Mitsubishi Minicab, 1974. Today I’m going back to 1974, a great year for many reasons and the last time a President was forced to resign, having been impeached. The Mitsubishi Minicab microvan has actually been in production since 1966 and is still sold in Japan although now, in its 8th generation, it is a badge engineered version of the Suzuki Every
Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) is already drafting articles of
impeachment related to Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, believing
there’s enough evidence of Trump’s obstruction of justice to begin an
impeachment inquiry (not to mention Trump’s blatant violation of the
Constitutions emoluments clause by profiting off his presidency, and much else).
But Democratic leaders are pushing back,
warning there aren’t enough facts to justify an impeachment inquiry at this point, and, in any event, such
an inquiry would politicize ongoing
the three previous impeachment inquiries in the House (involving presidents
Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton) rested on less evidence of
obstruction of justice than is already publicly known about Trump.
Comey’s testimony to
Congress is itself more than enough – confirming that Trump demanded Comey’s loyalty, asked Comey to stop investigating Michael Flynn, repeatedly told Comey the FBI investigation was a “cloud” on his presidency, and asked
Comey to declare publicly that Trump wasn’t an object of the investigation
In addition, we have Trump’s interview
with Lester Holt on NBC and Trump’s subsequent meeting with Russian officials
in the Oval Office. In both instances, Trump connected his firing
of Comey with the Russian investigation.
Also bear in mind the
obstructions of justice that caused the House to impeach previous presidents concerned
issues far less serious than Trump’s possible collusion with a foreign power to
Democratic leaders say they don’t want to talk about impeachment now because they’re worried about politicizing the current
congressional investigations, which aren’t impeachment inquiries. Hello? Republicans have already politicized them.
The real reason Democratic leaders don’t want to seek an impeachment now is they know there’s zero
chance that Republicans, who now control both houses of Congress, would support such a move. So why engage in a purely symbolic gesture?
Democratic leaders figure that between now and the
midterm elections there will be even more revelations from non-partisan sources – future testimony by Trump operatives like Michael Flynn and
Roger Stone, early reports from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation,
and leaks to the press – that will build the case, and fuel more public outrage.
That outrage will give Democrats a strong chance of taking back the House and maybe even the Senate. Then they’ll really impeach Trump.
I can’t argue with the
political logic of Democratic leaders. And if their strategy will lead to
Trump’s ouster sooner than any other way, I’m all for it.
But here’s the problem. It’s not clear America can wait for the midterm elections, followed by what’s likely to be a long and drawn-out impeachment investigation, followed by a trial in the Senate. (Note that none of the presidents listed above was ever convicted by the Senate and thrown out of office.)
With each passing day, Donald Trump becomes a greater danger to America and the world. We don’t have time.
The advantage of introducing a bill of impeachment now – even attempting to do so – is that such an action might itself galvanize the vast majority of Americans who want Trump out of office. It could mobilize and energize people around the most important immediate issue facing the country.
Never underestimate the power of a public aroused to action. It is worth recalling that Nixon resigned of his own accord before the House had even voted out an impeachment resolution. The American public demanded it.
On June 17, 1972, five men were arrested committing a break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C.
This event would lead, through a byzantine unraveling of research and testimony, to President Richard Nixon’s administration and an attempted cover-up of its involvement. Largely due to the dogged determination by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein along with the secret guidance from their source, “Deep Throat” (who later turned out to be the number 2 man at the FBI, Mark Felt), the scandal slowly grew and the conspiracy led its way to the White House. This led to stiffening resistance from Nixon and his administration, a constitutional crisis and impeachment proceedings, and the President’s resignation.
It won’t be easy to impeach Donald Trump. No president in American history has ever been
convicted on articles of impeachment.
Only two presidents so far have been
impeached by the House and had that impeachment go to the Senate for trial. The first was
Andrew Johnson, in 1868, when the Senate came one vote short of convicting him.
The next was 131 years later, in 1999, when Bill Clinton’s impeachment went to
the Senate. 50 Senators voted to convict Clinton, 17 votes short of what was
What about Richard Nixon? He resigned early in this process, before the House
had even voted on articles of impeachment. And then his successor, who had been
his vice president, Gerald Ford, gave Nixon a full and unconditional pardon for
any crimes he might have committed against the United States while president.
This isn’t to say Trump couldn’t or won’t be impeached. Only that it’s a long and drawn-out process.
It all revolves around
Article I Sections 2 and 3 of the Constitution, and rules in the House and the
Senate implementing those provisions.
Step 1. It starts in the House Judiciary Committee, when a
majority of the member vote in favor of what’s called an “inquiry of
Step 2. That resolution goes to the full House of
Representatives where a majority has to vote in favor. And then votes to
authorize and fund a full investigation by the Judiciary Committee into whether
sufficient grounds exist for impeachment.
Step 3. The House Judiciary Committee investigates. That
investigation doesn’t have to be from scratch. It can rely on data and
conclusions of other investigations undertaken by, say, the FBI.
Step 4: A majority of the Judiciary Committee members decides
there are sufficient grounds for impeachment, and the Committee issues a
“Resolution of Impeachment,” setting forth specific allegations of
misconduct in one or more articles of impeachment.
Step 5: The full House then considers that Resolution and votes
in favor of it – as a whole or on each article separately. The full House
isn’t bound by the Committee’s work. The House may vote to impeach even if the
Committee doesn’t recommend impeachment.
Step 6: The matter then goes to the Senate for a trial. The
House’s Resolution of Impeachment becomes in effect the charges in this trial.
Step 7: The Senate issues a summons to the president, who is now
effectively the defendant, informing him of the charges and the date by which
he has to answer them. If the president chooses not to answer or appear, it’s
as if he entered a “not guilty” plea.
Step 8 is the trial in the Senate. In that trial, those who are
representing the House – that is, the prosecution – and counsel for the
president, both make opening arguments. They then introduce evidence and put on
witnesses as in any trial. Witnesses are subject to examination and
cross-examination. The trial is presided over by the chief justice of the
Supreme Court – who has the authority to rule on evidentiary questions or may
put such questions to a vote of the Senate. The House managers and counsel for
the president then make closing arguments.
Step 9: The Senate meets in closed session to deliberate.
Step 10: The Senate returns in open session to vote on whether
to convict the president on the articles of impeachment. Conviction requires a
two-thirds vote by the Senate. Conviction on one or more articles of
impeachment results in removal from office. Such a conviction also disqualifies
the now former president from holding any other public office. And it doesn’t
bar additional legal proceedings against that former president, and punishment.
there you have it–the 10 steps that must all take place to impeach the
He was a far more complex and devious man than most people realized, and in the best sense of those words…His mind was quick and facile. His thoughts far outraced his speech and this gave rise to his frequent ‘scrambled syntax’ which more perceptive critics should have recognized as the mark of a far-ranging and versatile mind rather than an indication of poor training in grammar.
Former Vice President Richard Nixon, on President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s personality and temperament, Six Crises (BOOK | KINDLE), 1962
“You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” -John Ehrlichman, one of President Nixon’s advisors.
In short, the war on drugs is and always has been founded on racism and attempts from the Conservative party to control anyone who thinks differently than them. I highly recommend watching Adam Ruins Everything’s video on weed and the history and motivation behind it being illegal.
Yes. George H.W. Bush was Ambassador to the United Nations and then Chairman of the Republican National Committee while Nixon was President. In Bush’s excellent book, 41: A Portrait of My Father (BOOK | KINDLE), he described his first meeting with Nixon:
“My first time meeting Richard Nixon came when my father brought me with him to an ecumenical church service that the President held in the East Room…The idea of a church service in the White House struck me as unusual. So did the President. When I shook hands with him, he seemed somewhat stiff and formal. I had voted for Richard Nixon, but I didn’t feel very warm about him.
Part of the problem was that Nixon’s style of leadership did not seem to fit the times. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Americans were grappling with race riots in major cities, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bobby Kennedy, an unpopular war in Vietnam, and a changing culture in which drug use was becoming prevalent and women were demanding their rightful place in society. A country looks to its leaders to set a mood, and the rattled nation needed a President to project optimism, unity, and calm. Instead, Richard Nixon came across as dark and divisive. His White House, led by senior aides H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, seemed cold and conspiratorial. And that was before the news broke about secret tapes and enemies lists.”
Incidentally, in one of the most fascinating and overlooked stories in Presidential history, George W. Bush actually went out on an awkward and all-around terrible blind date with President Nixon’s oldest daughter, Tricia. Bush’s father had tried to play matchmaker, and George W. reluctantly agreed to go on the date when some of his flight school buddies bet him $50 that he didn’t really have a date with the President’s daughter. George W. Bush wrote later that the date was pretty disastrous – he took the President’s daughter to a place called the Alibi Club, at one point he spilled red wine all over their dinner table, and Tricia Nixon actually had to ask him not to smoke when he lit a cigarette as they were eating. However, President Nixon was out of town, so George W. didn’t meet him that night when he “pulled up to the White House gate in my parents’ purple Gremlin, which was outfitted with Levi’s jean seat covers.”
“You know the results of the latest Gallup Poll? Half the country never even heard of the word Watergate. […] We’re under a lot of pressure, you know, and you put us there. Nothing’s
riding on this except the, uh, first amendment to the Constitution,
freedom of the press, and maybe the future of the country. Not that any
of that matters, but if you guys fuck up again, I’m going to get mad.
Goodnight.” - Ben Bradlee