General Is impeachment a legal examination of facts?

Discussion in 'The Off-topic Lounge' started by Brigsy, Dec 11, 2019.

  1. Brigsy

    Brigsy Active Member

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    Hi,

    Could someone explain this to a guy from the UK please? Is the impeachment trial a legal examination of facts known and a decision made on whether the law was broken? Or some political system decision? I don't understand how it is a foregone conclusion that the President will be found not guilty by default because of the politics (and numbers of republicans) of the legal minds presiding?

    Is this true? Can people get into legal hot water for making political decisions where the law would indicate otherwise?

    Bit confused.
     
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  2. Brian Ortega's Goon Hand

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    it's a political process for removing someone from power who has the authority to pardon any crime.

    he can be removed for any crime, or wrongdoing, as judged by the Senate.
    Think of the House has representing the individual's will, and the Senate as representing the will of the States.
    The House decides if something was inappropriate and justifies a trial, it takes a simple majority to create the articles of impeachment.
    Then the Senate exams the facts, calls witnesses, etc, and has a vote on the guilt and the punishment. It takes a 2/3 majority, and this Congress (House and Senate) have been very polarized - basically voting down party lines.

    there's a majority in the House, but not 2/3 of the Senate.

    most reasonable people agree that he did something inappropriate, but there's some dispute as to whether he should be removed from office over it.
     
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  3. Splinty

    Splinty Shake 'em off
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    Yes.
    But it's not legal hotwater. It's simply removal from office. If it was due to an illegal thing, then charges might come afterwards.

    Part of Nixon's impeachment included charges of abuse of power, failure to implement the law evenly, and rejection of subpoenas.

    Simply abusing the office beyond the boundaries and expectations of the executive is enough.
     
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  4. Brigsy

    Brigsy Active Member

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    Very interesting. Thanks for answering. So the trial as such isn't in a traditional legal setting ie some sort of higher court, it's still within a political framework?

    I'm trying to equate it to what we have. I think it's like the House of Commons deciding to indict someone and then the 'upper' House of Lords presiding over the case.
     
  5. jason7Ǯ

    jason7Ǯ Read Karl Marx

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    Yes, it's not a trial in the conventional sense because technically the President can invoke various immunity protections against himself in a criminal trial. This is basically an indictment by the House of Representatives (similar to your House of Commons) where they decide to bring charges and that the Senate (somewhat analogous to the House of Lords, but not exactly) votes on. Only result is removal, but crucially once a president is out of office they lose their immunity and pardon power and can be criminally prosecuted. Nixon was pardoned by his successor Ford to prevent this even though he resigned before being impeached.
     
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  6. Brigsy

    Brigsy Active Member

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    Thanks people.
     
  7. KWingJitsu

    KWingJitsu ยาเม็ดสีแดงหรือสีฟ้ายา?

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    It's already been answered, but another way to look at it in a way that is analogous to a criminal proceeding (and might help understand the parallels), is:
    • Filing articles of impeachment = Similar to filing of criminal charges.
    • Being Impeached = Being found guilty of the crime(s and misdemeanors).
    • Being removed from office = The punishment for being guilty.
    In this case, removal from office is the only punishment available to someone in the office.
    However, the leader of the "jury" (senate) in this case, has determined they will defend and prevent the 'punishment phase' at all costs.

    The criminal analogy to that would be if a defendant is found guilty of a crime and the jury foreman announces beforehand that they're not going to punish him, and in fact will coordinate with the defendant's lawyers to determine the best course of action to minimize the guilty verdict's effect.
    Sounds absurd, but that's 'Murica for ya.
     
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  8. Brigsy

    Brigsy Active Member

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    The jury have been saying that they will decide without hearing from the witnesses. How is this even a thing?
     
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