By Douglas V. Gibbs

Impeachment is first mentioned as a granted power in the United States Constitution in Article I, Section 2 of the founding document that established the federal government.  The power is listed as being delegated to, and solely belonging to, the United States House of Representatives.  The word impeachment means “to charge,” or “to indict.”  Once an impeachment by the House is approved by a majority vote, the trial regarding the impeachment according to the Constitution (Article I, Section 3) must then be carried out by the U.S. Senate, with conviction requiring two-thirds approval by the Senators present (with a quorum in place).  An impeachment hearing is a political trial, not a criminal trial, so if an officeholder impeached and convicted is to be led out in handcuffs, a criminal trial must be prosecuted and a criminal conviction reached after they leave office as a result of conviction of an impeachment.  Removal from office is the worse punishment allowed after conviction of impeachment according to the final clause in Article I, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution.  In other words, a President has immunity while in office, but can be criminally prosecuted later, once he is no longer President of the United States.

With all of that in mind, a question arises; regarding President Donald Trump, must criminal charges against a President be a follow-up to an impeachment, or may any alleged criminal activity as President be chased after by those seeking to convict a former President?  The Constitution at the end of Article I, Section 3 does, after all, say that a “party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.”

The way I view the language, the Constitution views the impeachment trial as a political trial, but if it is concerning criminalities, those unlawful activities must be pursued in criminal court after the President has been removed from office.  However, that does not mean that criminal prosecution is limited to those brought up during impeachment.  There may be other criminal activities that were committed during one’s presidency that may not have been a part of an impeachment trial, or may not have even been realized while the person held office, or may not have any legal limitations when it comes to prosecuting those criminalities.  Therefore, illegal activities by a President would be open to prosecution once a President is no longer in office, as well.

This begs the question about criminally charging a President for activities as President after they are out of office as the Democrats are doing to Trump at this moment.  I suppose the answer to that would be tied to if there are any statutes of limitations regarding certain crimes.  Fraud, serious theft, murder, kidnapping, arson, bribery, and perjury have no limitation period, according to the law.  Therefore, yes, a President may be charged in criminal court after the end of his presidency as the left has been doing with President Trump.

The charges, however, no matter how they try to slice and dice them, are not criminal charges, however.  Nearly all of the charges against citizen Trump revolve around his connection to questioning the validity of the 2020 Presidential Election.  He has been accused of trying to overturn the election, or change the results of the election, which are false charges.  As President, according to Article II of the United States Constitution, among his responsibilities he must “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”  The laws he must faithfully execute, and ensure they are executed legally and without outside interference or without any tampering includes election laws.  So, if he believed a violation of election law had taken place and those laws were not being faithfully executed but instead there was illegality regarding the election, would it not be the constitutional duty of the President to bring into question irregularities and anomalies associated with the election?  In other words, his actions regarding doubting the validity of the election were tied to duty, not insurrection or any criminal action.  As President of the United States it was his duty to make sure the election laws were properly executed, and if he believed there were anomalies or irregularities that must be investigated, it was his job as President of the United States to ensure such investigations took place.  Instead, his opponents decided to criminally charge him for attempting to carry out a duty of his Office as President.  One must then ask, why would they do such a thing?  Could it be that the anomalies and irregularities being investigated might lead to their own criminalities?

Now, with a different President in office, one that may not even be supposed to legally hold the Office of the President of the United States, we have President Joseph Biden who is facing an impeachment effort in the House of Representatives.  The impeachment inquiry, however, is being questioned by Republican Senator Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma, who was also once a member of the House of Representatives.  According to Mullin, the impeachment inquiry is regarding actions Biden took while he was vice president, and therefore the impeachment is an unconstitutional one.

If President Trump can be prosecuted for alleged presidential criminalities after his presidency is over, why can’t the same be said for Joseph Biden regarding things that happened while he was Vice President after his time in that office has ended?  As they say, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

The Constitution, when it comes to impeachment, does not specifically state that the charges have to have been allegedly committed during the current office being held by the person in question.  That said, I realize that the idea that one can be impeached for actions prior to taking office could create a precedent that would throw open floodgates that perhaps should not be thrown open.  From Mullin’s point of view, if Biden could be impeached for actions as Vice President, then a terrible precedent could blossom to assume that he could be impeached for actions as a Senator, or even as an officeholder at any other level of government.  Would that also, then, allow the Democrats to chase after Trump, if he were elected again, with impeachment inquiries for alleged questionable business practices prior to his move into politics?

From that point of view, Mullin may have a point.  It may not be in America’s best interest to have ideological witch hunts regarding past practices and alleged crimes that occurred prior to the person assuming their current political office.  If one accepts Mullin’s line of thinking, Joe Biden’s alleged guilty of bribery or influence peddling as Vice President of the United States should have been caught, and inquired into, while he was still Vice President.  Once again, if we are going to use Mullin’s line of thinking, that still does not mean there cannot be an impeachment hearing in the first place, even regarding those actions.  After all, as stated earlier, there are no statutes of limitations on those crimes.  If high crimes by an officeholder, such as bribery or influence peddling, are discovered after the fact, even if discovered long after the person was in office, from a legal viewpoint, all bets are off.  Inquire, indict, and fire all cannons without delay; right?

While it seems perfectly reasonable to Representative Mullins on the surface that impeachment must be regarding a charge associated with the office one is holding, which would mean a President could only be impeached for offenses committed while serving as President, even using Mullins’ reasoning Biden could still be investigated because while the bribery charges, influence peddling, and obstruction charges may no longer technically apply as Representative Mullins might suggest, Biden is continuing to lie about those things.  His lies, even if regarding crimes from some past office he held or past life he held, shows that he continues to partake in corruption.  Lying to Congress, or to the voting public, as President of the United States for any reason is an impeachable offense as President.  And, we do indeed know that Biden continues to lie to the American public about whether or not he spoke with Hunter Biden’s business associates, about the bribery charges, and so on and so forth.  So even if Mullins was correct about going after Biden for past criminalities, lying to the American People is a big deal, a charge that Clinton was impeached for, and Nixon would have been charged for had he not resigned first, and so even for lying an impeachment inquiry is called for, and very constitutional.

The current impeachment inquiry has largely focused on the actions of the Biden Crime Family from 2009 to 2017, when President Biden was vice president, and from 2018 to 2020, when President Biden was out of office.  The crimes being investigated have no limitations, so they should still be open-game.  If not, if Mullen’s argument holds any water, Biden’s lies regarding those actions have occurred during his current presidency which would still make the impeachment inquiry legal and constitutional.  So, if one wants to argue that he cannot be impeached for his actions prior to taking office as President, he can still be impeached for lying about those things while holding the Office of President of the United States.

Mullins has stated that if evidence is presented that while in office Biden is guilty of impeachable offenses, there are five moderate Democrats willing to join the Republicans in their impeachment aspirations.  But, if this impeachment inquiry is to be considered to be nothing more than a waste of time by those who are chasing after it because they decide Mullins is correct, that the charges must be regarding actions by Biden while President of the United States; then the same assumption should apply to Trump, and let Number 45 off the hook too if indeed you can only be pursued for crimes committed in office while you hold that office.

In the end, past crimes against America like bribery and influence peddling by someone like Joseph Biden should be investigated by Congress, and there should be removal from office due to impeachment conviction and prosecution and conviction by a criminal court afterward because these crimes were serious crimes against this country.  Treason, if one is willing to admit it.  These are major crimes with no limitations, and they were not simply crimes against the vice presidency, they were crimes against America.

The Democrats disagree, and instead spend their energy, and American tax-dollars, on trying to convict Trump of crimes that they made up out of thin air, rather than recognize and admit that Donald Trump, by questioning the 2020 Election, was actually executing the oath of his office as President of the United States.

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