Impeachment
Photo: Wikicommons

Don’t Get Too Excited By All This “Impeachment” Talk

Listen up all you Trump haters, stop getting so damn excited about Trump getting impeached. This past week the word “impeachment” has been tossed around more than Chris Brown’s lovers. If it happens, it’s not going to happen for a while. And if that happens, are we really going to be better off with Mike Pence at the helm of our democracy? The guy who has a pet bunny and calls his wife “mother?”

Not to say we wouldn’t be better off without Trump leading the free world, but let’s all proceed with caution and understanding—more specifically, an understanding of how impeachment actually works.

Let’s look at the actual impeachment process:

Every opposition party talks about impeaching the sitting president.

For a president to be impeached, the House Judiciary Committee has to first recommend it. Currently that committee is chaired by Republican Bob Goodlatte of Virginia. Since Trump’s dissent into hell over the past few weeks, Bob has showed little interest in even beginning to discuss anything remotely close to impeachment proceedings.

If the House Judiciary Committee gets to the point where it begins discussing impeachment proceedings, and they decide that’s the best course of action, then they will send the proceedings to the House, where a simple majority is all that’s required for the proceedings to advance to the next level.

If the GOP–controlled House votes in favor of impeachment, the hearings would then move to the Senate where a trial will take place. The trial would be presided over by a chief Justice of the Supreme Court. After the trial concludes the Senate must vote and a majority of Senators—67 of them to be exact—would have to vote in favor, aka “guilty.”

A few things to keep in mind about all that: First, like the House, the Senate is also controlled by the GOP. And just like the House and the Senate, the Supreme Court has a conservative majority. So it’s likely that the judge who would preside over the hearings would be a conservative. (Not that Trump can rightfully be considered a conservative either, but his biggest cititcs are definitely more liberal than conservative.)

For both the Republican-controlled House and Senate to vote in favor impeachment would be unprecedented, literally. It’s never happened. Not to mention the challenge it would be to get 67 votes from the GOP-dominated Senate. Many bills debated in congress can’t get that kind of support.

Congress has initiated 62 impeachment proceedings in U.S. history, with just 19 cases going to trial. Of that number, only eight impeachments resulted in federal officials being convicted.

Finally, we must make this very clear. Just because an official is “impeached” that doesn’t mean they are automatically removed from office. The term “impeached” is used simply to define any official who has impeachment hearings launched against them.

Think of the word “impeach” as meaning “charge.”

Here’s a potential hypothetical example for how this could play out in regards to Trump: “Trump was charged [impeached] with obstruction of justice, if the Senate finds him guilty, he’ll be removed from office and replaced by Mike Pence.”

Only two U.S. Presidents have been impeached—and neither of them were removed from office. Andrew Johnson in 1868 (for “high crimes and misdemeanors”) and Bill Clinton over 130 years later (for getting a blowjob from an intern and then trying to cover it up). Both were acquitted. Richard Nixon would have likely been successfully impeached, but he resigned before the process began.

But now that we’ve talked about Nixon that brings us to our next point: Get used to Trump for the foreseeable future because despite what you may have read, unless he resigns, he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

These things (hearings, investigations, etc.) take a lot of time—years, usually. From the time the news of Nixon’s Watergate scandal broke it took over two years for him to resign and he didn’t go down without a fight.

The Trump regime will likely fight investigations in ways that we can’t imagine. His administration has already started their defense and these fights will make the process drag out for God knows how long. Just this week news broke that Michael Flynn wasn’t going to honor his subpoena from the Senate Intelligence Committee. Additionally, the White House is already refusing to provide requested documents to help the investigation move forward. There will be many small bumps like this in what will be a very long and rocky road.

Earlier this week news broke that Robert Mueller will be the special prosecutor in charge of looking into the Trump campaign’s possible collusions with Russia. We’ll see where this goes, but know that Trump can fight these investigations with the vast power he possesses within the White House (which is terrifying).

There’s one other tool that congress has. It’s an amendment to the 25th amendment that was adopted in 1967. It allows for the president to be removed from office if “super majorities” from both the House and the Senate agree that the president is “mentally or physically unfit for the job.” If the Democrats had majorities in both chambers, it would be hard to imagine them not being able to come to the agreement that Trump is mentally unfit for just about anything. But they don’t.

With that said, sorry to bust your bubble about Trump going anywhere any time soon.

One thing we can do is give you a little impeachment music! Rock on…

 

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