Sunday, July 16, 2017

Impeachment before Twitter

Since Twitter wasn't around in 1868, the President's congressional opponents could not impeach him for tweeting. But they did their best:
Articles of Impeachment
ARTICLE 10.That said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, unmindful of the high duties of his high office and the dignity and proprieties thereof, and of the harmony and courtesies which ought to exist and be maintained between the executive and legislative branches of the Government of the United States, designing and intending to set aside the rightful authorities and powers of Congress, did attempt to bring into disgrace, ridicule, hatred, contempt and reproach, the Congress of the United States, and the several branches thereof, to impair and destroy the regard and respect of all the good people of the United States for the Congress and the legislative power thereof, which all officers of the government ought inviolably to preserve and maintain, and to excite the odium and resentment of all good people of the United States against Congress and the laws by it duly and constitutionally enacted; and in pursuance of his said design and intent, openly and publicly and before divers assemblages of citizens of the United States, convened in divers parts thereof, to meet and receive said Andrew Johnson as the Chief Magistrate of the United States, did, on the eighteenth day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-six, and on divers other days and times, as well before as afterwards, make and declare, with a loud voice, certain intemperate, inflammatory and scandalous harangues, and therein utter loud threats and bitter menaces, as well against Congress as the laws of the United States duly enacted thereby, amid the cries, jeers and laughter of the multitudes then assembled in hearing....

For an important treatment of this, see Jeffrey Tulis's The Rhetorical Presidency, coming out in November in a new edition.

1 comment:

  1. You heard it from me first: , the charge President Trump will be impeached using is: "misprision of perjury." [ Violating the Presidential oath of office]
    Thaddeus Stevens in 1868 identified Trump's impeachable offense, the term is " misprision of perjury." Stevens:" I shall discuss but a single article---the one that was finally adopted upon my earnest solicitation, and which, if proved, I considered then, and still consider, as quite sufficient for the ample conviction of the distinguished respondent and for his removal from office, which is the only legitimate object for which this impeachment could be instituted....

    The only question to be considered is: is the respondent violating the law? His perseverance in such a violation, although it shows a perverseness, is not absolutely necessary to his conviction. The great object is the removal from office and the arrest of the public injuries which he is inflicting upon those with whose interests he is intrusted.

    The single charge which I had the honor to suggest I am expected to maintain. That duty is a light one, easily performed, and which, I apprehend, it will be found impossible for the respondent to answer of evade.

    When Andrew Johnson took upon himself the duties of his high office he swore to obey the Constitution and take care that the laws be faithfully executed. That, indeed, is and has always been the chief duty of the President of the United States. The duties of legislation and adjudicating the laws of his country fall in no way to his lot. To obey the commands of the sovereign power of the nation, and to see that others should obey them, was his whole duty---a duty which he could not escape, and any attempt to do so would be in direct violation of his official oath; in other words, a misprision of perjury.

    I accuse him, in the name of the House of Representatives, of having perpetrated that foul offense against the laws and interests of his country.." so I guess in Trump's case we could change "misprision" to "Mis- Prevezon" [Holdings] ;)
    I have to thank my brother for identifying precedent of an impeachable offense; Andrew Johnson was found not guilty of violating his oath of office... Trump may not be so lucky