If the House of Representatives (“accusers”) of the U.S. Congress finds that President Obama attempted to subvert the Constitution by directing the IRS to exercise its power to stifle political speech that was otherwise protected by the 1st Amendment to the Constitution; or was connected in any suspicious manner with any person engaged in such conduct and there be grounds to believe that he will shelter that person; or made announcements and assertions bearing on the case which the evidence shows he knew to be false or designed to thwart the lawful investigation by government prosecutors then, they must vote for Impeachment. And let the Senate “judge” whether to convict.
In 1974, the late great Representative Barbara Jordan, Democrat from Texas and member of the House Judiciary Committee discusses Impeachment with respect to President Nixon. (Note, the YouTube video incorrectly dates her statement as taking place in 1971.)
Of all the ‘material’ statements made by Ms. Jordan, I found this passage to be the most salient.
It is wrong, I suggest, it is a misreading of the Constitution for any member here to assert that for a member to vote for an article of impeachment means that that member must be convinced that the President should be removed from office. The Constitution doesn’t say that. The powers relating to impeachment are an essential check in the hands of the body of the legislature against and upon the encroachments of the executive. The division between the two branches of the legislature, the House and the Senate, assigning to the one the right to accuse and to the other the right to judge, the framers of this Constitution were very astute. They did not make the accusers and the judgers — and the judges the same person.
(Note: I intentionally linked to the American Rhetoric site because it provides a true transcript of Ms. Jordan’s remarks. As regular readers of “jbjd” know, I usually link to C-Span for original source material. However, while C-Span lists Ms. Jordan’s video on its site; it cannot be played due to “rights restrictions.” And, while it provides a written transcript of her speech, the transcript contains errors, at least one of which is what we would call a ‘material’ error.
For example, the transcript reads,
BEGINNING SHORTLY AFTER THE WATERGATE BREAK-IN AND CONTINUING TO THE PRESENT TIME, THE PRESIDENT HAS ENGAGED IN A SERIES OF PUBLIC STATEMENTS AND ACTIONS DESIGNED TO FOR THE LAWFUL INVESTIGATION BY GOVERNMENT PROSECUTORS.
But the speaker said,
BEGINNING SHORTLY AFTER THE WATERGATE BREAK-IN AND CONTINUING TO THE PRESENT TIME, THE PRESIDENT HAS ENGAGED IN A SERIES OF PUBLIC STATEMENTS AND ACTIONS DESIGNED TO THWART THE LAWFUL INVESTIGATION BY GOVERNMENT PROSECUTORS.
American Rhetoric got it right; I have contacted C-Span to make the corrections.)
Ms. Jordan proposed the Committee should “juxtapose” some of the activities the President (Nixon) had engaged in (with respect to events surrounding ‘Watergate,’ misuse of the IRS for political purposes, and defiance of Congressional subpoenas (contempt of Congress)), against Impeachment criteria enunciated by contemporaneous Constitutional experts including James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, and participants at state ratifying conventions. She argued, therefore, the record supported a recommendation of Impeachment. And, after considerable analysis and debate; ultimately, her fellow Committee members on a bi-partisan basis approved 3 (three) articles of Impeachment. (The Congressional Quarterly Press is a member site. But you can reach the source page by searching, House Judiciary Committee Articles of Impeachment Nixon CQPress.) However, before a vote on Impeachment by the full House, President Nixon resigned. Id.
Having reviewed the applicable standards of Impeachment, let’s adapt Ms. Jordan’s exercise, to President Obama, with respect to the IRS. I’ll start.
In the category of ‘made announcements and assertions bearing on the case which the evidence shows he knew to be false’ or were designed to thwart investigation by government prosecutors: “Not even a smidgen of corruption” in the IRS (accompanied by derisive sneering and snickering), with accompanying evidence.
Here is the interview conducted with Bill O’Reilly from FOX News, on February 2, 2014.
Here is the transcript of that interview, provided by FOX. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/02/transcript-bill-oreilly-interviews-president-obama/
But Mr. Obama knew in February 2014 his assertion there was not a “smidgen” of corruption, was false because on May 13, 2013 the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (“TIGTA”) issued a report confirming the IRS had been unlawfully targeting conservative-sounding applicants for tax-exempt status, at least as far back as 2010. (For a summary of the TIGTA report, see http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/05/irs-began-targeting-conservatives-in-2010/) And since May 2013, public reports had chronicled that on May 9, Lois Lerner, then Director of the Exempt Organizations Division of the IRS, had planted a question to be asked the next day, May 10, at a meeting of the American Bar Association, which would provide an opportunity for her to admit to this unlawful targeting, just 3 (three) days in advance of the publication of that damning TIGTA report.
“I received a call from Lois Lerner, who told me that she wanted to address an issue after her prepared remarks at the [American Bar Association] Tax Section’s Exempt Organizations Committee Meeting, and asked if I would pose a question to her after her remarks,” Roady said in a statement to U.S. News and World Report. “I agreed to do so, and she then gave me the question that I asked at the meeting the next day. We had no discussion thereafter on the topic of the question, nor had we spoken about any of this before I received her call. She did not tell me, and I did not know, how she would answer the question.”
Here is an audio of Ms. Lerner’s response to that planted question.
My mind is a terrible thing to waste.