Thursday, October 31, 2019

Trump's High Crimes and Misdemeanors

Trump's High Crimes and Misdemeanors
Like the individual "charges" in a grand jury's indictment, there are individual "articles" in an impeachment. I have obtained one of those Articles:

“Article 10. That the President of the United States, unmindful of the high duties of his high office and the dignity and proprieties thereof, and of the harmony and courtesies which ought to exist and be maintained between the executive and legislative branches of the Government of the United States, designing and intending to set aside the rightful authorities and powers of Congress, did attempt to bring into disgrace, ridicule, hatred, contempt and reproach, the Congress of the United States, and the several branches thereof, to impair and destroy the regard and respect of all the good people of the United States for the Congress and the legislative power thereof, which all officers of the government ought inviolably to preserve and maintain, and to excite the odium and resentment of all good people of the United States against Congress and the laws by it duly and constitutionally enacted; and in pursuance of his said design and intent, openly and publicly and before divers assemblages of citizens of the United States, . . . on divers other days and times, as well before as afterwards, make and declare, with a loud voice, certain intemperate, inflammatory and scandalous harangues, and therein utter loud threats and bitter menaces . . . amid the cries, jeers and laughter of the multitudes then assembled . . ..”

Pretty flowery language maybe, but this is a solumn business. A violation of "the high duties of his high office and the dignity and proprieties thereof" pretty well covers a part of what Congress is dealing with, wouldn't you say?

Scholars seeped in details of impeachments in American history will recognizer the quote, above, as one of the 11 Articles of Impeachment of President Andrew Johnson (no relation) approved by Congress March 4, 1868.

So its relevance for us today is not that it is language ultimately included in whatever Articles of Impeachment of President Trump the House sends on to the Senate.

However, for those who interpret the Constitution's language historically, relying on "original intent," it is (1) language that could describe President Trump's behavior, and (2) evidence of what the House of Representatives found to be among the "high crimes and misdemeanors" warranting impeachment at the time of the first impeachment 151 years ago.

Sources, Credits and Links

Text source:…/…/briefing/Impeachment_Johnson.htm… Photo credit:, Congressman Brad Sherman, June 12, 2017; Illustration credit: Theodore R. Davis, Harper's Weekly, April 11, 1868.

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