere between that of a British minister and the crown itself — not only the head of the federal government but also the head of state from whom federal legal authority proceeds — but because Britain in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries (to say nothing of the 14th) is not the United States in the 21st.

If on the other hand one believes, as the expert witnesses called by the Democrats appear to do, that there are certain immutable principles in the common law that transcend time and space, uniting the cases of Buckingham, Strafford, Hastings, Melville, and Palmerston with those of Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Trump, then the precedent in both the United States and Britain is clear: Trump ought to be impeached in the House, which numbers the harassment of political foes among its prerogatives, and acquitted in the Senate, which is controlled by Trump's allies. Impeachment, on this understanding, is simply an emotional failsafe mechanism, a release-valve for partisan rage that would otherwise be pent up.

Once more we hear the great machine start. Gears turn, bolts tighten while lubricant is applied we hear a hiss and smoke rises above the din — then it stops. When one stoops to inspect the heap of scrap metal one finds that it was last inspected in 1998. Perhaps it will run better next time.


History Shows the Senate Can Hold an Impeachment Trial After Trump Leaves Office

Now that the House has impeached President Donald Trump for a second time, one question that is confounding many people is whether the Senate may proceed with an impeachment trial after Trump leaves office. The question is not new, and neither is the answer: The Senate may proceed with Trump’s impeachment trial, regardless of whether he is still in or out of office.

Besides the arguments I have previously made that the Constitution mentions no time barriers on impeachment anywhere in the six clauses defining the process and the dangers of allowing presidents to escape responsibility for misconduct done in or discovered after their last few days in office, there are three other compelling arguments that post-presidential impeachment is legitimate.

The first is that a president who returns to private life is not like other private citizens. He is different because he becomes an ex-president, and as an ex-president he has an office and certain privileges such as briefings, and entitlements such as Secret Service protection. An ex-president occupies, in other words, a special kind of office, and therefore once someone leaves the presidency, he is still subject to conviction by the Senate (by at least 2/3 of the Senate as required in the Constitution) and removal from the office he holds as ex-president. His removal, via a two-thirds vote in the Senate, would likely strip him of whatever powers and benefits he has as an ex-president and through a separate vote after he is convicted, Trump may be subject to the unique constitutional penalty of disqualification, which the Constitution expressly recognizes as one of the two sanctions that may be imposed on an official convicted in an impeachment trial.

Post-presidential impeachment is also legitimate because the Senate rules, initially drafted by Thomas Jefferson when he was vice-president, allow it. They provide that once the Senate has received the articles of impeachment, the Senate must “immediately” proceed with a trial.

Once the Senate receives the articles of impeachment against Trump, the Senate has no choice but to begin an impeachment trial. Every senator knows that the Senate has a long tradition of following its rules, and this is why Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) will not reconvene the Senate until the day before Joe Biden’s inauguration as the 46 th president of the United States: He knows the Senate would have to begin a trial, and therefore he may be taking advantage of the Senate’s being in recess now so that Chuck Schumer, a Democrat who will become majority leader on Jan. 20, will take the heat for starting Trump’s second impeachment trial after Trump has left office. No one is more skilled at the use of congressional procedures than McConnell, but even he surely knows the Senate must begin an impeachment trial, even after the president leaves office.

The third reason that post-presidential impeachment is legitimate is perhaps the most compelling: On three separate occasions after an official left office, Congress proceeded with an impeachment and a trial of the impeached official. These three precedents provide a strong foundation for the Senate’s conducting a second impeachment trial of Trump. Some commentators overlook or dismiss these precedents because they did not involve presidents, but that makes no sense, since there is only one impeachment clause, which subjects presidents and every other impeachable official to the same process: They “shall be removed from office on impeachment for and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Those contesting the legitimacy of post-presidential impeachment trials read this language as suggesting impeachment applies only when impeachable officials are in office because it speaks of “removal” immediately following up a “conviction” and thus it only makes sense if the person is in an office from which he may be removed. Yet, as we will see, that is not consistent with the uniform practice of impeachments in our history.

The first impeachment held after the official left office was the very first impeachment in American history. In 1797, President John Adams sent evidence to Congress indicating that North Carolina Senator William Blount had plotted to help the British seize parts of the United States. After studying the evidence, the House began an impeachment of Blount, but the Senate expelled him before the impeachment proceedings were done. (He was not present for any of these proceedings.) Yet, as Professor Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School recently noted, one of the House Managers (appointed to prosecute the case in the Senate for a conviction) and Blount’s lawyer agreed that a civil officer was subject to impeachment after leaving office. In early 1798, the House proceeded to investigate the matter further and impeached Blount. Despite the fact that Blount was no longer in office, the Senate began his impeachment trial (with Jefferson presiding). In the trial, the Senate, in a narrow vote, agreed with Blount’s lawyer’s objection that a senator was not “a civil officer” and therefore not amenable to impeachment. The key lesson from this episode is that it was done by the First Congress after Blount left office, and the usual rule in constitutional law is that we defer to the First Congress because most of its members helped to draft or ratify the Constitution. The First Congress also bifurcated voting in the impeachment trial, requiring senators first to vote on whether to convict and then, secondly, voting on the sanction to be imposed. When the Senate does hold a second trial of Trump, it will be following what the First Congress once did.

The second precedent is even more analogous to Trump’s situation. In 1861, West Humphreys left his federal judgeship to join the confederacy as a judge. A year later, the House impeached him, and the Senate convicted, removed, and disqualified him from holding any federal office again. If one merely looks at presidential impeachments as a guide in answering the question whether Trump may be tried after leaving office, this precedent will be among those overlooked. No serious impeachment scholar has ever contested Humphreys’ impeachment or conviction though he had abandoned his office a year before his impeachment, conviction, removal, and disqualification.

The third precedent involves President Ulysses Grant’s secretary of war, William Belknap. Belknap was corrupt, and in 1876 the House had begun to consider his impeachment for bribery. Belknap was desperate to stop the impeachment, so he rushed over to the White House and pleaded with the president to accept his letter of resignation before the House formally impeached him. He hoped his resignation would block the House, but it did not: The House proceeded to impeach him. In the impeachment trial, the Senate voted 37-29 that Belknap was “amendable to trial by impeachment [notwithstanding] his resignation of said office.” The Senate voted to convict Belknap by a similar vote, which fell short of the two-thirds required for a conviction.

True, the Congress did not proceed with an impeachment or trial for Richard Nixon once he resigned from office. But that was not because of a constitutional limitation. It was because congressional leaders believed they could still impeach Nixon but declined because they agreed with President Gerald Ford that, after two years of investigating Nixon, it was time to put the entire Nixon matter behind us. As Ford memorably declared at the time, “our long national nightmare is over.”

What is the lesson of these precedents? That the Senate will hold a trial of any impeached officials, regardless of whether they are still in office, and it is during this phase that impeached officials may raise affirmative defenses, such as arguing that the Senate lacks the power to impeach them because they are no longer in office. The Senate is charged with deciding whether it may convict someone and impose (through separate votes) the sanctions available in impeachment trials, and its decision is final. The Senate has skipped a conviction vote only once and that was because the official (Blount) had been a senator, who is subject to expulsion but not impeachment, and not because he was no longer in office.

Fast forward to this past week. The House impeached Trump for incitement to insurrection, but the article of impeachment has not yet been delivered to the Senate. Once the Senate receives the article, the Senate will do what it has always done – immediately begin an impeachment trial. In this case, Trump cannot escape the trial, or the consequences of his misconduct, because he has left the presidency. He can defend himself as all impeached officials have done in their impeachment trials (Blount’s lawyer was there), but the Senate will conduct an impeachment trial, a legitimate one, because that it is what it has always done – with no exception.


Thinking about impeachment like a historian

This week, the third impeachment trial of a sitting U.S. president begins.

As we prepare to bear witness to this historic moment, we spoke with political history curator Jon Grinspan about how historians look at impeachment.

What is impeachment?

Impeachment is actually a vote to put the president on trial, not a trial or a conviction. The sitting president can be impeached for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors,” as defined in Article 2, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution. Conviction and removal from office, following an impeachment trial, has never happened.

And what about President Richard Nixon?

“The mechanisms were going with Nixon to impeach him,” Grinspan explained. But Nixon stepped down before the vote to impeach (that is, the vote to put him on trial—not the vote to remove him from office).

In U.S. history, two other presidents have been impeached: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998.

Several protest posters in our collection include calls for impeachment. Impeachment has happened so rarely in U.S. political history that some mistake “impeachment” for removal from office—when it actually means to vote to put on trial.

Impeachment marks a unique moment that shifts how the U.S. government is normally structured.

“The whole point of our architecture of a system of government is separation of powers. . . . They’re supposed to balance each other out to prevent tyranny,” Grinspan said. “But this is one point where there’s a clash in powers. All the powers suddenly are involved: the House votes for impeachment, the Senate has a trial, the chief justice of the Supreme Court runs the trial, and the president is on trial. All the sudden, all these carefully balanced checks and balances come crashing into each other.”

Robe worn by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist during the impeachment trial of President William Clinton. Rehnquist added the gold stripes to the sleeves a few years earlier after seeing the costume worn by the Lord Chancellor in a production of Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe.

What do we learn when we look at impeachments (and Nixon’s near-impeachment) together?

“Every impeachment is a microcosm of a larger cultural conflict,” Grinspan said.

“The Johnson impeachment is about Reconstruction, the future of the country after the Civil War, and race in America,” Grinspan said.

After the Civil War, the Radical Republicans in Congress championed an ambitious plan of Reconstruction that aimed to both end slavery and secure the civil rights of African Americans nationwide. Johnson, in contrast, supported a much more lenient plan for reintegrating Confederate states back into the Union. Under Johnson's proposal, former Confederate states had free rein to institute Black Codes—laws that maintained white supremacy by stripping formerly enslaved African Americans of many of their hard-won freedoms. As president, Johnson used all the powers of his office to oppose Congress’s efforts to push Reconstruction in a more transformational direction.

While Johnson’s high crime and misdemeanor (which allowed Congress to bring articles of impeachment) specifically revolved around his firing of Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, Grinspan said, tensions over race and Reconstruction is “what gets Congress and the presidency to go at it with each other.”

“Johnson and Congress are in this huge feud. A lot of the feud turns on who holds offices—the former people under the Lincoln administration, including Edwin Stanton, or can Johnson put up his new people who will follow his line more,” Grinspan said. “Congress puts a trap where they made it illegal to fire Edwin Stanton, and when Johnson fires Stanton he steps right in that trap.”

This ticket to President Andrew Johnson’s impeachment trial tells both the story of the impeachment and post-Civil War life in Washington, D.C. D.C. blossomed into a bustling city during the Civil War. “It’s also this point where D.C. has its own society, and so everyone is trying to be seen there—there are all these prominent public figures and activists,” Grinspan said. “They made 800 tickets and there was a huge war in D.C. to try to get into the trial.” It's another way the story of Reconstruction is playing out in the Johnson impeachment trial.

Even though Johnson was never removed from office, his story provides an example of how impeachment can leave a lasting impact on a presidency and his agenda. After Johnson’s impeachment, “Congress is able to usher in their vision of Congressional Reconstruction, where you get things like African American voting rights and African American citizenship,” Grinspan said, including the Fifteenth Amendment.

This 1870 lithograph celebrates the rights and opportunities that African Americans stood to gain under the Fifteenth Amendment, part of Congress’s Radical Republicans' vision of Reconstruction.

In the 20th century, we again see how impeachment can reflect larger cultural clashes. Nixon’s potential impeachment reflects what was going on in the nation at that time.

At a time of massive protest, “Nixon is obsessed with protestors and he’s obsessed with the idea that there is dissent,” Grinspan said. “There’s a climate of paranoia and that’s what prompts his illegal action.” The House was considering impeaching Nixon for misdeeds including break-ins, unauthorized wiretappings, hush-money payments, and wrongful use of the Internal Revenue Service.

But even Nixon’s actions reflect the era.

“Dirty tricks make sense during the Cold War,” Grinspan said. “They’re doing dirty tricks all around the world. They’re doing them in Vietnam, and Iran, and Guatemala.”

Nixon’s pending impeachment is often pointed to as the beginning of an era of distrust in government, but it is a key episode in a process of losing trust that started long before, Grinspan explained.

The Nixon administration established a secret-operations unit known as the Plumbers. On September 3, 1971, they broke into the office of Dr. Lewis Fielding, Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist. They were looking for damaging information against Ellsberg, who had leaked Pentagon papers concerning the Vietnam War to the press. This file cabinet was damaged in the search. It was the first in a series of the Plumbers' break-ins—including the famous incident at the Watergate.

According to Grinspan, Clinton’s impeachment reflects the culture wars of the 1990s, where “there’s this conservative ‘family values’ Congress that suddenly has a lot more power versus this president who is seen as this permissive, relaxed, baby-boomer guy.” Clinton was impeached with charges of perjury and obstruction of justice stemming from the president's testimony in a civil suit and whether he misrepresented his relationship with a White House intern.

This pro-Clinton poster pokes fun at the conservative response of Republican members of Congress to Clinton’s indiscretions.

Grinspan and other curators at the museum are following the impeachment proceedings of President Donald J. Trump closely. Again, it provides insights into larger national issues.

“The actual concrete thing the whole impeachment is about is partisan campaigning,” Grinspan said. “That’s what President Trump is accused of doing—using federal power to fight a personal campaign.”

As events unfold, curators will determine which objects best represent this historic moment, for inclusion in the national collection. Contemporary collecting allows us to ensure this story can be told in the future. For instance, some of the objects above were collected during previous impeachment proceedings. This is one way in which the museum actively engages with the history, spirit, and complexity of the United States' democratic experiment: by collecting, documenting, and sharing the U.S. political system, including presidential history.

Grinspan answering our questions and the work of our political history team to collect from history-making moments like impeachment, elections, and protests are all part of our work to be the most inclusive, accessible, relevant, and sustainable history museum in the nation. As we work toward that goal, we want your feedback. Please take our strategic planning survey.

Amelia Grabowski is the acting social media manager at the museum.


Impeachment - History

The following is from a report written and released by the Judiciary Committee in 1974 in the aftermath of the Watergate crisis.

The Constitution provides that the President ". shall be removed from Office in Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Trason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." The framers could have written simply " or other crimes"--as indeed they did in the provision for extraditions of criminal offenders from one state to another. They did not do that. If they have meant simply to denote scriousness, they could have done so directly. They did not do that either. They instead adopted a unique phrase used for centuries in English parliamentary impeachments, for the meaning of which one must look to history.

Alexander Hamilton wrote, in No. 65 of Die federalis, that Great Britain had served as "the model from which [impeachment] has been borrowed." Accordingly, its history in England is useful to an understanding of the purpose and scope of the impeachment in the United States.

Parliament developed the impeachment as a means to excercise some measure of control over the King. An impeachment proceeding in England was a direct method of bringing into account the King's ministers and favorites--men who might have otherwise been out of reach. Impeachment, at least in its early history, has been called "the most powerful weapon in the political armoury, short of civil war." 1 It played a continuing role in the struggles between King and Parliament that resulted in the formation of the unwritten English constitution. In this respect impeachment was one of the tools used by English Parliament to create more responsive and responsible government and to redress imbalances when they occurred. 2

The long struggle by Parliament to assert legal restraints over the unbridled will of the King ultimately reached a climax with the execution of Charles I in 1649 and the establishment of the Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell. In the course of theat struggle, Pariament sought to exert restraints over the King by removing those of his ministers who most effectively advanced the King's absolutist purposes. Chief among them was Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford. The House of Commons impeached him in 1640. As with earlier impeachments, the thrust of the charges was damage to the state. 3 The first article of impeachment alleged 4

The other articles against Strafford included charges ranging from the allegation that he had assumed regal power and excercised it tyrannically to the charge that he subverted the rights of Parliament. 5

Characteristically, impeachment was used in individual cases to reach offenses, as perceived by Parliament, against the system of government. The charges, variously denominated "treason," "high treason," "misdemeanors," "malversations," and high Crimes and Misdemeanors," thus included allegations of misconduct as various as the kings (or their ministers) were ingenious in devising means of expanding royal power.

At the time of the Constitutional Convention the phrase "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" had been in use for over 400 years in impeachment proceedings in Parliament. 6 It first appears in 1386 in the impeachment of the King's Chancellor. Michael de le Pole, Earl of Suffolk. 7 Some of the charges may have involved common law offenses. 8 Others plainly did not: de la Pole was charged with breaking a promise he made to the full Parliament to execute in connection with a parliamentary ordinance the advice of a committee of nine lords regarding the improvement of the estate of the King and the realm: "this was not done, and it was the fault of himself as he was then chief officer." He was also charged with failing to expend a sum that Parliament had directed be used to ransom the town of Ghent, because of which "the said town was lost." 9

The phrase does not reappear in impeachment proceedings until 1450. In that year articles of impeachment against William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk (a descendant of Michael), charged him with several acts of high treason, but also with "high Crimes and Misdemeanors," 10 including such various offenses as "advising the King to grant liberties and privileges to certain persons to the hindrance of the due execution of the laws," "procuring offices for person who were unfit , and unworthy of them" and "squandering away the public treasure." 11

Impeachment was used frequently during the reigns of James I (1603-1625) and Charles I (1628-1649). During the period from 1620 to 1649 over 100 impeachments were voted by the House of Commons. 12 Some of these impeachments charged high treason, as in the case of Strafford others charged high crimes and misdemeanors. The latter included both statutory offenses, particularly with respect to the Crown monopolies. and non-statuatory offenses. For example, Sir Henry Yelverton, the King's Attorney General, was impeached in 1621 of high crimes and misdemeanors in that he failed to prosecute after commencing suits, and exercised authority before it was properly vested in him. 13

There were no impeachments during the Commonwealth (1649-1660). Following the end of the Commonwealth and the Restoration of Charles II (1660-1685) a more powerful Parliament expanded somewhat the scope of "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" by the impeaching officers of the Crown for such things as negligent discharge of duties 14 and improprieties in office. 15

The phrase "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" appears in nearly all of the comparatively few impeachments that occured in the eighteenth century. Many of the charges involved abuse of official power or trust. For example, Edward, Earl of Oxford, was charged in 1701 with "violation of his duty and trust" in that, while a member of the King's privy council, he took advantage of the ready access he had to the King to secure various royal rents and revenues for his own use, thereby greatly diminishing the revenues of the crown and subjecting the people of England to "grievous taxes." 16 Oxford was also charged with procuring a naval commission for William Kidd, "known to be a person of ill fame and reputation," and ordering him "to pursue the intended voyage, in which Kidd did commit diverse piracies. being thereto encourage through hopes of being protected by the high station and interest of Oxford, in violation of the laws of nations, and the interruption and discouragement of the trade of England." 17

The impeachment of Warren Hastings, first attempted in 1786 and concluded in 1795, 18 is particularly important because [it was] contemporaneous with the American Convention debates. Hastings was the first Governor-General of India. The articles indicate that Hastings was being charged with high crimes and misdemeanors in the form of gross maladministration, corruption in office, and cruelty toward the people of India. 19

Two points emerge from the 400 years of English parliamentary experience with the phrase "high Crimes and Misdemeanors." First the particular allegations of misconduct alleged damage to the state in such forms as misapplication of funds, abuse of official power, neglect of duty, encroachment on Parliament s prerogatives, corruption, and betrayal of trust. 20 Second, the phrase "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" was confined to parliamentary impeachments it had no roots in the ordinary criminal law, 21 and the particular allegations of misconduct under that heading were not necessarily limited to common law or statutory derelictions or crimes.


About Impeachment

The United States Constitution provides that the House of Representatives "shall have the sole Power of Impeachment" (Article I, section 2) and "the Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments &hellip [but] no person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present" (Article I, section 3). The president, vice president, and all civil officers of the United States are subject to impeachment.

The practice of impeachment originated in England and was later used by many of the American colonial and state governments. As adopted by the framers of the Constitution, this congressional power is a fundamental component of the system of &ldquochecks and balances.&rdquo Through the impeachment process, Congress charges and then tries an official of the federal government for &ldquoTreason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.&rdquo The definition of &ldquohigh Crimes and Misdemeanors&rdquo was not specified in the Constitution and has long been the subject of debate.

In impeachment proceedings, the House of Representatives charges an official of the federal government by approving, by simple majority vote, articles of impeachment. After the House of Representatives sends its articles of impeachment to the Senate, the Senate sits as a High Court of Impeachment to consider evidence, hear witnesses, and vote to acquit or convict the impeached official. A committee of representatives, called &ldquomanagers,&rdquo act as prosecutors before the Senate. In the case of presidential impeachment trials, the chief justice of the United States presides. The Constitution requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate to convict, and the penalty for an impeached official upon conviction is removal from office. In some cases, the Senate has also disqualified such officials from holding public offices in the future. There is no appeal. Since 1789 about half of Senate impeachment trials have resulted in conviction and removal from office.


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