Andrew Johnson was the first President of the United States to face impeachment proceedings against him, which started on March 5, 1868. In part, Johnson’s charges consisted of breaking the Tenure of Office Act with the forcing out of one Edwin M. Stanton, the Secretary of War, and seeking to replace him with Ulysses S. Grant, who was more in line with Johnson’s own ideologies against Reconstruction.
Three articles of impeachment over the Watergate scandal awaited Richard M. Nixon in July of 1974: for obstruction of justice, lying, and misuse of the IRS. Had Nixon not resigned in disgrace, he would have faced impeachment trials in both the House and Senate, and most likely would have done serious time in a federal prison.
William Jefferson Clinton was the last of the three Presidents to face impeachment in 1998; one charge of perjury, and another charge of obstruction of justice. What started as an investigation into the 1992 Whitewater land deal mushroomed into revelations of mass firings, multiple instances of sexual harassment, and ultimately, the “blue dress” scandal involving Monica Lewinsky.
The idea of impeachment is, for the most part, a political process, thrown around the circles of whoever the opposition party might be at the time. Perhaps there is an aversion to the removal of a President that transcends time; when President Johnson was acquitted, Sen. James Grimes (R-Iowa) declared, “I cannot agree to destroy the harmonious working of the Constitution, for the sake of getting rid of an Unacceptable President.” The process of impeachment, however odious, is absolutely a part of that “harmonious working” the Constitution was meant to be. The trading in of the ease of partisan politics for the dirty work of putting our Nation first must be the duty of every elected member of the Legislative Branch.
And that must begin with the removal of perhaps the most villainous President to take the Oath, Donald John Trump.
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On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that President Trump is now the subject of an investigation into whether he obstructed justice in asking former FBI Director James B. Comey for loyalty to himself, and into “letting go” of the investigation of fired national security adviser Michael Flynn. The Post reads,
The special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election is interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice, officials said.
The move by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump’s conduct marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said.
Most Americans of moderate temperament, including some on the Right, knew this man was and is an international embarrassment. Because of blatant Russian interference into our electoral process, the suspicion of Trump being a Manchurian-esque head of state fully beholden to the Russian government will not go away. But now that there has been a shift of focus from said Russian co-opting of Trump’s campaign to possible obstruction of justice after Comey’s sacking, Trump’s actions have made him appear to be a guilty man on the run.
Donald John Trump is a pathological liar, and represents the worst elements of our country. His was a campaign that fanned flames of racism, misogyny, violence and unfettered hatred of a changing world. He has shamed the office of the President with frequent rants against the Judicial Branch over his precious Muslim travel ban, which has been struck down in the courts multiple times; his tweets are those of an intemperate, petulant child, assuming the role of the oft-assailed conservative convinced of his own rightness. He has abdicated his responsibility to be the leader of the free world when dealing with the most important issue facing our planet: climate change. He has no regard or respect for the rule of law in this country. He has referred to the media as “the enemy of the people”, and his sons regard Democrats as “not even people.” He is a defrauder of sick children. His White House is one that, instead of checking him on his own foolish impulses, would rather sit around a table giving honor and glory to his name as if he were an all-powerful deity.
And if Trump is found to be one who obstructs justice in his quest to cover his ties to Russia, he and his entire operation must be made to answer for their crimes, from his Vice President on down. Trump must be brought to justice for his continued flouting of the Emoluments Clause, as he and his family have no problem lining their own pockets by way of the prestige of the presidency.
The preservation of our democracy, and the integrity of the Constitution he tramples on with each passing day depend on it.