How Impeachment Works

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on May 8, 2017

Since Donald Trump was unexpectedly elected President of the United States, foes on the left, and to a lesser extent the political right, have contemplated the impeachment and removal from office of the tiny-handed, comb-overed vulgarian. Unfortunately, many aren't too clear on exactly how impeachment works.

Saturday evening, a link to a post from the Occupy Democrats came over my Twitter feed. The headline is less nuanced and completely inaccurate versus what is contained in the story, but it is a sterling example of the types of meaningless and impotent political theater taking place today.

One of America's Largest Cities Just Voted To Impeach Trump

If you read the story itself, the city in question, Los Angeles, passed a resolution to support "any legislative action" to investigate Trump's violation of the Foreign Emoluments Clause.

The City of Los Angeles can no more vote to impeach the president of the United States than they can vote to remove Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida from the union.

The Emoluments Clause

The Emoluments Clause of the constitution reads:

No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.

An emolument is basically a payment of some sort for nothing more than actually being president. It is a bribe. A lawsuit has been filed accusing Trump of violating that clause every time a non-U.S. citizen stays in one of his hotel properties somewhere in the world.

The idea that a foreigner booking a night at one of Trump's hotels is some form of bribe is so expansive a definition that this would've been a violation as well:

Yes, that's President Barack Obama's book, "Dreams from My Father," in the collection of the British Library. A foreign government purchased a copy of Obama's book, resulting in some sort of royalty payment, or emolument, to have made its way to the president.

In short, this is a stupid argument.

How Impeachment Works

Contrary to what the Occupy Democrats would lead you to believe, there is no critical mass of city councils across the country that need to vote to impeach for it to actually happen. That's not how impeachment works. Article 2, Section 4 of the constitution:

The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Practically, the House of Representatives votes to impeach the president. The Senate, with the Chief Justice of the United States presiding, will then sit as a jury, with some members of the House acting as prosecutors. Two-thirds of the senators must vote to convict for the person to be removed from office.

There is no role for city councils in the process.

But if it makes Democrats feel better, I guess that's OK. Anything we can do to keep them from overwhelming the mental health facilities in this nation and preventing those with real psychological problems from accessing professional help is a good thing.


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May 2017



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