To Impeach or Not to Impeach, part 3

“I want Obama to go through the [impeachment] process because he has it coming…. Obama should be forced to defend his contemptible lies and actions. If for no other reason than his unbearable arrogance, the schmuck should have to pay a penalty.”  — columnist Burt Prelutsky

On the other hand,…

“[W]e should focus our attention on winning elections. We win this election and we regain control of the United States Senate, we can be far more effective than an effort to impeach the president, which has no chance of succeeding.”  — Sen. John McCain

Pres. Obama sworn in (Jan. 2009)

Pres. Obama sworn in (Jan. 2009)

As much as I agree with Prelutsky (and many others), a president (or any other high public official) cannot be impeached merely for being a contemptible, lying, arrogant schmuck. Nor can he be impeached for being timid, petty, obnoxious, stubborn, apathetic, imperious, or otherwise difficult to work with, though those and other unfortunate traits may play a part in his/her committing impeachable offenses. On the other end of the scale, a public official may commit any number of crimes (e.g., drug use, larceny, fraud, murder, rape, etc.) which in themselves are not necessarily impeachable offenses. (Criminal prosecution may be conducted later or separately, however.) Remember, impeachability hinges on whether or not the offenses constitute Treason, Bribery, or “other High Crimes and Misdemeanors”. This may be summed up as a betrayal of the political trust placed by the people in the official to uphold the law and fulfill his/her oath with integrity. In short, such offenses may fall under abuse of official power, dereliction of duty, or action outside the Constitution.

The first question I asked in Part 1 was:

1) Is there a legal, Constitutional case to be made for impeaching Obama?

I think the clear answer to that is “Yes”. Andrew C. McCarthy, Judge Andrew Napolitano, the three legal scholars I quoted in Part 2 (Fein, Fisher, & Titus), and many others agree. They may not agree on the particular strengths of various offenses or on the best approach to take (if any) regarding impeachment proceedings, but everyone seems to agree that at least 2 or 3 of the major charges clearly qualify as “High Crimes and Misdemeanors”. I didn’t see any of the legal minds pushing for charges of Treason, but, I think there is evidence of “adhering to [the U.S.’s] Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort” on the part of Obama and this administration.

I haven’t read McCarthy’s book (Faithless Execution), yet. But, from what I understand and the more I think about it, the more I like McCarthy’s approach of having indictments for types or categories of behaviors (e.g., “Willful refusal to execute the laws faithfully”, “Usurpation of Congress’s legislative authority and other constitutional powers”, “Willful undermining of our constitutional rights”), each of which references several examples of offenses. This makes sense, since it helps to demonstrate patterns of offensive (and impeachable) behavior as part of Obama’s overall plan to “transform America”, and because many individual (in)actions and incidents violate multiple areas of the public trust.

However, if the House moves forward, it might be decided to only select a few individual (in)actions or incidents for inclusion in the official impeachment articles. One might think that we may as well throw everything at him and “see what sticks”. But, some have uttered concerns about the message it sends to the American public regarding any offenses for which Obama might be found innocent. In that case, we should concentrate on those offenses most likely to “stick”.

To be clear, all responsibility for the executive branch is placed by the Constitution in the president, so s/he is ultimately accountable for all activities performed by his appointees and other subordinates in the various executive agencies (e.g., IRS, ATF, NSA, DoJ) while he and they are in office. That said, I think the emphasis should be on those offenses that are most clearly the result of President Obama’s knowledge and intent and which exhibit(ed) the clearest examples of gross negligence and/or abuse, rather than on things about which he was arguably ignorant/misinformed or which can be attributed to mere incompetence — which is technically impeachable, mind you — and/or a misguided understanding of the way things are and work (e.g., re economics, labor, military strategy). This is not to say, however, that I am excusing him for being ignorant on relevant subjects, intel, or for ignoring advice and evidence (e.g., historical, observational, scientific) that his “progressive” policies and methods are detrimental to the well-being of the nation.

Furthermore, for reasons that should be apparent but which I’ll get into later, it is important to have as much bipartisan support as possible.

“This is not about borders or lawsuits. It’s about one man, one President who believes he is above the law. Any public official, including the President, who’s told by the highest court in the land to cease and desist and blatantly says no, I’ll do what I want, should never be sued. He should be immediately impeached regardless of Party or philosophy.”  — columnist Bill Tatro

At a minimum, I would begin with the two offenses rated “Severe (impeachable high crime)” by the WND analysis: “Illegally conducting war against Libya” and “Obama’s U.S. citizen ‘hit list’.” Then I would add the audacious and ill-advised “Bergdahl prisoner exchange”. These offenses involve clear violations of congressional authority and of U.S. citizens’ rights and the irresponsible and unnecessary placement of citizens in increased danger. Not only do most legal scholars and pundits agree that these three are impeachable, but they also seem to be the ones that Democrats — including Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and the powerful and influential Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) — are most upset about for one reason or another.

checklist cartoonNext, although the WND analysis only ranked it “Elevated (dubious action)”, I would include “Illegal-alien amnesty by executive order”, because the damage is and will be so far-reaching, plus it is such a hot topic on everyone’s mind. Perhaps combining it with other immigration-centric offenses (e.g., Refusing to enforce immigration laws, Release of illegal alien criminals from prison) would make it strong enough for serious consideration. I would also like to see a solid and comprehensive case made that connects the dots between all of Obama’s connections with and deference to Muslim groups and rulers, funding of Islamic radicals (i.e., Hamas), inclusion of Muslim Brotherhood activists in his administration, continuing to weaken our military in the face of growing (Islamist and Communist) threats, etc., so that a charge of Treason can be included in the articles.

I am tempted to include a few more. For example, “Cap & Trade” (for using the EPA to regulate gases without congressional approval) and “Obamacare” (for ‘taxation without representation’ and betraying the people’s trust via consumer fraud), since they are also so incredibly far-reaching in the damage they are doing and will do (though the former seems less of an issue at the moment). But, I’m not sure that impeachment proceedings are the best place to address them. Similarly, I would like to add the “IRS Scandal”, which is clearly an abuse of power, but unless the current congressional investigation can firmly establish that this was done in response to a presidential directive, I am not convinced that it’s impeachable. Finally, “Fast & Furious” (the DoJ’s refusal to share information with Congress = obstruction) is another high-profile scandal, but I have a feeling we would be better off leaving this one out of presidential impeachment articles. (Otoh, if the Attorney General hadn’t just announced his resignation, I’d say F&F would be at the top of the list for impeaching him. It might still be used in a lawsuit against Holder.)

There you have it re the legal case for impeachment. I will conclude this series with Part 4 later this week. Hang in there….

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