Unless U.S. voters are living under a rock, (I would not be surprise of there are a few of the them) they likely know that there is an impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump’s activities in relation to the Ukraine. The country remains highly partisan with the Republicans and Trump supporters firmly behind the idea that the impeachment inquiry is about taking votes away from Trump voters. The rest of the country wants to see Donald Trump out of office.
Behind this division lies the ongoing process of impeachment.
This week, U.S. voters received the first set of official documents making the case for and against impeachment.
What hasn’t changed are two things. The first is that the country remains heavily divided mainly along the tribal politics of the two political parties. The second is mortifying to me, most U.S. voters really have no clear understanding of the impeachment process.
This can be seen in the debates over “due process” or legal “fairness”. The impeachment process is a constitutional process, not a legal one governed by numerous laws like most criminal proceedings. It can be argued that it is a political process.
But most difficult thing for me to comprehend is the misunderstanding that the impeachment process is the removal from office of the president.
That is the fundamental problem U.S. voters have and why the debates about the impeachment completely misses the boat.
The impeachment process is a constitutionally guaranteed process that attempts to decide whether the president of the United States has violated his oath of office. It is a two-step process.
The first step is the inquiry. Basically it is an attempt to figure out if the president violated his oath of office. Violating the oath of office is ambiguous and political. Thus, the House of Representatives hold hearings to identify the alleged violations and decide if the oath was violated.
The House of Representatives does not determine punitive sanctions. It only identifies and convinces a majority that the alleged violations merit an impeachment.
The second step is the Senate. The House of Representatives issues articles of impeachment, a document alleging the misconduct. Again, no punitive sanctions are levied by the House.
The Senate takes the articles of impeachment and determines whether they are actionable items.
In other words, the Senate must be convinced, through a two-thirds member vote that the allegations are in fact serious enough to issue sanctions against the president.
Herein lies the largest misunderstanding of the impeachment process, a Senate vote accepting some or all the impeachable offenses does not equate to removal from office.
The Senate first determines a violation occurred and then decides what punitive sanctions it will issue.
These can range from nothing, or simple reprimand, or all the way to removal from office.
When U.S. voters argue about “process” or believe that impeachment equals removal from office than it betrays their utter lack of the basic understanding of the U.S. Constitution.
I am a Mexican immigrant with a Mexican education, and I seem to have a better understanding of the U.S. Constitution than many of the U.S. voters who cast votes in U.S. elections.
What does that say about the U.S. voter?
The two documents can be downloaded here:
Click here to view the “Report of Evidence in the Democrat’s Impeachment Inquiry in the House of Representatives”; in essence the GOP response to the House inquiry.
Click here to view The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; “The Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report”