By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Officials line up for public impeachment

It appears certain that President Donald Trump will be impeached.

Whatchamacolumn

Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

> See his column

Thursday, as the U.S. House voted on rules for its impeachment inquiry, officials with first-hand knowledge of the president’s misdeeds were lining up for a public investigation. There is high drama to come, but first let’s consider the history of impeachment in America.

Historic United Kingdom governance provided our Founding Fathers the foundation of a federal impeachment process: The House of Representative acts as grand jury, voting on articles of impeachment to submit to the U.S. Senate; the chief justice of the Supreme Court then presides over a trial in which a selected House contingent is prosecutor and U.S. senators sit as jurors.

A Senate acquittal ends it, but a conviction means removal from office. That has never happened to a U.S. president.

Since 1797, the House has initiated 62 impeachment proceedings, but only 19 impeachments were approved. In those, seven officials were acquitted, eight (all judges) were convicted, three resigned before trial and one U.S. senator was expelled from the Senate.

The only presidential impeachments — Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 — produced Senate acquittals. Most famously, Richard Nixon resigned before House impeachment was ordered.

In every state but Oregon, legislatures can impeach state officials. Our House of Representatives tried to change that situation in 2017, voting 51-6 for a constitutional amendment to establish a legislative impeachment process for statewide elected officials. The Oregon Senate adjourned before voting on the proposal.

Oregonians instead must collect signatures to force a recall election, as has been tried this year by those seeking to remove Gov. Kate Brown from office.

With history in hand, we return to the case against Donald Trump. The House focal point is Trump’s alleged political corruption in foreign relations with Ukraine, but underlying sentiments propelling impeachment efforts were best described recently by Quin Hillyer, a “constitutional conservative” columnist for the Washington Examiner:

“He is doing more harm to conservatism and his country than the good accomplished by some of his administration’s temporary policy achievements … Trump lies constantly, extravagantly, incontinently. He undermines faith in American institutions. He tweets out quotes from Mussolini, recklessly slings around the word ‘treason’ and uses Stalinist language such as ‘enemies of the people,’ claims executive powers wildly beyond the tenor and intent of the Constitution, promotes destabilizing conspiracy theories, and encourages a societally hazardous cult of personality.”

We’ll see who ends up on the right side of history.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.

Comments

gophergrabber

This is a political stunt meant to overturn the votes of the last election. How Bladine can conclude impeachment will happen smacks of pre-judgment. If this is a trial how can you be so swept up to proclaim guilt before you know any evidence?

sbagwell

Impeachment only means the House, which is controlled by Democrats, votes to authorize a trial by the Senate, which is cointrolled by Republicans.

Thus, Trump is virtually 100% certain to be impeached. However, removal from office is another matter entirely.

No pre-judgment there at atll.

Steve