So what does all this conservatism have to do with Amash’s recent call for the impeachment of President Trump? In other words, what does one have to do with the other? Well … absolutely nothing. But some “conservative” websites mean to somehow equate the two.
As a general rule, I don’t like calling out another conservative site, particularly as I often quote them. But the Washington Examiner’s piece entitled, “Get mad at Justin Amash all you want, but he’s still the biggest fiscal conservative,” tries to do just that.
It’s like saying that sure, Harvey Weinstein was a pervert and a rapist, but he made some great movies. How does making great movies cancel out or even lessen the severity of the other?
Answer: It doesn’t, but being a fiscal hawk may be a way to at least deflect some of the backlash directed at Amash.
It was understood by anyone with a brain who dared to be honest that the Mueller investigation had but one ultimate purpose – to lay the groundwork for a Trump impeachment. It’s why the entire Mueller dream team of “investigators” was a bunch of leftist Democratic hit men.
This now really comes down to what exactly is an impeachable offense of the president – any president.
Article II, Section 4, of the Constitution states: “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.”
The first two, treason and bribery, are self-explanatory. But it’s “other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” that has everyone’s heads spinning, and where those who wish to see Trump gone will attempt to make their hay, as it were.
So what are High Crimes and Misdemeanors? More accurately, and never mind what today’s talking heads opine, how did the framers define it?
Well, the key turns out to be the word “high.” When we today see the term “high crimes,” we take it to mean more or most serious crimes. But that’s not what the founders meant. The founders referred to “high” not as more serious, but rather as to one’s status – i.e., a person of high official status, like a public officer – “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States.”
High Crimes and Misdemeanors are offenses “which bear on the subject’s fitness for the duties he holds, which he is bound by oath or affirmation to perform.” And, in this case, it is the presidential oath of office, which Trump is bound to, and states: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
In other word, high crimes and misdemeanors are offenses against the oath of office.
An early draft of the Constitution gave Congress the power to impeach and remove officers for “maladministration.” There is little doubt that the term “maladministration” was taken from Blackstone’s Commentaries, which begins its discussion of misprisions by observing that, “The first and principal is the mal-administration of such high officers, as are in public trust and employment. …”
Interestingly, in a tweet, Amash referenced Blackstone’s language surrounding impeachment, “high crimes and misdemeanors,” as implying that the president only needs to violate public trust for Congress to consider his removal.
Under our Constitution, the president “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” While “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” is not defined, the context implies conduct that violates the public trust.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 18, 2019
However, James Madison thought use of the term “maladministration” was unwise, as the term would allow impeachment for practically any reason at all.
Yet, by his tweet we see Amash attempt to co-mingle the “public trust” with the founders’ intended definition of the “violation of the oath of Office.”
Madison explained that, “so vague a term will be equivalent to a tenure during the pleasure of the Senate.” The term “maladministration” was then deleted from the draft and replaced with the phrase “other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Fact is, the president controls all agencies of the executive branch principally because he can remove officers, senior and junior, for any reason at all, including for not following an order. They are deemed to serve “at-will” because the president can remove them at will.
If Congress is able to impeach and remove the president for any reason at all, for “maladministration,” then these officers, by default, serve, not at-will of the president, but at the will of Congress and are subject to its control – which, of course, would violate the founder’s expressed separation of powers.
Merely suggesting, or even demanding, that one of his subordinates fire another is akin to the president doing the firing. As all executive officers, both senior and junior, do in fact serve at the will of the president, he may release any or all for whatever reason without violating his oath. This, in no way, can be construed as obstruction of justice, or a high crime or misdemeanor.
For this reason, it is my opinion that Congressman Amash has incorrectly concluded that President Trump has perpetrated an impeachable offense.