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Opinion | Yes, the Senate Can Try Trump

Impeachment for former officials was the norm at the time of the founding.

1/25/2021 6:45:00 AM

From WSJopinion: For the Founders, it would have been obvious that the “power to impeach” included the ability to hold former officials to account, writes kewhittington

Impeachment for former officials was the norm at the time of the founding.

ByKeith E. WhittingtonJan. 22, 2021 6:08 pm ETOne of the first questions the Senate will face in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial is whether the chamber has jurisdiction to hear a case against a former official. The correct answer is yes.For the Founders, it would have been obvious that the “power to impeach” included the ability to hold former officials to account. The impeachment power was imported to America from England, where Parliament impeached only two men during the 18th century, both former officers. No U.S. state constitution limited impeachments to sitting officers, and some allowed impeachment

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onlyof former officers. In 1781 the Virginia General Assembly subjected Thomas Jefferson to an impeachment inquiry after he completed his term as governor.Why would former officers be included within the impeachment power? Impeachment trials had long served as a vehicle for exposing and formally condemning official wrongdoing, or for a former officeholder to clear his name. Disqualification from future office was also an important penalty. A former Vermont lawmaker was impeached and disqualified from future state office for leading one of the tax rebellions that spurred the drafting of the U.S. Constitution. The American founders understood the history of demagogues and dictators corrupting republics and the need to exclude them from future office. As one delegate to a state ratifying convention put it, men who held public office should be “within the reach of responsibility” so that “they cannot forget that their political existence depends upon their good behavior.”

There’s no hint in the debate over the Constitution of an exception to the impeachment power as traditionally understood. George Mason insisted at the convention that the text should be encompassing enough at least to cover a case like that of Warren Hastings, the former colonial governor then standing trial in the British House of Lords. Everyone agreed. During ratification James Madison and Alexander Hamilton emphasized that the proposed federal impeachment power was an improvement in constitutional design because, unlike in some states, even

currentofficers could be subjected to impeachment.The Senate shouldn’t depart from centuries of practice and understanding. Declining to try Mr. Trump would set a dangerous new precedent, denying future presidents and other officials the opportunity to clear their names if they leave office, and allowing them to escape accountability by resigning—or saving their worst acts for the end of their term.

Read more: The Wall Street Journal »

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opinion kewhittington So, how many former US Presidents were impeached using this precedent? This is just silly. opinion kewhittington Really you went back 250 years and figured that out? Or maybe just read the text of the Founders writings on the subject that describe impeachment of a “President.” Trump isn’t President. He’s a private citizen. Chief Justice Robert’s is not going to preside over this farce.

opinion kewhittington That can also try Bernie sanders Nancy pelosi and Maxine Walters for actionable incitement opinion kewhittington They try him it will rip the country completely apart no matter the verdict. On party will sell matches the other gasoline. Trump on zoom 😂 opinion kewhittington Read the US Constitution carefully. Give the words therein its ordinary meaning. Do not add or subtract words from it. The purpose of impeachment is to remove someone from his present office. It is not to enable someone to go on a witch hunt or for hateful purpose.

opinion kewhittington Maybe so; but in this case against Donald Trump, is just a movement of hate, because without being a politician has achieved more than all of those hatters put together. opinion kewhittington Go ahead opinion kewhittington He needs to go to jail opinion kewhittington 'obvious' opinion kewhittington Get over it. When?

opinion kewhittington No. It should just be a way 5o get rid of someone. opinion kewhittington The Chief Justice refused to preside over unconstitutional impeachment over someone who is not in the office. Go ahead , abuse power and face consequences opinion kewhittington That’s a stupid argument. You can’t impeach someone who is impeachable. The impeachment clause was there to remove someone from office. Hey, bright eyes, Trump is not in office anymore. Duh!

opinion kewhittington They can also take a long walk on a short pier. opinion kewhittington Hogwash. The constitution (which is all that matters) says 'removed from office'. That is the purpose of impeachment, to remove someone 'from office' who has committed a crime. With this precedent, we could impeach every president since the beginning of our nation.

opinion kewhittington Key word... “Try”. This is a waste of time and he’s not guilty of anything. So yes, they can try, but their time would be better served doing their job opinion kewhittington President Trump is back opinion kewhittington who gives a shit what the founders would have thought? it's obvious that if you don't do anything here, you're declaring that attempting a self-coup is totally fine

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