By Jon Dougherty
(TNS) There are few better constitutional historians and experts in America than talk show giant Mark Levin, a lawyer and former Reagan-era Justice Department official.
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As such, there aren’t any better sources of information regarding the constitutional processes involving President Donald Trump’s Democrat-led impeachment push.
In recent days, Levin has been using his talk show and Sunday Fox News program format to educate as many Americans on the process — how it was devised by our founders and why; precedent involving the few times its been used; and, importantly, how Democrats have completely abused the process in order to “get” the president.
During his Monday program, Levin noted that Trump’s impeachment is routinely compared to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment by the fools in the mainstream media, and yet the two are only similar in that they are both impeachments.
There are many differences, however, and most of them are due to the fact that Democrats have blown up the process into something not at all legal or based on the constitutional requirements of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” but rather strictly on political grounds.
Instead, what’s happening to Trump more closely resembles what happened to President Andrew Johnson shortly after the end of the Civil War, Levin notes; Johnson’s impeachment, too, was largely political.
The problem with those commenting on impeachment is that they don’t know much about the subject and keep comparing the Bill Clinton impeachment with the Donald Trump impeachment.
Those who’ve actually read or watched the Clinton impeachment trial know that there were 11 felonies that President Clinton was charged with. Clinton was also held in contempt of court, he was disbarred by the state court and was going to be disbarred by the US Supreme Court, but he resigned instead.
The Trump impeachment is purely about separation of powers. A sitting President must have the ability to have privileged conversations with his cabinet and advisors in order to execute the duties of his office.
The brief submitted by the Managers from the House of Representatives does not include a single violation of the Constitution. Just as Andrew Johnson was wronged, Trump is being wronged.
The National Park Service has a history of the Johnson impeachment that actually pretty well describes the very politicized nature of his impeachment:
The impeachment of President Andrew Johnson was a result of political conflict and the rupture of ideologies in the aftermath of the American Civil War. It rose from uncompromised beliefs and a contest for power in a nation struggling with reunity.
Before Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, he had formulated a plan of reconstruction that would be lenient toward the defeated South as it rejoined the Union. He planned to grant a general amnesty to those who pledged an oath of loyalty to the United States and agreed to obey all federal laws pertaining to slavery. (The exclusion to the general amnesty would be high-ranking Confederate officials and military leaders.)
Lincoln’s plan also stated that when a tenth of the voters who had taken part in the 1860 election had agreed to the oath within a particular state, then that state could formulate a new government and start sending representatives to Congress.
Andrew Johnson was intent on carrying out this plan when he assumed the Presidency. This policy, however, did not sit well with certain radical Republicans in Congress who wanted to set up military governments and implement more stringent terms for readmission of the seceded states. As neither side was willing to compromise, a clash of wills ensued.
The political backing to begin impeachment came when Johnson breached the Tenure of Office Act by removing Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War, from his cabinet. The Tenure of Office Act had been passed over Johnson’s veto in 1867 and stated that a President could not dismiss appointed officials without the consent of Congress.
The Tenure Act was a direct challenge between the Constitution’s Article I power and the president’s Article II powers. It essentially said the president had no authority to replace Executive Branch and Cabinet-level appointees without the consent of the Senate.
The act was blatantly unconstitutional and the Supreme Court ruled as much nearly 60 years later, in 1926.
As for Johnson, the Senate was one vote short of the two-thirds necessary to convict him and remove him from office. The current Senate isn’t expected to be anywhere near that close to convicting Trump for what are clearly political, not constitutional, violations.
Levin explains more here:
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