U.S. House Approves Rules for Impeachment of President Trump

U.S. House Approves Rules for Impeachment of President Trump October 31, 2019

The U.S. House of Representatives just voted in favor of certain rules for continuing an impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had officially announced five weeks ago, on September 24, that this impeachment had begun.

When Ms. Pelosi did this, her most profound statement was, “No one is above the law.” She thereby implied that if President Trump has committed “crimes and misdemeanors,” as the U.S. Constitution states, then the House should follow the Constitution about this. It identifies the House as having oversight over the presidency, so that it should undertake impeachment proceedings against the president. Some people argue against this, asserting that it should not be done because it will further divide the nation. But, of course, those who say this thereby disagree with our founding fathers and therefore disagree with a very important element in the Constitution.

Our nation was formed to a revolt of our people against the King of England. The colonists were not being allowed participation in the British parliament. Thus, they could not voice their grievances against what they viewed as unfair treatment by the king. So, the Boston Tea Party occurred with the battle cry, “No taxation without representation.” How can argue against what they did? The result was the American Revolution and the formation of the greatest nation on earth almost ever since. So, the genes of the USA, which is reflected in the impeachment precept of our Constitution, is that no one, such as a king or our president, ought to be above the law. It is very important to protect this heritage for freedom in our nation even if it does cause more division, which I think will be temporary if it happens.

During the mid-term elections in 2018, Democrats had gained the majority rule in the House. Before that, the House had been controlled by Republicans due to their majority. Therefore, the vote this morning was along party lines, with 232 Democrats in favor of its rules of impeachment, 196 Republicans voting against the rules, and one Independent, who is Justin Amash of Michigan, voting in favor of the rules. Thus, the vote was 37 more in favor of the rules than against the rules. The rules were stated in an eight-page resolution. The primary rule is that hearings shall be conducted publicly after the committees finish what they are now doing. It also states, “including such procedures as to allow for the participation of the President and his counsel.” Thus, in these House proceedings, President Trump will be allowed to defend himself against allegations.

So, this first phase of the impeachment process in the House is about finished. Six Democratic-controlled committees will finish up their closed-door hearings of witnesses. The second phase will be open hearings, which will be televised, so that the American public and the world can watch. These hearings probably will begin before mid-November. The open hearings will be conducted by the House Intelligence Committee chaired by Representative Adam Schiff of California, a former prosecuting attorney. However, it is not clear so far if he will be the primary spokesperson representing the committee. President Trump has been strongly ridiculing Mr. Schiff, often calling him Shifty Schiff and even Pencil Neck due to a slightly longer neck than normal, though I don’t think it’s much. This is just one of many examples in which I believe President Trump degrades the presidency by speaking so derogatorily of others.

The third phase will be a vote of all House members on whether or not to impeach the president. The Constitution requires a majority vote for impeachment in the House, thus over 50%. If the House impeaches the president, as it now appears will happen, then the proceeding moves to the U.S. Senate which is composed of 100 members, with 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and 2 Independents. The Senate proceeding will be similar to a trial. The Senators will then vote, and the Constitution requires at least a 2/3rds vote to remove the president from office, which must be at least 67 votes. So, if all 45 Democratic Senators vote to remove the president, and the two Independents vote likewise, twenty Republicans also would have to vote for removal in order for the total to be 67 votes for removal.

If 20 Republican Senators voted to remove the president from office, that would be 37% of the total of 53 Republicans in the Senate. That is a high percentage. For that to happen, very damaging evidence would have to be discovered against President Trump during the proceedings in the House and Senate. So far, it appears President Trump likely will be impeached in the House, but not removed from office in the Senate.

However, the impeachment process is both a Constitutional and a political issue. If the American public turned strongly against President Trump, it could cause twenty or more Republicans in the Senate to follow their constituents by voting to remove him from office. Right now, even though Mr. Trump still has about a 40% or more approval rating for his job as president, a slight majority of Americans believe the House is doing the right thing in conducting an impeachment investigation of President Trump.

If President Trump is impeached in the House but not removed from office by the Senate, this whole affair could affect the presidential election in November next year. That is, it could make it more difficult for President Trump to win re-election. However, I don’t think Democrats have a very strong candidate to oppose Trump. Despite the impeachment process so far, Wall Street decidedly expects Trump to win re-election. But then, Wall Street is biased toward a businessman as president.

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