high crimes and misdemeanorsthus appears understood to have applied to uniquely
politicaloffenses, or misdeeds committed by public officials against the state. Alexander Hamilton, in explaining the Constitution's impeachment provisions, described impeachable offenses as arising from
the misconduct of public men, or in other words from the abuse or violation of some public trust.Such offenses were
Political, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to society itself.In the centuries following the Constitution's ratification, precisely what behavior constitutes a high crime or misdemeanor has been the subject of much debate as we have seen during the 2 Trump Impeachments.
So, how many Presidents have actually been Impeached? The answer is only 3, Andrew Johnson (D) in 1868, Bill Clinton (D) in 1998 and now Donald Trump in 2019 and 2021. Thirteen other Presidents have had Articles of Impeachment introduced to the House of Representatives, however these had no action taken. List of impeachment efforts for Presidents of the United States. The one thing these 3 Presidents have in common is none of them were convicted and removed from office. The 2nd Impeachment of Donal Trump is currently in the Senate and a result has not been determined. However, the consensus is that he will not be convicted based on party lines.
As many of us know, Congressmen often vote down party lines on many topics and Impeachment is not immune to it. Currently, as I mentioned above, it appears that Donald Trump will not be convicted in the Senate simply due to the number of Republicans voting to acquit. I could go into the reasons, but that is for another time. If you look back on the Bill Clinton Impeachment, he was charged with perjury to the Grand Jury and Obstruction of Justice. Here is how the Senate voted.
|Articles of Impeachment, U.S. Senate judgement|
(67 "guilty" votes necessary for a conviction)
(perjury / grand jury)
(obstruction of justice)
As you can see, like the Trump Impeachments, the Senate voted down party lines with 100% of the Democrats voting to acquit along with 10 and 5 Republicans. Here is how the Senate voted for Trump.
|Party||Article I (Abuse of power)||Article II (Obstruction of Congress)|
|Guilty||Not guilty||Guilty||Not guilty|
|Result||Not guilty||Not guilty|
Like the Clinton impeachment, Senators stayed within party lines with their votes. A sad fact, but not unusual. In fact, most of these Senators have their minds made up before the Impeachment hearing begins. For the Trump hearing, this is evident by several Senators not being in their seats, doodling on paper and actually dozing off.
So, what is the Bottom Line here? It's a fact that it is almost impossible to Impeach and Convict a President. It's also a fact that the Senate Trial itself is really a lesson in futility. No matter what evidence or testimony is given these Senators already have their minds made up and that is a shame. These people take an oath at the beginning of the trial, "I solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be,) that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of , now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: so help me God". To me, it appears that they do not abide by this oath. Frankly, why even have impeachment trials since the outcome is determined before it starts. The answer to this is simple, we need to hold our government officials accountable for what they do and there needs to be a process in place to hear the facts and determine guilt. It's just too bad that our Congresspersons don't seem to take the well being of our country into consideration. Instead, they are all worried about being elected for another term.