Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Impeachment v2.0 Day 5: We’re through now. Verdict: Not guilty by reason of insanity or mental defect.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, February 14, 2021

The United States Senate voted largely along party lines Saturday, 13 February 2021 to NOT CONVICT the former President of the United States, Donald J. Trump of the charge of inciting insurrection.

Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina joined Republican Senators Mitt Romney of Utah, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and all 50 Democrats in voting GUILTY to convict. But, 57 votes was 10 shy of the 2/3 required by the Constitution in order to convict.

The Senate Minority Leader Moscow Mitch McConnell had the temerity, audacity and unmitigated gall to actually give a brief speech on the Senate floor following his “NOT GUILTY” vote for Donald J. “Loser” Trump, which follows at the conclusion of this entry.

Feb 13 59 (57-43) Not Guilty Guilty or Not Guilty H.Res. 24

The Roll Call vote by member may be found here:
https://www.cop.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=117&session=1&vote=00059

This

Valentine’s Day “We love you Donald” edition

is brought to you by:

Senate Minority Leader “Moscow Mitch” McConnell who wrote email to his Senate minions saying,

“Colleagues, as I have said for some time, today’s vote is a vote of conscience and I know we will all treat it as such. I have been asked directly by a number of you how I intend to vote, so thought it right to make that known prior to the final vote. While a close call, I am persuaded that impeachments are a tool primarily of removal and we therefore lack jurisdiction. The Constitution makes perfectly clear that Presidential criminal misconduct while in office can be prosecuted after the President has left office, which in my view alleviates the otherwise troubling ‘January exception’ argument raised by the House.

“Given these conclusions, I will vote to acquit.

“Mitch”

Yeah… that Kentucky heathen not only voted to acquit the POS45, aka Liar in Chief, leader of the Cult of Trump, but passed the buck.

Not guilty, not guilty 2x, guilty. Alcee Hastings was impeached and found guilty of on charges of perjury and conspiring to solicit a bribe, and was removed from office as a Federal judge in 1989. He’s been a United States Representative for Florida’s 20th Congressional District since 1993.

Here’s the thing, though: For a man who claims to have an interest in historicity for the purpose of the Senate, he is DEAD WRONG about his opinion that, as he writes, “I am persuaded that impeachments are a tool primarily of removal…”

  As a matter of history, there has been of late at least a moderate amount of discussion and news made about an historical matter involving circumstances very similar to this one (in which the impeached individual is no longer in office), insofar as the two individuals impeached had ALREADY been resigned from, or otherwise out of office when their impeachment occurred.

Concerning the historical record, the FIRST impeached Federal official was a United States Senator from Tennessee – William Blount – who was impeached July 7, 1797, on charges of conspiring to assist in Great Britain’s attempt to seize Spanish-controlled territories in modern-day Florida and Louisiana.

Blount’s impeachment occurred after he no was longer in office. But first, a bit of background about him:

He’s considered one of the Founding Fathers – albeit, a lesser-known one – and for much of his life he was considered as esteemed as the better-known founders. He fought in the Revolutionary War, was a delegate for North Carolina at the Constitutional Convention, and he signed the Constitution. After that, he moved to the area which is now Tennessee and there, became governor of its territory. When Tennessee became a state in June 1796, he was its first U.S. Senator, however briefly.

Because was a land speculator and borrowed large sums of money to buy huge swaths of land in Tennessee and the surrounding areas, after a land-market crash left him in dire straits, he connived a plan to save himself: He conspired with Britain to help it gain control of Spanish Florida and Louisiana, which in turn, would make his land purchases valuable again. So in 1797, a letter detailing parts of his plot made its way to President John Adams, who had the letter read on the Senate floor, whereupon Blount’s co-conspirators soon confessed.

The House and Senate together investigated the matter, and debated whether the new Constitution allowed Senators to be impeached, or only expelled – so, they did both. Blount thereupon became the first to be impeached -and- expelled. As the Senate was preparing to try him, as any good criminal would do, he absconded… to Tennessee.

Federalists and Democratic Republicans extensively extensively debated whether they had the right to (1.) Impeach a senator and (2.) Impeach an official who had already been expelled. They finally voted to stop an impeachment trial without deciding the question. Blount, however, remained popular back home in Tennessee and held various state offices until he died, and remained the only U.S. Senator to be expelled until the time of the Civil War.

And then, there was the case of William Belknap, who for years was General Ulysses S. Grant’s Secretary of War, who had for years lived lavishly on a modest government salary, which aroused numerous suspicions. Upon an investigation, it was found that he’d been involved in a kickback scheme for several years with his luxury-loving first wife which involved her currying favor to send lucrative, and often padded, contracts and accounts to his friends’ businesses, whom he also appointed to government positions which further aided and abetted the scheme. For over 5 years, Belknap was paid quarterly payments of $20,000, which paled in comparison to his $8000/year government salary.

When his fraud was discovered, with just minutes to spare, on March 2, 1876 he quickly wrote a letter of resignation to President Grant, immediately before the House of Representatives was to vote on articles of impeachment, and in tears, handed it to him.

That didn’t save him from their wrath.

Later that day, members of the House voted unanimously to send to the Senate 5 articles of impeachment charging him with “criminally disregarding his duty as Secretary of War and basely prostituting his high office to his lust for private gain.”

The U.S. Senate’s website writes this about the conclusion of the rotten matter:

“The Senate convened its trial in early April, with Belknap present, after agreeing that it retained impeachment jurisdiction over former government officials. During May, the Senate heard more than 40 witnesses, as House managers argued that Belknap should not be allowed to escape from justice simply by resigning his office.

“On August 1, 1876, the Senate rendered a majority vote against Belknap on all five articles. As each vote fell short of the necessary two-thirds, however, he won acquittal. Belknap was not prosecuted further; he died in 1890.”

Here’s the Library of Congress’ site for documents related to the Belknap impeachment:
https://guides.loc.gov/federal-impeachment/william-belknap

And here’s a real kick in the pants and slap in the face: Federal Judge Alcee L. Hastings was impeached August 3, 1988, on charges of perjury and conspiring to solicit a bribe, was tried October 18–20, 1989, found guilty; and removed from office.

Now, the son-of-a-bitch is a United States Representative for Florida’s 20th Congressional District, and has been since 1993. Turns out also, he has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer – an incurable, and terribly torturous type of pain and suffering – since January 2019. I guess there is poetic justice in this world, after all. But why is it that so-called “ex cons” can be CONgress Critters, eh? From one form of corruption, to another. You know, that just DOES NOT set well with the idea of the establishment of integrity in our nation’s governance.

But, with any luck, something  like that, or worse, will happen to POS45… and frankly, it can’t happen soon enough.

And perhaps you’ve heard of, or, are familiar with G. Thomas Porteous, Jr., who was impeached March 11, 2010, and Samuel B. Kent who was impeached June 19, 2009 – and found guilty. If not, perhaps you should be.

So, here’s the OFFICIAL LIST of ALL Federal officials whom have been impeached:
https://history.house.gov/Institution/Impeachment/Impeachment-List/

Mitch the Bitch.

He can always be counted on to not even try to to the right thing.

He’s like coitus interruptus.

Perhaps you’re familiar with it.

It’s all over in the pornography section.

What is it – what is coitus interruptus?

The man pulling out before he ejaculates – typically seen in porn as upon the body of the intended recipient, most often as female.

IOW, the Japanese term for it is “bukkake,” which defined means:

A sexual practice in which several men ejaculate on the face of an individual woman.

The term comes from (hah! What a pun, eh?) the Japanese wordbukkakeru” meaning “to dash (water)” upon.

BUT… that’s more an example of a “modern” practice of coitus interruptus, which has been occurring among humans for… as long as humans have been around, and didn’t want to get pregnant. Of course, there’s condoms, IUDs, birth control pills, and abortion for that.

But again, “coitus interruptus” is properly defined as:

Sexual intercourse deliberately interrupted by withdrawal of the penis from the vagina prior to ejaculation.

See?

But here’s the interesting (funny/ironic/odd/peculiar) thing:

Coitus Interruptus was ACTUALLY a way in which the Catholic Church taught as acceptable a method of birth control. No kidding. That was as far back as 1876 – at least as I’ve made a cursory examination of the matter.

So, we can all thank the Catholic Church for… a modern practice in pornography.

Thanks!😜

Here are a couple other things that popped up when the term “coitus interruptus” was sought.

Maybe those klowns in the video are like Moscow Mitch the Bitch – from Kentucky.

Remarks as delivered by Banana Republican Senate Minority Leader “Moscow” Mitch McConnell, on the Senate floor, Saturday, 13 February 2021, after the vote to convict, or not, Donald J. “Loser” Trump on the charge of incitement of insurrection.

February 13, 2021 – Issue: Vol. 167, No. 28 — Daily Edition 117th Congress (2021 – 2022) – 1st Session

RECOGNITION OF THE MINORITY LEADER; Congressional Record Vol. 167, No. 28(Senate – February 13, 2021) S735

https://www.congress.gov/117/crec/2021/02/13/CREC-2021-02-13.pdf

January 6th was a disgrace.

American citizens attacked their own government. They used terrorism to try to stop a specific piece of democratic business they did not like.

Fellow Americans beat and bloodied our own police. They stormed the Senate floor. They tried to hunt down the Speaker of the House. They built a gallows and chanted about murdering the vice president.

They did this because they had been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on Earth – because he was angry he’d lost an election.

Former President Trump’s actions preceding the riot were a disgraceful dereliction of duty.

The House accused the former president of, quote, “incitement.” That is a specific term from the criminal law.

Let me put that to the side for one moment and reiterate something I said weeks ago: There is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day.

The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president.

And their having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth.

The issue is not only the president’s intemperate language on January 6th.

It is not just his endorsement of remarks in which an associate urged “trial by combat.”

It was also the entire manufactured atmosphere of looming catastrophe; the increasingly wild myths about a reverse landslide election that was being stolen in some secret coup by our now-president.

I defended the president’s right to bring any complaints to our legal system. The legal system spoke. The Electoral College spoke. As I stood up and said clearly at the time, the election was settled.

But that reality just opened a new chapter of even wilder and more unfounded claims.

The leader of the free world cannot spend weeks thundering that shadowy forces are stealing our country and then feign surprise when people believe him and do reckless things.

Sadly, many politicians sometimes make overheated comments or use metaphors that unhinged listeners might take literally.

This was different.

This was an intensifying crescendo of conspiracy theories, orchestrated by an outgoing president who seemed determined to either overturn the voters’ decision or else torch our institutions on the way out.

The unconscionable behavior did not end when the violence began.

Whatever our ex-president claims he thought might happen that day, whatever reaction he says he meant to produce, by that afternoon, he was watching the same live television as the rest of the world.

A mob was assaulting the Capitol in his name. These criminals were carrying his banners, hanging his flags, and screaming their loyalty to him.

It was obvious that only President Trump could end this.

Former aides publicly begged him to do so. Loyal allies frantically called the administration.

But the president did not act swiftly. He did not do his job. He didn’t take steps so federal law could be faithfully executed, and order restored.

Instead, according to public reports, he watched television happily as the chaos unfolded. He kept pressing his scheme to overturn the election!

Even after it was clear to any reasonable observer that Vice President Pence was in danger, even as the mob carrying Trump banners was beating cops and breaching perimeters, the president sent a further tweet attacking his vice president.

Predictably and foreseeably under the circumstances, members of the mob seemed to interpret this as further inspiration to lawlessness and violence.

Later, even when the president did halfheartedly begin calling for peace, he did not call right away for the riot to end. He did not tell the mob to depart until even later.

And even then, with police officers bleeding and broken glass covering Capitol floors, he kept repeating election lies and praising the criminals.

In recent weeks, our ex-president’s associates have tried to use the 74 million Americans who voted to re-elect him as a kind of human shield against criticism.

Anyone who decries his awful behavior is accused of insulting millions of voters.

That is an absurd deflection.

Seventy-four million Americans did not invade the Capitol. Several hundred rioters did.

And 74 million Americans did not engineer the campaign of disinformation and rage that provoked it.

One person did.

I have made my view of this episode very plain.

But our system of government gave the Senate a specific task. The Constitution gives us a particular role.

This body is not invited to act as the nation’s overarching moral tribunal.

We are not free to work backward from whether the accused party might personally deserve some kind of punishment.

Justice Joseph Story was our nation’s first great constitutional scholar. As he explained nearly 200 years ago, the process of impeachment and conviction is a narrow tool for a narrow purpose.

Story explained this limited tool exists to “secure the state against gross official misdemeanors.” That is, to protect the country from government officers.

If President Trump were still in office, I would have carefully considered whether the House managers proved their specific charge.

By the strict criminal standard, the president’s speech probably was not incitement.

However, in the context of impeachment, the Senate might have decided this was acceptable shorthand for the reckless actions that preceded the riot.

But in this case, that question is moot. Because former President Trump is constitutionally not eligible for conviction.

There is no doubt this is a very close question. Donald Trump was the president when the House voted, though not when the House chose to deliver the papers.

Brilliant scholars argue both sides of the jurisdictional question. The text is legitimately ambiguous. I respect my colleagues who have reached either conclusion.

But after intense reflection, I believe the best constitutional reading shows that Article II, Section 4 exhausts the set of persons who can legitimately be impeached, tried, or convicted. The president, vice president and civil officers.

We have no power to convict and disqualify a former officeholder who is now a private citizen.

Here is Article II, Section 4:

“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.”

Now, everyone basically agrees that the second half of that sentence exhausts the legitimate grounds for conviction.

The debates around the Constitution’s framing make that clear. Congress cannot convict for reasons besides those.

It therefore follows that the list of persons in that same sentence is also exhaustive. There is no reason why one list would be exhaustive but the other would not.

Article II, Section 4 must limit both why impeachment and conviction can occur – and to whom.

If this provision does not limit the impeachment and conviction powers, then it has no limits at all.

The House’s “sole power of Impeachment” and the Senate’s “sole Power to try all Impeachments” would create an unlimited circular logic, empowering Congress to ban any private citizen from federal office.

This is an incredible claim. But it is the argument the House managers seemed to make. One manager said the House and Senate have “absolute, unqualified … jurisdictional power.”

That was very honest. Because there is no limiting principle in the constitutional text that would empower the Senate to convict former officers that would not also let them convict and disqualify any private citizen.

An absurd end result to which no one subscribes.

Article II, Section 4 must have force. It tells us the president, vice president and civil officers may be impeached and convicted. Donald Trump is no longer the president.

Likewise, the provision states that officers subject to impeachment and conviction “shall be removed from Office” if convicted.

“Shall.”

As Justice Story explained, “the Senate, [upon] conviction, [is] bound, in all cases, to enter a judgment of removal from office.” Removal is mandatory upon conviction.

Clearly, he explained, that mandatory sentence cannot be applied to somebody who has left office.

The entire process revolves around removal. If removal becomes impossible, conviction becomes insensible.

In one light, it certainly does seem counterintuitive that an officeholder can elude Senate conviction by resignation or expiration of term.

But this just underscores that impeachment was never meant to be the final forum for American justice.

Impeachment, conviction, and removal are a specific intra-governmental safety valve. It is not the criminal justice system, where individual accountability is the paramount goal.

Indeed, Justice Story specifically reminded that while former officials were not eligible for impeachment or conviction, they were – and this is extremely important – “still liable to be tried and punished in the ordinary tribunals of justice.”

Put anther way, in the language of today: President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office, as an ordinary citizen, unless the statute of limitations has run, still liable for everything he did while in office, didn’t get away with anything yet – yet.

We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation. And former presidents are not immune from being held accountable by either one.

I believe the Senate was right not to grab power the Constitution does not give us.

And the Senate was right not to entertain some light-speed sham process to try to outrun the loss of jurisdiction.

It took both sides more than a week just to produce their pre-trial briefs. Speaker Pelosi’s own scheduling decisions conceded what President Biden publicly confirmed: A Senate verdict before Inauguration Day was never possible.

This has been a dispiriting time. But the Senate has done our duty. The framers’ firewall held up again.

On January 6th, we returned to our posts and certified the election, uncowed.

And since then, we resisted the clamor to defy our own constitutional guardrails in hot pursuit of a particular outcome.

We refused to continue a cycle of recklessness by straining our own constitutional boundaries in response.

The Senate’s decision does not condone anything that happened on or before that terrible day.

It simply shows that Senators did what the former president failed to do:

We put our constitutional duty first.

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