Inspection- No High Bar
You have to have heard so many times: the nonsense that the bar is very high for impeachment. You know: “High crimes and misdemeanors?”
“A criminal act that is less serious than a felony is considered to be a ‘misdemeanor.’ While specific laws vary by jurisdiction, misdemeanors generally include such acts as disturbing the peace, petty theft, drunk driving with no injury to others, public drunkenness, simple assault and battery, and traffic violations.”-legaldefinition.net
”Traffic violations” a “high bar?”
The conversation usually turns to spin: there has to be overwhelming evidence and obvious guilt. Essentially both assume guilt must be proven first before impeachment proceedings even start. No. NO. NO. Impeachment is where evidence is put forth and the president is tossed out if Congress votes to do so. An investigation no more proves guilt than those detectives necessarily proved you or I murdered someone. Both claims miss one hell of a big step either way. That’s what the Senate and the House are for, or if you or I were accused a court.
Given the definition they really could impeach over a traffic violation, if they wanted to. Certainly not likely, at least for now. But even with impeachment it’s not like a regular court trial. Can they therefore sentence him to death or imprisonment? No. An impeachment tosses a president out of office: PERIOD. Anything in regard to punishment would most likely be done by a regular trial. This would be the norm, if there were any “norm” to this at all.
Clue: there really isn’t a “norm” here since this Congress has never had success convicting a president and the two impeachments we’ve had were quite different. Plus a president has been ‘impeached’ no matter what way proceedings go in Congress. As devastating as the word sounds it’s a PROCEEDING. Of course it’s also not exoneration.
Guilt was not ‘proven’ in the Starr Report. It was a REPORT that certainly was part of evidence. It didn’t serve as both judge and jury. What we had with the Starr Report was the findings of an investigation, and that’s what we have with the Mueller Report. They both essentially provided a road map for Congress. They can use it to adjudicate impeachment, or not; “adjudicate” not being quite accurate since even a successful impeachment does not have the same results as most trials.
“Traffic violations?” THERE IS NO HIGH BAR EXCEPT A POLITICALLY CONVENIENT IMAGINARY ONE.
Is it likely a president would ever be impeached for a traffic violation? If we keep going the way it’s going… maybe. Notice the “high bar” spin returns when it’s a Republican and vanishes when it’s a Democrat. During Clinton’s impeachment a famous quote was, “(We) could impeach a ham sandwich.” If a president ever could be convicted for a traffic violation the way precedent stands now it pretty much would have to be a Democrat.
Want true harassment? A real “witch hunt?” Start with Whitewater. “What??? Our Republican prosecutor found nothing??? OFF WITH HIS HEAD!!!” Hire an inquisitor like in the Inquisition: a self righteous partisan hack who spent damn near every day preening himself and his image in front of cameras while his office was like an old man with a bad bladder problem: leaking, then leaking, then leaking. Do Whitewater, move on to Travelofficegate, shuffle off to Troopergate, get real catty with Socksthecatgate, let your friends pay gobs of money to witless witnesses who can’t keep their stories straight in GOPpaidaccusersgate, and finally “nail it” with ConsensualBJgate. Not enough dirt? Put a husband and wife in prison. If she doesn’t sign fake salacious confessions for things that never happened written by your office then deny her ex-husband his diabetes medication until he dies. Now THAT’S harassment. THAT was a “witch hunt.” It even had a lot of witch dunking like elements to it.
Mueller’s investigation has been about Russian interference. In his report he laid out all they discovered but wouldn’t indict Trump because it wasn’t allowed. I disagree with that assessment because it’s not even law. It was an un-adjudicated opinion. An opinion put forth by those who wanted to head off impeachment of their own presidents. An opinion that will surely change once they want to restart their Elmer Fudd open season like efforts because a Democrat is in office.
I just started to read The Mueller Report, which reads a lot like what Malcolm Nance wrote about in his books The Plot to Destroy Democracy and The Plot to Hack America. There certainly is enough there to start proceedings. Mueller’s job was NOT to convict or indict the president. It was, like with Clinton, to provide a road map and let Congress decide.
Sooner or later I suspect conviction of a president will happen. Shall we continue down a road that would have Democrat, a Bernie Sanders, a Elizabeth Warren, a Joe Biden, a… successfully tossed out for something akin to a traffic violation? Anyone else think raising the bar for Republican behavior would be a good thing, and that impeachment might help set that bar? Anyone else thing barring Barr from continuing on not doing his duty, and acting like Trump’s lawyer instead, would be grand? Anyone else think Trump deserves impeachment as much or much than any president in history? Be honest.
“Two, two, two impeachments for the price of one!!!”
The only questions left after that would be how and when.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks, and into the unseen cracks and crevasses, that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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