Explainer: What is impeachment and why is it an option?

President Donald Trump talks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, on Friday, Oct. 4, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)President Donald Trump talks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, on Friday, Oct. 4, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

When the historian Allan Lichtman published his best-selling book The Case for Impeachment in April 2017, Donald J. Trump had not been in office for even three months. The following month, a handful of Democrats in Congress, led by Rep. Al Green of Texas, supported articles of impeachment, but at the end of the year, Mr. Green could not even convince most of his party colleagues to agree. Much has changed since then. After the publication of the Mueller report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, support for impeachment grew but was still short of a majority in the U.S. House. Only after reports that Mr. Trump pressured the government of Ukraine to produce damaging information about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. (who may face him in the next election) did impeachment become a likely possibility.

So what exactly does impeachment mean? Why do we even have an impeachment process when we can just vote the president out of office?

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“I think the framers of the Constitution saw the electoral process as the roots for changing who might occupy the office or not,” said John D. Feerick, the Norris Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law and dean emeritus, in an interview with America. “But [they] did feel that there needed to be a process to deal with abuse of power.... A public official, in the case of a president, vice president or other civil office of the United States, has enormous power, and the conduct with respect to those powers [is what] raises the question of the impeachment process.”

The framers of the Constitution did feel that there needed to be a process, outside of elections, to deal with abuse of power.

Mr. Feerick assisted in the drafting of the 25th Amendment of the Constitution, which was ratified in 1967 and deals with matters of presidential succession and removing the president in the case of “incapacitation.” He has written frequently about presidential succession and impeachment.

Impeachment is clearly defined in Article I of the U.S. Constitution, which states that “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 declares that “the House of Representatives shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.” The punishment applied by impeachment and conviction is limited but substantial, including “removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States.” Furthermore, impeachment does not preclude the prosecution of the president after removal from office: “but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.” An impeachment and removal from office, therefore, does not mean that further criminal and/or civil charges cannot be brought against the individual.

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Impeachment is just the beginning of a process that may or may not conclude with the removal of a public official. For now, the U.S. House has only committed to an impeachment inquiry, in which hearings are held (typically, but not necessarily, by the House Judiciary Committee), witnesses called, and evidence reviewed. A public official is officially impeached if a majority of the House of Representatives supports at least one article of impeachment; the Democrats currently hold a majority of seats in the chamber.

“It’s the equivalent of an indictment, and there needs to be a trial of the charges that got expressed in the articles of impeachment,” Mr. Feerick said. After a trial in the Senate, presided over by the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, that body votes on whether the president is guilty of the charges. This time, two-thirds of the members would have to reach a guilty verdict. Because neither party controls that many Senate seats, conviction would have to be bipartisan.

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The Constitution is very specific in identifying the instances in which impeachment may be applied—again, “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” There are federal statutes defining bribery, and treason is clearly identified in Article III of the Constitution as “consist[ing] only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort,” but “high crimes and misdemeanors” is ambiguous and vague.

The phrase “comes from the common law,” said Mr. Feerick, adding that he thought the writers of the Constitution were referring to “how you used your office and a corrupt and evil and wrong use of power that’s damaging the society, the country.”

“If you go back to the Constitutional Convention,” he said, “it was George Mason who...said that we have to have more in the Constitution than ‘treason’ or ‘bribery’ because of the possibility of someone misusing power in a serious way.” Hence, “high crimes and misdemeanors” went into the Constitution.

Impeachment is a rare occurrence in U.S. history. In the 230 years following the ratification of the Constitution, the House of Representatives has held 62 impeachment proceedings and approved articles of impeachment against 19 public officers. These affirmative votes involved 15 federal judges, two presidents (Andrew Johnson and William J. Clinton), one cabinet officer and one U.S. senator.

“This is the oldest written constitution in the world, and it has impeachment.”

Asked why so few of the thousands of potential cases for impeachment move forward, Mr. Feerick said there is a “high bar that has to be satisfied in the area of impeachment. Two houses of Congress are involved. And...you have the chief justice of the United States leaving one’s duty on the [Supreme] Court in order to preside at such a trial. It contemplates egregious acts to take someone through the whole impeachment process.”

Some question whether impeachment is the best response to a government official who betrays the public trust. It takes significant amounts of work on the part of legislative committees, and it takes the attention of Congress away from its usual legislative duties.

But as Mr. Feerick pointed out, “The removal is made difficult so as to respect the voice of the people in choosing a president.”

There are significant challenges ahead for Congress. One chamber may find reasonable cause to move forward and the other insufficient evidence to convict. The political backlash on both sides of the aisle may be substantial for those who support and oppose impeachment. It is unknown whether the president will face criminal charges following his tenure in office or whether he will be pardoned by a successor. Richard Nixon resigned the office of the presidency during ongoing impeachment inquiries and, upon his resignation, the impeachment proceedings immediately terminated. However, he still faced potential criminal prosecution. It was only when Gerald Ford pardoned him that he was free from any potential criminal liability for his actions.

One thing is clear: Impeachment, a political remedy to a political problem, does not occur in a vacuum and the implications must be carefully managed. So why attempt a removal from office when an election could take care of the issues before our nation?

“I am somebody that accepts the wisdom of the framers of the Constitution, who would find it astonishing the number of people we have in the country today and who would be astonished by the social media, communications and advanced travel,” said Mr. Feerick. “But they gave us something very foundational. A written constitution that laid out their judgment, and part of that constitution was an impeachment process, and I would say that their wisdom has stood us tall as a nation.”

“This is the oldest written constitution in the world, and it has impeachment,” he added.

The framers’ intent was to establish a republic rooted in stability, and a key component of that stability is the ability to hold government officers accountable. They sought to identify those who betrayed the public trust, regardless of political affiliation, ideology, creed or belief, and to ensure that they never did it again.

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JR Cosgrove
1 month 1 week ago

It's a farce. Trial by innuendo in the press. The founders would be shocked at what is going on.

Michael Bindner
1 month 1 week ago

This time, it really is the e-mails. The Electoral College would never have elected Trump. Get used to saying President Pelosi. Nice ring to it!

Jeffrey More
1 month 1 week ago

I presume you are joking. If Trump goes, Pence becomes President. Moreover, the Electoral College DID elect Trump, so what the hell are you talking about?

Michael Bindner
1 month 1 week ago

Have you seen the one by Rachel Bitecofer. The Blue wall is 278 and growing.

L Hoover
1 month 1 week ago

J.: Did you read the transcript in the Trump-Ukraine phone call, handed out by the White House? Do you know anything about the allegations set forth by the whistleblower, subsequent whistleblowers, and other participants? Do you really believe that asking a foreign government to find dirt on a political adversary is okay? I would caution you against entering into the delusional system of your president. Do you really want to be the guy who latches on to convenient conspiracy theories? The consequences of capitulation to this president would be as devastating to your children and grandchildren as to mine. Believe me. Our democracy would give way to a fascist, authoritarian form of government, corrupt at its core.

JR Cosgrove
1 month 1 week ago

Yes, I read the transcript. The mention of Biden was a brief statement out of many things discussed during the phone call. There was also apparently talk before the phone call about efforts to root out efforts by the Democrats to get the Ukraine to help undermine Trump during the 2016 election. The Ukraine is apparently willing to help in this. We will have to see everything that comes out including the so called whistleblower's motivation. Pelosi desperately does not want the Republicans to have subpoena power during a hearing.

L Hoover
1 month 1 week ago

I trust your sincerity but suggest there is much to come that you don't know about that should leave you less harsh in your judgment of the Democrats as they work to fulfill their responsibility to safeguard our democracy. They did not want to have to impeach. The case before them is very simple. There is much more evidence than you seem to be aware of as yet. Republicans know this. If they are as good as you believe, they will tilt towards justice and away from their defense of the indefensible. Trump is not innocent, he is not sound, he is not good for us. Surely you know he is not truthful-----and the truth is the light that is of Christ.

JR Cosgrove
1 month 1 week ago

The Democrats have been trying for almost 3 years to get rid of Trump. The Ukraine question is only the latest of several efforts. It is also an effort to get rid of Biden. Pelosi knows that and it may be too late to save Biden. The Ukraine was Biden’s responsibility and if the Ukraine was being pressured by Biden to come up with dirt on trump and his staff, it will be Biden ending up being prosecuted. The Democrats also desperately want to stop Barr from asking about interference in the 2016 election especially with foreign countries.

E.Patrick Mosman
1 month 1 week ago

If the democrats truly believed they had the "evidence" for impeachment they would have held a vote in the House not a gaggle of one-sided committees searching for any evidence of a crime behind close doors. Sounds like Communist China's idea of a fair trial.

Judith Jordan
1 month 1 week ago

J Cosgrove---
What evidence is there that there was talk before the phone call about efforts to get the Dems for their "efforts." Who was involved in the discussion?

JR Cosgrove
1 month 1 week ago

If you read the so called "whistleblower" complaint he talks about published articles and hearsay of people investigating the Russian collusion hoax. He/She believes it is about Biden but it is about the Russian collusion nonsense. It shows how out of touch this person is.

Judith Jordan
1 month 1 week ago

J Cosgrove

Federal law states that to ask for or accept anything of value from a foreign entity is a crime. See 52 U.S. Code § 30121.Contributions and donations by foreign nationals at https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/52/30121 Also see, 11 CFR § 110.20 - Prohibition on contributions, donations, expenditures, independent expenditures, and disbursements by foreign nationals (52 U.S.C. 30121, 36 U.S.C. 510). at https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/11/110.20

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 month 1 week ago

Judith
You have a selective memory : Al Gore and the Los Angeles Buddhist Temple $$ from China; Clinton /DNC and Chinese money through Charlie Trie;Obama and $1.8Million from Malaysians

Judith Jordan
1 month 1 week ago

Stuart:
It is difficult to keep up with all the crazies conspiracies the right spews out. If you know about these incidents then you should also know that none of these people were found guilty of any wrong doing. When the government prosecuted the Obama issue it went after the people who did it and said neither Obama or his campaign even knew about it.

I suggest you read something that has credibility. Jane Mayer writes for the New Yorker. She is known for being a very credible journalist and has done a lot of work with investigating dark money. Her recent article is “The Invention of the Conspiracy Theory on Biden and Ukraine.”
How a conservative dark-money group that targeted Hillary Clinton in 2016 spread the discredited story that may lead to Donald Trump’s impeachment.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-invention-of-the-conspiracy-theory-on-biden-and-ukraine

Michael Bindner
1 month 1 week ago

A quid pro quo on Ukraine is bribery. There were no parties or direct presidential or senatorial election, so the thesis of the article is bunk. Also, Trump will be forced out because Senators listen to their donors, who are speaking this week.

Judith Jordan
1 month 1 week ago

Several legal scholars said there is no need for Ukraine to be a quid pro quo. The mere fact that Trump asked Ukraine, a foreign country, to investigate Biden, a political opponent, makes it an impeachable crime. I guess Trump was not using his “great and unmatched wisdom.”

E.Patrick Mosman
1 month 1 week ago

Obviously you did not read the transcript of the phone call as Trump did not ask for an investigation of Biden only of the company that paid his son $50,000 /month for what? The transcript shows that Mr. Zelensky bought up the question of corruption and the"dig up dirt " which is being used by Schiff and the media is only a democratic construct. At the moment Biden is not a political opponent as he still has to win the democratic nomination. The actions of his son are subject to investigation as VP Biden bragged that he got the prosecutor investigating the company removed by threatening to withhold millions of aid.
.Mr Zelensky stated distinctly and concisely that there was no pressure and the democrats and media essentially called him a liar.

Michael Bindner
1 month 1 week ago

Turn off Fox News. If anyone is a corrupt son, it is Don, Jr.

E.Patrick Mosman
1 month 1 week ago

"Turn off Fox News"
Rushing to assumptions again,typical liberal who believe they are the only ones who can think for themselves but actually slavishly follow the party line.There is no cable TV, no FOX, no CNN et al ,antenna TV only and very little of that. No evidence of corruption against Don Jr. but a billion dollars of Chinese money to Biden's son's hedge fund and his $50,000 a month payoff by the Ukrainian company certainly do not pass a smell test. One would think that people looking for corruption would be lining up to investigate, N'est-ce pas!

Judith Jordan
1 month 1 week ago

E.Patrick:

It is an impeachable act for Trump to request what you claim.

Federal law states that to ask for or accept anything of value from a foreign entity is a crime. See 52 U.S. Code § 30121.Contributions and donations by foreign nationals at https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/52/30121 Also see, 11 CFR § 110.20 - Prohibition on contributions, donations, expenditures, independent expenditures, and disbursements by foreign nationals (52 U.S.C. 30121, 36 U.S.C. 510). at https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/11/110.20

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 month 1 week ago

Judith
“Several legal scholars have said....there is no need for a quid pro quo”........and yet several other legal scholars have said it is essential!

Judith Jordan
1 month 1 week ago

Stuart--

Please tell me who the legal scholars are who claim there must be a quid pro quo. I look forward to your response.

Federal law states that to ask for or accept anything of value from a foreign entity is a crime. See 52 U.S. Code § 30121.Contributions and donations by foreign nationals at https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/52/30121 Also see, 11 CFR § 110.20 - Prohibition on contributions, donations, expenditures, independent expenditures, and disbursements by foreign nationals (52 U.S.C. 30121, 36 U.S.C. 510). at https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/11/110.20

There does not have to be a quid pro quo to be a crime. I think the law itself solves the issue. However, as for legal scholars who state there is no need for quid pro quo, below I have listed scholars and articles for your review. I do not consider Judge Andrew Napolitano a legal scholar, but even he agrees with these other scholars so I included his article.

Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard Law School;

Neal Katyal, professor of National Security Law at Georgetown University Law Center and a former solicitor general. BTY, he endorsed the nominations of Neil Gorsuch and of Brett Kavanaugh.

Why ‘No Quid Pro Quo’ is Not a Defense Against Trump-Ukraine Allegations see at
https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/why-no-quid-pro-quo-is-not-a-defense-against-trump-ukraine-allegations/

Harvard Law Today
Faculty Scholarship
The presidential impeachment inquiry: Harvard Law constitutional scholars weigh in
https://today.law.harvard.edu/roundup/the-presidential-impeachment-inquiry-harvard-law-constitutional-scholars-weigh-in/

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Trump’s call with Ukraine president manifests criminal and impeachable behavior
https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/judge-andrew-napolitano-trump-attacks-presidency

Judith Jordan
1 month 1 week ago

Stuart--

Please tell me who the legal scholars are who claim there must be a quid pro quo. I look forward to your response.

Federal law states that to ask for or accept anything of value from a foreign entity is a crime. See 52 U.S. Code § 30121.Contributions and donations by foreign nationals at https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/52/30121 Also see, 11 CFR § 110.20 - Prohibition on contributions, donations, expenditures, independent expenditures, and disbursements by foreign nationals (52 U.S.C. 30121, 36 U.S.C. 510). at https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/11/110.20

There does not have to be a quid pro quo to be a crime. I think the law itself solves the issue. However, as for legal scholars who state there is no need for quid pro quo, below I have listed scholars and articles for your review. I do not consider Judge Andrew Napolitano a legal scholar, but even he agrees with these other scholars so I included his article.

Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard Law School;

Neal Katyal, professor of National Security Law at Georgetown University Law Center and a former solicitor general. BTY, he endorsed the nominations of Neil Gorsuch and of Brett Kavanaugh.

Why ‘No Quid Pro Quo’ is Not a Defense Against Trump-Ukraine Allegations see at
https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/why-no-quid-pro-quo-is-not-a-defense-against-trump-ukraine-allegations/

Harvard Law Today
Faculty Scholarship
The presidential impeachment inquiry: Harvard Law constitutional scholars weigh in
https://today.law.harvard.edu/roundup/the-presidential-impeachment-inquiry-harvard-law-constitutional-scholars-weigh-in/

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Trump’s call with Ukraine president manifests criminal and impeachable behavior
https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/judge-andrew-napolitano-trump-attacks-presidency

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 month 1 week ago

Judith
Alan Dershowitz Of Harvard.
Also note that Tribe stated there was no need for an “EXPLICIT quid pro quo”...you overstated Tribe’s position by ignoring that qualifier.

So if Horowitz and US Attorney Durham find that Brennan et al ( Clapper, Comey , Rice and perhaps even Obama) asked foreign agencies to investigate Trump Campaign and it’s members then what is the result?

I note in passing that as early as November 14, 2016 that Democrats were openly trying to determine how to impeach Trump...less than week after Trump was elected.See Vanity Fair , November 14 2016, “ Will Trump be Impeached?” The article noted that some 37 newspaper articles had already speculated on when and how impeachment would take place.

Judith Jordan
1 month 1 week ago

Stuart:

I have not seen Dershowitz in a long time. If you heard him say there must be a quid pro quo, then I accept your word for it. He has been criticized for defending Trump. He said he is a criminal defense attorney and that is what he has always done. Again, I refer you to what the statutes say. Also, the chair of the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) tweeted a statement to be "100% clear" that "it is illegal to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election."

As I said previously, any criminal acts by anyone should be prosecuted, regardless of political party.

Early discussion about impeachment. Trump has a long history of corruption and his comments, even while he was a candidate, were alarming. He refused to place his businesses in a blind trust; he is making money with his properties and foreigner leaders know they should stay in his hotels; he lied and did not reveal his taxes as he had promised many times; he has appointed his kids to positions for which they have no qualifications and, they are financially profiting from those positions. It would be reasonable to think that Trump would get into serious trouble, which he has.

If you want to hear stories about attacking presidents immediately, check out Obama and the outrageous attacks on him from the beginning. One of the leaders of these attacks even before Obama took office was Trump.

The Secret Service had to increase Obama’s protective detail because of all the racists’ threats. There was a huge increase in membership of white supremacists groups. All of this happened BEFORE Obama was even inaugurated. .

McConnell and other Republicans leaders had a meeting and determined they would not cooperate with Obama on anything.
Their focus was to make sure that he was a one-term president, rather than to put Americans back to work. Then they blamed Obama for the things he either couldn’t enact or couldn’t prevent because of the obstruction. Unfortunately, for them, the meeting was caught on tape, but that did not change them.

Trump led the mobs demanding Obama’s birth certificate way before Obama was president. This racism continued while Trump never proved anything. When asked about it, Trump said he did not want to talk about it. Trump never has the courage to apologize.

Although Republican senators and congressional representatives were asked over and over if they believed Obama was born in the U. S., most of them did not have the courage to say he was born here. Their cowardly response was that they had no way of knowing where he was born. Even McConnell, the leader of the Reps., did not have the character to object to this vile rumor.

Trump demanded that Obama show his grades. The fact that Obama was on Harvard Law Review did not mean anything to Trump. Where are Trump’s grades? He used to brag he graduated top in his class. He did not. When journalists checked out the lie, he finally stopped telling that lie. He brags about going to Wharton School of Finance, but he went to Fordham his first two years. We all know that transferring into a school is much easier than being accepted your first year. It is said he got in his third year with family contacts. That is not proven, but is believable.

People denied that Obama went to Columbia or Harvard. Yet both schools had published articles about Obama being a student there. Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School, a top school. His opponents denied this. Th U of C got so tired of responding to calls about it that they finally posted a statement on their website. It stated that Obama did teach there and they had invited him to become a full-time professor, but he turned them down. I actually had an Obama hater tell me he does not believe what the U of C posted. You can’t win with crazies.

The other side screamed again and again that Obama should be impeached for violating the Constitution, but they never could explain specifically what these violations were. Remember how all those conservatives walked around with little pocket constitutions and would take them out and wave them in people’s faces as they criticized Obama? Where are all those conservatives today with their little constitutions? They don’t make a peep about anything Trump does.

The other side had a fit when Obama wore a beige suit to the Oval Office. A beige suit. How ridiculous can they get? Oh yes, there is a picture of Reagan in the Oval Office with a beige suit on. This did not upset them.

Opponents even attacked Obama’s mother calling her all kinds of names…a communist, a prostitute, etc. Vile. Oddly, his mother was the kind of woman Republicans usually like. She worked at arranging for poor women to get small bank loans from the World Bank and start their own businesses. When she and Obama lived in Indonesia, she did not think the schools were very good. She would wake him up every school day an 4:00 a.m. and start teaching him before he went to school.

Some Republican officials, including a federal judge, posted and emailed racists statements and cartoons about Obama
He was accused of being the antichrist; a Muslim who supported the terrorists; a citizen of Kenya; a citizen of Indonesia;
a secret left-wing black separatist; setting up FEMA concentration camps; and, now he is running a "shadow government" to overthrow Trump’s regime.

Obama’s opponents, including Trump, spent eight years trying to delegitimize Obama. Now Trump and his supporters cry and are indignant that Trump is attacked.

Douglas Fang
1 month 1 week ago

“If I shot someone in the middle of a busy street in NY, I would not lose any vote…” – It is so true as it’s staggering to see in that 40% of Trump supporter said in a poll that “they did not hear that Trump mentioned Biden in the phone call with the Ukraine president”… This level of blindness to the truth is astounding and allows Trump to behave so recklessly.

The whole impeachment process is to restore dignity, integrity, honesty for the Office of Presidency of USA. Trump has made this office into a joke or a crime. Shame on Trump supporters! who have abandoned all sense of honesty to bring up all kinds of bogus myths and lies to defend Trump.

No “quid pro quo” my !@!#! – why has the military aid to Ukraine, the aid they depend on for their very survival has been withheld for months without any clear explanation, complained even by Mitch “I don’t know why even though I asked several times for the reason to delay…." And in the call – “… I take good care of you, can you take care of me…” It is so blatantly obvious.

The history book of the future will look at Trump’s time as one of the darkest moment for America and for humanity.

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 month 1 week ago

Douglas
As I recall from your comments years ago you then thought and stated Trump should be impeached.....none of the current issues were on the table then and the issues that were then on the table are now moot. I suggest to you that your blatant ongoing prejudgement of this issue renders you an “unfair juror” by your own account.
I have no objection to you hating and deploring Trump , but I believe your inability to distinguish his personal and all too obvious personality flaws from his policies which have benefited far more people in the last 2 3/4 years than his predecessors policies demonstrates a serious lack intellectual integrity.
As to your recitation of facts concerning Ukraine you simply ignore two foundational ones:
1) The President Of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Ambassador to the USA have both stated that: WE DID NOT KNOW ANY FUNDS WERE BEING HELD UP,!!
2)The President Of Ukraine has stated in a Press Conference: “I did NOT feel pushed”

JR Cosgrove
1 month 1 week ago

I heard a podcast last week that the military aid was controversial because of the weapons systems involved. I haven't heard anything since but I will try to find the podcast.

Judith Jordan
1 month 1 week ago

J Cosgrove---Then why are the Republicans upset that the weapons were being withheld?

Douglas Fang
1 month 1 week ago

Stuart,
“intellectual integrity” – For me, it is easier to encounter a fairy than to encounter a Trump supporter with some degree of “intellectual integrity”.

I have several responses to your comments about my comments:

1. I have commented years ago that Trump should be impeached… This is totally false. Actually, I agree mostly with Biden and Pelosi that we should not pursue impeachment against Trump as it is too divisive and a waste of time and resources. They just changed their position very recently and you know why.

2. The Ukrainian Ambassador to the USA, did you refer to Valeriy Chaly, which was dismissed recently and there is no replacement? I did not see any of his comments on the current incident.

3. President Volodymyr Zelensky, he came here to fight for the survival of his country against Russian threat – Are you so naïve to expect him to say in front of Trump and the world that he feels tremendous pressure from Trump’s call? Remember that even Mitch, the Senator leader, stated that he himself could not find the reason to withhold the aid package to Ukraine even after he made several inquiries.

4. “…his policies which have benefited far more people in the last 2 3/4 years…” – This is ridiculous beyond any description. Do you know this proverb – “You can fool someone all the time but you cannot fool everyone all the time” People can see that and as the result, Trump’s approval rating is consistently the worse since Harry Truman. As a matter of fact, his approval rating never reaches 50% since the start of his presidency!!! Even worse than Carter!!!

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/

People feel really bad about the direction of the country even after the country has seen the longest economic expansion since WWII and employment is at a record low.

5. What did Trump really achieve since he took the office? Look at his big campaign promises:
• Build the wall with Mexican money – What wall? What Mexican money? It seems that the only way from Trump to do so is to divert, aka “steal”, money from disaster funds and military projects!
• Repeal Obamacare with something better and cheaper – Where is it now? He tried to kill Obamacare with thousands of cuts without any plan and now several million more people lost healthcare and the cost keeps on rising out of control.
• Lock her up – Do you think Trump has some mercy for Clinton? Don't be so naive, he could not lock her up because he has NO case to do this.
• Revive Coal economy – Sorry, the coal country is in crisis these days as you cannot stop the march of progress as there is no such thing as “clean coal”
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/08/trumps-pledge-to-save-us-coal-is-failing-leaving-wyoming-in-crisis.html

The list goes on and on… Especially with the latest “unmatched wisdom” move to let the Kurds, our best and loyal ally in the fight against ISIS, to be destroyed by the Turks. It is such a cruel and coward move.

What kind of “intellectual integrity” can be used to defend such a horrible character like Trump???

Judith Jordan
1 month 1 week ago

Stuart--
As you know, I have believed Trump was corrupt even before he got into politics. I opposed impeachment because I did not want more polarization and I felt that Trump would not win in 2020.

It was only with the revealing of Trump’s conversation with the Ukraine’s president; and, Trump asking China to investigate Biden that I supported impeachment. I was horrified and felt I could no longer ethically oppose impeachment. I know numerous people who felt and responded like I did.

I am curious. What do you think of Trump saying that Article II of the Constitution permits him to do anything he wants as president. He has said this more than once. He even said it in a speech to a crowd of teenagers and young adults at the Turning Point USA Teen Student Action Summit in Washington.

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 month 1 week ago

Judith
Article 2 vests the executive power of the United States in the President...the principal responsibility for which is enforcing the laws passed by Congress and signed into law by the President. The executive power in Article 2 is limited in the case of treaties and appointment of Judges.
I believe Trump is referencing Executive Orders when he references “doing anythingI want to do”.
To the extent that a President acts by Executive Orders each such order is subject to potential judicial review by a suit brought by a party “with standing” and the test applied by the Courts seems to be whether such order contradicts any current law which is effect; and in some cases whether it contradicts the intent of any such existing law. Pending is the issue as to whether an Executive Order must some how be justified.
The limits of an order such as Obama’s executive order/ DACA and the Trump executive order revoking DACA are about to be tested. At stake will be whether an Executive Order can be challenged as “ arbitrary and capricious”...whether an Executive Order must pass the type of tests used to address the validity of administrative orders and regulations instituted by Government Agencies.
When it comes to the Ukraine issue clearly there are a variety of laws Trump could cite that he is enforcing including the Foreign Corrupt practices Act and even a Treaty between The Ukraine and the United States requiring mutual cooperation in tracking down and prosecuting corruption.
As an aside the Trump “request to China” is a ridiculous throw away line since Trump knows full well China will do nothing if it might even conceivably help his re-election. It’s a set up for Trump to say “China won’t investigate because China wants a Democrat to win who will be easier to deal with on trade and intellectual property than Trump is”

Now suppose you tell me what we are entitled to know about what happened and was subsequently said between Obama and Putin AFTER Obama was overheard telling Medvedev: “tell Vladimir This is my last election...after the election I will have more flexibility”
You might also let me know what your attitude will be if Inspector General Horowitz and/or US attorney Durham produce evidence that Brennan et al asked Italy, The UK, and Australia to investigate the Trump Campaign ?

Judith Jordan
1 month 1 week ago

Stuart---
You are making many assumptions about Trump, but we heard exactly what he said. It is amazing to me the torturous “logic” Trumpers will use to defend him. You “believe” he was talking about Executive Orders. Then why didn’t he say that instead of making another ignorant statement. As I told you elsewhere on this page, Trump has repeated this line more than once, so your assumptions don’t work. As for Executive Orders, how can Republicans support your interpretation? They continually screamed about Obama using executive orders even though he signed less than Reagan and many other presidents. You are assuming that Trump knows what he is doing because he knows this, that, and the other. I have never seen a president so ignorant about American government and American history. There are many Republicans who make the same complaint.

Are you acquainted with the “National Review?” It is a conservative magazine started by William Buckley. They support Republicans and conservative causes with few exceptions. I have a subscription because as I always say if you don’t read both sides how can you find any truth. Much to my shock, they opposed Trump’s election. William French is one of the conservative journalists on staff. He was on TV today. He said Trump’s talk is crazy talk; he stokes the base to a rage; and, to everybody, except the Trump people, the talk is unhinged.

Obama and Putin. That conversation could mean a variety of things, including things that are benign. Obama has worked with Russia before to accomplish things as have most modern presidents. Remember how FDR was always trying to help the Allies and had to do it in various, creative ways (Lend Lease) because the Republicans insisted on the U. S. remaining neutral. Maybe it was something that Obama thought was good, but you remember how the Republicans always opposed him. So maybe it was a proposal he could get done after he was reelected. I don’t know and neither do you.

Look what your boy has done with pulling the U. S. troops out of Syria…typically without discussing it with the experts, including the military. Finally, the Republicans are upset with Trump. He betrayed the Kurds who were very loyal to us and lost thousands of more soldiers than we did. Trump tried to belittle that by saying they did not help us with WWII or Normandy. Come on now. You have to think that is whacko. The Kurds are holding many, many ISIS members as prisoners. There is now great concern, they will escape. When Trump was asked about it, he shrugged and said they would escape to Europe! Like that is alright. Oh yeah, if they go to Europe they could never hurt us. Plus, European countries are our allies. His is beyond belief.

Horowitz and Durham. I already responded that if they find evidence of criminal behavior then those people should be prosecuted. That is always my position regardless of the person’s politics.

Please read this article, “Top Military Officers Unload on Trump”
The commander in chief is impulsive, disdains expertise, and gets his intelligence briefings from Fox News. What does this mean for those on the front lines?
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/11/military-officers-trump/598360/

I am sure after you read it, you will blame the military and find some excuse for Trump.

I am signing off my post now. Like Trump, can I say I am leaving with my “great and unmatched wisdom.”

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 month 1 week ago

Judith
You asked What I thought about Trump saying “he could do anything he wanted” in the context of Article 2 of the Constitution ....I responded to that and you simply evade the content of that response. I used the word “I believe” because unlike yourself I do not presume to “know” that which I do not “know”. Again you asked me “what I thought about Trump’s statement “ and you then have the hutzpah to effectively say “who cares what you think!!!”
I did not make any comment on the wisdom or validity of either Trump’s or Obama’s Executive Orders. But since you insist I think both of them get way out over their skies. Obama began using Executive Orders to do things he previously said he could not do ( See DACA and DAPA ) and Trump has not indicated he thinks there are any limits to Executive Orders except as determined subsequently by the Supreme Court.

I said nothing about the Kurds but since you ask : I am opposed to leaving the Kurds but for very practical reasons....they are holding the Isis Prisoners! Please note that the Europeans were asked and refused to take their Isis citizens back and they refused to help with their imprisonment in Syria!
Trump’s reference to Normandy in this Kurd context was stupid... but he has a point which is lost in that statement. The Kurds were already fighting Isis and we finally supported them. They were fighting Isis to keep Isis out of THEIR lands and we went and aided them to collectively defeat Isis. So did we help the Kurds or did the Kurds help us?
I also oppose not intervening to block Turkey because the Kurds have been incited by the US in the past to take action in Iraq and Syria only to be left afterwards with little or no aid. Both Democrats and Republicans have used the Kurds! But it can be fairly said that the Kurds have also used the US to shield them from the ongoing fight with Turkey
I think Erdogan is a genuine Authoritarian using Islam to support his personal political goals which are ruthless and propelled by the ethnic cleansing of ancient enemies of Turkey ( See Armenians and Kurds). The Kurd’s in the PDK carry on inside Turkey waging a separatist rebellion for some 30 + years becoming the willful predicate for Erdogan attacking Kurds just over the Border in Syria .
I much enjoyed your speculation on what Obama’s “I can be more flexible” might have led to.....you prove my point....it might well have been something you or I might both object to....are we “entitled to know” ....should Obama or his staff be subpoenaed to find out?
Further Turkey refused transit to US troops to Iraq at the outset of Desert Storm.
Yet Turkey is in fact the only NATO ally in that vast area....a pivot point at the junction of Iran, Russia and Syria and the new Russian footprint in Syria ( ask who permitted that development)

If Trump actually got his military advice from Fox News, he would have heard =Fkx News regular Rt. General Jack Keane oppose vehemently the withdrawal of troops.
National Review has been opposed to Trump since the Primaries ....Trump has opposed the Neocons who have controlled National Review for almost 20 years

Judith Jordan
1 month 1 week ago

Stuart--
Where did I imply “who cares what you think!!!” I usually do not speak to people that way and if I did I apologize.

As I stated earlier, I heard Trump say on SEVERAL occasions that Article II permits him to do whatever he wants to do. He did not qualify it in anyway. There has been much criticism about this.

Trump’s source of advice? When Trump was a candidate, a reporter asked him where he gets his advice on foreign affairs. Trump said that he watches “you guys” on TV. I almost fell out of my chair. Recently, I saw a reporter ask him the same thing. Trump responded that he gets it from Fox News. I am just telling you what I witnessed. It is frightening that Trump does not even realize that those answers are preposterous.

I know there is a long history with the Kurds and Turkey and others. However, we gave our word to the Kurds who, while fighting for their issues, also fought for us. That is typical in an alliance. Trump had been told over and over what would happen if he removed our troops but he did it anyway. General Mattis resigned his position over this very thing. Who is happy with Trump’s decision? Our enemies including Russia.

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 month ago

Judith
We gave “no word” to the Kurds....we gave them supplies, AirPower and intelligence to support them in a battle with Isis which was trying to take over the Kurds’ land. With that assistance the Kurds defeated the Caliphate and captured the last Isis fighters in Raqqua .
I note again that Obama fired Mattis who went into retirement because he gave Obama basically the same advice he is now giving Trump......Obama refused any serious support for the Kurds in their fight with Isis.

George Obregon
1 month 1 week ago

In the history of ignorant, lawless decisions, this may be the all time awful decision yet.

Moving to impeach the President is so illicit that it has all the earmarks of an act of God. It feels like God has turned national Democrats over to a madness that has them careening toward self-destruction.

National democrats are desperate to appear relevant, yet they realize they are losing. It is the hand of God if Democrats are all on board to do the last thing they should ever be trying to do.
/geo ex machina

L Hoover
1 month 1 week ago

This just is not true, George. Americans are understanding why this is happening because it is very simple to understand: Democrats pursue impeachment because they must.

George Obregon
1 month 1 week ago

Yes, they must, because like Nebuchadnezzar God has turned national Democrats over to a madness that has them careening toward self-destruction.
/Anthropologists, pay attention.

Judith Jordan
1 month 1 week ago

George Obregon---
It is absurd to claim that God is on the side of the Republicans or on the side of the Democrats. As Lincoln said, “My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side.”

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 month 1 week ago

L Hoover
“They .....pursue impeachment because they must”
Perhaps you could explain how that ‘imperative’ began less than on week after the 2016 election..See Vanity Fair, November 14, 2016, “ WILL TRUMP BE IMPEACHED?” . That article referenced some 37 different newspaper articles talking about Democrat plans to impeach..

Jeffrey More
1 month 1 week ago

“Only after reports that Mr. Trump pressured the government of Ukraine to produce damaging information about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. (who may face him in the next election) did impeachment become a likely possibility.” This, of course, is a blatant lie, disproved by the transcript of the President’s conversation.

Crystal Watson
1 month 1 week ago

He should be impeached. The Ukrainian thing is enough, but there is so much more he has done that is worthy of impeachment. Jeff Flake has said more than 30 Republican senators would vote to impeach Trump if the vote was secret. Maybe by the time the vote comes, Republican senators will have grown spines and will do the right thing.

Christopher Scott
1 month 1 week ago

At what point will leftist get tired of being proven wrong and looking foolish? Are you still watching cnn & msnbc? Try cutting the cord and going for a walk, listen to some podcasts or books on tape. Trump is going to win in 2020, don’t do to yourself the next 4 years what you did for the last 4 years, get over it and move on with your life.

John Placette
1 month 1 week ago

Impeachment should neither be taken lightly nor used in a rhetorical political scheme. Advancing the notion of a presidential impeachment on a phone call with no proper investigation is completely insane.

If you don’t like the man vote him out!

Judith Jordan
1 month 1 week ago

John--
There is an investigation going on. However, Trump refuses to turn over any documents.

Adeolu Ademoyo
1 month 1 week ago

I thank AmericaMagazine for this explainer. In major constitutional and moral crisis situation as the country is in presently, truth, facts and history are the first casualties. So to protect these three things, I want to remind readers of the following as part of our general conversation. This is important because part of the strategy and tactics of some are unconscious amnesia, deliberate amnesia or self inflicted amnesia. The reasons for any of these forms of amnesia especially by the right wing folks are their blatant immorality, intellectual dishonesty and outright historical fraud. So please read with me.

1. During the impeachment proceeding against President Clinton, on January 16, 1999, Mr. Lindsay Graham, -someone who has recently suddenly struck a strange, opportunistic but understandable (for its political and moral opportunism and for the purpose of his electoral survival) "friendship" with Mr. Donald Trump in more recent period, said this in support of the impeachment of President Clinton:
“You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if this body (i.e. Congress) determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role. ” Mr. Lindsay Graham, contemporary golf mate of Mr. Donald Trump, concluded then in 1999 with finality about President Clinton : “Impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.” The man who uttered these words on the floor of Congress in 1999, was South Carolina’s own Lindsey Graham. Lindsay Graham then was a 43-year-old, third-term Republican Congressman. The president in question was President Bill Clinton. Today, Mr. Lindsay Graham who once held Mr. Donald Trump in horrible moral contempt is looking the other way, singing a different tune in the impeachment inquiry of his newly found political friend and fellow traveler Mr. Donald Trump.

2. In January 2008 after President Obama was sworn in as president of the United States of America, the members of the Republican party, the leadership of the Republican party. and other right wing organizations, and some right wing anchors on right wing media such as Fox News swore that President Obama must be made a one term president. It was the agenda of the Republican party and the right wing media and organizations. This pledge to make President Obama a one term president was made by the Republican party and members of the right wing sections of the American polity in the very first month of the presidency of President Obama.

3. Mr. Mitch McConnell blocked President Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court-(Judge
Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit)- to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

As we debate the current impeachment inquiry of Mr. Donald Trump for his alleged violation of his oath of office, for his alleged betrayal and treachery of the American people , for being an alleged threat to national security both externally and domestically in the case of of the allegation of extortion against him in the Ukraine "arms for political dirt" case, I just thought it is important for us to remember history, fact and truth and let these three to guide us.

I put these cases out there because members of the rightwing and so-called conservatives tend to hypocritically wax "holy" self "righteous" and "pious' in moment like this in the country. In pretending to be "holy" , to be self "righteous" and "pious" the so-called conservatives, republican party members, and members of the right wing hide history, they mangle the truth, they deliberately and consciously forget the fact. They do all these because for many of them a main source of history for them is a short, angry, illiterate, self righteous tweet from their leader, who recently, blasphemously described himself as the "chosen" one-the present occupant of the white house. They reduce the history of the country to a tweet, and they are okay with that. But for historically minded, truth and fact seeking people, when members of the right wing, members of the so-called conservative forget history, do one thing. Do this: remind them of history, hold the fact to their faces, raise the flag of truth boldly and courageously.

May God in his infinite mercy continue to strengthen, inspire, bless and enable AmericaMagazine and all the staff and workers of the magazine for their service to the people of the United states of America and the world at large.

Andrew Strada
1 month 1 week ago

After you finish your first paragraph with this, "The reasons for any of these forms of amnesia especially by the right wing folks are their blatant immorality, intellectual dishonesty and outright historical fraud. So please read with me." why would I, a right wing folk, have any interest in reading your next six or seven paragraphs?

Crystal Watson
1 month 1 week ago

We can't wait for the next election. Barely a day goes by that Trump isn't dooming someone - today it's the Syrian Kurds. He needs to be held accountable and removed as soon as possible, and that means impeachment.

J Rabaza
1 month 1 week ago

AMDG

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