Friday, October 11, 2019

Learning From History

Articles of Impeachment

There are three Articles of Impeachment from the Nixon/Watergate era. The first deals with obstruction of justice; cover-up of unlawful entry. The second with the constitutional rights of citizens; using the FBI ,IRS and others for political gain and disregard of the rule of law. The third deal with abuse of power.

In the third is where it get interesting for today.

Article 3

In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, contrary to his oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has failed without lawful cause or excuse to produce papers and things as directed by duly authorized subpoenas issued by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives on April 11, 1974, May 15, 1974, May 30, 1974, and June 24, 1974, and willfully disobeyed such subpoenas. The subpoenaed papers and things were deemed necessary by the Committee in order to resolve by direct evidence fundamental, factual questions relating to Presidential direction, knowledge or approval of actions demonstrated by other evidence to be substantial grounds for impeachment of the President. In refusing to produce these papers and things Richard M. Nixon, substituting his judgment as to what materials were necessary for the inquiry, interposed the powers of the Presidency against the the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, thereby assuming to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the sole power of impeachment vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives.

In all of this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, Richard M. Nixon, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.

Adopted 21-17 by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives, July 27, 1974.

See also George Will's Washington Post article "The spiraling president adds self-impeachment to his repertoire".

"In 13 months, all congressional Republicans who have not defended Congress by exercising “the constitutional rights of the place” should be defeated." 

Will continues: "If Trump gets away with his blanket noncompliance, the Constitution’s impeachment provision, as it concerns presidents, will be effectively repealed, and future presidential corruption will be largely immunized against punishment."

I wish this was not funny.  Impeachment is ugly.


  1. Article 3 against Nixon was at best a 'process' crime. The present flood of improper subpoenas are not intended to find out information but to force a 'process' fight. Of course, Nixon resigned and was never impeached. The proposed articles were voted on by the House, as was the case with the two Democrat Presidents who were impeached, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.
    Andrew Johnson was an odd case. He was a Democrat who was trying to delay and retard progress. While he favored restoration of the seceded states to the Union his plans did not provide protection or rights to the former slaves. The Republicans were pushing for immediate citizenship and enfranchisement after the war as well as social and economic aid for the freed slaves. Johnson, siding with his Democrat party, opposed citizenship, enfranchisement and aid for freed slaves. He avoided conviction at his impeachment trial by one vote, his son-in-law, the Senator from Tennessee.
    The Democrats and their allies in the main stream media have been screaming impeachment since prior to the 2016 election. To get traction they are going to have to put forward an impeachable act that not only rises to the level of "Treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors" but is of such a criminal nature as to resonate with the American people.
    Right now it seems like all of the impeachment talk and impeachment press is politically motivated as a means to tarnish and influence the 2020 elections. There has not been a vote in the House to start proceedings, let along a vote to impeach. Even if one proceeds through the House getting a super majority to convict in the Senate will never happen. It is all a big waste of time and taxpayer resources. I agree with you "Impeachment is ugly".