Constitutional Requirements for Impeachment
According to the Congressional Research Service in a 2015 report
, "the purposes underlying the impeachment process also indicate that non-criminal activity may constitute sufficient grounds for impeachment". This means that the President doesn't have to match the legal standard of beyond a reasonable doubt, but could be held to the lesser standard of if he is likely to have committed an act that falls under the description of the constitution.
This also means, for the purpose of this debate, only one of my charges against the President must be seen as credible in order for me to meet my requirement of BOP.
History of Impeachments
Although no sitting President has ever been removed from office, there is a precedent for the impeachment of a President.
There are also two other key precedents I would like to raise for future reference in my argument:
1) The Hon. Charles Swayne who was serving as a district court judge for the Northern District of Florida was impeached 13th December 1904,
on charges of abuse of contempt power and other misuses of office.
I would also like to set up some legal concepts, statues and definitions of which I will refer to throughout my case against the 45th President. I have used the Cornell Legal Definitions and explanations as to the basis for these, as linked.
Conspiracy to commit an offence
: An agreement between two or more people to commit an illegal act, along with an intent to achieve the agreement's goal. Conspiracy generally carries a penalty on its own. In addition, conspiracies allow for derivative liability where conspirators can also be punished for the illegal acts carried out by other members, even if they were not directly involved. Thus, where one or more members of the conspiracy committed illegal acts to further the conspiracy's goals, all members of the conspiracy may be held accountable for those acts.
: Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution prohibits any person holding a government office from accepting any present, emolument, office, or title from any "King, Prince, or foreign state" without congressional consent. This clause is meant to prevent external influence and corruption of American officers by foreign nations.
: the profit arising from office (public or private) or employment
Obstruction of Justice: 18 U.S.C. § 1503
defines the offence of obstruction of justice as an act that "corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice."
: It is the intentional act of swearing a false oath or falsifying an affirmation to tell the truth, whether spoken or in writing, concerning matters material to an official legal proceeding.
Charge 1: Obstruction of Justice
I present six counts of Obstruction of Justice as defined in the "Legal Definitions" section of my argument.
My points here are heavily based on the PBS Newshour article,
however additional sources we're used to fact-check.
The following actions of the President amount to Obstruction of Justice which were discovered during the course of Robert S. Mueller III's Special Council Investigation:
1) President Trump made a remark to then-FBI Director James Comey to “let go” of the investigation into General Michael Flynn, who served briefly as the Administration's NSA. Flynn was fired for lying to senior Trump administration officials about his contact with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the US. This fits the definition as the comment was designed to influence Comey into stopping an investigation and was intended to stop the due process of justice.
2) Mueller found evidence establishing that the President connected the Flynn investigation to the FBI’s broader Russia investigation. Mueller's report also reveals Trump believed, as he told Chris Christie, that terminating Flynn would end “the whole Russia thing.” This is obstruction of justice as it is "an endeavour to obstruct the due administration of justice" by not having Flynn's Russian contacts found by relevant law enforcement authorities such as the FBI.
3) The Office of Special Counsel wrote "firing Comey would qualify as an obstructive act if it had the natural and probable effect of interfering with or impeding the investigation … substantial evidence indicates that the catalyst for the President’s decision to fire Comey was Comey ‘s unwillingness to publicly state that the President was not personally under investigation." This is Obstruction as it is an attempt to influence a law enforcement official of whom Trump was being investigated by.
4) Former White House Counsel Don McGahn was told by President Donald Trump that “Mueller has to go” at least twice, and on the 17th June 2017, told McGahn to call Rosenstein to have the special counsel removed. This is a clear and flagrant case of obstruction which is unequivocal in its judgement.
5) President Trump directed his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in July of 2017 to tell then AG Jeff Sessions that he must block Mueller from investigating the president or his campaign. Lewandowski asked another White House official to deliver the message, but that official did not follow through. This is a clear case of obstruction of justice as it is an attempt to influence the scope of an investigation.
6) During 2017 and 2018, the president repeatedly tried to have the attorney general take control of the special counsel’s investigation, though Sessions recused himself on March 2, 2017. Muller found “A reasonable inference from those statements and the President’s actions is that the President believed that an unrecused Attorney General would play a protective role and could shield the President from the ongoing Russia investigation.” This is trying to have control over the investigation into himself - a clear case of Obstruction.
On this charge, I bring up the precedence of the impeachment of President Bill Clinton for the similar offence of misleading a grand jury.
Charge 2: Conspiracy to Commit Perjury
I present one count of Conspiracy to Commit Perjury as defined in the "Legal Definitions" section of this argument.
This implicates the President of being apart of the criminal conspiracy to commit the offence of perjury, for which Michael Cohen is currently serving his sentence.
Charge 3: Campaign Finance Violations
I have made a case against the President for eight counts of various offences which merit immediate impeachment and removal of office of the incumbent President of the United States of America - Donald John Trump
I look forward to your response.