Impeachment

When Is an Officer Impeached? III

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

OK, just one more post—probably.

The U.S. Constitution gives to the House of Representatives the "sole Power of Impeachment." But what exactly is this power to impeach and how and when is it exercised? In particular, is the "power of impeachment" the power to go into the Senate, level an accusation, and demand a trial? Or, is the "power of impeachment" the power to pass a resolution declaring that someone has committed high crimes and misdemeanors?

For over a hundred years, the U.S. House presumed the correct answer was the first one and oriented its practice to that. It drafted resolutions authorizing a member to go to the Senate and impeach someone. Since the early twentieth century, the House has behaved as if the second answer is correct, passing resolutions declaring officers to have been impeached. It did not matter much how the House impeached someone because the Senate did not start an impeachment trial until the House exhibited articles of impeachment in the Senate chamber and nothing turns on when an officer is impeached.

The states are different because some state constitutions direct that an impeached officer is suspended pending trial. In that context, it matters when exactly an officer is impeached. Even so, states have not wrestled with this problem very much either. One exception was a Florida court during Reconstruction, which pointed to English and congressional practice as indicating that impeachment occurred when the House leveled an accusation in the Senate. As it noted, the early American constitutional treatise writer William Rawle had emphasized that impeachment is "a known definite term" inherited from England and meant "bring[ing] the charge before the other branch." The early congressional practice reflected the proper understanding of the power to impeach as it was incorporated into the American constitutions.

But wait, there's more. In 1923, the Oklahoma supreme court was asked to weigh in on when the acting governor assumed the duties of an impeached governor. The court concluded that the governor was impeached "when articles of impeachment are duly filed with the Senate and duly accepted and filed by the Senate."

The Florida court had pointed to English and American practice as providing the proper definition that Florida institutions were bound to follow. The Oklahoma court, by contrast, pointed in part to the legislature's own constitutional authority to define the term.

While the Constitution does not attempt to define the terms "impeachment," nor the extent of its meaning, nor expressly authorize the Legislature to define its meaning, yet it nowhere prohibits the Legislature from defining the term and the extent of its meaning; hence, having given the Legislature exclusive jurisdiction in impeachment matters, and not having limited the Legislature in defining the term, it was a valid exercise of legislative authority for the Legislature to define what is meant by the term "impeachment" as used in the Constitution.

The legislature itself had said in a statute that impeachment "is the prosecution," and the courts were bound by that interpretation. The court also offered a textualist rationale that to impeach means "to charge (a public officer), before a competent tribunal." The legislature's definition of impeachment was at least consistent with the weight of authority, according to the state court.

An interesting wrinkle here is that the Oklahoma court seems to suggest that, in the absence of a more specific definition in the constitutional text, the legislature itself had the authority to give concrete meaning to the term. The legislature had chosen to adopt the same understanding that seemed to be regnant in Congress and the states until the early twentieth century—impeachment occurred when the accusation was presented to the upper chamber. But the court seems to have left the door open to the legislature to adopt a different understanding of the meaning of "impeachment," as Congress seemed to do starting with the impeachment of Judge Robert Archbald in 1912.

All of which raises the interesting question of whether "impeachment" has a fixed meaning as a matter of originalist constitutional interpretation or whether we are in the "construction zone."

NEXT: First Amendment Doesn't Protect a Right to Smoke

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Keith, it really doesn’t matter, because whether DJT is impeached now, or when it gets to the Senate, if ever, the entire nonsense will be quickly adjudicated and thrown out. The House could have impeached DJT for picking his nose in the Lincoln bedroom, and it would have the same effect.

    The Democrats have demonstrated time and again that they pay no heed to the Constitution, especially in matters of procedure. The origination of the ACA is a good example of this.

    When they run around saying “Trump was impeached!” during the 2020 campaign, it will only reflect poorly on them, not on this president.

    1. Since the Dems know they will lose when this matter gets to the Senate, they want to delay that as long as possible. They will keep raising procedural arguments; they will keep finding excuses for not presenting the case to the Senate. Why do you think big law suits go on for years and years. One party realizes they will lose if the case is put up for resolution early on. They stretch it out and find issue after issue to argue about. The longer the process goes on, the longer they don’t have to lose. Eventually, they hope that the other side will offer something in settlement to make the case go away.

      In this case, the Dems want to keep their side fired up and angry for as long as possible. They want to create the argument that an acquittal in the Senate does not really matter.

      1. the Dems want to keep their side fired up and angry for as long as possible

        Don’t have a feeling one way or the other about this; I can’t figure out why Pelosi pushed this through at all, especially so fast,and now is stonewalling the finish.

        But I don’t think there’s anything the Dems could do now to fire up Dems more than Trumpistas, and the fence-sitters will shift more to sympathy for Trump than the Dems, because Pelosi has expanded disgust for the debate clowns into disgust for the entire Dem clown circus. Trump is pretty easy to sneer at, but he takes it as applause, and the Trumpistas eat it up. The debate clowns, Pelosi, and all the other clowns, don’t even realize they are in the same clown car with Trump, and it sure looks to me like Trump is in the driver’s seat this election cycle.

        1. “Don’t have a feeling one way or the other about this; I can’t figure out why Pelosi pushed this through at all, especially so fast,and now is stonewalling the finish.”

          I can. It’s a play for non-partisans next November. Look, the R base dismisses impeachment as a partisan foofery. The D base considers it overdue. Both assume it’s a dead issue in the Senate. But non-partisans saw the process, and the fairly obvious fact that DJT did was the articles say he did. So, they’re holding up the trial in the Senate trying to get the kind of trial they want… they kind where all the accusations are demonstrated and testified to, and one where Donnie has to speak under oath if he wants to mount an actual defense. They’ll either get it, or they’ll get a few million campaign ads about the Senate coverup “trial”.

          1. I don’t think the fence-sitters see what you think is the obvious DJT guilt.

            Non-partisans are that way because they hate politics for being so slimy. That’s what way too many partisans cannot come to grips with, and it is where Trump’s popularity comes from — he is possibly the most forthright and “honest” politician in memory. Remember Ross Perot? He was the same –popular as hell — until he bailed from the election because someone threatened his daughter — and then he never regained his popularity.

            These fence-sitters see slime all over this impeachment — Biden, Trump, Pelosi, the FBI, the deep state — and they just figure it’s business as usual and there is no real impeachable crime here. Clinton at least was a womanizer and lied in a deposition — Trump has done nothing comparable, in non-partisan fence-sitter eyes, and now Pelosi pulls this stunt with delaying the impeachment after having rushed it?

            No, the only thing most of the public gets out of this whole thing is typical political games, with Pelosi and the Dems looking like the worst offenders while Trump continues to be the only forthright one in the bunch.

            Remember, politicians lie, the public knows it, and that is what makes Trump look good by comparison. Nothing else matters right now, because almost no other politician understand why Trump won, and you have only to look at the current crop of print-and-spend circus clowns running for Democrat nominee to see that they are clueless about Trump’s popularity.

            1. Exactly, he’s an honest braggart and scoundrel.

              1. Well, that’s 2/3rds correct.

            2. President Trump is a liar, a cheat and unscrupulous. This does not require a reasoned analysis, it is simply a case of observation. Non-partisans have “seen” that for three years, they will judge him just as they do the people in their social circles that breach their mores. This is not an analytical decision it is intuitive. So they will not break the way you think because they aren’t part of the Trump true believers–who relish sticking it to the libs and aren’t analyzing the situation to validate his positions. They will “decide” based on how they perceive his impact on American culture.

              1. I would suggest you look at what impact has occurred:
                Lowest unemployment for POC.
                Rising wages.
                Stock market new highs.

                Shall I go on? He is the 1st President in a long time that has kept almost every one of his promises. Too be fair, I’m sure there are some that wish he had kept “Lock Her Up” too but find the rest acceptable alternatives for the nation.

                1. “I would suggest you look at what impact has occurred:
                  Lowest unemployment for POC.
                  Rising wages.
                  Stock market new highs.”

                  Right. Which actions and policies, EXACTLY, are you tracing to these results?

                  “He is the 1st President in a long time that has kept almost every one of his promises.”

                  Assuming “not one” = “almost every one”, this is a factual statement.

              2. “President Trump is a liar, a cheat and unscrupulous. This does not require a reasoned analysis, it is simply a case of observation.”

                I’ve observed, Mueller found nothing on which to prosecute Trump, including jaywalking. I’ve observed some businesses associated with Trump have had cases where the courts found against his businesses which have then complied. And I’ve also observed a two tiered justice system where the politically connected like Hillary or their CIA leaker/whistleblower get lots of favors while people associate with Trump get the book thrown at them.

                1. “Mueller found nothing on which to prosecute Trump, including jaywalking.”

                  Which is such a surprise, since the DOJ’s position is that the sitting President can’t be prosecuted. Mueller found a whole bunch of cases of obstruction of justice, which cases we was not allowed to bring… so he laid out all the cases, and left it for Congress to decide what to do about it. And those darn rabid partisan Democrats immediately decided to act on their partisan hatred of Trump by giving him a complete pass. Those bastards.

            3. I agree. As the polls show, fence sitters are not supporting impeachment. Further, what Pelosi has done, is sure to be a huge disappointment to those who want Trump impeached, since he’s not impeached until the articles are delivered to the Senate, and that will lead them to stay home instead of voting for Democrats that say one thing and do another. Meanwhile Trump’s supporters (and I am now one, after voting for Johnson) are mad as hell about the Democrats abusing their power and doing everything they can to get rid of Trump. What Pelosi is doing helps Trump.

              I suspect she plans to deliver the articles to the Senate just before the election showing their partisanship and their real reason for impeachment. Personally, McConnell and Trump should tell Pelosi they the Senate majority party will treat the minority party, with the same fairness the House majority treated the House minority. And we’ll see if she likes that.

              1. There are two reasons to support Trump. 1. You are Trump. 2. You are stupid. Mr. Trump, is that you?

            4. “I don’t think the fence-sitters see what you think is the obvious DJT guilt.”

              If you had any insight, this would be meaningful.

              “Non-partisans are that way because they hate politics for being so slimy. ”

              See? You don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. You’ve taken a statement that is true for a small subset, and applied it generally to the entire set.

          2. “and the fairly obvious fact that DJT did was the articles say he did.”

            Well, yes and no. I mean, obviously he made a call, and didn’t roll over and play dead when the Democrats subpoenaed him.

            But a lot of what the articles say has to do with WHY he did what he did, and rely for their strength on the person reading them making inferences hostile to Trump. If you don’t have that predilection to assume the worst about Trump, the articles look like jokes.

            Trump’s problem here is that something like 95% of the media coverage is going to cover this story as though those inferences were just a given, rather than a leap of faith.

            I think what Pelosi wants, if she can get it, (She’s VERY unlikely to get it.) is a trial something like that media coverage. One where everybody who testifies treats the inferences as face, and nothing is presented to demonstrate the validity of opposing inferences.

            She’s not going to get it, but she pretty much can count on the media coverage treating McConnell’s failure to give it to her as a whitewash.

            In the end it keeps coming down to the same thing: The right were absolute morons to allow the left to achieve this level of media dominance without any challenge.

            1. You’re insisting on your own reality, Brett.

              “The right were absolute morons to allow the left to achieve this level of media dominance without any challenge.”

              Because AM talk radio and Fox News don’t exist in your world, apparently.

        2. Pelosi pushed this through to support their pending cases for Grand Jury material and to compel McGahan to testify.

          They need access to that political dirt to drip and leak it over the next campaign season.

          1. She knew she was never going to get McGahn or anyone else to testify because the court made clear that McGahn had to show up but the President’s attorney had to be made available to use Executive Privilege. This is in total opposition to #ChickenSchiff not allowing the President’s attorney to be in the House for depositions, etc.

      2. “Since the Dems know they will lose when this matter gets to the Senate, they want to delay that as long as possible. ”

        Not at all. Since the Dems know they will lose in the Senate, they’re obviously not doing this for the Senate, but for someone else.

        1. Sure, impeachment has never been about the Senate. But it’s tone deaf, and self defeating, to play games with the impeachment process in order to get the non-partisan independents that were turned off by the House secret hearings and turned against impeachment.

          Their best shot would have been to play it straight then carp about McConnell playing games, as difficult as that course would have been. McConnell has the iron clad excuse that it was unanimously approved for the Clinton impeachment, but if they complain loud enough it might peel off some voters. Now not only is it hard to explain, but even after it’s been explained it won’t make any sense.

          The only possible strategy I can see is if they hope to wait until say the GOP convention to transmit it, but at that point it will either be summarily dismissed, or postponed until after the election.

          1. “Their best shot would have been to play it straight then carp about McConnell playing games, as difficult as that course would have been. McConnell has the iron clad excuse that it was unanimously approved for the Clinton impeachment”

            Except that the D’s are trying to keep Mitch from changing the rules to “no evidence presented, no witnesses called”, as is his stated intention. Mitch’s “iron clad excuse”? Not even.

            1. Those are options under the current Senate rules. And the Senators opted not to hear witnesses directly during the Clinton impeachment, they may opt differently this time.

              All those options are open according to the rules, 51 votes decides which options will be selected.

              1. ” 51 votes decides which options will be selected.”

                And public opinion influences the way those 50* votes will be cast.
                *50, not 51, because Pence breaks ties.

      3. Since the Dems know they will lose when this matter gets to the Senate, they want to delay that as long as possible. They will keep raising procedural arguments; they will keep finding excuses for not presenting the case to the Senate.

        Wanna bet?

        Because you’re wrong. They’ll bring it to the Senate within a few weeks.

        1. Meh. Nail down your timeframe. NOTHING is going to happen in the next week, maybe two. The month after that is when it starts to get stale… The D’s want impeachment to be hanging over Trump as we go into primary season; they don’t want failure to impeach hanging over their candidate(s). But that timeframe is a bit longer than “a few weeks”.

          1. I stand by my prediction.

            In practical terms the whole issue is moot while the senate is out of town. Once the holidays are over and the senate reconvenes, it becomes a real issue. Once that happens, Pelosi gets a bit of short term leverage by holding up transmission of impeachment to the senate. That leverage evaporates quickly, so she’s just not going to keep it longer than a few weeks.

    2. ” The House could have impeached DJT for picking his nose in the Lincoln bedroom, and it would have the same effect.”

      Not on non-partisans. You know, the people who will decide who’s President in 2021.

      “The Democrats have demonstrated time and again that they pay no heed to the Constitution”

      This is the R party line. Non-partisans, by definition, don’t follow the party line.

      1. You obviously don’t understand that non-partisans are non-partisans. They despise all politicians. They aren’t watching and waiting and tallying up points for each politician. They simply see slime and write them all off as ordinary politicians.

        Except Trump, who is more forthright and “honest” than any politician in memory.

        You simply do not understand than non-partisans really are non-partisan. You keep seeing them as partisans who haven’t made up their mind yet.

        1. “You obviously don’t understand that non-partisans are non-partisans.”

          Obviously. Whereas you know each one of them personally, and can summarize several million people in a couple of sentences.

          “Except Trump, who is more forthright and ‘honest’ than any politician in memory.”

          In the sense that lies even more often than professional, lifelong politicians. I now that your opinion need not be taken seriously.

          1. You really don’t get it. People know all politicians lie. They know Trump lies. But Trump is not mealy-mouthed like all the others, and that differentiates him from all the others.

            You really ought to get out of your political bubble.

            1. Do you consider yourself one of these non-partisans, or partisan-right (you’re obviously not partisan-left)?

            2. “Trump is not mealy-mouthed like all the others, and that differentiates him from all the others.”

              You’re unfamiliar with Mr. Trump, then? Haven’t learned yet?

              “You really ought to get out of your political bubble.”

              … is advice you should heed before you lecture others.

  2. Wow. Impeachment is a sovereign power of the People, and Whittington turns not to history, not to the Constitution itself, but to the Oklahoma Supreme Court to find out what it is. Remarkable.

    1. Ya, flyover country is so irrelevant. Nothing to see there!

      And Whittington hasn’t written anything else on impeachment, so in effect, he’s written nothing.

      While you have written … well, nothing.

    2. You’re picking at a nit that isn’t there.

      “Whittington turns not to history, not to the Constitution itself, but to the Oklahoma Supreme Court…”

      The Oklahoma Supreme Court addressing a direct analog of this clause in the past…. You know, in history, where other people had to analyze the same basic problem and their opinions are informative.

      And when trying to determine the specific procedural points you complain about not turning to the constitution itself when the constitution gives none of those procedural points? Where, pray tell, in the constitution does it specify at which point an impeachment has been achieved? Unless you subscribe to the Indian philosophy about Constitutions why would you even expect to find such in one?

      Ultimately this ought not be material, and that it hasn’t happened much at any level is a good indicator that all of our predecessors agreed. But the shenanigans of the factions today necessitated it, so your complaint should really be at them for playing shenanigans rather than acting based on settled expectations – not that the historical practice was ideal, but it was settled for centuries, even if rarely used.

      1. Are you a lawyer?

        1. Probably from Oklahoma, so he’s irrelevant too.

        2. I didn’t realize you were a credentialist.

          No, my doctorate is in a field that advances the human condition, though I’ve won every case I’ve argued – which is funnily saying more than many lawyers who have never argued a case at all.

          Should you look for it, you’ll find my legal legacy in the San Diego Superior Court, proving that the State is a damn liar and can’t do arithmetic (red light cameras, specifically) – or just so incompetent that they’re incapable of intentional deceit. Always hard to tell at that point.

      2. “Where, pray tell, in the constitution does it specify at which point an impeachment has been achieved?”

        In the part where it says that impeachment is the sole power of the House. This means that the House decides what is an impeachable offense, and when the President has been impeached. It also precludes anyone else from offering an authoritative answer… not the Oklahome Supreme Court, no even the US Supreme Court.

        1. And yet they’ve voted to impeach and here are others claiming that notwithstanding the lack of any House rules or other authorizations of power, the Speaker of the House – who has no intrinsic powers here, only that delegated by the House – can veto the House’s actions and un-veto them at the time of her choosing.

          You can’t have this one both ways – it’s either exclusively up the the House (and they’ve already impeached, the Senate can vote immediately as far as the House is concerned) or it’s not exclusively up to the House and the Speaker has some intrinsic power to determine whether she deigns to allow the House to act under its own powers; not because the House delegated that to her, but because the Constitution somehow requires it.

          But you may cry, the House could have granted such power to the Speaker! Or they could have structured a two part vote, the first to decide if they would deliberate on actually impeaching (which has been done) and the second on how to follow through on an actual impeachment (which under this theory has not happened, and would likely include delegating House managers to go to the Senate)! And indeed you’re right, they could have done that….. but they haven’t, so declaring the importance of what they could have done, but didn’t do, and how that never-enacted policy must override what they have facially done is just motivated reasoning. I like this outcome because my guy wins, therefore it’s the right outcome, has never convinced anyone who didn’t agree with it from the outset.

          1. “You can’t have this one both ways – it’s either exclusively up the the House (and they’ve already impeached, the Senate can vote immediately as far as the House is concerned) or it’s not exclusively up to the House and the Speaker has some intrinsic power to determine whether she deigns to allow the House to act under its own powers”

            You sure can have it both ways. All you have to do is recognize that “impeached” can have two slightly different meanings. The President is effectively impeached (the hard part is done), but he is not yet formally impeached (because there’s a holdup in the paperwork). This distinction is not lost on lawyers (the Complaint is written, but not yet filed) or anyone who has experience with bureaucracy (the decision is made, but the paperwork isn’t ready).

            1. The case on point is Nixon v United States. Walter Nixon was chief judge of the Southern District of Mississippi. SCOTUS said that the word “sole” is exclusive. Yep, it means what it says, and the power of impeachment is NOT even reviewable by SCOTUS. Likewise, the Senate may conduct its proceedings – not “trial” – as it so chooses – by committee and not the entire body it it so elects, and Walter Nixon (along with SCOTUS) has jack shit to say about it.

  3. I think the #1 take-away lesson here is that Congress should pass laws to define all of the terms and processes involved here, so we don’t have more Constitutional crises like this one.

    As long as it is left up to tradition, rules that change session-by-session (or more frequently!), and the whims of politicians, it will continue to cause problems.

    1. What would be the point of that? If the House doesn’t follow the statute, to whom are you going to deliver your complaint? The Constitution says “sole power”, which means the Courts have no say in the matter. And who, exactly, would have standing to file a lawsuit, anyway? The only one injured in any way by the House sitting on the impeachment is the Vice President, who MIGHT get a promotion if the impeachment goes forward, but isn’t guaranteed a promotion.

      1. “Sole Power” means that no one else can perform an impeachment, not that only the House can make any judgement about what goes on involving impeachment. Unless you think the House could, say, torture people during its impeachment investigation…?

        Standing, trivially, belongs to the person impeached, plus anyone else mentioned in the defining laws.

        This isn’t a hard concept – the Constitution lists a lot of high-level concepts for the House, and the details are implemented in laws. Why can that not be done here?

        1. “Unless you think the House could, say, torture people during its impeachment investigation…?”

          I suppose they could, although an awful lot of them are kind of feeble old men, so I don’t know how severe the torture would be.

          “This isn’t a hard concept – the Constitution lists a lot of high-level concepts for the House, and the details are implemented in laws. Why can that not be done here?”

          The challenge is one of praticality. You can write a law that has absolutely no impact on what happens in the real world, but why would you bother? You need to build in a method of enforcement. Who or what does what, exactly, if the law is breached? Note that all your normal enforcement is out the door here… if you give the President the power to enforce this hypothetical law, he’ll just declare that Congress is in breach, dissolve them, and announce that elections are now advisory only.

          1. …what? You make no sense whatsoever.

            The enforcement mechanism for laws regarding impeachment would be the same enforcement as any inter-branch regulation – the courts. Congress, or the President, sues, and the courts dispose. It happens all the time, it is happening right now, and it will happen next year no matter what comes from this impeachment.

            1. How, exactly, does “the courts” enforce anything?
              Assume Congress writes the statutes, as suggested. It gets through both houses, and presentment. And then… they decide not to follow it. The court (whichever one, doesn’t matter) says stern things about it. And then?

              1. Well, then, JP, how does ANY ruling against the Executive branch get enforced? How would an impeachment and convection today get enforced?

                1. Historically, because either the Executive, or the various officers under him, agree to do so. It’s why officers only swear to obey the lawful orders of persons lawfully appointed over them.

        2. Wrong. Sole power means just that. Nixon vs United States.

  4. The Dems have us arguing about procedure; this seems like the old litigation trick where the attorneys keep the parties arguing and keep finding new procedural issues to make motions on…thus delaying the process again and again. The case goes on for years as the possibility of arguing about the merits gets pushed more and more into the background.

    1. As the Republicans did in the House proceedings.

      1. True. The GOP was attempting to delay the process and called into question the fairness of the process. The difference is, they were complaining about the process in their own house of the legislature; since they were in the minority, all they could do is make procedural arguments. And, the rules of the body allowed them to make their complaints.
        But now we are moving to one house of the legislature complaining about the other house’s rules.

        1. Very true but, in the end, does it really matter? It does if one looks at the issue from a structural-functional point of view but my sense is that we’re moving beyond that into uncharted waters.

          1. Are we really?

            Currently, the Senate will not proceed with a trial because the Senate rules require that the House do something before they proceed. The House can refuse to participate in the Senate’s process, but it is still the Senate’s process – one the Senate can change at will.
            On the other hand, if the Senate adopts rules that do not require the House’s participation, but the House still attempts to claim some further control over the process, then we’re back to a Constitutional crisis… but I really don’t think we’re there yet.

            IMO – Trump is impeached, and the House’s involvement in that Constitutional process is over. All that remains is the trial in the Senate, under the rules of the Senate.

            1. I get that and you believe Trump has been impeached. I think he has been too but I also believe that in the bigger scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. I have seen the House role in impeachment compared to that of indictment and the Senate’s role to that of the trial. I’m not sure that’s right and at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. I suppose it might if the Senate was to be viewed as a sober adjudicator of the facts but everybody knows that is not the case.

            2. “On the other hand, if the Senate adopts rules that do not require the House’s participation, but the House still attempts to claim some further control over the process, then we’re back to a Constitutional crisis…”

              I think that would cost the R’s control of the Senate. The House currently does have a role in the trial… they appoint the prosecutor(s) who argue the case for conviction. To rewrite the rules to take them out of the process is a pretty naked attempt to fix the trial. Absolutely true if they go with Mitch’s no witnesses/no-new-evidence trial plan. Cut the only people who saw the witnesses out of the trial? Pretty hard to spin the resultant “trial” as, well, a trial.

              1. It if it’s presented as :
                “Congressmen come on up and present your case”
                [congressmen pout in a corner that they don’t get to control]
                “OK, now that we’ve heard from the House and they’ve declined to present anything we”ll vote on a motion to dismiss for lack of prosecution “
                The end.

                1. “The end.”

                  Followed the next week by the sequel, as the House passes shiny new articles of impeachment, and send them over to the Senate.

                  1. Senate: “the accused has been acquitted. No double jeopardy.”

                    1. Well, first of all, being impeached and tried in the Senate isn’t even single jeopardy. But what’s your source for this “no double jeopardy” rule?

            3. “On the other hand, if the Senate adopts rules that do not require the House’s participation, but the House still attempts to claim some further control over the process, then we’re back to a Constitutional crisis”

              There’s no constitutional crisis there, any more than if the House claimed control over anything else going on in the Senate. The House just loses, period, and there’s nothing they can do to change that.

              I think Beckman is right here: If the Senate sets a reasonable trial date, the House refuses to participate, and the Senate then dismisses the charges for failure to present a case, people are going to look at that and think it’s reasonable. Because in that scenario, it IS the House behaving unreasonably.

              1. “There’s no constitutional crisis there, any more than if the House claimed control over anything else going on in the Senate. The House just loses, period, and there’s nothing they can do to change that.”

                A least, that’s what would happen if you were in charge of deciding the outcome. Since you’re not, though, all that is an amusing hypothetical.

                1. So, what do you see the House doing in response to the Senate doing this, that amounts to a “crisis”? Voting to impeach again, and then not sending the charges to the Senate again, only extra hard?

                  1. “So, what do you see the House doing in response to the Senate doing this, that amounts to a “crisis”? Voting to impeach again”

                    Pretty much, yeah, that plus waiting for it to be November.

  5. It’s easy to slip into “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin” territory although I certainly don’t begrudge it on a law blog. In practical terms, we know that the House has approved the articles of impeachment and we know that the Senate will acquit the President at the conclusion of the trial…whenever that is. The Democrats are using parliamentary tactics not unlike the Republicans’ refusal to give Merrick Garland a hearing on his nomination. Frustrating? No doubt but that’s politics and impeachment is a political process.

    The House has registered its disapproval of the president’s conduct and in today’s environment of competing truths, that is probably as clear as we are likely to see. One can try to place this situation within a history of impeachments and partisan politics but I don’t think it fits. When somebody says “this time is different” I usually say “okay boomer” but I think this time is different. The willingness of one faction to declare the sky not blue doesn’t easily allow for adherence to precedent or to optimism that checks and balances will keep the system on course. There are no easy answers or solutions and it will be interesting to see how political life in America unfolds.

    1. The partisan party-line vote is reminiscent of last time around. And this:
      Clinton was guilty of what he was accused of, and so is Trump.

      1. Absolutely. But the senate trial isn’t just judging if the accused did what he was accused of, but also whether those charges warrant impeachment. Failing to impeach when the party is clearly ‘guilty as charged’ just means that the senate doesn’t think those actions warrant removal from office.

        Andrew Johnson also did what he was accused of. No presidential impeachment proceeding in US history has actually hinged on whether or not the accused was guilty as charged.

        1. ” Failing to impeach when the party is clearly ‘guilty as charged’ just means that the senate doesn’t think those actions warrant removal from office.”

          Yes. Now, the Senate D’s have their votes to convict ready because “he’s guilty, and we think that’s clear and obvious”. I think they can say these words or something similar, directly into the camera and sound sincere.
          But over on the other side, are they saying “these are serious charges, but not serious enough to convict despire the fact that we’re not disputing that he did it”? I haven’t heard that. But we did hear Mitch say he planned to offer a trial structured as closely as possible to what the President’s lawyers want.
          The R’s in the Senate want Trump to be President, rather than someone who might actually be qualified for the job. They want this because a lot of their voters want this, too. When 1/3 of your country’s citizens want an incompetent buffoon to lead their nation, your country is headed for trouble.

  6. Obviously nothing is going to happen if the Senate doesn’t want it to regardless of anyone pretending otherwise. Outside of this and what the Constitution says writing three articles about this is kind of like writing three articles about how many angels you can fit on the head of a pin.

    1. “”Obviously nothing is going to happen if the Senate doesn’t want it to regardless of anyone pretending otherwise. ”

      There’s a very small but nonzero chance that the Senate R’s might actually take this opportunity to ditch the albatross, and try to get President Pence re-elected, or open a slot so one or more R Senators can run in 2020.

      1. While it’s true we live in a quantum universe, where every conceivable event has some non-zero probability, that’s a pretty low probability event indeed. As it requires a substantial fraction of the Senate GOP caucus to decide at the same time that they want to retire.

        That is, after all, the likely response to their doing that: An enraged Republican voting base removing them from office at the next election.

        At the very least, they’d have to contrive to do this after the primaries, to prevent them from being replaced on the ballot. That might buy them one election cycle, those states where the Senate races were particularly noncompetitive.

        You’d have to ask why they’d do that, when Trump is NOT that clearly awful from a Republican standpoint. NSA blackmail?

        1. “As it requires a substantial fraction of the Senate GOP caucus to decide at the same time that they want to retire.”

          well, 1, a bunch of Republicans ARE retiring, but also 2) only 1/3 of Senators are up for re-election next year. The other 2/3 can try to appeal to, say, the evangelicals who follow the Christianity Today side of the argument, and might actually prefer President Pence. I forget… are there any evangelicals in the Republican base?

          “You’d have to ask why they’d do that, when Trump is NOT that clearly awful from a Republican standpoint. ”

          Before he was elected, a number of prominent Republicans found him clearly awful. Some, apparently, still harbor that opinion, unless you’re buying the “‘far left’ Christianity Today” line of argument.

          1. ” The other 2/3 can try to appeal to, say, the evangelicals who follow the Christianity Today side of the argument”

            That’s a pretty small faction among the evangelicals, I gather.

            “Before he was elected, a number of prominent Republicans found him clearly awful.”

            No question that’s true. For some time now there’s been a serious disconnect between the Republican party establishment, and the Republican voting base. At the federal level, the party has been running a bait and switch on it’s voters for decades.

            Trump committed two great sins in the eyes of the GOP establishment.

            1) He bypassed their gatekeeper function. They didn’t approve of him, and he got the nomination anyway. Then he compounded that by winning the general election despite their not terribly subtle efforts to throw the election to Hillary.

            This is a pretty freaking big deal as far as they’re concerned: He has the potential to displace them from their position of power and influence, and thus graft. Of course they’re going to find that awful.

            2) Worse, he seems to be taking the voters’ side on a number of issues such as immigration where the party establishment has a strict policy of promising, but never, ever delivering.

            So, I’ve no doubt that there’s a large faction in the GOP Senate caucus who’d be glad to get rid of Trump, if they could find some way to do so without being thrown out of office. That’s the catch, and why Trump is almost certain to be acquitted.

            1. “Worse, he seems to be taking the voters’ side on a number of issues such as immigration where the party establishment has a strict policy of promising, but never, ever delivering.”

              Mr. Trump is supremely skilled at the art of promising, but not actually delivering. That’s why he needs dirt on Biden (or whoever), because if he runs on his record, he’s going to lose.

              The R base love Mr. Trump because he drives the liberals nuts, and they’re willing to overlook the things that should be driving them nuts, too.

  7. The only reason this question has become important, unlike with previous impeachments, is that there’s a possibility the House won’t go to the Senate with its charges, or will delay doing so.

    With other Congressional impeachments in the past, the only thing which would deter the House from moving forward promptly was the resignation of the suspect/defendant. Obviously, that’s not the case in this situation.

    So with previous impeachments, there was no need to worry our pretty heads about when the act of impeachment took place, it would either come promptly or the issue would be mooted by resignation. We’ve never had the House push the “pause” button before while the accused was still in office.

  8. “He just got impeached. He’ll be impeached forever. No matter what the Senate does. He’s impeached forever because he violated our Constitution,” [Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi] said.

    So it seems the Speaker of the House, the body charged by the Constitution to impeach, has announced that the President has been impeached.

    Were I Mitch McConnell, I would say, that is good enough for me. Let’s proceed.

    1. Dare I suggest that, since McConnell has already violated his impartiality, those who Republicans who otherwise would follow his lead could find their consciences and act on what they believe to be constitutionally proper – especially after giving their oaths and affirmations to do impartial justice?

      This is all the more awkward since McConnell will probably take some semblance of the right position, but do it for the wrong reasons. I’d rather have a Senator who does the wrong thing for the right reasons – i. e., not political calculation but a conscientious attempt to fulfill his oath or affirmation to do impartial justice.

      1. How could McConnell have violated his impartiality, when he has not yet taken any oath to be impartial?

        What about the Senators that stood up in public, multiple times over the last few weeks – including on Thursday – and stated that they intend to convict, even though there hasn’t been a trial yet?

        And what could be done, since there is no mechanism for removal or replacement of Senators for an impeachment vote?

        1. There’s really no remedy – not even elections, because the voters will probably use the wrong criteria.

          So the Senators should judge fairly, without expecting any reward except calumny. If they manage to judge fairly – if McConnell and Warren manage it – I’m sorry for having been so mean to them.

          1. Judge what fairly? And how?

            The House didn’t allege any violations of law, so it’s a political accusation. The Senate really is judging only whether asking for an investigation of Biden, and refusing to comply with the subpoenas without being ordered by the courts is grounds for removing the President.

            I can’t see any need of impartiality, because there really aren’t any facts to dispute. It just comes down to their political judgement.

            If an actual crime was alleged I would expect more actual impartiality in fact finding, but there are remarkably few facts in dispute here, and none of them really impact the offenses as charged.

            Which of course is why the House didn’t charge bribery, because it would be easy to dismiss the charges on the grounds of hearsay, and the alleged facts not supporting the legal definition of bribery.

            1. “The Senate really is judging only whether asking for an investigation of Biden”

              If he’d only for an investigation of Biden, he wouldn’t be in this fix. The problem is that he asked for an investigation of an investigation of Biden while holding up the military aid Ukraine needs to expel the Russians from Ukraine.

    2. “I wonder how many super-heroes have their initial on the front of their costume like Robin to help people remember who they are?”

      Do you partake of many trials in which the prosecutor is not invited to participate? No wonder you’re bored.

        1. This is what I cut and intended to quote:

          “Were I Mitch McConnell, I would say, that is good enough for me. Let’s proceed.”

          1. Not only if I were McConnell, but being me I think he should proceed. After all, if the House actually disagrees they could always impeach him again, show up and prosecute their case as the last presidential impeachment was, or try to withdraw the impeachment (not sure how that one plays out – House impeaches, Senate starts a trial, House passes a resolution revoking their impeachment, Senate votes to convict and remove – what happens then, and who decides?).

  9. For those who say there is only one conceivable outcome in the Senate, please do not expect any non-Trump supporters to take you seriously.

    Conceding for the sake of argument that forcing Trump’s removal from office is out of the discussion, there remain two distinguishable Senate outcomes:

    1. Trump gets his Senate exoneration after a brief sham process, with no witnesses and no new evidence.

    2. Trump gets his Senate exoneration in the light of evidence, during a procedure where Senators and the truth are brought together in the same room—and afterwards Senators get judged politically, using as yardstick for judgment evidence everyone has seen presented to them.

    The first method, the one McConnell clearly favors, and probably most Republican Senators favor too, is the one which will prove damaging long-term to the nation’s ability to conduct its politics. Anyone can see that. And the trouble will start immediately. Dismissing Trump’s impeachment arbitrarily will neither strip the House of its power, nor strip it of its will to investigate. It will only force the House to be more patient, and possibly to be more assertive about the use of its own Constitutional powers. More extreme confrontations could lie ahead because of that.

    Thus, I am not sure all Republican Senators will be willing to back an arbitrary process. If only 4 defect, McConnell and the Republicans lose control. A full, open trial in the Senate could come to be seen generally as the best way to conclude the impeachment crisis, lifting the cloud from Trump’s presidency, while leaving only a minimal political hangover. Trump might prefer that himself.

    My own view is different, of course. I think a full trial in the Senate would destroy Trump, and drive him from office. I think pretty much all the advocates for arbitrary process think that too. That is why using arbitrary process is so dangerous. Its ability to create ill feeling and vengeful counter-initiatives will go on and on, with a virulence which only Trump’s future conduct will fully measure.

    1. Of course a “full, open trial in the Senate” is the way to go.

      But the House can’t force that outcome. The only power they have is to guarantee the opposite outcome, by refusing to bring forward their chargers opportunely.

      But if they bring forward their charges opportunely and the Senate misbehaves, then at least the House did its duty – assuming that’s what they did by going ahead with the impeachment, but this is a hypothetical.

      1. But as a side note, a full, open trial in the Senate seems to be getting obsolete in impeachment trials. For district court judges, at least, they have the witnesses testify to a committee of 12 Senators, then the full Senate debates without hearing the witnesses. IIRC they didn’t have a full trial with evidence in the Clinton impeachment.

        Which is in my mind unconstitutional but since there’s no judicial review of such things, the Senate could get away with it if it wished.

        1. The Clinton impeachment trial had three witnesses, whose testimony was given by deposition, IIRC.

        2. “Which is in my mind unconstitutional”

          How so? Do you have a cite for that?

          Article I, Sec. 5 is pretty clear that it is totally up to the Senate how the trial will proceed: ‘Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings”.

          1. And that clause of the Constitution was later amended by the 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments, so pointing out that the Senate can set its own rules doesn’t really hold water when their ability to set arbitrary rules has been curtailed in other areas.

            Or at least that’s the argument. Whether the right to confront your accusers attaches to impeachment isn’t clear to me, but it’s not frivolous to argue that it does, and is thus unconstitutional to violate.

            1. The 6th amendment only applies to criminal trials. Impeachment is not a criminal trial even if/when a crime is the basis for impeachment. 5th amendment due process probably isn’t helpful since it doesn’t say what process is due and the Constitution commits to the Senate the ability to answer that question (political question doctrine would therefore apply). I’m not sure what relevance the 4th amendment has here?

              1. Right, I don’t find it particularly convincing either, but that’s the argument. Just because I can understand it doesn’t mean I think it’s right – though always funny how often people can’t understand an argument precisely because they think it’s wrong.

                But there’s also evidence from the common law of England prior to the revolution that impeachment were criminal prosecutions (remember they tended to end in prison sentences then), so how do we know it’s not a criminal trial? What if the charge is Treason?

                1. “But there’s also evidence from the common law of England prior to the revolution that impeachment were criminal prosecutions (remember they tended to end in prison sentences then), so how do we know it’s not a criminal trial? What if the charge is Treason?”

                  The last paragraph of I-3 explains: “Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.” In other words, if an act is both impeachable and criminal, the two aspects are tried separately.

                  This was indeed not the case in England, where the House of Lords could impose criminal penalties in addition to removal from office. But the Lords were until recently the highest court in most of the UK, so this made sense. The difference is an application of the USA’s separation of powers.

            2. “And that clause of the Constitution was later amended by the 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments”

              “Whether the right to confront your accusers attaches to impeachment isn’t clear to me”

              It’s in pretty clear English. Let’s bring the sixth amendment into this.
              “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”

              By its text, the sixth amendment applies to criminal prosecutions. The Senate does not perform any criminal prosecutions, therefore the sixth amendment does not apply to the Senate, and (whoops) your premise was that it does. Since your premise is false, your conclusion(s) is/are invalid.

      2. I tend to disagree. A better route for the Senate would be a rebuke to the house with a quick dismissal. True, the Senate needs to have an impeachment trail if requested by the house, but the House has pushed a political matter instead of a legal one. The Senate has no obligation to play the House’s stupid political games and could simply rule on the law.

        Exactly the same thing should happen if you went in front of a judge and requested the defendant be convicted because he is generally a bad guy. I would think that “Get out of my courtroom until you actually have a broken law and some legal process” would apply in both cases. The simplest Senate path is dismissal for lack of a concrete charge by the house.

        1. ” The simplest Senate path is dismissal for lack of a concrete charge by the house.”

          Assuming their goal is to make the D’s run the Senate for a while, that’s EXACTLY the path they should take.
          There’s two paths to a “not guilty” vote. One is to claim that he didn’t do it. That path seems pretty closed off by the fact that he did it. The other is to claim that, although he’s guilty, what he’s actually guilty doesn’t warrant removal. To get to that point, they need a trial where they look at all the evidence, and then explain why it doesn’t matter.
          A cover-up acquittal that doesn’t bother to actually address the charges just looks bad. There’s a chance Trump might be able to win on his disregard for political norms. The establishment R’s in the Senate can’t. Some of them will win because they come from states that have a lot more party-loyal R’s in them than other kinds of voters, but that isn’t enough to keep control of the Senate.

    2. “Trump gets his Senate exoneration after a brief sham process, with no witnesses and no new evidence.”

      Are you saying Clinton’s impeachment trial was a sham process? Those were the rules then and likely will remain the rules.

      But I won’t dispute that it’s a sham process, that is all the Senate and the House are equipped to handle. With the sole possible exception of the Senate Watergate hearings, I have never seen anything but sham process from any House or Senate hearing in my lifetime. The majority, whoever it is, always stacks the deck, and the outcome is always predetermined before the hearings.

      1. “Are you saying Clinton’s impeachment trial was a sham process?”

        It was, yes. The President’s party didn’t want him removed, and they controlled the Senate. The House that did the impeaching knew that, and went ahead anyway.
        The key difference is that the public, by a slim margin, favors removal this time around. Not as much as when they were talking about impeaching Nixon, but not as little as when they were talking about impeaching Clinton, either.

    3. “ It will only force the House to be more patient, and possibly to be more assertive about the use of its own Constitutional powers”

      You say that like it’s a bad thing. Each house of the Congress actually doing their job rather than offloading it to the Executive seems to be an unalloyed good to me. It’s not even that the Congress has jettisoned their duties due to some emergency – no, they’ve been purely derelict in their duties.

      If there were a question on the Federal ballot that asked, “notwithstanding your vote for any specific person, should the entirety of the a) House, b) Senate, or c) President, or d) none of them be evicted from their position and banned from future running for 5 years” and that took effect if any of them had a national majority of voters I think we’d see a much better government. We each may hate Congress, but each individual congressman tends to be relatively popular in their jurisdiction – that’s why they keep getting re-elected. But an option to kick them all out? I think that would be optioned quite often.

    4. Lathrop, the House made their decision based on the evidence they had. They could have let the judicial process play out, but deliberately chose not to. I personally think that was a critical error.

      Now let the House present the case to the jury (the Senate).

  10. If the House does not present the impeachment to the Senate reasonably promptly, they will greatly undermine the legitimacy of what they have done. People will reasonably argue that the reason for their delay is that they don’t have a case and they don’t have evidence to present.

    If the Senate railroads the trial, that’s the Senate’s problem, not the House’s. The House has no say in the matter. They need to respect institutional boundaries here. They need to do their job, and let the Senate do its. If the Senate jumps to a conclusion without hearing any evidence, they can be criticized for it.

    1. “If the Senate railroads the trial, that’s the Senate’s problem, not the House’s. The House has no say in the matter.”

      Any complaints from the House would ring hollow anyway, they ran their own railroad to impeach Trump. But I would question the term ‘railroad’ in an aquittal, the bias should always be towards an aquittal.

      1. ” I would question the term ‘railroad’ in an aquittal, the bias should always be towards an aquittal.”

        A quibble and a major complaint. The quibble: In impeachment, there is no presumption of innocence. The “bias towards an acquittal” comes from the supermajority requirement to convict. The major complaint: The bias should be towards accuracy… conviction for the guilty, acquittal for the innocent. Trump actually did was the articles say he did. AFAIK, none of the Senators rising to his defense have raised actual innocence as the defense they’d stand behind.

  11. ” In particular, is the “power of impeachment” the power to go into the Senate, level an accusation, and demand a trial?”

    This one. Note that demanding something and getting it are not identical.

    There’s been a lot of discussion about who has the power to do what, with a lot of things being floated as possible. The key thing to recall is that behind all the things that are possible, there are voters paying attention, and they get to decide which things they liked, and which they did not, next November.

    So, for example, Mitch could simply decline to schedule an impeachment trial into the Senate’s calendar. The new McConnell rule… no impeachment trials during an election year. It’s possible he could do that. He’s not even up for election in 2020, so he’d have a couple more years to convince Kentucky voters that he’s the guy they want in the Senate. But, it would be likely that in 2021 Mitch would have to run for Senate Minority Leader, because non-partisans and swing voters might take the message that Mitch and the R’s don’t really want to run the Senate anymore, and keeping things from happening in the Senate is traditionally something the minority party does.

    In the other direction, suppose Mitch goes ahead and holds a “trial” in which no witnesses are allowed to be called to testify, and no new evidence is presented. The R’s refuse to convict. Can the House D’s do anything about it, other than run a few hundred million ads pointing out that the Senate rigged the trial? Well, they could vote to impeach him AGAIN, which the R base would consider beating a dead horse, and the D base would consider just loverly, and the non-partisan/swing voters would consider… who knows? You’re certainly not going to get a conviction out of it, but Trump would get to be the only President impeached twice. Does that get him sympathy sufficient to overcome the deficiency of voters who wanted the other guy last time? Or does it label him tainted goods?

    Stop the ride. I want to get off.

    1. The more important question in a multiple impeachment result is how the disinterested masses react.

      Do they punish the Democrats (this time) for flogging a dead horse and forgetting what MoveOn.org was founded on? Or do they punish Trump for being a distraction*?It would set a terrible precedent that you can ensure the opposing party’s president only gets one term if you’re able to continuously impeach him.

      *punishing Trump for being bad would be a good outcome, but impeaching him for being distracting would be a terrible one – that’s a hecklers veto writ large.

  12. Johnson’s dictionary defined Impeach as “to accuse by public authority”.

    If say he’s been impeached.

  13. So tell me this. An impeachment by the House is like an indictment, and let’s assume Trump has been impeached, whether or not that’s true by legal argument. But a trial has to be held by the Senate. In a trial, there must be presumption of innocence, am I wrong? So, until convicted by the Senate, if ever, Trump is entitled to be considered innocent of the high crimes/misdemeanors/treason that he has been accused of. Innocent until proven guilty must hold even for a political trial. So, call him impeached, or not, as you like — for it matters not until there’s a trial and he’s convicted. And, until then, he must be considered innocent. All you can say at the present moment in time is “he’s been indicted, sort of, or maybe not, depending on what you think about the silly pilpul the legal eagles are scratching their bald heads about.”

    1. ” In a trial, there must be presumption of innocence, am I wrong?”

      I’d say probably not.
      In a criminal court, there’s provision for voir dire, to exclude jurors who are not impartial (either way). Apply that to the Senate, and there’s no jury.

      1. The presumption of innocence is of course there. If there is never a trial he is still innocent.

        And I think the 2/3 majority conviction requirement mostly rules out a conviction for political purposes.

        It will be difficult, if not impossible to get a conviction in the Senate with these charges and these facts because that’s the way the founders designed it.

        Damn they were good.

  14. How very interesting as an academic point of debate. In the court of public opinion, all this latest maneuver does is provide fresh new ammunition to partisans and fresh new evidence that no one is being sincere.

  15. For me the bigger question is if he is not yet impeached would they need to take a new vote in the new House session or was this vote good until another is passed saying otherwise?

  16. “When it’s brutally obvious so none of this matters.”

    That’s when.

  17. All of this does not matter since the power of impeachment here was used in bad faith, based upon a complete sham, with the sole intent of trying to undo the proper and lawful election of Trump. The left is abusing the levers of of power in the constitution to try to obtain their obvious stated goal of “resisting” Trump and the right. These abuses cannot be allowed to stand. It is time to hold the left accountable.

    1. “All of this does not matter since the power of impeachment here was used in bad faith, based upon a complete sham”

      Yeah, but the complete sham’s term still has more than a year left to run.

  18. Didn’t the U.S. Supreme Court decide several years ago, when considering some pretty ambiguous language in the federal removal statute, that a defendant’s ability to remove a state court action filed against it only when service was made, and not when the soon-to-be defendant was provided, pre-filing, with a draft of the complaint? If the Senate is where the trial is to take place, doesn’t it make sense that the proceedings don’t begin until a trial is demanded there.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.