View Poll Results: For what types of actions should a president be impeached?
Nothing (i.e., an election is an election and no amount of corruption, illegal conduct, or danger to the republic should cause a president to be impeached). 1 1.67%
Illegal official acts or abuse of power committed during the president's term in the president's own interest (e.g., Nixon interfering in the investigation of Whitewater) 53 88.33%
Illegal official acts or abuse of power committed during the president's term committed in the best interest of the United States (e.g., Johnson violating the Tenure Act to fire the Secretary of War). 34 56.67%
Any meaningful (as you may define the term) illegal acts during the president's term (e.g., Spiro Agnew's cheating on his taxes after he became Vice President) 35 58.33%
Any illegal conduct during the president's term, even if that conduct is unrelated to his official powers or duties (e.g., Clinton lying under oath in a civil suit). 18 30.00%
Any illegal promises or corrupt dealing after election but before the inauguration, which is rooted in the presumptive power the president-elect will have in office 46 76.67%
Any concealed effort to illegally interfere with the presidential election by which the president was chosen (e.g., Nixon orchestrating the Whitewater break-in, if he did so) 49 81.67%
Any meaningful illegal conduct at any time that was revealed to the public only after the election (on the basis that the people would have chosen differently had they know of the conduct). 37 61.67%
Any meaningful illegal conduct at any time, even if the conduct was known to the public before the election, for which the president has not otherwise faced legal consequences. 16 26.67%
Any presidential policy decisions with which Congress staunchly disagrees during the president's term (e.g., Johnson's legal efforts undermining reconstruction). 2 3.33%
Any perfectly legal conduct any time with which Congress, or the public in general, comes to disagree during the president's term. (e.g., the president's bad haircut) 3 5.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 60. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-04-2019, 11:48 AM
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For what types of actions should a president be impeached?


The constitution calls for impeachment for treason or undefined "high crimes and misdemeanors." Impeachment is a political process so the General Questions answer to what constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors is "whatever the House wants to impeach the president for." I'm asking, however, for your opinion about what actions you believe should be subject to impeachment. Poll to come. Please check all that apply.

This is a non-exclusive list of impeachable conduct so while there may be other categories of actions that you feel are impeachable, these are the ones I'm asking about.
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Old 10-04-2019, 11:56 AM
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Any civil officer of government can be impeached, not just the President.

From Wikipedia:
Quote:
The House of Representatives has initiated impeachment proceedings 62 times since 1789.

The House has impeached 19 federal officers. Of these:

• 15 were federal judges: thirteen district court judges, one court of appeals judge (who also sat on the Commerce Court), and one Supreme Court Associate Justice.

• two were Presidents: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton; both were later acquitted by the Senate.

• one was a Cabinet secretary

• one was a U.S. Senator.
Wikipedia lists the 19 federal officials for whom impeachment proceedings were instituted and referred to a committee of the House of Representatives. Here were the accusations made against them:
Quote:
• Conspiring to assist Britain in capturing Spanish territory

• Drunkenness and unlawful rulings

• Political bias and arbitrary rulings, promoting a partisan political agenda on the bench

• Abuse of power

• Corruption

• Supporting the Confederacy

• Violating the Tenure of Office Act

• Drunkenness

• Graft, corruption

• Failure to live in his district, abuse of power

• Improper acceptance of gifts from litigants and attorneys

• Abuse of power

• Corruption

• Champerty, corruption, tax evasion, practicing law while a judge

• Brief stay of execution for Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

• Failure to recuse on obscenity cases while at the same time having articles published in Evergreen Review and Avant-Garde magazines; conflict of paid board positions with two non-profits

• Obstruction of justice, Abuse of Power, Contempt of Congress

• Tax evasion

• Accepting a bribe, and committing perjury during the resulting investigation

• Perjury

• Perjury and obstruction of justice

• Sexual assault, and obstruction of justice during the resulting investigation

• Making false financial disclosures, corruption.
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Old 10-04-2019, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walken After Midnight View Post
Any civil officer of government can be impeached, not just the President.
I'm not asking people's opinions of when the Assistant Secretary to the Treasury for Capital Markets should be impeached. I'm also not asking for a history lesson. I'm asking your opinion of which of the categories I describe are circumstances when the president should be impeached. If you were responding before the poll was up, I invite you you complete the poll. Thanks!
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Old 10-04-2019, 12:09 PM
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(Nitpick: Watergate, not Whitewater. We know what you meant.)
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Old 10-04-2019, 12:16 PM
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(Nitpick: Watergate, not Whitewater. We know what you meant.)
I did that on purpose to see if anyone was reading closely.
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Old 10-04-2019, 12:17 PM
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Heh. Like Van Halen’s m&ms clause in their concert contracts.
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Old 10-04-2019, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Tired and Cranky View Post
I did that on purpose to see if anyone was reading closely.
Time travel should definitely be an impeachable offense, so I checked that one.
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Old 10-04-2019, 01:46 PM
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I'd consider impeachment to only be appropriate in two instances:

1. If a president does something that is illegal and very serious;

2. If a president does things that are just terribly embarrassing even if not illegal (i.e., show up at United Nations General Assembly wearing nothing but underwear)
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Old 10-04-2019, 02:31 PM
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Those “any”s throw me. Degree matters. In general-

Abuse of power in a way that attempts to subvert the balance of power between the branches or the election itself or major abuses for other personal gains. The more the abuse threatens the system itself the more impeachable it is. Illegal is not strictly required for that abuse of power and attack on the Constitution itself.
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Old 10-04-2019, 02:37 PM
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Hmm, this poll jumps from "policy decisions" to "illegal". Where's "blatantly unethical and damaging to the country/institutions, but not strictly/provably illegal" category?
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Old 10-04-2019, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by squidfood View Post
Hmm, this poll jumps from "policy decisions" to "illegal". Where's "blatantly unethical and damaging to the country/institutions, but not strictly/provably illegal" category?
This. Its absence makes me a bit skeptical about the OP’s motives, but hopefully I’m being silly.
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Old 10-04-2019, 02:45 PM
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I'd also add that my personal threshold would be "preponderance of evidence" not "beyond a reasonable doubt" for anything actually illegal. I see impeachment as more akin to shareholders firing the CEO than a criminal trial.
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Old 10-04-2019, 02:50 PM
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I think it should rather less easy to do than that — as much as I hate to say it, the will of the people (compromised as it might be by the electoral college system) on Election Day should be difficult to overturn, surely.
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Old 10-04-2019, 03:01 PM
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This poll hurt my brain.
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Old 10-04-2019, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by JKellyMap View Post
I think it should rather less easy to do than that — as much as I hate to say it, the will of the people (compromised as it might be by the electoral college system) on Election Day should be difficult to overturn, surely.
Well ok, maybe the CEO model is too far the other way, I'm assuming the removal is "for cause/ethical lapse that prevents the CEO from being considered trustworthy" and not just poor company performance.
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Old 10-04-2019, 03:31 PM
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I’d agree if you just make it more like “...prevents the company/country from being considered trustworthy...”

That is, the lapse has to jeopardize the national interest (domestically or on the world stage), which could include the electoral process.

Trustworthy about, say, marital infidelities is not impeachable, I think.

Last edited by JKellyMap; 10-04-2019 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 10-04-2019, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by squidfood View Post
Hmm, this poll jumps from "policy decisions" to "illegal". Where's "blatantly unethical and damaging to the country/institutions, but not strictly/provably illegal" category?
Frankly, in my humble opinion, most of the things that are unambiguously unethical are also illegal (though certainly not all). When you talk about things that are "damaging to the country/institutions" but which are legal, in my opinion, you are talking about policy decisions unless you have some specific example in mind that doesn't fit into that category. Again, the poll isn't all encompassing; it's just the things I was interested in.

My motives are idle curiosity. For what it's worth, I was hoping to tease out diversity of viewpoints with some examples. People use different theories to assert that our current president is or isn't impeachable now. There are various frameworks to consider whether a president is impeachable, notably:
1. Maximalists: Impeachment any time for any reason.
2. Minimalists: Never, for any reason, because it's too disruptive and checks and balances limit the damage of a bad president.
3. Time period covered: The most common view among scholars and historians seems to be that you can only impeach for conduct that takes place during a president's term, however, I wanted to explore what people thought about either bad conduct they didn't know about during the election or malfeasance that took place during the election or interregnum. It seems to me that these should both be potential grounds for presidential impeachment even if it has never come up before.
4. Whether you can impeach because you don't like how he's running the place (i.e., policy disagreements). This is effectively why Andrew Johnson was impeached but no president has been impeached on similar grounds since. Historians say that we decided policy decisions aren't impeachable conduct. I'm curious if dopers agree. I think if things are bad enough, this too should be impeachable.

There are certainly other categories of impeachable conduct. For example, we have at least one professed minimalist but perhaps if I'd added treason, they would have thought differently. But since treason is right in the constitution, it's not an interesting question to me.
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Old 10-04-2019, 03:39 PM
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I'll know it when I see it.
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Old 10-04-2019, 03:43 PM
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I'd also add that my personal threshold would be "preponderance of evidence" not "beyond a reasonable doubt" for anything actually illegal. I see impeachment as more akin to shareholders firing the CEO than a criminal trial.
Impeachment is merely charging the president, not trying or convicting him although this isn't a critical distinction for this discussion. I agree that preponderance of the evidence is probably the highest standard I could accept but, frankly, if the charge were treason by a president colluding with a wartime enemy to undermine America, perhaps the standard should be "enough evidence that we doubt your loyalty and can't take the risk even if you probably didn't do it."

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Originally Posted by Dahnlor View Post
This poll hurt my brain.
I'm sorry.
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Old 10-04-2019, 03:47 PM
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Thanks, T and C, for the explanation. I’m convinced of your sincerity, FWIW. It’s an interesting and important question.
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Old 10-04-2019, 04:00 PM
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It to some extent depends on an individual basis, but basically:
1) Any significant abuse of power to personal political and economic ends regardless of whether it is strictly illegal or not. For example withholding FEMA assistance from any state that didn't vote for him.
2) Illegal Election shenanigans that may bring into question the legitimacy of the election that brought them to power.
3) Extreme incompetence (beyond even what we have seen in Trump) that puts the nation at risk. For example Launching a nuclear strike on Lithuania, because their psychic advisor told them that the ascension of Zorp was upon us.
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Old 10-04-2019, 04:03 PM
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I checked a lot of them. However, impeachment is a trial, there are acts for which a president should be impeached but not necessarily removed from office. The poll also specifies "any [act]" in many of the choices, there are degrees of severity to improper and illegal acts. Some could be so trivial it's not worth an impeachment.
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Old 10-04-2019, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
I checked a lot of them. However, impeachment is a trial, there are acts for which a president should be impeached but not necessarily removed from office. The poll also specifies "any [act]" in many of the choices, there are degrees of severity to improper and illegal acts. Some could be so trivial it's not worth an impeachment.
I generally referred to any "meaningful act" because I wanted to ignore trivialities. Where I didn't specify meaningful it was because that is exactly the distinction I wanted to draw. So, there are two questions about illegal conduct during the presidential term but unrelated to the office. One is a meaningful crime (tax evasion) which in fact was linked to earlier corruption by Agnew) versus crime that isn't particularly meaningful (lying about a blow job in an unrelated civil suit).

Although I didn't specify "meaningful" illegal promises during the post-election, pre-inaugural period, I hope it's clear that I meant corrupt bargains based on the forthcoming power of the presidency. I think even small amounts of corruption are impeachable and I was curious if others agreed.
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Old 10-05-2019, 05:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Dahnlor View Post
This poll hurt my brain.
Ditto.

Impeachment, trial, and removal are a POLITICAL process, not CRIMINAL. Presidents and their minions can and do violate many laws, with little punishment while they're in office. Except for the occasional confession, grand jury, prison, etc for the minions.

The standard for removal is political "high crimes" as decided by impeachment (indictment) and trial... by politicians, not a jury. Court rules do not apply. The biased are not excluded - they're ALL biased, ALL tampered with.

Each member of the Senate jury will vote, not on crimes, but on their own self interest. Does keeping or ousting that "shitstain on the face of the planet" benefit their career? Will enough horrendous evidence prompt them to commit political suicide? Do not expect national interest to intrude on a senate of whores.

What is an indictable offense? To nauseatingly degrade the office and the nation.
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Old 10-05-2019, 05:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Tired and Cranky View Post
The constitution calls for impeachment for treason or undefined "high crimes and misdemeanors."
The Constitution says "treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors" are impeachable.

So a President who is committing bribery should be impeached and removed. But aside from just that one particular crime, IMHO you'd want to use that as a yardstick: any offense that's roughly as serious an offense as bribery, or of greater seriousness, should get a President impeached and removed.

Directly relevant to the current situation is that bribery and extortion are two sides of the same coin. If bribery is grounds for removal, so is extortion.

Also of current relevance is that the Constitution just says "bribery," but not who's bribing whom. Presumably either bribing or taking bribes would be grounds for removal.

But to the general question, I'd ask: how does a given Presidential action stack up against giving/receiving bribes in terms of seriousness? If equal or greater seriousness, then impeach and remove.

If not, then I'd say it's possible to make a case for why such an action should be grounds for impeachment anyway, but IMHO you'd start with a pretty strong presumption that it shouldn't be, that your argument would have to overcome.
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Old 10-05-2019, 12:59 PM
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The Justice Department's current position is that the President cannot be indicted, much less convicted, for any federal crime whatsoever, and that impeachment is the only recourse against a criminal President.

The logical corollary of this is that any federal crime whatsoever is valid grounds for impeachment.

I think that this is an accurate reflection of the Constitutional state of affairs, though I would prefer that it were instead possible for the President to face the normal consequences for normal crimes.
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Old 10-06-2019, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKellyMap View Post
I think it should rather less easy to do than that — as much as I hate to say it, the will of the people (compromised as it might be by the electoral college system) on Election Day should be difficult to overturn, surely.

Right, an election carried by a minority of the public. Don and america deserve each other right about now.
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Old 10-06-2019, 03:29 PM
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Don't forget the minority of voters, too!
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Old 10-06-2019, 03:33 PM
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The Justice Department's current position is that the President cannot be indicted, much less convicted, for any federal crime whatsoever, and that impeachment is the only recourse against a criminal President.

The logical corollary of this is that any federal crime whatsoever is valid grounds for impeachment.

I think that this is an accurate reflection of the Constitutional state of affairs, though I would prefer that it were instead possible for the President to face the normal consequences for normal crimes.
Pretty clearly above "the law" isn't he. And we saw our last US Supreme Kangaroo Court Justus. And we see the police murdering unarmed nonthreatening citizens in the streets with impunity, Amber Guyger notwithstanding recently. And how many bogus illegal wars of aggression are we currently prosecuting? We support 73% of the world's dictators.

And still we prattle on about being a "nation of laws"?

Last edited by Fentoine Lum; 10-06-2019 at 03:33 PM.
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